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2023 Bright Symposium

Highlights from A Day Spent Investing Wisely

On March 25, 2023, the Bright Sym­po­sium took place on the Uni­ver­si­ty of North­ern Iowa cam­pus in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Bring­ing togeth­er over 70 Bright Schol­ars from across the state with Bright Alum, Bright Foun­da­tion board mem­bers, vol­un­teers, and keynote speak­ers. The Sym­po­sium was held with the theme Invest­ing Wise­ly– in one’s edu­ca­tion, career goals, and one­self. For the first-ever Sym­po­sium, the Bright Foun­da­tion aimed to fur­ther sup­port and equip Bright Schol­ars with impor­tant tools and resources as they strive to grad­u­ate on time, debt-free, pre­pared to launch their careers, and give back in some way.

The Sym­po­sium offered schol­ars oppor­tu­ni­ties to build and ele­vate their pro­fes­sion­al pres­ence, includ­ing new head­shots, attain­ing tips for col­lege nav­i­ga­tion, and gen­er­at­ing ideas about their career paths. Schol­ars also spent time mak­ing new con­nec­tions, reflect­ing on their career goals and dreams, and rec­og­niz­ing the impor­tance of their per­son­al growth and well-being.

A first year Bright Schol­ar stat­ed, “[the Sym­po­sium] real­ly made me feel less alone in this roller coast­er of a col­lege jour­ney. I also got to know more peo­ple from [my col­lege] and hon­est­ly, all the speak­ers have pushed me in a way to be a bet­ter per­son over­all and to just get out of my com­fort zone and chase after what I want.

The event fea­tured four infor­ma­tive, inter­ac­tive keynote speech­es with dis­tin­guished speak­ers, lead­ers, and edu­ca­tors who have invest­ed their time and effort wise­ly not only in their suc­cess but also in the suc­cess of others.

Dur­ing the morn­ing ses­sion, schol­ars heard from TJ Warren and Mary Ver­meer Andringa on top­ics about pur­pos­es and career development.

A Man of Encour­age­ment, TJ has spent years help­ing oth­ers to pur­sue their pur­pos­es and reas­sur­ing them to be con­fi­dent and be true to them­selves. His talk left schol­ars feel val­i­dat­ed and empow­ered of where they are in their col­lege and life journeys.

As the Chair Emer­i­tus at Ver­meer Cor­po­ra­tion, a glob­al indus­tri­al and agri­cul­tur­al equip­ment com­pa­ny head­quar­tered in Pel­la, Iowa, Mary’s talk guid­ed everyone’s atten­tion to the vari­ety of oppor­tu­ni­ties avail­able in the state of Iowa.

The after­noon ses­sion includ­ed pow­er­ful keynotes from Angeli­na Van­le and Dr. Kris Meyer.

A Bright Alum and third-year med­ical stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Iowa Carv­er Col­lege of Med­i­cine, Ange­line talked about her expe­ri­ences through her under­grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion and recent deci­sion to make a career change to become the Assis­tant Direc­tor of Inclu­sive Edu­ca­tion and Strate­gic Ini­tia­tives at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa rather than com­plete med­ical school was inspiring. Her sto­ry res­onat­ed deeply with oth­er Bright Schol­ars who are all striv­ing to suc­ceed in their own life jour­ney

Last­ly, Dr. Kris Mey­er, a speak­er, sto­ry­teller, edu­ca­tor, and coun­selor from Bue­na Vista Uni­ver­si­ty left the schol­ars uplift­ed and inspired with her keynote on the impor­tance of rela­tion­ships and the pos­i­tiv­i­ty of life.

The day con­clud­ed with words of wis­dom and inspi­ra­tion from the senior Bright Schol­ars as they shared their expe­ri­ence, achieve­ments, and future goals with a Minute at the Mic dur­ing the Senior Send­off. This def­i­nite­ly start­ed a new tra­di­tion with many atten­dees not­ing it was one of their favorite parts of the day.

To learn more about the Bright Foun­da­tion, the Bright Sym­po­sium, and our upcom­ing events, fol­low us on social media @brigh­t­iowa.

Thanks for check­ing out our 2023 Bright Sym­po­sium! Stayed tuned for more spot­lights to come on our News & Events page, as well as oth­er updates!