Northwestern College. A whole education for your whole life. But seriously, does Northwestern equip you with the tools necessary to generate success in the workplace after graduation? Northwestern presented 268 diplomas to the graduating class in May 2010. But where they are now?
Derefe Chevannes, a NW graduate who originally hailed from Jamaica, is currently living and working in Jacksonville, Fla. A political science major, Chevannes is doing a one-year internship with 2nd Mile Ministries, a Christian organization focusing on transforming neglected and disadvantaged communities. At the end of the internship in May of 2011, Derefe will begin law school.
“As a political science major, it became extraordinarily clear that much of what I was taught, as it relates to politics, I have encountered in the real world and was familiarized with in classes. Also, I remember taking Human Relations with Prof. Oliver, and learning the basics of the course helped me when dealing with kids who have been exposed to poverty and various forms of systemic discrimination. My faith has opened my eyes and I have been using that to navigate me through the maze of today’s dog-eat-dog world.”
Chevannes admits to always finding ways in which to implement his learning from Northwestern. His faith, the biggest part of what he does, was originally cultivated right here in northwest Iowa. Along with his internship, Chevannes volunteers at several places, including the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission, which is responsible for investigating cases of racial, gender, age and other forms of discrimination in the area of employment and housing.
Debra Warren, a NW graduate with a B.A. in Social Work currently has two jobs, one as the Chippewa/Lac qui Parle County Outreach Coordinator and Victim Advocate for a domestic violence agency called Safe Avenues in Montevideo, Minn., and the other as a coordinator at a licensed foster care home called Onward Services, for people with disabilities.
“I learned from NW how to work hard and not procrastinate (as easy as that can be in college), strive for excellence and take advantage of every opportunity to make a positive impact on someone’s life . I have learned to be patient with myself as I attempt to learn and gain experience and really figure out what area of social work it is that God wants me to focus on,” said Warren.
Warren also said that she realized she could not expect to start out with the highest paying job in her field but instead needed to take advantage of the opportunities to gain experience that were given to her.
Community is something that Warren misses about NW. “I’ve never lived on my own before,” she said. However, she claims that NW’s community strengthened her to the point where she has been able to go out and seek her own community through her new church. “Most importantly, NW taught me to put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ because, no matter what comes my way, a new job, a future husband, or even graduate school, He will keep me strong and get me through.”
According to graduates, NW provided the education to match the price that students paid, lived up to its expectations and provided a well-rounded education that prepared them for a not so well-rounded world.