Oh, the Places They'll Go!
On May 3, 518 Concordia seniors embarked on a new journey. Many are already beginning exciting careers in business, education, communication and dozens of other fields. Others are pursuing degrees at top graduate schools for medicine, law, ministry and aerospace engineering. Here are some successes already achieved by recent graduates.
Alex Ritter '09, Williston, N.D.
NIH-Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program
Alex Ritter will soon be researching under the guidance of a University of Oxford professor and a National Institutes of Health researcher. Ritter, a 2008 Goldwater Scholar interested in studying infectious diseases, will choose his mentors in June during his first weeks in the prestigious NIH-Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program.
He'll spend the next four to six years completing his doctorate and delving further into the world of biomedical research.
"I realized at the beginning of my junior year that I love science too much not to go into research," Ritter says.
Summer research with the Department of Natural Resources and cell-to-cell communication research with biology faculty Dr. Ellen Aho and Dr. Krystle Strand proved his talent and interest in lab work. Ritter also landed a coveted Research Experience for Undergraduates, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, held at top universities across the country. He spent 10 weeks at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.
"He's done an extraordinary job taking advantage of opportunities Concordia has helped facilitate," Aho says. "He's just one of those students that comes along only every few years."
John Tofteland '09, Luverne, Minn.
Cargill, Twin Cities
John Tofteland secured a job with Cargill just a few weeks into his senior year. He will begin work in June.
"He's going to be successful, no doubt in my mind about that," says Dr. James Specht, accounting associate professor. "He's a very open, dedicated student, very conscientious and very interested in understanding."
Tofteland first worked for Cargill, an international agricultural, financial and industrial company, during the summer of 2008. He interned in cost accounting at two different plants – Blair, Neb., and Eddyville, Iowa. Working in the same division at a corn sweetener plant and a vitamin E plant in different states gave him an outstanding opportunity to compare practices and garner new skills.
"I really like the company," says Tofteland, who will be working in value services at the Twin Cities location.
"I'm looking forward to real-world experience and applying what I've learned at Concordia."
In his new job, he will help coordinate the financial units at the Twin Cities Cargill office and roll that information up to corporate. Tofteland is thankful for the global focus to his college education, including an international business May Seminar to Russia and Ukraine.
Ruth Christianson '09, Alexandria, Minn.
Allenberry Playhouse, Boiling Springs, Pa.
Already used to juggling a few productions a year, as well as a full load of classes, Ruth Christianson is ready to focus all of her energy on her love of theatre. Following rigorous tryouts at the Unified Professional Theatre Auditions in Memphis in February, she accepted an acting internship at the Allenberry Playhouse in Boiling Springs, Pa. She flew out the day after graduation.
"I chose this company because they offered the most roles in the best shows," Christianson says of her three job offers. "They are a huge resort with a 375-seat playhouse attached and I'm one of only four acting interns they hired."
She works six days a week side-by-side with professionals, acting in five shows between May and December, including as the lead in "Cinderella." Her first show, "Ladies' Night in a Turkish Bath," opened May 20.
Christianson acted in nearly every Concordia main stage production during her four years, gaining a wide spectrum of skills, including acting, directing, and stage and house managing.
"She was a fixture, a very strong presence in our company for the past four years," says CSTA associate professor Dr. David Wintersteen. "She certainly has the skill, aptitude and work ethic to make it in the business."