Alumni, Alumni Engagement, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, CWU, CWU Alumni, Liberal Arts, Lifelong Learning, Personal Branding, Uncategorized

The Proven Flexibility of Liberal Arts Degrees

What can you do with a Liberal Arts degree?

How about transforming a bachelor’s degree in History into becoming a successful systems planner for Boeing?

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How about a successful career as a principal software engineering manager for Microsoft after earning a degree in Music?

Turning an English degree into a lucrative career as a marketing manager of music textbooks?

Or a Philosophy major vaults into the role of a licensed mental health counselor?

Closer to our campus, an Art degree is utilized for a fulfilling career as a professional rodeo photographer?

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Maybe a World Languages degree results in exciting assignments overseas, serving as an interpreter/translator in Japan?

And can a Theatre Arts degree allow a promising and talented student to overcome her fear of public speaking and finally realize her dream of performing as an actress in Seattle?

Liberal arts degrees are clearly in demand. Just ask our eight successful College of Arts and Humanities honorees, who gathered earlier this month to share their experiences and wisdom with our students, faculty, and staff.

These outstanding graduates and career overachievers took quality time out of their busy lives to return to Ellensburg and spend a day with us. They also agreed to mentor fortunate students from each of our eight departments, establishing what will hopefully be a meaningful lifelong friendship.

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Top (left to right): Gretchen Beyer, Molly Morrow, Micaiah Davis, Alex Worland, Alan Page, Dane Madsen, Nuno Fernandes, Trevor Penland, Caroleigh Lawrence
Bottom (left to right): Amy Danneker, Karli Reinbold, Tristan Gorringe, Derek Forsell, Lori Bohn, Garrett Swatzina, Donny Anderson, Stephan Simes

The lineup for our April 11 Wellington Events Center panel:

  • Molly Morrow, Department of Art, Class of 1974, Professional Cowboys Association PhotographerPic4
  • Tristan Gorringe, Department of Communication, Class of 2009, Microsoft Audience Marketing Manager and Events Lead
  • Trevor Penland, Department of English, Class of 2011, W.W. Norton Marketing Manager for Music Textbooks
  • Lori Bohn, Department of History, Class of 1988, Boeing Systems Planner
  • Alan Page, Department of Music, Class of 1988, Microsoft Principal Software Manager
  • Nuno Fernandes, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Class of 2007, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, Licensed Mental Health Counselor
  • Amy Danneker, Department of Theatre Arts, Class of 2005, Seattle Market Professional Actress
  • Donald Anderson, Jr., Department of World Languages and Cultures, Class of 2008, Japanese Language Translator and Interpreter and Instructor for English Language Acquisition (ELA)Pic5

If you carefully review the occupations of this list of alums, each hailing respectively from our eight dynamic departments, only two are directly engaged in their field of study.

The gratifying message is that a liberal arts degree from our college leads to fulfilling careers and flexible, marketable skills.

As several panel members emphatically stated: Our College of Arts and Humanities is “not a vocational school.” Instead, our college embraces, celebrates, and champions lifelong learning and produces creative, smart, and skilled problem-solvers.

Trevor Penland asserted that questions such as, “What are you going to do with an English degree?” need to be promptly vanquished. The reality is that Liberal Arts majors have the talent and the ability to quickly glean vital information and to effectively speak, write, and problem solve.

Tristan Gorringe encouraged students to nurture an authentic personal story, be proactive and intentional in their networking efforts, and most of all, project and promote a unique personal brand.

CWU History alum and now Boeing Systems Planner Lori Bohn advised students to keep changing, learning, and moving – characteristics that are nurtured by their liberal arts backgrounds.

As we head toward our June 10th commencement, seniors are wondering about their next step and how to secure a meaningful job.

Nuno Fernandes counseled students to first and foremost avoid panic, and to stay grounded. Amy Danneker championed “Networking 101” and staying in touch with college colleagues as sometimes it takes only that one special lead to reach full employment.

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Perhaps most important, all of our panelists used their personal success stories to highlight the real power of a liberal arts degree in securing a meaningful career and life. Each projected energy and optimism based upon their proven success and their lifelong commitment to learning how to learn.

Inspiring, generous, and thoughtful, these honorees gave our students superb advice as they embark on their own personal career journeys.

By Stacey Robertson

Alumni, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, Department of History, Lifelong Learning

Celebrating CWU College of Arts and Humanities Alumni

By Stacey Robertson 

Among the first actions that I took as the new dean of the College of Arts and Humanities was to appoint adjunct professor for Choral Studies Scott Peterson as the faculty alumni outreach liaison.

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The reason was simple: A college is much more than its current students, faculty and staff. Our alumni are an integral part of who we are and who we want to be. They are the best and most poignant evidence of our success

In the weeks leading up to our Alumni Day on April 21, we have frequently contemplated what our alums mean to our college – past, present and future.

Just as important, we have pondered how we can team up with our alums to enhance our present programs and increase opportunities for our students to experience success in life and in the global marketplace. Our alums are a wealth of knowledge and real-world experience.

Are we doing enough to collaborate with them, and to listen to their advice? They want to help. They appreciate how CWU contributed to their respective careers.

We believe our alumni can enrich and improve us in multiple ways. Yes, we will always appreciate those who assist us financially in providing the best education possible to the thousands of students we educate in our robust eight departments — Art, Communication, English, History, Music, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Theatre Arts, World Languages — and related interdisciplinary programs.

Our alums are more – much more — to the College of Arts and Humanities. They are our legacy. They know what CWU means in terms of their respective careers and the well-being of their families. More importantly, they can be vital mentors for our present students and our graduates.

We recognize and value the wisdom, sage counsel, networking opportunities, and friendship our alumni provide to our current students. It’s a challenge in today’s competitive marketplace to

find meaningful careers. We believe that having well-placed alums is vital. These alums hold prominent positions in key industries, located in desirable venues and in growing fields, which are critical to students building their careers.

We are dedicated to helping our students graduate and succeed. In turn as they experience fulfillment in life and work, we hope that they, as CWU alumni, will offer guidance, mentorship and assistance to the next wave of graduates, and thus continue this affirmative cycle for the benefit of all.

Two Generations of Wildcats

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Jack and Crystal Widman (both of the CWU Class of 2000) and their daughter, Jacki. Jacki will be entering Central this fall as a junior, having already earned both her associate’s degree. She hopes to be a member of the CWU graduating class of 2018 or 2019.

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Her father, Jack, is the principal of Glacier View Junior High in Puyallup. Crystal is a junior high teacher at Stahl Junior High School also in Puyallup.

Jack received his B.A. degree in Social Studies and History (taking African American and Russian Studies) and a minor in Elementary Education. He also earned his teaching certificate from Central. Crystal earned her B.A. in Elementary Education with a minor in Science.

Jacki intends to follow in her parents’ footsteps and pursue a CWU College of Arts and Sciences degree in Social Studies/History with an eye toward becoming a teacher.

Jack and Crystal’s son, Bryan, is a ninth grader at Stahl Junior High School. Will he become the sixth member of the Widman family to attend and graduate from Central Washington University? We hope so.

One thing is certain: The Widmans are teaching important skills to the next generation of students. They embody the mission of the College of Arts and Humanities – ethically minded leadership, creativity, and intelligence. They are using the skills they developed and honed during their days at Central to educate and inspire their students.

College Arts and Humanities Alumni Day

We will be celebrating an alumni honoree from each of our eight departments on Alumni Day, April 21.

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I am looking forward to welcoming our alums back to Ellensburg and learning about their experiences at Central and in the years that followed. We will also be inaugurating our first Alumni Mentorship Program. This program will partner each of our alumni honorees with a lucky student in every department.

The highlight of the day will be our afternoon Alumni Panel discussion at the Milo Smith Tower Theatre during which our alums will share their wisdom and life lessons with students, faculty and staff.

We are confident that our Alumni Day will be successful and productive, but we hope to do so much more. Let me assure you the College of Arts and Humanities will always prioritize our alumni as valued friends and respected collaborators in the future of our beloved university.