Jen Phipps '17Alumna
It's not easy going back to school after so many years; nothing worthwhile should
be easy. But the AEO program made it possible. The way the program is set up makes school manageable. I thought
after graduation, things would settle down and I really wouldn't feel any different. Well,
that wasn't the case. Within a week of graduation, I received two offers for positions
within my company. It's literally paying off -- immediately. I should have gone back
Linda Fausel '02Alumna
The workplace can be tough. Whether we’re in retail or technology, education, corporate,
nonprofit or anything in between, culture and personalities on the job can be unpredictable.
Good listener? Doesn’t matter. Analytical problem-solver? So what? Skilled communicator
with lots of knowledge and ideas? Good luck. If the people around us (especially the
boss) have no experience in the 8 Abilities, conflict can run unchecked. Best way
to deal? Put your head down, do what you were hired to do and do it well, and keep
an eye out for something better. Unfortunately, this can take time.
I was hired at an agency and within weeks knew I didn’t belong. This nonprofit had
been around for years, but I had never heard of it. I soon learned why.
Leadership was stuck in the early 20th century. Lack of communication and respect
was pervasive. My team was small — myself and two women. Over time, we got to know
each other. One day we realized that we had all graduated from Alverno! In our sea
of unprofessionalism, it was the buoy that kept us afloat.
No one listened to us, so we listened to each other. We offered each other feedback
and support, quietly and carefully. Instead of feeling individually isolated, we became
empowered together. Despite the age, respect and friendships developed. I realized
that even though some parts of the job were challenging, other parts were great. I
was working with talented women I admired. They were people I would hang out with
on the weekends and have!
My young Alverno-trained colleagues and I all walked across the Pitman Theatre stage
and received our diplomas knowing we wanted to make a difference in the world. And
though we imagined doing it in a professional environment as part of a team where
we would contribute and grow while being supported and encouraged, we also know life
isn’t always smooth sailing.
Alverno prepared us. We were not able to forecast this workplace storm. But, in the
end, three alums weathered it, together.
I’m a hairstylist, and I told a client of mine that I wanted to go back to school
after 12 years — but was afraid. She graduated from Alverno more than 20 years ago
and said attending college here was one of the best experiences of her life. She said
it was empowering to be around such intelligent, diverse and caring women during the
process of getting her degree. I was so happy to tell her that 20 years later Alverno
still has all these characteristics and more. As an Adult Evening & Online (AEO) student,
I feel like I’m afforded the opportunity to have everything. I'm able to balance work,
school and family without feeling overwhelmed because the program is designed for
every student to achieve success. Returning to school at Alverno is one of the best
decisions I’ve ever made.
I chose Alverno College because I knew that it was a place where I would be valued
not only as a student but as a woman.
It was always the plan to go to school in Saint Paul, Minn., because I would then
be only an hour from home. But after receiving an admission inquiry postcard from
Alverno College with the large letters “INVEST IN YOU” on the front, I knew my college
selection was about to change.
When I started at Alverno in 2014, I struggled with the sense of “home” because I
was so far away from where I had spent my entire life; although my anxiety was getting
the best of me, I attended a Spoken Word Poetry Showcase campus event, and it was
my first time seeing poetry live. I fell in love with it and decided after that evening
that I wanted to write and perform poetry for a living.
The following semester, there were auditions for the Alverno Fall Theatre Production.
I had never performed in theatre, let alone gone to an audition, but I knew it was
the best way to overcome the stage fright I had so I could really pursue being on
stage performing poetry for my professional career.
I went to the audition and was cast for the play. It was during that experience with
theatre and being on stage that I found that sense of “home.” During my sophomore
year, I was able to indulge in my poetry. The Alverno English faculty and Theatre
faculty encouraged my stage presence. I joined the Student Activities Board team shortly
after I began at Alverno, and that job allowed me to gain experiences with speaking
on stage and developing relationships with our performing acts that I will be carrying
over to my future internship during grad school.
Currently, I am approaching the end of a poetry internship project where I will be
producing my own showcase. I feature at poetry open mics around the city, I work closely
with the executive staff of Milwaukee’s Shakespeare in the Park, I have had the privilege
of being involved with every Alverno Theatre Department production since I’ve been
a student and I’m looking into moving to New York City post-graduation to intern with
a poetry company while I study for an MFA in poetry.
I have Alverno to thank for all of it. Alverno helped me find my voice, discover
talents I didn’t know I had and gain people in my life who cheered me on while I chased
my dream. It takes one moment of courage to change your entire life. Alverno taught
I came to college with plans to be a nurse. But life has a way of not going the way
you think it might – and I have Alverno to thank for helping me realize this and thrive
despite of it.
When I arrived on campus, I began working as a student ambassador in Alverno’s Admissions
Office, taking 18 credit hours and working part time as a sales representative. Although
I didn’t have much free time, I enjoyed what I was doing and noticed that I loved
talking, problem solving and marketing. I soon realized that my passion was marketing
and changed my major to reflect that. I loved that I could make people’s days by having
a conversation, listening to their stories and finding ways to help them.
I built my business portfolio and networked, landing internships with great companies,
and volunteered on campus more. I still continued to juggle a large course load every
Things changed, however, when I found out I was pregnant my junior year. I was discouraged
and scared about what others thought, but the support I received from my family and
other Alverno women was amazing. I pushed myself like never before.
As a first-time parent, I was nervous about how I was going to juggle school, work
and caring for my daughter. But I did it. I was motivated to pave a way not only for
my daughter but for all young mothers like myself.
As my December graduation approaches, I’m proud to say that I already have a job.
The Blood Center of Wisconsin recruited me to work as a marketing coordinator for
them. The final semester of my undergrad studies is starting soon, and I’m energized
as I look to the future. Without the support of Alverno, I never would have known
how strong I am. Remember: Anything is possible. Speak positivity, never give up and
always believe in yourself. #AlvernoStrong
My Alverno story is a little funny. When I was looking at colleges my mom urged me
to look at Alverno because she wanted me to leave college feeling that I could really
apply what I had learned and be empowered as a woman. At first I was not sold on Alverno
because it was an all girl school and the style of learning was so different; I was
not sure if this was the type of college experience I wanted. As I toured more and
more colleges Alverno was always in the back of my mind. I found that this is the
type of school that helps you not only grow intellectually but as a person. Alverno
has given me some amazing leadership opportunities and has helped me see my full potential.
I couldn't be happier with my Alverno education!
Alverno has positively impacted not only me, but my mother and grandmother as well.
I am a third-generation Alverno student and the knowledge of the strong women it creates
has been instilled in me from a very young age.
Alverno has allowed me to develop academically and professionally. I started as a
shy freshman right out of high school who could barely give a speech in class, and
now I talk in front of crowds of over 200 people for work. The 8 Abilities I learn
in class have allowed me to grow and shine tremendously.
Alverno has given me the power to accomplish anything I set my mind to. I am certain
I will have a job that represents everything Alverno has taught me.
My Alverno story is one of destiny and legacy in a way. Though I am not the granddaughter
or distant cousin of an Alverno grad, I have had many teachers who were monumental
in my love for education. They were women who were intelligent, proactive, driven,
passionate problem solvers who instilled in me a passion for educating. These were
women that I looked up to and wanted to be like in many ways, so when the time came
for me to look into college, I of course looked to my inspirations for inspiration.
After connecting with many of them both formally and in passing, there was one thing
that many of them had in common: most of them were Alverno women! Everyone from my
K-4 and fourth-grade teachers to my mentors along the way were Alverno grads, and
that's when it hit me! In order to be molded into an effective educator who can inspire
young minds like the ones who inspired me, I would have to go to "the Harvard of the
Midwest" as many of them called it. Now that I am at Alverno, I am even more confident
that I will one day be an amazingly effective educator. I owe that confidence to Alverno.
As a musician, I have been confronted with competition in many ways. Alverno is a
place where I found no competition but myself. I have learned to grow on yesterday’s
feedback, learn from the moment and strive for tomorrow’s potential.
Out of all the places in this world where I could have received an education in music
therapy, there is no place I would rather be.