Seniors reflect on time at IUS

IUS Horizon

For many IUS seniors, the end of their time at IU Southeast comes on Monday, May 10.

On that day, the graduates will disperse in every direction, some continuing their education and some joining the workforce, hopefully in their chosen field.

Leean Wolfe, elementary education senior, is one of those graduates.

She said she is less than optimistic about the job opportunities once she leaves IU Southeast, with a preference for staying to teach in Indiana.

“It’s looking a little scary right now,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe grew up in Lanesville, so the small classrooms and campus offered a welcoming and familiar environment. Wolfe said she came to IU Southeast in the fall after her high school graduation.

“I came from a small high school so it was really easy to transition,” Wolfe said.

As part of her degree, Wolfe is now student-teaching at Mount Tabor Elementary in New Albany, helping in Mrs. Broughton’s first grade classroom.

Wolfe said her experience with the professors in the education department at IU Southeast helped prepare her for life after college.

“All the professors in the education program were great,” Wolfe said.

Another IUS senior with local ties is Chris Rothbauer, a double major in philosophy and English, who found IU Southeast in a less traditional way.

Rothbauer grew up in Jeffersonville, attending Jeffersonville High School until he dropped out prior to graduation in 1999.

In 2004, Rothbauer was working at Office Depot. When he felt he was going to be losing his job, he said he decided he wanted to get his GED.

Rothbauer began attending night classes at Jeffersonville High School, and, within three months, his teachers felt he was ready to take the test.

Rothbauer passed the test and graduated with honors.

IU Southeast was Rothbauer’s first choice for continuing his education partially due to its proximity, though he was nervous.

“It was close to home, but I was a little bit scared,” Rothbauer said.

Rothbauer started as a philosophy freshman in the fall of 2005 and became an English major after taking a creative writing course his second semester.

As he pursued his degree, Rothbauer became a member of the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and the Honors Program, among other organizations.

Rothbauer said he has had a great experience at IU Southeast, in large part due to the small size of the classes and the Philosophy Program in particular.

“My experience has been overwhelmingly positive with the faculty,” Rothbauer said. “I know all of the professors in our department very well.”

Two of those professors wrote letters of recommendation for Rothbauer’s application to the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, for graduate school, where he was subsequently accepted.

This will not be Rothbauer’s first trip to the university.

He took advantage of a study abroad program, spending his entire junior year studying in England.

Rothbauer said he was nervous, having never been outside of the United States, but he soon made friends and became very comfortable.

“It was unbelievably amazing but a bit nerve-racking at first,” Rothbauer said.

Rothbauer said he plans on pursuing both his master’s and doctorate in philosophy while at the University of Kent and then hopes to become a philosophy professor at a university, preferably in England.

Shannon Bender and Erin Fuquay, advertising seniors, said they found IU Southeast very differently.

Bender grew up in Louisville and transferred into the IUS Journalism Program after taking her general education classes at Jefferson Community and Technical College.

Fuquay grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and transferred to IU Southeast from Wright State University, a much larger university, when her father had to move for his job.

Both are members of the IUS Advertising Club, Bender is the creative director, while Fuquay is the account executive and both cite the class size as one reason they like IU Southeast.

“I like the small class sizes,” Bender said. “The professors get so involved with their students, both in and out of school.”

Fuquay said she plans to work at a public relations firm after graduation, while Bender has less specific goals.

“I don’t know,” Bender said. “I just hope I find a great full-time job.”

Each senior had a bit of advice for those still working their way through school.

“Take advantage of every program that is available to you,” Rothbauer said.

Those programs helped him find his way from Office Depot to England.

Fuquay and Bender said they agree.

“Get involved,” Fuquay said. “Networking is key.”

“Definitely get an internship because experience is the number one most important thing,” Bender said.

Finally, maybe the simplest and often toughest to follow piece of advice came from Wolfe.

“Just go to class,” Wolfe said.  “It makes the rest of it a lot easier.”

By DERRICK HOLDRIDGE

Staff Writer

dvholdri@umail.iu.edu