Recent grads on their ‘chain’ of successful events

What can a degree from WIU do for you?

For two students who came back to campus recently at WIU-QC, the answer is: find a solid career with one of the world’s most well-known corporations.

WIU-Quad Cities faculty and community leaders welcomed recent grads Jennifer Gibson (left) and Kim Goodwin (right) back to campus recently, where they reunited with their professor, James (a.k.a. “Jim”) Patterson, who serves as assistant dean/associate professor of the QC supply chain management — and was a warehouse supervisor before earning his Ph.D. and entering academia.


photo of professor Jim Patterson and students

Recent WIU-QC grads reunite with their professor, Jim Patterson, in Riverfront Hall

Gibson, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree, and Goodwin, who earned her MBA, both focusing on supply chain management, credited their coursework in areas such as warehouse management; and having required internships, for helping them secure employment as product buyers for John Deere Davenports Works. (The John Deere World Headquarters is based in nearby Moline, Illinois, where WIU-QC is located.)

“Those courses, and having professors who have had real-world experience in the industry, really prepared us,” she said. She also credited the opportunity to participate in a case competition, competing with students from other universities to solve an industry problem. “Things like that really help you develop the critical-thinking and decision- making that you use every day on the job.”

Gibson and Goodwin were invited back to campus recently for a Planning and Advisory Committee meeting, to detail ways that their degrees from WIU-QC, their internship experiences, and their real-world learning experiences in the program prepared them for their positions.

Where are they now?

Maybe you’re one of the many high school students who knows you want to go to college, but don’t know what you want to do when you get there.

Have you ever wondered what our graduates do with their WIU degrees?

Well, here’s one way to tell. When you scan through the Class Notes section of Western News, the newsletter that all graduates receive four times a year, you’ll find a pretty cool sampling of what WIU grads are doing with their lives. Here’s a quick peek at just some of the names and occupations who submitted their information to recent issues:

Here’s a random sampling of some of our grads:

  • Kimberly Lightford of Chicago, who majored in communications and graduated in 1991, is now a United States Senator representing the Illinois 4th District.
  • Sharon Bouchard, who earned both her bachelor’s degree (teacher education and health science) and master’s degree (physical education, now called kinesiology) from WIU, and now of Dexter, (MI), is a driver operator for the Ann Arbor Fire Department and competes as a competitive Masters Rower, earning three medals in the 2008 Masters National Competition.
  • Dave Faries, who earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history at WIU, is now the food critic for the Dallas Observer.
  • Michael Aden, who majored in marketing and graduated in 2002, is now a logistics analyst for Boeing and earned an MBA in operations and supply chain management from St. Louis University.
  • Ashley Cox, who majored in women’s studies and graduated in 2005, is now a victim advocate in Jefferson County Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team for Community Treatment, Inc., in Festus (MO).
  • Martha Dobrzynski, who majored in psychology and also earned her master’s degree in law enforcement and justice administration from Western in 2008, is now an immigration services officer for the Department of Homeland Security in Des Moines, (IA).
  • Mark Hurty, who earned a general studies bachelor’s degree in 2009, was selected for the 2010 Teach for America Corps in the San Francisco Bay area.

Want to see more examples? Check out back issues of Western News on your own. And even if you come to campus still unsure, Western’s University Advising and Academic Services Center (UAASC) is here to help set you on the right path.