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Pictured are Class of 2020 members James Cook, Julian Wicks, Sarah Carter, Kylie Hoang, Leah Rymer, and Alec Hegg.


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The Knox College Class of 2020 Moves Into the World

Pictured are Class of 2020 members James Cook, Julian Wicks, Sarah Carter, Kylie Hoang, Leah Rymer, and Alec Hegg.

Members of the Knox College Class of 2020 have earned their bachelor's degrees and are now entering their lives post-graduation. Here is a recap of the occupational and educational paths that some of these ambitious and compassionate learners are undertaking in the coming year.

Allen Irvine '20 accepted a position as a technical solutions engineer at Epic, a healthcare company best known for the widely used MyChart software. Irvine, who majored in biochemistry and minored in chemistry and economics, looks forward to the impactful software solutions that he has a chance to make working one-on-one with hospitals.

“More than just a help desk role, TSEs are often involved in the creation of innovative solutions to problems which end up becoming permanent changes to the system, enabling everyone to benefit from the resultant improvement,” he said. “A big part of my job is problem-solving, which will require those same skills of critical thinking and collaborative work” learned in Knox labs, as a teaching assistant, and in discussions and other collaborative forums that Knox classes offer.

Irvine said that, in his life post-graduation, “the spirit of Knox is something which has been more imperceptibly imbued into my consciousness, and which, ultimately, I will be most thankful for.”

Sarah Carter '20 majored in creative writing and minored in religious studies and educational studies, and she recently accepted a position as a community worker with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission in Chicago, Illinois. Carter applied for her new job through Handshake, a job search platform offered to the Knox community by the Bastian Family Center for Career Success.

Carter said that her position will involve a variety of activities like helping students explore colleges and careers, ensuring that families can access and apply for financial aid opportunities, and making sure that schools have “a supportive and successful college and career environment.”

“Through experiential learning and practicum for my minor, I had to learn in the moment and in the field," she said. "This is an uncomfortable feeling, but an important step to becoming a lifelong learner, which I believe will make me a better community worker.”

Julian Wicks '20, who graduated with a major in English literature and a minor in educational studies, accepted a position as a Student Success Coach with City Year in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. City Year is a nonprofit organization that helps students succeed in grade school classrooms. 

In his role, Wicks will help students develop interpersonally and academically so they can thrive in school. Wicks said his job is “about relationship-building with the kids and teachers, so there’s a great deal of classroom work individually and in small groups, but really just helping in whatever way the teacher needs me. It’s like being a school version of a Renaissance man.”

“Knox taught me the importance of showing up and putting your best effort forward, even in the difficult moments. The school also prepared me by introducing me to multitudes of cultures and mindsets that expanded the way that I view the world and completely changed the way that I view myself as a global citizen,” Wicks added. 

“We all know that the kids are the future, so I feel like it’s part of my duty to help and make sure the future is in a better condition than it is currently. To me, a better future starts by fostering and shepherding these brilliant young minds.” 

After graduating six months early, Leah Rymer '20 first worked for the congressional campaign of Rachel Ventura in Joliet, Illinois. When the campaign shut down, Rymer was recommended as the campaign manager of congressional candidate Eva Putzova, a progressive Democrat in Arizona, and landed the job.

Rymer majored in international relations and minored in anthropology & sociology. “My goal is to work in the field of foreign policy in the future, but I thought working on a campaign would be great experience for learning the world of politics,” she said. 

Rymer said that, at Knox, “I took classes in more majors than I can remember, studied abroad in Morocco, worked in Campus Life and the Admission Office, and I met my best friends who I learned so much from. Working on a political campaign requires a few things: knowledge about political and social issues, hard work, and the ability to connect with other people. Knox furthered my understanding of all of these.”

While many members of the Knox Class of 2020 are joining the workforce, others are pursuing graduate and doctorate studies in their academic fields. Knox ranks among the top 4% of liberal arts colleges that produce successful Ph.D. candidates, so it is no surprise that Knox graduates are pursuing graduate studies at universities around the world. Here are some of these students:

  • James Cook '20, who double-majored in history and creative writing, will pursue an M.A. in library sciences in the iSchool of the University of Wisconsin Madison.
  • Alec Hegg '20, who majored in chemistry and minored in Spanish, will pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at Yale University. 
  • Kylie Hoang '20, who majored in history and minored in museum studies and environmental studies, will pursue an M.A. in heritage studies and public history at the University of Minnesota.
  • Jassmine Jassmine '20, who majored in psychology and minored in Spanish, will pursue an M.Sc. in neuroscience at University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
  • Aaron Kapinos '20, who majored in integrated business & management and self-designed his minor in composition & rhetoric, will pursue an M.A. in rhetoric and scientific & technical communication at the University of Minnesota. 
  • Cassie Stear '20, who majored in psychology and minored in anthropology & sociology, will pursue a Psy.D. in clinical psychology at Nova Southeastern University.
  • Liam Wholihan '20, who double-majored in creative writing and psychology, will pursue an M.F.A. in creative writing at West Virginia University.

Pictured above are graduates James Cook, Julian Wicks, and Sarah Carter in the top row and, Kylie Hoang, Leah Rymer, and Alec Hegg in the bottom row.

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Printed on Tuesday, January 19, 2021