When colleges and communities join forces, big things happen. On March 14, Coe College came together with Cedar Rapids-area nonprofit organizations at the Community-Campus Partnership Showcase to honor successful partnerships and build new ones. Coe faculty, staff and students gathered with local leaders at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library for an evening of fellowship and collaboration.
The event kicked off with a program focused on some of the key components that create strong community-campus relationships. Several Coe faculty members, along with Coe students involved in the Iowa College AmeriCorps program, gave presentations alongside their community partners to discuss the projects on which they collaborated. They highlighted aspects of their partnerships that worked well and the accomplishments they achieved, along with some of the challenges they faced. After the presentations, attendees gathered for an informal reception to make new connections and discuss ways to improve current partnerships.
The Community-Campus Partnership Showcase was created as a way to celebrate connections between Coe and the local community. “Colleges play an important role in strengthening communities, but we cannot do that without partnerships beyond our campus,” said Coe College Director of Community and Civic Engagement Dr. Kara Trebil-Smith. “Our goal for the showcase was to build everyone's capacity to make those partnerships more effective so we can have more of an impact."
The event was also a response to the results and recommendations from a recent study entitled “Perceptions of Partnership: A study on Nonprofit and Higher Education Collaboration.” This study was conducted through Iowa Campus Compact and led by Dr. Trebil-Smith. The purpose was to learn more about how nonprofit organizations in Iowa view their partnerships with higher education institutions. The findings indicated almost all nonprofits in the state have at least one partnership with a college or university and that those relationships are important and beneficial for everyone involved. The study also found opportunities for improvement within partnerships and offered recommendations to increase the positive impact for both nonprofits and higher education institutions.
Several courses at Coe have incorporated partnerships with local community organizations as part of the curriculum. Anthropology students worked with clients of Willis Dady Emergency Shelter to examine factors contributing to homelessness, and students in a professional writing course teamed up with Harmony School of Music to write new promotional materials, to name just two examples. The Community and Civic Engagement staff at Coe intends to use the findings from the study to strengthen existing partnerships such as these and to build new community relationships that will further enhance the education of Coe students.
To view the full “Perceptions of Partnership” study, click here.
When spring break comes around, most college students head back to their hometowns or take trips to warmer destinations. Nineteen Coe students decided to spend their time in Kansas City on the third-annual Spring Break Externship instead. Organized by the Center for Creativity and Careers and the Alumni Office, this trip gave students an inside look at working in various industries, as well as a chance to meet many local alumni.
Over the course of the four-day trip, the students visited five organizations with internship and job opportunities in numerous fields. The group visited the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club, which included a Q&A session with executives and a tour of Arrowhead Stadium. At Cerner, a health care information technology company, they attended a Q&A panel made up of Coe alumni Sierra Menzies ’18, Nick McKenzie ’10, Jordan Lord ’12 and Chloe Crain ‘17. Their next stop was the headquarters of Hallmark Cards Inc., where they met with Trish Meaney Cruz ’06 who shared about her career path and Coe experience during a presentation about internships and jobs. The group connected with another alumna, Heather Edvenson ’05, at Science City, one of the nation’s top science centers. The last stop on their trip before heading back to campus was at The Roasterie, where they met founder Danny O’Neill and learned about how the coffee company began as an entrepreneurial startup.
The trip also included two networking events with more than 15 alumni in the Kansas City area. Mark Jorgenson ’79 and Mary Cook Jorgenson ’80, along with their daughter Molly Jorgenson ’11, graciously hosted one of the events at their home, and the other took place at a restaurant in downtown Kansas City. These gatherings gave students the opportunity to network and gain insight into living and working in the area.
Touring the different companies and making connections with alumni made for a valuable experience for the students. “The Kansas City Externship helped me gain a better understanding of which work environments I would excel in, what to look for when searching for internships and the importance of networking,” said Hannah Daley ’20. “I not only had the opportunity to receive advice from alumni who have careers in the fields I am interested in, but also upcoming internship opportunities through their companies.” Bryce Westin ’19 found the networking opportunities beneficial as well. “It was exciting to visit with Coe alumni and see first-hand that they are actively seeking out and recruiting current Kohawks for positions in their companies,” he said.
The Center for Creativity and Careers (C3) at Coe is committed to helping Kohawks navigate their career paths, and one of the most effective ways to do that is by getting alumni involved. Recently, C3 started a new event series called Network with Kohawks, offering informal opportunities for students and alumni to come together.
The series kicked off in February and consists of several coffee and lunch events on or near the Coe campus. These low-key environments allow students to have casual conversations with alumni to learn more about potential career options. There are still two events left in the series in April: Lunch with Alumni at The “U” Cafeteria on April 12 from 12:00-1:00 PM, and Career Pathway Coffee Chats in the PUB on April 15 from 3:00-4:00 PM. The event in the PUB will focus on careers in environmental, natural resources and agriscience fields. A similar gathering was held in March that concentrated on STEM careers.
Coordinator of Community and Civic Engagement Laura Van Buer organized the event series with the help of C3’s student peer advisors. "It has been great having students be able to practice their networking skills while learning about the experiences of our alumni,” Van Buer said. “Our alumni are a valuable resource to our students, and their shared experiences allow for great conversation."
In addition to Network with Kohawks, C3 hosts a variety of other events throughout the term that bring students and alumni together, such as career fairs, Hire a Kohawk Interview Days and Sip & Socialize. For alumni who are interested in giving back to the newest generation of Kohawks, there is no shortage of opportunities to get involved. Contact Director of Alumni Engagement Emily Ehrhardt at email@example.com to find out more information.
For the second year in a row, a Coe College student was granted access to observe negotiations at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) at the U.N. headquarters in New York City. Click the video to hear Haley Luna '19 describe what it was like to attend the proceedings alongside Coe alumnus and trustee Alan Anderson '78.
#KohawkDay is almost here! The annual Day of Giving will be a celebration of all things Coe and will give alumni and friends the opportunity to share memories, show their Kohawk pride and contribute to the college.
Primarily conducted online and through social media, Coe’s Day of Giving will be highlighted through Kohawks re-engaging with the college. Videos, challenges and updates will be shared throughout the day. Alumni and friends are encouraged to express their Coe pride and memories by posting comments, photos or videos using the #KohawkDay hashtag. Thanks to the generous contributions of many challenge leaders, all gifts made to the college on April 11 will be matched to multiply their impact.
Last year more than $220,000 was raised through Day of Giving. The 2018 Day of Giving was successful not only in terms of financial support for the college but also in overall participation. More than 120 first-time donors gave to Coe during the event. Alumni and friends of the college also readily engaged in social media, with over 40,000 post views. Kohawks from nearly all states participated, with members of the classes of 2013, 2014 and 2016 contributing the most gifts.
Day of Giving includes celebrations throughout the U.S., with a large on-campus celebration planned for students, faculty and staff. Celebrating with fellow alumni and supporting their alma mater, the event gives more than 5,000 alumni living in Eastern Iowa an opportunity to proudly wear their crimson and gold.
“The Day of Giving is a fun and creative way for our community to celebrate and expand the impact gifts have on the lives of our students,” said Vice President for Advancement David Hayes ’93. “We are grateful for the enthusiastic Kohawk spirit and generous support Coe receives from alumni and friends on this special day.”
For more information about the event, visit alumni.coe.edu/KohawkDay or contact Director of the Coe Fund Mary Springer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Keenan Lee '19
Each year the nation’s top college students pursuing careers in public service submit their Truman Scholarship application. This year netted 840 applicants from 346 institutions. The scholarship committee narrowed the field to 199 finalists who will participate in formal interviews. Of the finalists, approximately 60 will receive the award. Coe College is one of only two colleges in the state of Iowa to produce a finalist.
Larrisa Alire ’20, a political science and pre-law major, received a coveted interview invitation. Alire began the application process for the United States’ premier graduate fellowship, which awards up to $30,000 per student for graduate school, nine months in advance.
The Truman application involves the submittal of seven essays and a detailed policy proposal. Alire’s passion for public service involves advocating for women and children “to have a voice for those who don’t” and “to help the most vulnerable victims,” she said.
"It is an immense honor for Larrisa to be named a finalist for the Truman Scholarship. As an award that celebrates a commitment to public service careers and those who seek to make our country better, the Truman Foundation has recognized Larrisa's potential to be a transformative leader. Larrisa exemplifies the academic excellence, selfless leadership and community involvement that the Truman Foundation seeks in its scholars. We are so proud of her," Coe professor and National Fellowship Advisor Amber Shaw said.
Growing up in a diverse low-income community in Colorado, Alire knew a number of women who experienced domestic violence. With the ultimate goal of becoming a district attorney, she looks forward to being in a position to offer her assistance to those who need it the most. “I want to make sure victims have the resources that a lot of district attorney’s don’t take the time to offer,” Alire said.
In addition to advocating for women and children, Alire stays active on campus and in the community. At Coe, she has been involved in Student Senate, Model United Nations and also founded the Latinx club. She also spends time volunteering with local nonprofits Waypoint and KidsPoint.
During her sophomore year, Alire took advantage of Coe’s Washington D.C. term and spent the term as a legislative intern to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado. A term in D.C. further fueled her passion for public service. She spent time studying top political issues including immigration, education and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
“Everyone at Coe has been supportive throughout the Truman application process,” said Alire. “Professor Shaw reviewed my essays and even set up a panel of professors to help me practice interviewing. They were all there to support me even though I hadn’t previously had them as professors.” She’s also been receiving guidance from Provost Paula O’Loughlin and 2018 Truman Scholarship recipient and Coe College senior Kelly May '19.
"We are very proud of Larrisa being named a Truman finalist and not at all surprised. She is a leader and change agent on campus and throughout our community. We are proud that Coe helped open the door to the Truman and made competing for the Truman possible for Larrisa. Coe faculty and staff are always humbled to be able to support students like Larrisa as they work to make the world a better place," Coe Provost Paula O’Loughlin said.
“Coe has given me opportunities I wouldn’t have had at other colleges. My plan was to stay in Colorado for my undergraduate education,” Alire said. “But as a recipient of Coe’s full-tuition Williston Jones Diversity Leadership Scholarship, Coe made college possible for me.”
After two years in the hands of the Cornell Rams, the Bremner Cup will return to Coe College. The Kohawks have secured the award with a 9-3 lead, making this the fifth year the college will claim the cup since it was established seven years ago.
The Bremner Cup is a traveling trophy that was created in the 2012-13 season as a way to keep the longtime rivalry between Coe and Cornell alive after the two schools were no longer in the same athletic conference. The trophy gets its name from the legendary Barron Bremner who served both Coe and Cornell in many roles between 1959 and 2001, including head wrestling coach, athletic director and assistant to the president.
Each year, the Bremner Cup is awarded to the school that earns the highest number of total points based on a scoring system of the intercollegiate sports sponsored by both Coe and Cornell. Scoring is weighted equally across all sports, with the winner of the designated Bremner Cup event earning one point for their school. With some sports, such as track and cross country, head-to-head competition does not always take place each year; in those cases, coaches determine an event to be scored for the Bremner Cup.
There’s never a dull moment on the Coe College campus — the week of March 11-17 proves that. From the Presidential Ball to the annual SaPaDaPaSo St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Cedar Rapids, Kohawks were busy making the most of their Coe experience. To view photos from March 11-17.
Upcoming Alumni Events
April 11 - Day of Giving City Celebrations 2019 - #KohawkDay is a time to come together, reminisce and celebrate giving back to your alma mater. Celebrations will be hosted in Cedar Rapids, Chicago, Washington D.C. and the Twin Cities. All are welcome to attend, no pre-registration required. Light appetizers will be provided and a cash bar will be available at all events.