Imagine this: You’re planning to get a somewhat pricey item in the near future. You really want this thing, but you’re still new to the market and don’t know which brand to choose.
You need some hands-on info before making your choice. Luckily, you have a secret weapon—a friend who’s really into the thing. Your friend willingly shares her knowledge and helps you connect with exactly what you need. Item acquired; achievement unlocked!
Your same approach works for learning more about colleges, except it’s harder to find friends with exactly the right experience to help. Luckily, that’s where this blog comes in.
We asked a bunch of successful alumni to share their insights about their experience on our campus. These folks were just like you a few years ago, but now they’re out in the world, making cool things happen. Check out their knowledge below. It’ll give you some good insights.
Many of our alumni remembered the value of the personal connections they made thanks to smaller classes and more direct interaction with professors.
“You get more personalized attention than you would at some of the larger universities. I received a lot of encouragement from my English professors,” said Mary Popovich (B.A. ’89, M.L.S. ’15, business advisor for the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center). “It made me believe in myself and my abilities as a writer.”
For Aaron McClaskey (B.A. ’14, M.A. ’16), that one-on-one connection with faculty members ultimately led to a full-time job. While finishing his graduate degree, McClaskey’s longtime mentor, English Professor Mary Ann Cain, referred him to a highly competitive internship opportunity with Facebook in Menlo Park, Calif. He applied, and the company chose him for one of its positions.
After finishing the internship, Facebook offered him a full-time position. “Nowhere else could have brought out the best in me the way IPFW did,” McClaskey said.
Engaging Campus Life
Aaron Williamson (B.S. ’08, associate attorney with Cohen & Malad, LLP) was surprised at the world of activities taking place on campus. He started in the Black Collegian Caucus and his major department’s student organization, but quickly moved on from there.
“Learning occurs both in and outside of the classroom,” Williamson said. “I was elected student body vice president of finance and then student body president in my final year. These experiences exposed me to the inner workings of the university, giving me first-hand knowledge of how decision makers think. I use those lessons to this day."
Getting involved on campus took effort for Laddan Abbasi (B.A. ’13, account administrator with G.F.Bunting+Co.), but it paid off very well. “Don't just go to class and go home. I did that my first year and it wasn’t fun. As much as academics are important, feeling connected with the university is next on that list. If you are not connected, you are not going to look back with good memories and stories to share of your fun college years.”
Involvement in her department’s student organization led Elaine Jones (B.S. ’91, owner of Targeted Financial Solutions, LLC) to mentors that shaped her future. “I had many great mentors in the Accounting Society,” Jones said. “My involvement with the group over four years proved to be valuable in so many ways. I was exposed to many types of professionals in the area and learned about different types of work and focus in accounting.”
A mentor in music ultimately helped Barry LaBov (A.G.S., ’82) discover the path that led him to start his consulting business, LaBov & Beyond Marketing Communications. “Originally, music was my calling, but thanks to a couple of great mentors, I discovered that the creativity in marketing—creating something unique and helping clients grow—could be just as exciting to me.”
Marietta Wolczacka Frye (M.A. ’08, director of advising for the IPFW College of Arts and Sciences) found the support system she needed to finish her degree while working full time.
“The support system here is amazing. I’ve been encouraged by everyone from my first advisor all the way through to the chancellor. There were professors who met with me whenever I needed help. Everyone I reached out to was there for me,” Frye said.
That support helps students when the going gets tough. When Allen County Commissioner F. Nelson Peters IV (B.S.P.A. ’82, M.P.A. ’89) felt uncertain about his direction and needed guidance, his advisor helped him refocus and get on track to finish.
“Work with a counselor to determine the most appropriate academic path.” Peters said. “Stay in school even if you have to take just one class at a time. Eventually you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Finding Your “Thing” at IPFW
Every student should get the opportunity to find the thing that captures their creativity and gets them going every day.
All of these alums found what they were looking for at IPFW. Will you? Join us and find your thing. Apply today.