A 1990 graduate of Goshen High School, Michelle Marquis, 40, went on to become a respected and successful engineer in the world of motorsports and auto manufacturing.
Explain a little about yourself
I was born and raised in Goshen. I went to the same elementary school as both of my parents. I’m proud and humbled to be rooted in a family that has 100 years of history in Goshen. I was an athlete, an honors student and was honored my senior year for my class work in industrial arts. I left after high school to pursue my dreams in the motorsports and automotive world. While in college at GMI Engineering & Management Institute, I began racing karts (not the amusement park kind, ours went about 80 mph!). I also worked as a race car mechanic travelling the Midwest for Skip Barber Racing. Upon graduating with a mechanical engineering degree, I went to work full time at Chrysler in Detroit for nine years.
For the past 18 years I’ve had the opportunity to work with retired Indy car driver, Lyn St. James, in various capacities. I was part of the creation team for Lyn’s Driver Development Program for Women and served as the Program Director for many years. About seven years ago, my husband, Carl, and I chose to move to Goshen from Detroit. Currently I have a business called Artistry of Presence through which I create and facilitate personal development opportunities.
I am currently president of the GLBT Resource Center of Michiana and co-chair of Mosaic Goshen. Aside from our community involvement and volunteer work, we both teach motorcycle safety classes. We have also recently found a new love for BMX bicycle racing and are having a blast challenging each other on the track!
Where did you grow up?
Emerson Street in Goshen
What schools did you attend?
I attended Goshen College Laboratory Kindergarten, Parkside Elementary, Whiteman Junior High, Goshen High School (Class of 1990) and the GMI Engineering & Management Institute (bachelor’s in mechanical/automotive engineering, 1996).
What are your fondest memories of Goshen?
There are so many. Helping my mom sort books for the AAUW book sale every year. Hanging with my dad at the fairgrounds while he carried out his duties with the Fair Board. Swimming and playing softball at Shanklin Park. Riding my bike on the millrace path. Witnessing a community in a high school auditorium come together to give voice to their experiences and express their support and concern for their neighbors and community.
Describe the essence of Goshen, in your eyes
Anything’s possible here. Anytime I think something’s missing in this community, I just open my eyes a little wider and find out that it’s already here. There is this amazing energy that invites creativity, involvement and living fully. The people who live here care about the well-being of Goshen, even if they disagree on what that means. The sense of community that comes from living in Goshen is unique. There is a sense of pride surrounding it. Even when I wanted nothing but to get out of here, people would ask me where I was from and I always felt this pride well up inside when I spoke of Goshen, even in the face of small town Indiana stereotypes being expressed to me.
What about Goshen would you like to see changed or improved?
I guess this is more of a hope than a change or improvement. I hope that Goshen can continue to be its unique self. In recent years its personality has really shown through. I hope that we as a community choose to continue to nurture our own identity and let it shine, as well as recognize and honor the beautiful spectrum of diversity within our collective. There is no other place that is Goshen and I hope that we continue to choose our own path and not let the rhetoric of external influences dictate our direction.
What is Goshen’s best kept secret?
This is so hard to narrow down! I think Goshen is itself the best kept secret. When I share with friends in other places everything that’s happening here, they always respond “in Goshen? Really? Who knew?” So maybe the secret isn’t a single thing but that there are so many things like food, music, art, healing arts, neighborhood activities, parks, city conversations, etc.
What has Goshen meant to you over the years?
Goshen is home. It’s so much a part of who I am in the world. I seem to always return and it always seems to be here for me.