July 16, 2015 | Matt KucinskiLynn Rosendale

This summer, we are following grads from the Class of 2015 as they continue their journeys around the corner and across the globe.

  • Name: Monica Limback
  • Class: 2015
  • Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Major(s): engineering
  • Next step: Active duty Signal Corps Officer, U.S. Army

What’s fun about your workplace?

There is nothing like the military for providing an immense variety of experiences and opportunities. From day to day, week to week, year to year, the job is always different and interesting. As a communications officer, my career might involve working in IT management, might involve setting up a communication network for soldiers in Iraq, might involve securing Army computer systems from malicious hacks. I get paid to work out and stay fit, and I get paid to interact with people. Every day is unique.

What class at Calvin uniquely prepared you for this position? 

I work with Army communications. That means I end up needing to know a lot about computers, how they work, how to troubleshoot them, and how to make sure they stay secure for others' use. My computer architecture class, Engineering 325, has helped me to understand how and why computers work the way they do. This understanding has made my study of IT management easier as I continue to learn the necessary skills of a communications officer.

What has surprised you so far?

Waking up every morning and realizing I'm a full-time member of the workforce and finally an adult. As an Army officer, I am expected at all times to behave with decorum and leadership. I am not only responsible for myself anymore, but also expected to care for soldiers' needs and development. What's even more surprising is that most of the time, I find myself up for the challenge. 

Tell us one “aha” moment at Calvin when things seemed to come together?

I distinctly remember one Tuesday afternoon a few months into freshman year when I realized things were easier than when I'd started. Tuesday afternoons were ROTC lab, which meant spending a lot of time in the woods learning soldier tactics. It was a rainy day that Tuesday and I was cold and wet laying on the ground under a tree on security. At first I thought I was miserable, but then as I considered, I realized it wasn't that bad; I had learned a lot in the past few months, and come a long way both physically and mentally from my first day at Calvin and in ROTC. It wasn't a perfectly smooth road from there, of course, but in that moment, I knew everything would work out in the end.

If you could take one more class at Calvin, what would it be? 

Being an engineer with a modified core, I never had the opportunity at Calvin to take a psychology course. One of my critical tasks as an Army officer is to ensure that I properly care for the soldiers under me. Understanding people, understanding the way people think and the science of relating to all sorts of personalities, would only enhance my ability to be a successful leader.

A successful path

The success of Calvin grads goes beyond job titles, salaries, graduate degrees and employers as they pursue God's call on their lives. Still, the results are clear: Calvin grads get good jobs at places like Google, Pixar, National Geographic and Boeing, earn higher mid-career salaries than grads from other private colleges in Michigan (according to Payscale.com) and attend some of the best graduate schools in the country.

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