Career preparation and success make a difference for Benedictine alumni

April 1, 2015

Lisle, Illinois ~ What do an eye surgeon, third-grade teacher, director of digital marketing, financial accounting manager, broadcast news desk assistant, sales analyst and business development coordinator for the U.S. Olympic Committee have in common?

A values-based education from Benedictine University that prepared them to make real contributions which make a difference in the world.

How is it so many Benedictine alumni attain career success in such unique and exciting positions?

It starts with the fundamentals of a Benedictine education and our promise to uphold student learning and success as our top priority.

An average class size of 17 students creates the kind of learning environment where students can easily ask professors (not graduate assistants) the questions they need to know. Students can also avail themselves of free tutoring assistance and career development advice so they have the help they need at every step while pursuing their career path.

“Benedictine was definitely challenging at times,” admitted Megan Kunz, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing in 2012. “My core classes were difficult, as to be expected, but my professor really helped me when I asked for it. Together, we had many one-on-one sessions and spent time after class if I did not understand what we were learning. She was always willing to help and spent as much time as I needed to ensure that I felt comfortable with the material.”

Today, Kunz is a coordinator of Business Development for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she manages the TeamUSA.org network of sites and advertising for its sponsors.

“Without the knowledge base of the marketing world and concepts I learned, doing my job would be difficult,” Kunz said. “At Benedictine, I had leaders and mentors behind me who believed in me and the things I was trying to achieve. Their support helped me to push myself to get to where I needed to be.”

For Alejandra Herrera, one class at Benedictine steered her to her current career as a news desk assistant at NBC Universal.

“I had never thought about working in the TV business until I took the TV production course,” said Herrera, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts in 2012. “That class changed everything. It made me get out of my comfort zone and showed me a completely different world I now call my career.”

Benedictine’s size and proximity to Chicago provides students with opportunities to stand out. They can serve in leadership roles in more than 40 student organizations, and balance school work with relevant internships offered through national industries and businesses that are located within minutes of the University.

“I completed two internships while attending Benedictine University,” said Tim O’Connell, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing in 2008. “The first was a marketing internship, which took place during my junior year. During my senior year, I enrolled in a management internship with the same company. Upon completing the management internship, a job offer was presented and I have been with the company ever since.”

Today, O’Connell is assistant vice president and director of Digital Marketing and Communications for Retail Properties of America Inc.

As a student, Aaron Youngblood compiled an impressive resume that has served him well in his current position as a teacher at a Memphis area elementary school.

Youngblood wrote for the student newspaper, The Candor, participated in Mock Trial, Model United Nations and Model Illinois Government, and served as speaker pro tempore of the Student Senate. He graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

“The experiences I gained from being involved in student clubs and organizations helped me prepare for the career I have today,” Youngblood said. “Every day, I strive to provide a quality education for my students using the skill sets and determination I gained from being a leader at Benedictine.”

Nina A. Goyal, M.D., C98, emerged from a practicum experience at Edward Hospital with a more sophisticated understanding of medicine that helped her refine and work toward goals necessary for a career in the field.

“It is rare for an undergraduate student to have access to this kind of hospital experience, but it is so necessary to understand your career path before committing to it,” said Goyal, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1998. “As a practicing physician, I still rely on what I learned in those experiences.”

In every discipline, Benedictine strives to equip students with the concepts and tools they need to stay on top of emerging technologies and the competition with the kinds of innovative skills employers are seeking.

“The academic experience I had at Benedictine gave me exposure to a wide variety of topics that I use in my everyday work,” said John Gromer, who earned Bachelor of Business Administration degrees in Accounting and Finance and is now a manager at the largest professional services firm in the world, Deloitte & Touche LLP.

“For example, part of a course I took my senior year was on International Reporting Standards, which at the time might have been rare for other accounting programs,” Gromer said. “However, this knowledge base helped me as I entered the workforce and enabled me to further my knowledge on this topic and apply it in my job.”

These are just a few examples of the many alumni who have benefited from the Benedictine experience, which includes a comprehensive academic support system dedicated to student success, and faculty and staff who care about the unique needs of each individual learner.

To learn more about the Benedictine Promise, visit ben.edu/promise or to learn more about becoming a student at Benedictine, go to ben.edu/admissions

For more alumni stories, visit ben.edu/alumnivoices.

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Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in 59 undergraduate and 23 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the seventh consecutive year in 2017. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.

Marketing and Communications

Liz Brown
Writer and Copy Editor/Proofreader
(630) 829-6194
ebrown@ben.edu