From Bangkok to Berlin, Seattle to Sarasota, Chicago to Cairo; in multinational corporations and in family-owned businesses, Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of nonprofits; in the music industry and medical communities, environmental organizations and software developing companies, more than 65,000 Calvin College alums are pursuing their God-inspired passions and engaging the world.
“What we observe at Calvin is that employers are seeking graduates who see an unsolved problem as a catalyst to a game-changing solution, who look at the world in new ways, and who, in the words of our mission statement, think deeply, act justly, and live wholeheartedly,” said Michael Le Roy, president of Calvin College.
Le Roy says the feedback he hears from employers is that Calvin College graduates are well prepared and positioned for the ever-changing job market, having both the technical and soft skills to engage their work thoughtfully and creatively.
He says now the institution’s focus is on deepening the connection between the entire college and the employer community. The college’s primary vision is to advance career opportunities for Calvin students by ensuring that career development is positioned as a core component of the institution’s educational strategy.
“Calvin’s aspiration is to have the best employer engagement program in Christian higher education,” said Le Roy.
A recent $3 million gift to the college will allow for further investment of resources towards advancing that vision. The college already has established some great partnerships with local and national employers (a half dozen examples are highlighted on the next page), and Le Roy sees this added investment of creating reciprocal relationships with employers locally and nationally as a significant opportunity for students and alumni.
Jeremy Kamp ’15 began working at Prein & Newhof, a Grand Rapids-based engineering firm, immediately following graduation. Jeremy is one of 37 Calvin alumni working for the statewide firm, which was founded by Tom Newhof ’58.
“Calvin’s engineering program is not easy,” he said, “but getting through Calvin’s program helped me to be really prepared for what I do now.” Jeremy, who is pursuing his professional engineering license, has worked on multiple municipal engineering projects in the greater Grand Rapids area.
Traci Montgomery ’12 graduated from Calvin with a double major in mathematics and geography. Upon graduating from Calvin, she gained valuable research skills and software experience working for Calvin’s Center for Social Research.
Her education and experience provided her with the skills for her current position as a consumer insights specialist for Meijer, a regional supercenter chain headquartered in Walker, Michigan. Using online communities, focus groups, surveys, and data analysis, Traci brings the voice of Meijer customers into all business decisions.
“From both of my majors I was able to develop critical thinking and logic skills that I use daily in my position,” said Traci. “In a tangible sense, I use statistics, spatial analysis and cartography, research skills and synthesis in my day-to-day.” Also applicable from her geography background is the ability “to think about how people interact with physical spaces and their communities and what impact that has on a store that is part of that community.”
“I love that I get to represent the needs of current and future customers in our company,” she said.
Traci is one of more than 65,000 employees at Meijer, which has locations in six states across the Midwest.
Ana Barahona ’17 is a staff auditor at EY, one of the largest professional services firms in the world. She came to Calvin from the largest city in Honduras (Tegucigalpa), and within weeks of graduating with a degree in public accounting, she had landed a job at one of the “Big Four” accounting firms in the largest city in Texas.
In her role in Houston, she audits energy companies in the oil and gas sector. Ana says she works with a lot of dynamic and smart people and is challenged on a daily basis. She said it’s something she came to expect from her time at Calvin.
“Calvin is very challenging and very good about challenging you intellectually and exposing you to different sorts of thinking, and the people I work with are very diverse,” she said. “I think the cultural awareness and soft skills were very important, and technically I found that I was well prepared.”
Ana is one of many Calvin grads who are working for EY around the world.
Steven Chevalia ’12 is a digital content formatter for HarperCollins Christian Publishing, whose parent company, HarperCollins Publishing, is the second largest consumer book publisher in the world. His connection with HarperCollins started in 2011 during an internship experience through Calvin’s English department.
In Steven’s current role with the company, he takes files from different publishers and creates computer scripts that then take those files—whether InDesign, XML, or HTML files—and convert those into XHTML files that are used by Olive Tree, an app owned by HarperCollins Christian Publishing.
Steven was an English major at Calvin College with aspirations of being a best-selling novelist or editor, but through working in the Digital Studio under Dan Christian, he discovered a way to combine his passion for writing and editing with computers.
“Over the years as I saw what publishing was like, I found out more about myself … so I kind of organically found that niche in the publishing world,” he said. “It’s actually the mixture of working with God’s word, working with the English language, and working with technology; it’s all jumbled together in a fun, unique way. I never thought a job like this would exist.”