St. Olaf College
I was born in Urbandale, Iowa and have lived there my entire life. My dad is the mayor of Urbandale and is an attorney at Nyemaster Law Firm, my mom is a banker at Community State Bank, my sister Erin is a junior at Johnston High School, and I have a golden retriever named Maggie. I will be a sophomore at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. I am currently undecided as to what I want to major in but I’m strongly considering political science and/or religion. During my freshman year at St. Olaf, I was in the freshman girls’ choir, was a member of my dorm’s hall council, volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, and tutored in the ESL classroom of the local high school. During my sophomore year, I would really like to get even more involved in political groups on campus, particularly the Political Awareness Committee. I have grown up around politics my entire life because my dad has been heavily involved in local politics since I was young. As I’ve grown older, I have become more and more interested in politics and how they affect our daily lives. I don’t know quite what I want to do after college, but I’m considering going to law school and being an attorney for the ACLU or a similar organization.
Posted on Aug 15, 2011
at 8:57 AM
Going into the week, I thought I had a pretty good knowledge of the opportunities within the state of Iowa, mainly the Des Moines area. This week convinced me otherwise. Not only did I learn a lot more about the Des Moines area, my eyes were also opened to the vast opportunities available throughout the rest of the state of Iowa.
The most important thing I have taken away from LIU is the importance of networking. In a way, I have sort of grown up with networking in the business and government world, but I have always been under my parents’ wing and never really had to actually introduce myself. Networking on my own was a completely new thing; I wasn’t simply introduced to someone who my mom works with. I was forced to go up to a stranger and introduce myself. This also gave me a new appreciation for the opportunities that are provided to me by my parents. For example, attending a reception before the GOP debate in Ames on August 11 gave me ample opportunity to practice my new networking skills. Yes, I was with my dad who introduced me to people, but I now had a new aim. Instead of just letting my dad and this said person do all of the talking and then ask my dad who that was afterwards, I tried to get to know people and what they do. LIU provided me with the knowledge and the motivation to do this, and it was only luck that I was provided the opportunity to do so right after the program ended.
Another very important thing I have learned from LIU is to properly establish yourself well before you graduate college. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to attend this program fairly early in my college career, as I still have about three years until I am out into the “real” world. Some important components of a well-established young professional is a strong network, a blog that represents you well, a strong sense of self, and a mentor who will help you do all of this. To build a strong network you have to start young, and to keep a strong network, you need to make sure that you are giving back even more than you are receiving from your network peers. Having a blog or something similar than builds your reputation online can help a potential employer see what kind of person you are outside of your resume. Also, a mentor who has a lot of experience in your field can be a huge help to young professional looking to advance more quickly. I will use all of these things I have learned to try and minimize potential mistakes I may make in the future. I am so grateful for all of the things that Leadership Iowa University has taught me and they will forever benefit me.
Posted on Aug 15, 2011
at 8:53 AM
Today, we learned a ton about all of the opportunities in getting involved with agriculture in the state of Iowa. Growing up in Des Moines, I haven’t had very much exposure to the agricultural side of Iowa and the multitude of opportunities it provides for the citizens of Iowa. Today’s speakers helped me to realize the diversity of jobs within agriculture in our state and how agriculture also connects to many other industries in Iowa.
At this point in time, I don’t know exactly what I want to do as far as my future career goes, but many of the careers that I am considering relate to public policy. I want to go to law school after college and possibly work in DC for a few years, but I will inevitably return to Iowa if/when I begin considering starting a family. If I do end up practicing law, it will probably be for a human rights organization like the ACLU. The ACLU represents a variety of clients, which could very well include farmers or other workers involved in agriculture in Iowa. I would really like to learn more about farmers’ opinions on state regulations and how they are affected by these regulations, because these types of things could definitely be a part of my future job.
In conclusion, I learned that there is A LOT more to Iowa than simply the Des Moines metro area. I had never considered living outside of the Des Moines metro, but today’s speakers have caused me to take another look at opportunities in other parts of the state.
Posted on Aug 10, 2011
at 11:22 AM
One of the biggest challenges I see in Iowa is the disconnect between the larger cities and the rural areas, especially with young people. I’m not sure if this disconnect is reciprocal, as I only have experienced a sort of ignorance coming from the big city side of what exists in Iowa outside of Des Moines. I’ve lived in the Des Moines metropolitan area for my entire life, and have not had much of an opportunity to experience small town life. With the exception of my paternal grandparents living in Pella, all of my other extended family members currently living in Iowa live in larger cities like Ames and Davenport. Even with my frequent contact with citizens of the more rural town of Pella, I still have felt that I don’t know very much about other parts of our states and about the huge agriculture market in our state. Because of Pella’s proximity to Des Moines, though, I feel as though it is not holistically rural because they have easy access to the resources in the capital.
A sentiment that I have seen to be common among many of my peers who have also grown up in the Des Moines area, admittedly including myself, is a sort of apathy towards the smaller, more rural communities in our own state. Even further, I would be apt to say that there may even be a sort of prejudice towards people living in these rural areas. I think what Iowa needs to do to eradicate these preconceived notions is to provide opportunities for young people to connect with people who have grown up in completely different communities to learn about how similar their lives really are. Although it is certainly true that both the larger metropolitan areas of the state and the rural areas both depend on each other greatly to make Iowa the success that it is, the larger cities’ dependence on the rural areas is less evident to young people. Because of this, I think it is important for young people to learn about how important the rural areas of our state are to us to fully appreciate the state in its entirety.
Posted on Aug 10, 2011
at 11:21 AM
The one thing that stood out to me when visiting Pella Corp. was the strong sense of community throughout the entire company. Although there are the inevitable hierarchies in the working side of the company, I got the sense that no matter what your position is within the company, you will still get your voice heard. This was evident in the way that the managers were held accountable for every suggestion put up on the suggestion board, which I thought was really cool. Even though the managers are technically required to care for their employees by taking into consideration their suggestions, it was obvious that they truly did care for the well being of their employees. I saw this when our tour guide Dale greeted many of the floor employees by name and asked how they were doing. This company has an unmistakable pride in every single one of their employees, which contributes to their strong sense of community.
As a young person coming into the workplace in the coming years, I would really like to be a part of a work community that supports all of their employees. I’m assuming that I will be coming in at a lower level in the hierarchy of the company, and I would really like to feel that my work is valued, and I would like to be provided with ample opportunity to be able to meet others in different sections of the company. Going along with a strong sense of community that provides opportunity to meet colleagues, another thing I learned today is the importance of having a mentor. Having a mentor helps connect you to other parts of your community and strengthens it for everyone in the process.
Posted on Aug 10, 2011
at 11:20 AM
The greatest asset I have to contribute to the future success of Iowa is my constant desire to learn and my openness to learning about opposing ideas. In today’s business world, everyone needs to be able to adapt quickly, and if you are unable listen to other people’s ideas adapting will be impossible. When working with a group, I always want to get everyone’s input because I know that it will benefit the entire group. To achieve success for yourself and for the larger group you are a part of you cannot be completely independent. There will be many points in your career that you have to depend on others’ expertise to further the success of the group. Being a part of Leadership Iowa University, I have already learned my strengths when working with others, and this will help me to be able to contribute to the success of Iowa. Although the assessment did not tell us our weaknesses, we will be able to play off the obvious strengths of others in order to achieve success. Although I don’t know exactly where I want my career path to head, I do know that I want to help others and help to make sure that everyone’s opinion and input is heard. To do so, I will need to learn what opinions others hold, and I will be able to do this easily because I have a desire to do so. Being close-minded in today’s society will not get you very far, and I will contribute to the success of Iowa by having an open mind to opposing opinions and being flexible.