Alumni Spotlight: 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.
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.