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Graduating friends, from left to right: Tara Cunningham, Kaitlyn Miller, Jaena Manson, Alex Kaminski, Joel Syzmanski, Connor Romenesko.

Friends Meet World

On Sunday, May 17, the Class of 2015 shifted their graduation cap tassels from right to left and exited Schuldes Sports Center as new alumni of St. Norbert College. For one group of friends, this meant a second reason to rejoice: A few weeks before, they had celebrated the news that all six now had their future plans secured.

Alex Kaminski ’15 was the first of his friends to settle on his next chapter – but, well before Commencement, all six friends knew their post-graduation plans.

Six friends, six paths
From an entry-level position at a well-known Madison bicycle company, to volunteering for a year of service, these six between them personify the varied paths that call the Class of 2015. 

After a junior-year switch from graphic design to political science, along with the experience of competing on St. Norbert’s Mock Trial team, Kaminski sought acceptance to Valparaiso University School of Law. The first of the clan to receive that “yes,” he will be studying international human rights law this fall while also completing a master’s degree in psychology. 

“My time at St. Norbert has instilled me with a ruthless belief in one another, which is exemplified through the college’s annual themes,” says Kaminski. “During my time on campus, I was taught the likes of communio, loving one another and radical hospitality, and I hope to embody these teachings, not only in my education, but in the years to come.”

Called in a similar direction, Connor Romenesko ’15 hopes to enter a law program, but will first volunteer for a year of service through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. In August, he will move to Atlanta, Ga., to work as a criminal justice reform intake specialist at the Southern Center for Human Rights, a non-profit law firm that works to improve the criminal justice system. 

Tara Cunningham ’15 also plans to volunteer through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Her year of service will take her to Washington state where she will work with homeless young people, which she believes is a great way to jumpstart her career in human services.

After her internship with the Mulva Library, Jaena Manson ’15 decided to pursue a Master in Library & Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“I have a graduate assistantship with the university library, working the reference desk as well as library technologies,” says Manson. “My degree has taught me the importance of storytelling and made me interested in how communities create, share and perpetuate their knowledge within and outside themselves.”  

To round out the group, both Kaitlyn Miller ’15 and Joel Syzmanski ’15 are heading straight into full-time employment. 

Combining two passions – fundraising and religion – Miller is beginning her role at Interfaith Youth Core as a foundations relations associate. Using her experiences at St. Norbert, Miller hopes to make a considerable and lasting impact by introducing those at Interfaith to her “Norbertine heritage.”

Syzmanski, who secured entrée to his dream job in April, was the last to nail down plans. His new employer, Trek Bicycle Company in Madison, Wis., fits right into his passion for the outdoors. Starting as a warranty representative, he plans to work hard to grow professionally within the company. His life goals also include continuing to be active as a St. Norbert alum, attending events and perhaps, in due course, joining the alumni board. 

Post-graduation by the numbers
In order to obtain an accurate picture of where each year’s graduates are headed, Career Services is collaborating with the office of institutional effectiveness (OIE) to pilot The Outcomes Survey.

This survey, now in its second year, asks graduates to respond with what they plan to pursue after their undergraduate career at St. Norbert.

“We collaborate with OIE to collect data using this software,” Kelly Johnson (Career Services) says. “They help us get all the required information in the database so that the survey can be sent out. Then, we actively pursue responses from the graduates.”

When the data is collected, it is sent to all graduates prior to Commencement Sunday and then updated at multiple points up until nine months after graduation.

At press time, 80 percent of the Class of 2015 had post-graduation plans in place. Here’s what we know:

Employed Full-Time: 36%
Employed Part-Time: 15%
Enrolled in additional education (i.e. graduate school): 20%
Military Service: 1%
Volunteer Service: 8%

In 2014, The Outcomes Survey was used by 36 institutions in 19 different states. This year, more than 100 institutions have joined in.

June 2, 2015