Graduating seniors prepare for life beyond the hill

With only six weeks left of school, the class of 2015 is finalizing its plans for after graduation. Many are securing career opportunities here in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Cameron VanDyke, an economics, Spanish and ACT-In major, will begin working at Lockton Companies, which is located on the Country Club Plaza in downtown Kansas City, Mo. Lockton is an international insurance brokerage firm. VanDyke will be participating in Lockton’s Associate Account Manager Program.

“I was very fortunate in my job search process. To be completely honest, I stumbled upon Lockton by googling ‘Best companies to work for in Kansas City,’ because I had already decided that I wanted to stay in this area,” VanDyke said.

Kansas City is one of the biggest business capitals in the Midwest and offers a wide variety of for-profit opportunities. Finding the correct fit has changed with the use of technology because of networking platforms such as LinkedIn or even a simple Internet search of the company’s reputation.

“The program appealed to me because it offers a very smooth transition from college life to the workplace. I appreciate how much the company invests in its trainees by implementing a classroom setting for the first six months,” VanDyke said.

The Associate Manager Program at Lockton is specifically designed for those who have just graduated from undergraduate institutions, and it assists with easing into Lockton’s business practices and culture. VanDyke is excited for this new chapter of her life but also has some reservations.

“My entire life I have been most focused on school, and it is exciting that I will be working toward a different purpose in just a few short months,” VanDyke said. “I am sad that I will not see my friends from Jewell quite as often. However, I am excited to be staying in the Kansas City area so I can still visit and keep in touch.”

Kate McFerren, who will be graduating with a BA in communication and marketing, is another senior student beginning work after graduation in the Kansas City community.  While McFerren has not yet chosen a place of employment, she is hoping to work as a video editor for a global marketing agency. She learned of opportunities at VML, a digital marketing and advertising agency, through the Career Mentor Program offered in the Office of Career Development and Internships on the Hill.

McFerren found that the autonomy that her professors gave her was the most influential aspect of determining her current career goals.

“The individual style of the digital and art classes made them seem like independent studies where I could pursue passions and skills I am most interested in. Also I believe the CTI program will help me immensely in life in general,” McFerren said.

McFerren has plans of living near the river market and exploring a more urban environment.

“I am looking forward to having more free time and pursuing hobbies as well as decorating an apartment and living on my own,” McFerren said.

McFerren said she has intentions of coming back to Jewell and staying in touch, especially because she is graduating one year before her traditional class.

“I know I will be close, but it won’t be the same as living on campus. I hope I made the most of my time here in every aspect,” McFerren said.

Lindsey Pollock, an elementary education and ACT-In major is moving to Park Hill, Mo. to begin teaching in the Park Hill School District. In addition to graduating, Pollock is getting married to Tyler Stevens, class of ‘14, in July.

As as education major, Pollock’s job search began in January. She applied to various school districts throughout the Kansas City area and received two offers. Pollock chose Park Hill, and she hopes to teach the second grade.

Pollock feels like the education program has equipped her for the real life setting she will enter in August.

“The Education Department at Jewell is rigorous, so I feel very prepared to be a teacher next year,” Pollock said.

She also said that much of the growing and learning she recieved at Jewell was outside of the classroom.

“I have learned so much by being a resident assistant, being involved in Greek life and many other organizations,” said Pollock.

However, she does not plan on stopping her education at Jewell.

“Hopefully within a year or two I will be getting my masters degree in the field of elementary education. Although I have always struggled with change and am concerned about leaving some of my best friends and leaving this amazing place I have called home for four years, I am of course excited to get married, live on my own and teach,” Pollock said.

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