Now that they’ve earned their undergraduate degrees, members of the Knox College Class of 2019 are moving forward with the next part of their lives. Some will be attending graduate or law school, while others have been hired for jobs or are pursuing community service.
Here is a look at what some of Knox’s most recent graduates are planning:
Jack Dechow, who majored in physics and minored in earth science, is attending The Ohio State University to pursue a Ph.D. in earth science, studying snow hydrology. He hopes to eventually obtain a research position where he can study and advocate for the Earth.
“Without Knox, the people and experiences that helped me realize I love studying Earth science would’ve never happened, and I likely would not be going to graduate school for something I really cared about,” he said. “Knox is a crazy cool place, and a lot of great people I met were in my fraternity (Tau Kappa Epsilon), as well as the Knox Physics department. I am forever changed by some of the people I met there.”
Natalie Haddad is starting a job as a veterinary technician in Indiana. She majored in biology and minored in chemistry.
“The McNair Scholars Program has helped me a ton, as well as TRIO. Both programs have supported me and given me the opportunities I needed to succeed,” she said. “Being able to do research through McNair helped me gain valuable experience, as well as guidance through the graduate school application process. I plan on attending vet school in the next year or so. I want to become a veterinarian and possibly obtain a master’s or Ph.D., as well as my DVM.”
Talya Frost, who majored in anthropology and sociology and minored in psychology, will be working with City Year, part of the AmeriCorps public service program. She also will be attending a dual-degree master’s program at the University of Central Florida to obtain master’s degrees in nonprofit management and public administration.
“I think the style of Knox’s education was very helpful. No class was strictly that subject or style. If I was in math, I had to do writing,” she said. “If I was in a heavy reading class, I had to speak and present through discussions. If the class was very theory and info-based, I had to do hands-on work. Throughout all the classes and opportunities I have had at Knox, my professional skills were sharpened indirectly.”
Emily Hagerott is working this summer at Monk Botanical Gardens in Wausau, Wisconsin, where she is caring for garden plants, engaging visitors by leading tours and environmental education programs, and helping to develop the botanical garden. She seeks a career in horticulture or botany and said that her Knox experiences have helped prepare her for life after Knox.
“I studied abroad in Peru with the School for Field Studies, which I would not have been able to do without the support of my Knox scholarships. The ability to study abroad was highly important because it gave me hands-on experience and tangible skills in my field,” said Hagerott, who majored in biology and minored in dance. “Most importantly, though, my three years as a KnoxCorps associate with the Galesburg Chamber have proven instrumental to my professional development. I had great practice taking initiative on independent projects and sharpened my critical thinking skills.”
Jonathan Schrag will be the legislative associate for a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., starting in August. His job will involve working on various policy issues, such as increasing access to affordable health-care coverage, advocating for refugees and immigrants, and providing proper access to mental health and substance abuse services.
Schrag majored in political science and minored in educational policy studies and history at Knox. “My professors showed on a daily basis that they were incredibly invested in my growth and giving me opportunities to explore the world around me,” he said. “The professors and peers I've learned from have helped shape my desire to make an impact on these crucial political issues, ones that affect millions around the country and world.”
Melissa London, a political science major and psychology minor, will be attending the University of Washington School of Law. She hopes to eventually get a job working in civil rights.
“Knox absolutely helped prepare me for my next step,” she said. “My advisor, Lane Sunderland, was a big help in navigating the law school process. Even in the ways he taught his classes, he was implementing the same type of questioning that I will experience in law school. Through the many classes I have taken not only with Professor Sunderland but with the PS department as a whole, I feel confident in thinking quickly when asked a question that cannot be directly answered from the text and requires further consideration.”
Domanique Rahman is heading to Botswana to serve in the Peace Corps as a life skills educator. An anthropology and sociology major, he had a self-designed minor in international development and a minor in Africana Studies. He also studied abroad and participated in Knox’s Peace Corps Prep Program.
“It led me to some amazing courses and volunteer opportunities that I believe expanded my mind past the United States and helped me navigate through my experiences abroad,” he said.
Ojashwi Sapkota, who majored in economics and international relations, will begin the University of Chicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) this fall.
“At Knox, I worked on my Honors project on the LGBTI movement in Nepal, which helped me work on my own research and helped me formulate ideas about future projects,” she said. “I also think the interpersonal relationships with my professors really helped me for my future. Due to Knox’s intimate environment, you end up building strong connections.”
Jordan Anderson will be pursuing a master’s degree in sports media at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. At Knox, he had a self-designed major in sports management and communication, and he minored in business and management.
“This place gave me the opportunity to continue playing football, a sport that I love dearly, as well as have access to a well-rounded education. Being challenged to be my best on a daily basis by my advisors Professor James Dyer and Professor John Spittell allowed me to grow as a person and develop a critical thought process,” Anderson said. “Simply put, without the people, coaches, experiences, and things I learned here at Knox I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today; it changed my life.”
About 300 students were in the graduating Class of 2019. They received their degrees during the June 2 Commencement ceremony, where Shedd Aquarium President and CEO Bridget Coughlin '94 delivered the Commencement address.
(Photo above: Melissa London. Photos below: Domanique Rahman; Ojashwi Sapkota, center, with family; Jordan Anderson and Professor John Spittell; and Emily Hagerott.)