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Six UMD Grads Set Out on Their Careers

UMD senior Katherine Gibbons

Kassandra Gibbons

UMD senior Pao Lor

Pao Lor

UMD senior Ashley Bauer

Ashley Bauer

UMD senior Akin Falade

Akin Falade

UMD seniors Allison Lutz and Stephanie Anderson

Allison Lutz and Stephanie Anderson

Kassandra Gibbons: College of Education and Human Service Professions and School of Fine Arts
People told her that it was a terrible time to get a teaching job as an art educator but Kassandra Gibbons was unphased. With the experience of student teaching at three schools under her belt, she applied for many positions, interviewed four times, and received three job offers. She chose a position teaching art in grades 6-12 in a small community about 45 minutes west of the Twin Cities. "The school district has a new high school, and they want my students to paint murals on the walls," she said. Gibbons will be an asset to her new community, just as she was for UMD. She transferred to UMD for her last three years and dove into campus life. She was accepted into the marching band and attended band camp before the semester started. They marched with UMD in the Minnesota State Fair Parade. "It was great to hear the audience cheering and to feel the support for UMD from people outside of Duluth," she said. Gibbons mentioned several people who influenced her along the way, a classroom teacher who mentored her and UMD Art Education faculty members Marion Colman and Alison Aune. There was one other person who made a difference, "My mother was a teacher, and she loved her job," Gibbons said.

Pao Lor: College of Liberal Arts
He has taken on more work than many of his classmates. Not only is Pao Lor graduating from UMD in May 2013 with a bachelor's degree in criminology, he is also pursuing another rigorous program. He will receive a degree in Law Enforcement from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College later in summer of 2013. "It hasn't been too bad keeping up with the classes, but I've had to do a lot of driving, going back and forth between the two schools," Lor said. This spring, he took on a third commitment, completing an internship with the City of Duluth police force. "I grew up in the Frogtown neighborhood in St. Paul, and I have a big family in the Hmong community there," Lor said. "I've wanted to be a police officer for a long time and my family supports me." Lor is confident that he will find a job as a police officer. He's already had interviews. "They've been pretty positive, too," he said.

Ashley Bauer: Swenson College of Science and Engineering
Finding her passion led Ashley Bauer to a Ph.D. program in biomedical research at Yale. Bauer has been at UMD her entire four year college career pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology, and has been given a lot of support as she applied to grad school. “My advisor Dr. Clay Carter and the faculty, especially my research advisors, Dr. Jeffrey Gilbert and Dr. Jean Regal, have been wonderful. This wouldn’t have been possible without support from them,” she stated. Bauer chose Yale out of five other graduate school acceptances. “Yale was right for me because they have an incredible research program. There are a lot of opportunities for me; and I really liked the environment,” said Bauer.

Bauer said from her start at UMD, she wanted to do something in the science field, and once she got into her lab, she fell in love. She stayed at UMD because she found her niche in science and research. She was able to do two undergraduate research projects through the UROP program as well as participate in the Pathways program through the medical school. "UMD is more close-knit than some larger institutions so it is easier to get to know students and faculty," she said. Bauer has been doing research on high blood pressure during pregnancy for three years and wants to continue with biomedical research after graduate school.

Akin Falade: School of Fine Arts
He came to UMD with a host of college class credits and AP courses from high school. Even so, majoring in the sciences during his first year was so tough Akin Falade dropped out of school. His next adventure was to work for one year with Duluth elementary school children in a project called Mind to Mind. He came back to UMD, this time studying in a field he'd excelled at in high school, graphic design. “Everything happens for a reason," he said. "By staying in Duluth I found myself. This wouldn’t have happened if I had gone home to the Twin Cities."

Falade said two people at UMD helped him stay on track, Stacy Crawford and Jane Ebersviller in the School of Fine Arts (SFA). This spring, Falade is graduating with a major in digital arts and photography. His photography was chosen for the SFA student exhibition at the Tweed Museum of Art. Falade has a dream, to exhibit his photography along with his brother's paintings. Where? At one of the many art galleries in Duluth. He plans to get a master's degree in business and continuing his career in fine art photography.

Stephanie Anderson and Allison Lutz: Labovitz School of Business and Economics
Their stories are so similar that it's little wonder they’ve gone from strangers to self-described “besties” in three short years. Stephanie Anderson and Allison Lutz came to UMD as sophomore transfer students in fall 2010. Both enjoyed math. Anderson considered a career in actuarial science. “I was leaning towards marketing, but didn’t want to give up numbers,” Lutz said. Then the two women heard about a new program called the Retail Marketing Analytics Program (ReMAP) at the Labovitz School of Business and Economics. “It was exactly what I was looking for,” Anderson recalled. “It was a perfect fit. My love of math combined with the business sector.

In ReMAP, students have the opportunity to build a strong foundation of statistical analysis know-how and directly apply advanced marketing techniques to real-world situations. But analysis is only part of the equation. “We also focus on how to communicate our results to people who don’t understand the data. You need to be able to interpret the data, to tell a story with it,” Anderson said. Both women benefited from internships last summer: Anderson with SuperValu and Lutz with the Schwan Food Company. “The internships gave us a lot of valuable, practical experience,” Lutz said. And it’s paid off. Both have jobs lined up after graduation. Anderson will begin her career with the Schwan Food Company and Lutz will begin hers with a consulting firm in the Twin Cities called Boom Lab. They are proud to have been a part of ReMAP’s first cohort. “It will be exciting to see how the program will grow,” Anderson said.

UMD Those Who Can, Duluth

Story by Jessica Noor, Korin Olgaard, Kat Menze, Cheryl Reitan, and Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann May 2013

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