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Alumni Spotlight: Raegen Smith

Raegen Smith

Iowa State University - Class of 2019

Rae­gen Smith grad­u­at­ed from South­west­ern Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege in 2017 and then from Iowa State Uni­ver­si­ty in 2019. She grad­u­at­ed with a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in man­age­ment degree with a minor in dance. Rae­gen cur­rent­ly holds a posi­tion as an HR Oper­a­tions Assis­tant at Workiva.

Full Interview:

What oppor­tu­ni­ties or expe­ri­ences have you been able to take part in that you might not have been able to with­out the scholarship?

I was able to live on cam­pus, which allowed me to be more involved in stu­dent orga­ni­za­tions and take on lead­er­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties that would have been more dif­fi­cult had I lived else­where. I was also able to take extra class­es to com­plete a minor. I made life­long friends and great net­work­ing connections.

With­out the schol­ar­ship, I would have stayed at home and would not have pur­sued edu­ca­tion beyond an asso­ciate degree, miss­ing out on so many friend­ships and opportunities. 

How did your col­lege expe­ri­ence pre­pare you for the post-col­lege work­force? In what ways were you unprepared?

My col­lege expe­ri­ence pre­pared me with the net­work­ing and pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment skills I need­ed to be suc­cess­ful. I learned a lot by serv­ing on the exec­u­tive board for the Col­le­giate Women in Busi­ness orga­ni­za­tion. From that posi­tion, I learned how to be a team play­er, and enhanced my orga­ni­za­tion and time man­age­ment skills. I believe I owe most of my work eth­ic and account­abil­i­ty to Col­le­giate Women in Busi­ness and felt com­plete­ly pre­pared for the work­force by the time I graduated. 

I was less pre­pared for cer­tain real-life sit­u­a­tions such as buy­ing my first home, fil­ing tax­es and man­ag­ing mon­ey. I’m learn­ing as I go, but I wish these expe­ri­ences were taught in school. 

What is your best piece of advice for an incom­ing col­lege fresh­man? What is your best piece of advice for a grad­u­at­ing col­lege student?

For incom­ing fresh­men, just get involved. Look for stu­dent orga­ni­za­tions, group projects, sports and any­thing else that sparks your inter­est. It real­ly is true that, It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” so find oppor­tu­ni­ties to meet peo­ple and net­work. Your con­nec­tions can help you get a foot in the door down the road. 

For grad­u­at­ing stu­dents – per­se­vere. The job search can be dif­fi­cult and tedious, but don’t stop try­ing. Even if you don’t get the top job on your list, you may find a posi­tion that gives you the expe­ri­ence you need to move for­ward in your career. 

Who is your biggest inspi­ra­tion and why?

My moth­er is my biggest inspi­ra­tion. She passed away when I was young, but I take her with me wher­ev­er I go. I want to uphold her lega­cy and make her proud. 

What’s a fun fact we should know about you?

In 2019, I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to dance on stage with New Kids On the Block when they per­formed at Wells Far­go Arena. 

Thanks for get­ting to know our won­der­ful schol­ars! Stayed tuned for more spot­lights to come on our News & Events page, as well as oth­er updates!