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.