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Parkites on the Job

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Excerpts from Park University Magazine, Spring 2010:

Building bridges to career success

At Park University, students build pillars of knowledge and intellectual
strength that prepare them to adapt to a changing world — and construct
their unique bridges to career success. For more than 135 years, Park has
been rooted in a strong liberal arts and sciences tradition to prime students
for success in diverse fields — from politics and law, to sales, health care and
nonprofit leadership. To see the impact of a Park liberal arts and sciences
education, one need only look to the accomplishments of its graduates.


Jason Austin, ‘96

Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Neurosurgery Sales Representative
Aesculap Inc.
I meet with surgeons and hospitals every day to provide the latest technologies in health care. My degree at Park was an ideal foundation for my career with an international manufacturer of medical devices. I educate neurosurgeons about products, including shunts for hydrocephalus, high-speed drills for spine and craniotomies, aneurysm clips, ultrasonic aspirators and neuroendoscopy equipment. Working “tableside” with surgeons in the operating room to assist with Aesculap’s equipment is what I enjoy most. At Park, I learned to think critically, which has been crucial to my career. In sales, I constantly have to process a great deal of information and apply appropriate steps to solve problems — and respond persuasively to the inevitable road blocks in the sales process.
Hometown: Blue Springs, Mo.

Jim Barkley, ’76

Bachelor of Arts, History and Education
Education Coordinator
The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial
I am the first and only educator at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial — the only museum solely dedicated to the remembrance and study of World War I. In managing all aspects of educational outreach, my work enables the Museum to provide valuable resources about World War I to every state and foreign educator that requests them. Since 2005, I’ve interacted with more than 55,000 students and educators worldwide. At Park, I gained the foundation to pursue my professional goals. I’m grateful to Park professors — especially Ronald Miriani, Ph.D., professor of history, and the late Jerzy Hauptmann, Ph.D., professor emeritus of political science and public administration — who became my most influential role models.
Hometown: Independence, Mo.

Adrienne L. Barr, ’08

Bachelor of Arts, English and Psychology
Management and Program Analyst
FBI Defensive Systems Unit
I didn’t have a specific career in mind until the year before I graduated when I was directed to Park’s Career Development Center and was encouraged to apply for the FBI’s Honors Internship Program. During the internship, I was offered a full-time position with the FBI and I was introduced to a career path I previously didn’t know was available to me. Park provided opportunities to enhance my leadership skills to prepare for success. As former president of the Psychology Club, I focused on issues of international support, such as the school supply drive for Afghanistan children. As former president of the English Club, I learned how to orchestrate large-scale projects, which has helped me in planning nationwide conferences for the FBI.
Hometown: Stafford, Va.

Janie Benoit, ’03

Bachelor of Science, Biology
Resident Physician, Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Montreal
My goal was always to be a physician. After graduating from Park, I entered medical school at McGill University in Montréal and am now doing a five-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Montreal. My undergraduate education at Park has been invaluable. Small classes allowed me to ask questions freely. Careful supervision in the laboratory was precious to my future. Taking classes outside my major helped me develop a broader understanding of other cultures that serves me in working with diverse patients. When I started at Park, my English was limited; French being my mother tongue. It improved quickly because my professors took extra time to help. I am forever thankful to Park for my success.
Hometown: Montreal, Canada

André T. Butler, ’95

Bachelor of Science, Social Psychology
Chief Advancement Officer
Heart to Heart International
My experience in the U.S. Navy gave me a chance to “see the world,” thus I wanted to work for an organization with an international focus. As a certified fundraising executive, I forge global corporate partnerships to raise critical funds for Heart to Heart — a leading humanitarian nonprofit — to respond to people in crisis. We mobilize vital shipments of medical aid to more than 60 countries. Most recently, we’re working diligently to provide relief to earthquake survivors in Haiti. The “Park Experience” — with its global reach and practical application — opened my eyes even further to what the world has to offer, and what I have to offer it. Park truly offers a way for students to get involved with the global and local community outside of the classroom, and this is priceless.
Hometown:  Grandview, Mo.

Jodi Carl, '03, M.P.A. ‘07

Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice and Psychology, and Master of Public Affairs
Crime Analyst
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
When people learn that I’m a crime analyst in Vegas, they immediately think of crime shows on television. I always laugh because it’s just not that glamorous. I work behind the scenes to research data that helps detectives solve cases. I specialize in mapping statistics about robberies, homicides and other crimes to alert the police department about crime “hot spots” to help them decide where to deploy resources. Although I’m not in the thick of things, I work quickly to pull information for those who are. I don’t want officers in a dangerous situation without the most accurate information I can provide. I credit my career success to the professors in the Criminal Justice Department at Park who have years of experience in corrections, law and security. Park’s small classes allowed me to benefit directly from their expertise.
Hometown: Las Vegas.

Bridgett Cochran, ‘03

Bachelor of Arts, Interior Design
Co-Owner, Porter Teleo
It was always a dream of mine to design a line of textiles. Today, I am the co-owner of Porter Teleo, a Kansas City, Mo. based firm that designs and manufactures hand-painted and handprinted wall coverings. My work involves all aspects of the business, from creation of our product lines to marketing and distribution. The firm’s work has been featured in national and international design magazines including Metropolitan Home, Town & Country, Vogue Australia, Elle Décor and California Homes. My education at Park was the critical first step on my career path. It gave me the tools I needed to take the next steps.
Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.

Michael M. Collins, ’04

Bachelor of Arts, Political Science
Vice President, Fund Development & Government Relations
Swope Community Enterprises
From transportation to agriculture, I was the “eyes and ears” for U.S. Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond in Kansas City, Mo., for four years. I oversaw operations and worked with everyone from Missouri citizens and business executives, to farmers and nonprofit leaders. It was a tasking job, but worth every second. When I graduated from Park University, I thought I knew everything about politics. While working on Capitol Hill, I quickly realized I had more to learn about the impact of policy in people’s lives. Fortunately, Park prepared me to look for creative solutions to complex problems. The ability to think critically and clearly communicate issues is essential to my career. My education and experience will be invaluable in my new role at Swope Community Enterprises where I will lead fund development and government relations.
Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.

Kristopher S. Flint, ’97

Bachelor of Arts, Communications Arts
Two West Inc.
I started in graphic design and in 1997, I co-founded Two West in Kansas City, Mo.— the same year I graduated from Park. At Two West, we launch, transform and grow brands by designing interactive websites, broadcast and print advertising campaigns, and other strategic communications. I’m currently leading the company’s expansion in Los Angeles where we opened an office in 2008. My degree from Park has proved to be a strong foundation for my career. A liberal arts education — studying history, philosophy and literature — is fundamental to my understanding of human behavior, and at its core, marketing is essentially the art of influencing behaviors.
Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.

Jenny Harrell, ’95

Bachelor of Science, Athletic Training
Critical Care Certified Nurse
Truman Medical Centers
I care for patients facing life-threatening illnesses and injuries and collaborate with a dynamic medical team toward a primary goal: patient survival and recovery. Park prepared me for a career in a busy city hospital full of challenges. I was encouraged to look at the bigger picture — a crucial skill when searching for root causes of illness that don’t present clearly. In a trauma center, crisis is common and clear communication with the hospital team and patients’ families is essential. Park’s smaller classes helped me develop the confidence to voice my concerns to advocate for patients’ needs. Park’s focus on learning about other cultures gave me a broader perspective that guides me in daily interactions with patients from diverse cultures.
Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.

Shawn Henderson, ’08

Bachelor of Science, Computer Science
Environmental Protection Specialist
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Every day, my work supports the vital mission of the Environmental Protection Agency: to protect human health and the environment. Primarily, I monitor water quality for Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska) and report my findings to a public database called STORET. The data is also used by to keep Kansas Citians informed about the water quality. While at Park, I was an EPA intern. Today, I supervise Park geoscience interns at the EPA and am glad to help them gain the experience that has been invaluable to me. My education has proven essential to my career. At Park, I essentially learned how to learn — and it serves me in a career where I am constantly learning new things.
Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.

Holly Starr, ’99

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
“38 The Spot” (KMCI-TV)

As the spokesperson for “38 The Spot” in Kansas City, Mo., I enjoy writing and researching my own material for feature stories, interviews and promotions. My role includes community work outside of the station to host charitable events and make public appearances. I also host Vegas TV (KTUD) in Las Vegas. Most recently, I’ve become the in-arena emcee for the Missouri Mavericks hockey team. My Park education sharpened my communication and interpersonal skills that are very important in my career. A liberal arts education helps students clearly define their skills and values. I found this to be true after graduation when doors opened for me, leading me down a path to gainful employment— and a career that I love.
Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.

Mishca Waliczek, ’95

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
General Counsel
BlueScope Construction Inc.
Thinking critically, communicating effectively — fundamentals of my Park education — are absolutely essential to my legal career. Daily, I am involved with every aspect of the business and legal needs of a leading construction company. I aim to solve problems creatively and to identify practical alternatives to address legal obstacles and to mitigate risks. From day one through graduation, Park challenged me and provided a solid foundation to be successful in law school at Syracuse University where I earned a Juris Doctorate degree. Park’s professors were always accessible and approachable. The University provided a supportive environment for success.
Hometown: Liberty, Mo.

Tony West, ’87

Bachelor of Arts, Communications Arts
Freelance Television Cameraman/Editor
My work takes me all over the country covering professional sports for the NFL and Major League Baseball. I also cover news stories, including the last vice presidential debate, for national networks including NBC, CBS and CNN. I’ve been fortunate to shoot high-profile events including the 2004 and 2006 World Series, and the 1996 Summer Olympics. In this competitive field, getting in the door is half the battle. Park helped me reach my dreams. The real-world advice and guidance from my professors helped me get invaluable internships. By the time I graduated Park, I had worked for three different companies. With my experience and a well-rounded education, I've never met anyone as prepared as I was for career success.
Hometown: Valley Park, Mo.


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