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2024 Bright Symposium: A Day of Hard Work and Personal and Professional Growth

2024 Bright Symposium: A Day of Hard Work and Personal and Professional Growth

March 23, 2024 – The sec­ond annu­al Bright Sym­po­sium took place on the Iowa State Uni­ver­si­ty cam­pus in Ames, Iowa. This year’s sym­po­sium brought the engage­ment and con­nec­tion of over 50 Bright Schol­ars, Bright Alum, Bright Foun­da­tion board mem­bers, vol­un­teers, speak­ers, and cor­po­rate part­ners with the guid­ing theme of work­ing hard. Since estab­lish­ing the Bright Schol­ars of Iowa award in 2012, the Bright Foun­da­tion has proud­ly ded­i­cat­ed its sup­port toward young Iowans as they work hard to grad­u­ate col­lege on time, debt-free, pre­pared to launch their careers and give back in some way. Based on the val­ues of founders Lois and Dale Bright, who worked hard, saved care­ful­ly, invest­ed wise­ly, and gave back when they could, The Bright Sym­po­sium is an annu­al oppor­tu­ni­ty for schol­ar­ship recip­i­ents to embrace this hard-work­ing spir­it and what it means to be a Bright Scholar.

Through­out this day of learn­ing and con­nect­ing, schol­ars active­ly engaged in activ­i­ties to sup­ple­ment and enhance their col­lege expe­ri­ence, self-con­fi­dence, and pro­fes­sion­al growth. Activ­i­ties such as strengths work­shop, new head­shots, ele­va­tor pitch prepa­ra­tion, and career net­work­ing serve as the step­ping­stones allow­ing schol­ars to reflect on their per­son­al career goals and areas for improve­ment as well as the impor­tance of net­work­ing, con­nec­tion, and per­son­al well-being.

In the morn­ing, Chris Tis­ch­er, Incline Sur­vey’s founder and devel­op­er, shared his words of wis­dom with Bright Schol­ars. Chris led par­tic­i­pants through under­stand­ing their indi­vid­ual pro­files and how this self-aware­ness can be used to sup­port pro­fes­sion­al careers. This new per­spec­tive on each per­son­’s per­son­al­i­ty helped them bet­ter under­stand them­selves in a dif­fer­ent light and pro­vid­ed anoth­er tool to sup­port stu­dents’ career explo­ration.

After lunch, Bright Alum Rebekah Slet­ten deliv­ered a keynote with a Q&A schol­ars found very help­ful. Slet­ten grad­u­at­ed from Iowa State Uni­ver­si­ty with a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Agri­cul­ture and a minor in Polit­i­cal Sci­ence. She high­light­ed how seem­ing­ly small inter­ac­tions led to impor­tant con­nec­tions as she launched her pro­fes­sion­al career after grad­u­a­tion. Her sto­ry was inspi­ra­tional for many Bright Schol­ars look­ing for­ward to grad­u­a­tion and learn­ing to net­work with oth­ers.

Lat­er in the after­noon, Mered­ith Dohmen, the Bright Foun­da­tion pres­i­dent, walked schol­ars through her crash course on ele­va­tor speech­es and learn­ing to net­work with cor­po­rate part­ners. The Sym­po­sium host­ed eight com­pa­nies that shared career oppor­tu­ni­ties, allowed schol­ars to prac­tice crit­i­cal pro­fes­sion­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills and answered a wide vari­ety of ques­tions to sup­port schol­ars on their career explo­ration path

The day con­clud­ed with encour­age­ment and inspi­ra­tion from the senior Bright Schol­ars as they shared their expe­ri­ences, achieve­ments, and future goals with a Minute at the Mic dur­ing the Senior Send­off. Many enjoyed this part of the day as schol­ars shared per­son­al sto­ries and expe­ri­ences from their time at col­lege. The Bright Foun­da­tion funds schol­ar­ships and pro­vides addi­tion­al sup­ports so that stu­dents can take advan­tage of more oppor­tu­ni­ties dur­ing their col­lege expe­ri­ence. Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa senior Clay­ton Gar­mons Minute at the Mic high­light­ed this impor­tance when he said, Being at a uni­ver­si­ty opens up so many doors and oppor­tu­ni­ties that I could have nev­er imag­ined. Take advan­tage of every oppor­tu­ni­ty that is offered to you. Be open to meet­ing as many peo­ple as you can. Con­nec­tions you make now will lead you places you could nev­er expect. Last­ly, be true to who you are, be your biggest advo­cate, and get out there and be your­self!”

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 2024 Bright Sym­po­sium! Stayed tuned for more spot­lights to come on our News & Events page, as well as oth­er updates!