E-News - April 12, 2023

Coe College E-News — Updates and information for alumni, parents and friends of Coe

On behalf of everyone at Coe, thank you for your generosity on our ninth annual #KohawkDay. A special thanks to ALL who went above and beyond with a gift on Day of Giving. Collectively, the gifts of you and your fellow Kohawks enable the college to continue traditions and create new ones for our students and #GrowCoe. We are truly grateful for your support and for all you do to impact the lives of students on campus. View our #KohawkDay results!

#KohawkDay would not be possible without our Challenge Leaders, alumni and friends.

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Another great Spring Break Externship

There are many ways Kohawks choose to spend their spring breaks — this year, 16 students broadened their career horizons by taking advantage of Spring Break Externship and exploring the opportunities and community in Cedar Rapids. These fun- and information-filled three days are an annual program offered by C3: Creativity, Careers, Community to introduce students to various industries and make internship, job and volunteering opportunities accessible.

This was the second year in a row that Brittany Ramirez ’25 decided to participate in Spring Break Externship. “I enjoyed getting to meet with the different businesses that are located here in Cedar Rapids. It gave me insight as to what I might possibly want to do after graduation. I am especially glad that I had the opportunity to network with past alumni from Coe,” she said. “It gave me the opportunity to talk to them about their current careers, advice on graduate school and I was even able to get connected with a relative of one alum who is working as a neurosurgeon!”

Day one’s jam-packed itinerary began with a visit to the Eastern Iowa Health Center to explore an avenue that Coe’s health care-minded students can pursue at the family medicine, pediatric and women’s health clinic. After that, students had lunch and a site visit at the Cedar Rapids Economic Alliance and had the chance to talk with Membership Growth Specialist Anne Laugen ’91. The afternoon took students to the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative, or NewBoCo, to learn about business and entrepreneurship opportunities with Chief Relationship Officer David Tominsky ’98, and then to tour Brucemore and gain an understanding of possible futures working or volunteering with the mansion and museum. The day concluded with dinner and networking at Carlos O’Kelly’s, where students were able to pick the brains of alumni Timothy Ahline ’13, Emani Brinkman ’21, Zhen E. Rammelsberg ’13, Bob Untiedt ’85 and Chris Young ’85.

The next day started bright and early once again with a visit to TrueNorth Companies to gain insight into the insurance world. The other stops of the day — Theatre Cedar Rapids and JRS Pharma — allowed a vast range of industries and interests to be presented to the sixteen students on the externship. Day two also had a networking opportunity at Chophouse between students and alumni Laura Bryant ’08, Destiny Hastings ’98, Zhen E. Rammelsberg ’13, Constance Schlitter ’20 and Claire Tupper ’18.

Day three closed strong with a site visit to Frontier Co-Op and an afternoon spent exploring the Amana Colonies. The valuable experience of connecting with some of the over 4,000 Coe alumni who remained in the Corridor, as well as Chief Operating Officer Tara Richards ’10 at Brucemore and Director of Human Resources Julie Estenson ’02 at TrueNorth who helped facilitate site visits, show students some of the many possibilities of life after graduation and a career in Cedar Rapids.

“Because I participated in Spring Break Externship, I was able to gain friends and make connections. Those connections resulted in multiple interviews as well as at least one job offer! Overall it was a fun and very valuable experience,” said Byanca Young ’23.

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You answered, and we listened!

Over 1,000 took the all-alumni survey back in January, and some of the top themes from your responses have already influenced how the college is moving forward to serve alumni better. The vast majority of alumni do not use the current alumni website, with almost half of respondents never visiting the site since graduating. When asked how the Office of Alumni Engagement could serve alumni better, they were most interested in more opportunities to connect with other alumni.

We are excited to announce that Coe Connect, a new web platform for the alumni community, will be launched this July. These are the top functions alumni would like in an ideal web platform:

  • Ability to log into and search an alumni directory
  • As a source of information about alumni in the news
  • To learn about alumni news

Coe Connect will offer the opportunity for alumni to explore these all, and more. Thank you to the majority of alumni who shared that they frequently read E-News and the Courier since graduating. Keep reading to stay up-to-date on more information as it comes out soon!

Coe-Kirkwood Business Agreement Signing

Coe College and Kirkwood Community College announce articulation agreement and additional scholarship for business students 

Coe College Kohawks and Kirkwood Community College Eagles are ready to take flight together as part of a new joint education venture.

Coe, in conjunction with Kirkwood, has created a pathway for students to earn both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in business fields in just four years. Generous scholarships are available for Kirkwood students who enroll at Coe after completing their associate’s degree in business administration with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.

At the time of admission, those students will receive a transfer scholarship to Coe ranging from $30,000-$34,000, plus an additional $2,500 per year award specifically for Kirkwood business students pursuing a business degree at Coe.

The agreement is a manifestation of both Coe’s and Kirkwood’s commitment to student success and transfer opportunities leading to a bachelor’s degree.

“This deeper partnership with Kirkwood is significant because of the shared goal to elevate the educational opportunities for our community’s students,” said Coe College President David Hayes ’93. “We are appreciative of Kirkwood for helping to make this a possibility.”

Via an articulation agreement which clarifies transfer procedures, Kirkwood business graduates will be able to seamlessly transfer into Coe as third-year students. When enrolled at Coe, they will be able to pursue their bachelor’s degree in either business administration or accounting within the Stead Department of Business Administration and Economics.

“To be able to provide this enhanced access is an advantage not only for these students, but also our surrounding communities,” said Hayes. “With prolonged exposure to the area and the businesses within, it’s more likely these students will stay as part of our communities, which we’ve seen first-hand through Coe’s connections in the Corridor.”

Transfer students will be able to gain the added benefits of on-the-job experiences and networking as Kohawks — Coe is ranked #10 for internships and #20 for alumni network nationally among private colleges by The Princeton Review.

Available to assist potential Kirkwood business transfer students is Coe’s transfer admission counselor, Britney Pavlovec Noeller '20, a Kirkwood and Coe business graduate herself. 

“I know the value of both a Kirkwood and Coe education first-hand,” Noeller said. “And I would be happy to discuss this amazing opportunity with anyone who is interested.”

The articulation agreement is effective immediately and will be valid for three years before it is evaluated for possible extension.

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Coe College student named finalist for prestigious Truman Scholarship

Coe College’s Max Gorden Mercer ’24 was a 2023 Truman Scholarship finalist, and the only finalist who attends a college or university in Iowa. 

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation awards a $30,000 graduate fellowship to distinguished college students pursuing careers in public service. This year, 705 students across the nation completed the rigorous application process that includes seven essays and a detailed policy proposal. Gorden Mercer was among 199 students shortlisted as a finalist for the prestigious award. 

“It means a lot to be recognized on a national level,” Gorden Mercer said. “Being named a Truman Finalist has solidified my path in public service and I have been able to connect with so many people making real change in the public sector because of it.”

As a public accounting and business administration major, Gorden Mercer is planning to pursue a master of public affairs with a concentration in nonprofit management with the goal of working with nonprofits on properly funding social services. 

On campus, Gorden Mercer currently serves as the Student Body Treasurer, Student Activities Committee Business Chair, CoeVotes President, Alpha Phi Omega Vice President of Leadership, a resident assistant and a peer tutor. Off campus, he volunteers at Willis Dady and is a Coe representative in United Way of East Central Iowa's Board Orientation and Leadership Development Program.

To pursue the Truman, Gorden Mercer tapped into the experts on campus including National Fellowship Advisor and Associate Professor of English Amber Shaw. During the lengthy application process, she assisted with the application and got to know Gorden Mercer.

“Max embodies the Truman ethos of effecting change in his communities… He is dedicated to a career in public service and will make a real difference by ensuring the financial stability of nonprofits in communities like Cedar Rapids,” Shaw said.

Gorden Mercer also credits other faculty and staff across campus for encouraging his growth. 

“Associate Professor of Economics Drew Westberg ’05 taught me to argue for my ideas, Assistant Professor of Accounting Amy Perry sparked my interest in nonprofit accounting, Director of Community & Civic Engagement Joe Demarest guided me toward public service and his work as the CoeVotes advisor and Dean of Students Keniese Evans helped me create meaningful change on campus.”

“The support from Student Life while I worked through the application was crucial. It's been a busy nine months of writing the application and I'm grateful for the flexibility everyone has given me has been amazing,” Gorden Mercer said.

Gorden Mercer joined Kohawks Angelina Ramirez ’22, Larissa Alire ’20, Kelly May ’19 and Briana Gipson ’19 as Coe finalists in the last six years. Alire and May both were awarded a Truman Scholarship. 
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 to be a living memorial to President Harry S. Truman.

Take a journey down memory lane as these alumni reflect on their Coe experiences, what makes the college so special and the lessons they took with them into their life post-graduation.

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Kohawk Pop-Up Shop

It’s time to gear up! Show your Coe spirit, whether you’re training for RAGBRAI or coasting in the bike lane. The Kohawk Shop is running a special pop-up shop for bike jerseys and accessories through April 21. The basic Coe jersey is in stock online and in store as well. Order yours today before time runs out!


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Upcoming & Virtual Events

As always, there are many upcoming events available for the Coe alumni community to get involved. Mark your calendars:

April 27 — Coe College comes to Milwaukee — Kohawks are invited to an alumni gathering to share their Coe stories with friends old and new, grab some Kohawk swag and enjoy food and drink. The event will take place from 5-7PM at City Lights Brewing Co. in Milwaukee.

May 3 — Free Estate Planning Seminar — Coe College and First Presbyterian Church are pleased to co-host a free estate planning seminar with complimentary lunch that will provide you with everything you need to know to create a plan that reflects your goals and dreams. If you want to learn how to pass on income or principal to your family or find creative ways to help your favorite charitable causes, this seminar is for you. Attorney Kyle Wilcox, who specializes in estate planning, wills, probate and tax laws, will present this 90-minute seminar on the basics of wills and estate planning, as well as different strategies that can provide many benefits to your family. For more information or to sign up, please email dgreen@coe.edu or call 319.399.8592. This event is from 11:30AM-1PM at Hilton Garden Inn in Cedar Rapids. We hope to see you there!

July 20 — The 41st Annual Kohawk Club Athletic Golf Outing and Fundraiser — Registration will be opening later in April for this annual event. If you are interested in sponsorship, space is limited! Contact Rachel Cohen at rcohen@coe.edu to reserve yours.

September 22-24 — Homecoming: Fight On, You Kohawks! — Mark your calendar and make plans to travel back to your alma mater and spend time with fellow Kohawks.

Remember to check out the Coe calendar for other events, and there is always the opportunity to stream music events and athletic home games from the comfort of your couch.