From grad day to first day

Many brand new alumni dive into their careers a Monday or two after receiving their diplomas. Or, in some cases, before they actually graduate.

Take Kamryn Hanson ’21. It’s not as though she wasn’t prepared for her new role as academic advisor at Minnesota State Mankato. That role is one she’s sought since being on the receiving end of an advisor’s help several years ago at South Central College in Faribault, where Hanson was taking PSEO courses as a high school student.

Kamryn Hanson in her dream job as an academic advisor.

“South Central at the time was such a positive academic experience, and it made me love college so much,” Hanson said. “I worked with an advisor at SCC who also inspired me and made me curious about her work. And then from there, through talking to her and doing some research, found out not only was it a field, but that Minnesota State Mankato—where I was going to—had a program in exactly what I was looking for.”

After getting her undergraduate degree in 2019 she immediately started working toward a master’s in counseling and student personnel at Minnesota State Mankato, narrowing the focus toward a career in advising. As a grad assistant her first year, she served as an advisor for new students undecided on their major, followed by a role in the MavPASS program (helping student performance in traditionally tough classes) and later interned with the Career Development Center on campus.

As graduation neared, the University had two openings for full-time academic advisors. Hanson applied for and received the job of academic advisor for the School of Nursing. She graduated May 8 and walked into her office on May 14.

 “I think actually just jumping right into it, in the end, was really great,” she said. “I think it would have been hard, actually, if I’d had some time off. It was actually helpful to just end and shortly thereafter start the new position.”

One of a kind

Jacqueline Asplund worked her way via internship into a unique new role for both herself and the company where she works.

As an engineering major, Asplund interned at the Maud Borup candy manufacturing company—which is owned by fellow alumna Christine Lantinen ’98. Today, Asplund works as that company’s first manufacturing engineer. It’s a broadly defined job, she said, but involves duties she performed as an intern, providing documentation on everything from food safety regulations to planning new production lines. 

Much of her work involves getting desired packaging designs on a production line.

“The management team has an idea of what they want, then they ask us, ‘Can you make this happen?’ Then we need to figure out how we can do it. And obviously if it’s not working or it’s going to be too expensive, we need to let them know and come up with a redesign.”

A May 8 graduate, Asplund studied manufacturing engineering technology at Minnesota State Mankato. Originally from Sweden, she was a transfer student who came to Mankato from California in 2018.

Jacqueline Asplund, manufacturing engineer.

“It was more hands-on and more practical,” she said, “so I liked it even better. We had more labs in class, we learned how to weld and everything that’s more practical than teaching behind a schoolbook. … The professors are really involved. I’ve been reaching out to several of my professors who I’ve had in the past to catch up on things.”

(Asplund blogged about her experience as an intern at Maud Borup, which included a White House visitor, here.)

Say what you want

Accounting major Courtney Jarvis became a recent hire by the giant firm Deloitte largely through a combination of persistence, good luck and aiming high. It was at a networking event at Duke University where Jarvis passed along his resume to a representative of Deloitte. He specifically asked about auditing work, though it wasn’t what reps at the event were seeking.

That directness, he said, likely played a role in eventually landing an internship with the company and later being offered a job as an accountant—in auditing.

Being specific about the kind of job he wanted was vital to getting it, he said.

Courtney Jarvis, accountant with Deloitte.

“If you’re clear with what you want in life—it could be in relationships or anything in general—it’s never guaranteed you’re going to get what you want but you’re certainly more likely than if you beat around the bush or just say, ‘Eh,  Whatever you’ve got.’

“To say it was all luck is not true. To say it was all skill is not true, either. It was being persistent, being in the right place at the right time and having a positive attitude and saying ‘This is what I want.’ And not being afraid to ask for help.”

Guided by passion and experience

Natalie Frier accepted her job offer in spring of ’21 from Sora Pediatric Therapy in the Twin Cities, where she puts to work the passion and experience she gained at Minnesota State Mankato. Her interest in pediatrics was sharpened during graduate school, when she worked in the University’s speech clinic.

In that program, she worked with people of all ages. She credits Megan Mahowald, chair of the Department of Speech, Hearing and Rehabilitation, with getting her specifically excited about pediatrics and literacy. An internship followed that had her working with children with autism, during which she made connections at Sora. That resulted in a job offer prior to graduating in May.

Natalie Frier on her graduation day this spring.

“I feel I was able to jump right into it because the graduate program set me up so well,” she said. “All the training and education and hands-on experience made for a real easy transition with the way the professors have set up the program.”

At Sora, she’s a speech pathologist for kids 12 months to 18 years of age. During training there, she met three Minnesota State Mankato alumni welcoming her to the “family.”

“It was really fun to know coming into this they hold that high threshold of clinicians,” Frier said, “because Mankato has really set that bar high.”