For Jarod Wilson, work is much more than just a job. The 2008 Butler University graduate was a first-generation college student. He was able to attend Butler only after being named a 21st Century Scholar.
Now he works at the place that awards those scholarships.
“It’s exciting to me to be able to work for an agency that helped me want to go to college and go to Butler, which was my dream school,” he says. “And the work that we do is so important and close to my heart, coming from a first-generation background. I have a close, personal connection to the work.”
Wilson is the Director of Post-Secondary Outreach and Career Transitions with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. He works with colleges to make sure they are providing support to students who receive financial aid. To him, his job and his mission is personal.
Through Wilson, it is easy to see why 78 percent of Butler grads say they are deeply interested in the work they do. That compares with 73 percent of college graduates nationwide, according to the Gallop-Purdue Index. The GPI is an annual survey of a representative sample of more than 70,000 U.S. college graduates who have obtained a bachelor’s degree. It measures overall well-being, workplace engagement, college experiences, and affinity and attachment to one’s alma mater.
Butler outperformed its peers by most GPI measures. For example, nearly nine in 10 Butler alumni are satisfied with the education they received, and 80 percent say Butler was the perfect place for them.
Mollie Thomas, a 2015 graduate, completely agrees.
Thomas majored in Arts Administration and minored in Art + Design. She now works as the Manager of Member and Donor Experience for Newfields, the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s campus. For her, Butler provided the perfect combination of being challenged, yet also providing a place to figure out exactly what path to take after school.
“I was able to pursue my passion in an environment where people helped me grow,” she says. “It was ideal. I feel way more equipped to navigate our world and our culture because of the education I got.
It is not surprising, then, that 42 percent of grads said they had a job waiting for them when they graduated, according to the GPI. That compares with 31 percent of college graduates nationally. And 53 percent say that Butler’s Internship and Career Services office was helpful in their preparation to land that job. Nationally, 43 percent say that about their alma mater’s career services office.
Aaron Smith doesn’t know where he would be without Butler’s Career Services Office. The 2017 grad knew he was passionate about clothing design, but Butler didn’t teach that. He sought out Courtney Rousseau, a Career Services Advisor who teaches a course called Career Planning Strategies. Her course covers topics like resume writing, networking, and interviews. After talking to Smith, Rousseau connected him with a professional in the clothing design field who was able to share her experiences.
Now, Smith works as a personal stylist for Dia & Co., a plus-size women’s clothing subscription company. He selects outfits for customers and helps them style the clothing he picks.
“Courtney making that happen—that was just the best for me,” he says. “I’m now doing something that I love, which is working in the realm of fashion.”
Butler President James Danko says he is pleased that grads appreciate what they learned and the attention they received while on campus.
“I’m so happy to see that Butler graduates have found their education worthwhile, and that they’ve been able to have meaningful, fulfilling careers,” Danko says. “This is what we strive for every day.”