When It Comes to Students, SC Is Out to Launch

This is the tale of some typical Southwestern College students. They enrolled, took classes, cheered athletic teams, made friends, ran track, ran for student offices, studied.well, you get the picture.

But their typical Southwestern College educations included experiences that were atypical for students at most colleges. These students also spent time at the New York Stock Exchange, dissected dolphins, helped patients in a Mexico clinic, and (get this) earned a staff position on the Jerry Springer Show.

Okay, so it's not Masterpiece Theatre. But it is the top-rated syndicated daytime television show, and Angie Gentry saw her name run in the closing credits even before she earned her mass communications and film degree May 6. A final semester internship turned into a full-time position as a production assistant.

She, like the others described here, are living Southwestern's slogan: Come Here. Go Far.

When the college settled into this tagline more than six years ago, there was none of the angst that often accompanies a new marketing campaign. The promise to prospective students fit like a comfortable sweatshirt.

"'Come Here. Go Far.' gets at the outcomes of a Southwestern College education," says Brenda Hicks, director of admission. "It's a small town and a small community and a small college, but if you come here, the college is about launching you, about getting you out and experiencing things."

Launching students? Southwestern may be the leader in this field. Consider these students, who went far even before graduating.

Of course, 'Come Here. Go Far.' isn't a self-fulfilling prophecy. The common thread running through the varied experiences of SC students is personal initiative, and willingness to take a chance.

"It's not a catapult," Hicks cautions. "If you're coming in as a student, SC can launch you, but you have to assist. If you're willing to step on the trampoline and hop a few times, though, there's no limit to how high you can jump."

Angie Gentry, Tulsa, mass communications and film, production assistant on 'Jerry Springer Show':
"Everyone tells me that I have one of the best jobs and not to brag, but I do," Angie says. "I get to do what I have been training for in school. I guess all of those endless nights editing, hours writing press releases in the communications office, and classes that I thought would never apply to anything prepared me to do what I love. My producer said that one of the reasons I was hired was because of all of my hands-on experience I have had at Southwestern. I never realized that 'a world without boundaries' really applied to me."



Junior nursing students, spring break in Juarez, Mexico, clinics:
"A world without boundaries" took on new meaning for this group, which clearly saw the divide between their world and the world they had entered. Jenni Ireland summed up the boundary between El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico: A stream of water separated wealth from poverty, nutrition from starvation, and health from disease. But working in medical and dental clinics and retirement homes during spring break 2001, the five students discovered internal boundaries were being erased. "Having had the opportunity to experience life, for such a short period, in Mexico allowed me to reflect on how I can become a better nurse once I graduate and overall a better person," Ireland says. "I saw up close and personal what the power of love and faith can do to an entire population."

Paul Mages, Spearville, biology, undergraduate marine research:
Marine biology? In a landlocked Kansas college? It works. Summers at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology and the Shannon Point Marine Center (Western Washington University) gave research experience that will carry Paul into a career as a marine biologist. As recipient of a Research Experience for Undergraduates grant from the National Science Foundation, Mages completed a semi-independent research project under the tutelage of a faculty member. "I discovered that experimenting is a continuing process, it's always on-going, and there's always a better way to do it," he says. Mages graduated with honors in May, and hopes to parlay his experience into a position at the Florida Sea Camp.

Jason Dixon, Norman, Okla., and Josphat Muturi, Kenya, business administration, investment trip to New York:
If ever a student was poised to do well in a class, it was Jason Dixon. He bought his first mutual fund stock at age 16, a $500 investment accumulated from birthday gifts and odd jobs. He watched and learned and traded as the stock market shot up, then down, during the past five years. And then, during the fall semester 2000, when prize for best-earning portfolio in an investment class was a trip to New York City, he had the steady nerves to ride out the market's convulsions. During the four-month class Dixon's e-Trade "investments" dropped 30 percent during the first three months, but made $132,000 in one day to earn Dixon the trip funded by the estate of Margaret Smith, Liberal. Josphat Muturi called the other side of the coin, winning the second spot in the trip by investing carefully in Fortune 500 companies, IPOs, and other more conservative investments. Their varied investment styles reflect their personalities-Dixon is a self-described "true gambler at heart," and Muturi admits if he lost real money on the market he'd quit investing. But both went far.