Alumni Spotlight: Trevor Wangsness
University of Northern Iowa Alumni of 2020
“The most valuable part of my experience as a Bright Scholar was the opportunity to establish relationships with everyone connected to the Bright Foundation. Being able to work with them to give back made a lasting impact on me that continues to this day.”
Current position: Data Solutions Associate at RTi Research
Current city: Cedar Falls, Iowa (job based in Norwalk, CT)
What opportunities or experiences have you been able to take part in that you might not have been able to without the scholarship?
I went to college. I may not have pursued a four-year degree at all without the scholarship.
How did the scholarship allowed you to do these things: Graduate on-time, debt-free, launch your career and give back?
The scholarship provided a kickstart to my early life. It served as a catalyst and allowed me to work hard throughout college, work in a job with people I enjoy, avoid all debt, and have a job lined up well before graduation. Since graduating, I have also been able to stay connected to UNI through the Finance Advisory Board, as well as give back to others in need near my hometown.
How did your college experience prepare you for the post-college workforce? In what ways were you unprepared?
College, and specifically certain classes and professors, gave me the tools necessary to think theoretically. Being able to understand why something is done, rather than just learning how to do it, has helped me transition into new ideas, be flexible in my thought processes and enhance my job skills.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
My parents are my biggest inspiration. They are very similar to Lois & Dale in that they work incredibly hard, save for tomorrow, and give back – financially when they can and also by being there for anyone who needs them.
What was your experience interviewing for your first job? Do you have any tips to share?
My first job interview was very relaxed and friendly. My advice is to just be yourself. Do not put on a fake personality to try and impress others. A huge part of your job will be getting along with your coworkers, and showing your true self can help you find the right match. By being honest about who you are and what you can do, it’s more likely you will be happy in the long run.
Where are you now in your career? Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?
I am in a growing role in a company I believe in. I’m on a small team with people I truly enjoy working with. I don’t plan on leaving any time soon. I hope to continue growing in my position for a long time.
What’s a fun fact we should know about you?
I am in a band!