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When it comes to Monmouth College students solving problems in the world of science, May graduate Matt Simonson had few peers. A biochemistry major, Simonson graduated summa cum laude, and he will take the next steps in his education at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago.
But Simonson did need to cram during his senior year, meeting with Wackerle Center for Career, Leadership and Fellowships Director Marnie Steach Dugan ’95 to figure out how best to talk about a different subject – himself.
“Matt and I had a recurring Zoom meeting to help him prepare for his medical school interviews,” said Dugan. “Matt’s obviously very academically sound and prepared, but we talked for several weeks about the interviews and helped him elevate that presentation of himself to graduate schools.”
Dugan was reminded of her work with Simonson as she reviewed the College’s annual First Destination survey results. Simonson, along with his twin sister, Sara Simonson, and several other groups of twins who graduated in the Class of 2022, will actually be counted in the First Destination results that the College releases in 2023.
But the Class of 2021 was similarly assisted by the Wackerle Center, which helped students locate and apply for internships and postgraduate jobs, as well as apply to graduate school. The survey results for that class showed that the College’s outcomes rate was again at 98%, with roughly 70% employed and the other 30% in continuing education.
“Our First Destination report for the Class of 2021 continues to show that Monmouth College graduates are moving on to meaningful work and graduate school experiences, as well as serving and educating in communities all over the world,” said Dugan.
Among the companies employing members of the Class of the 2021 are a few of the typical destinations for Monmouth graduates, including Caterpillar, Abbott Labs and Ernst & Young. Grads are also employed at the Rock Island Arsenal, Synergy Wealth Solutions, RISQ Consulting and Zimmer Biomet. Two ’21 graduates are working in professional sports, hired by the New York Jets and D.C. United.
Graduates who pursued continuing education are attending such schools as the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, the Colorado School of Public Health and the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. Those graduate school students are literally spread out around the country, with one student each at Mississippi State University, Arizona State University and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
The survey produced a 62% knowledge rate, which is defined as the percentage of graduates for which the institution has reasonable and verifiable information concerning the graduates’ post-graduation career activities.
Monmouth’s knowledge rate is down several percentage points from its pre-COVID numbers but still at or above the national rate, as it has been year after year in the First Destination survey.
Dugan expects the College’s knowledge rate to trend back up to closer to 75 percent in future years, thanks in part to a post-COVID “return to normalcy,” as well as a return to a normal staff size in the Wackerle Center. Kristy Krisher recently took the position of associate director of employer relations and internship development, and Dugan also expects to hire an associate director of career development and experiential learning in the immediate future.
“We’re building our staff back up, and that will lead to more and more employer connections,” said Dugan, who also credited Monmouth’s participation in the College Career Consortium for helping Monmouth students make connections at companies such as Enterprise Holdings and Sherwin-Williams.
“That membership offers a lot of resources for our students,” she said, “and our fall CareerFest is another way our students make connections with employers on a larger scale.”
***Courtesy of Monmouth College***