Meet the next generation of UNI alumni

Our graduating seniors found a place where they belonged at the University of Northern Iowa. Their tireless academic preparation, strong relationships with faculty and other students, and wide variety of out-of-class experiences have helped create a strong foundation for their future. These are but a few of our promising fall graduates:

Mahdi Jassim AltalibMahdi Jassim Altalib 

Hometown: Saihat, Saudi Arabia

Major(s): Management: Business Administration

Post-graduation plans: Following opportunities to find a job to support his family.

"I heard a lot about UNI from my friends and how it's a great college for business majors. When I got here, I liked how most of the students were connected and willing to help.

"Not every college is going to be a good college for your education, but UNI has been very, very special. Any student looking for an education and thinking about the future should choose a good place like UNI to study in. UNI is making every effort to make sure they're meeting students' needs and getting the right education in the right place."

Elisheva HavlikName: Elisheva Havlik 

Hometown: Grinnell

Major(s): Psychology MA with an emphasis in Clinical Science

Post-graduation plans: Currently employed at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee as a Neuropsychometrist. 

"I came to UNI to pursue higher education in psychology, an area of work that I am passionate about, in hopes of gaining the competencies necessary to make a positive impact working in this field. My close-knit cohort and the availability of the professors enabled me to be successful in a challenging program. 

"My program encouraged excellence and provided the foundational scientific knowledge required to be successful in this field. UNI helped me develop as a professional and gave me the opportunity to explore various career options in my field. For example, I got experience providing counseling, conducting psychological research, assisting with teaching psychology courses and administering psychological assessments. Before coming to UNI, I knew little about psychological assessments, but after completing my program, I realized I had a interest in this kind of work and have obtained employment as a Neuropsychometrist."

Joslyn HicksName: Joslyn Hicks

Hometown: Burlington

Major(s): Speech Language Pathology 

Post-graduation plans: Working at Grant Wood Area Education Agency as a Speech Language Pathologist. 

"The last five years at UNI have been a whirlwind. I remember the nerves that came with meeting my roommate in Bender hall and finding my classes my freshman year. What I enjoyed most about UNI was the opportunity that it provided me. I immersed myself in the diverse community and also had the opportunity to travel to Japan and Hawaii. These experiences helped me identify who I was and who I want to be. I discovered strengths I never knew I had and learned how to face conflict. 

"UNI not only provided me the educational foundation needed for this career field but clinical experiences that helped develop my skill set. Through leadership positions within student organizations at UNI, I became a better leader, understanding flexibility, time management and team dynamics.

"UNI is the perfect fit for anyone looking for a close-knit community. Whether you are still deciding a major or making a decision within a career field, the professors are attentive to your needs and goals. The Cedar Valley community is supportive and provided me financial support to help get me one step closer to graduation." 

Kelly GardellaName: Kelly Gardella

Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Major(s): Anthropology

Post-graduation plans: Currently applying for various full-time teaching programs and/or other internships and job opportunities abroad.

"I enjoyed a lot of things about UNI while attending school here. Ever since my first year on campus, I have been a part of the rock-climbing community, which is a very unique part of UNI. The Outdoor Recreation department has helped me develop lifelong friends and a now a huge love for the outdoors. In addition, I also enjoyed being a part of my sorority, Alpha Sigma Tau. Having my sisters support through several years here at UNI has really helped to positively shape my experience.

"UNI is such a unique school that provides you with more than one way to be successful while you’re a student, and during post-graduate life. You are able to meet new people all the time, find new interests and expand your personal connections, all with a hometown feel. Plus, with the wide variety of student organizations and clubs, there is a place for everyone to feel like they belong. I have a lot of passions and a lot of interests, and I genuinely believe that all of my professors wanted to help me to be successful in my post-graduate life. I also am really thankful for the folks at Career Services who do workshops on interviews and resumes. I would not have a successful, well-written resume without their much-needed advice." 

Paige LaPlantName: Paige LaPlant

Hometown: Sergeant Bluff

Major(s): Earth Science and Environmental Science

Post-graduation plans: Attending graduate school in Fall 2019 to focus on volcanology. 

"I felt a sense of community when I walked onto campus for my first visit, and knew that I could grow as a student and an individual here. It was important to me to be able to work with my professors and UNI allowed me to do that.

"All of the opportunities I've been given have only been an option because of UNI. I have been able to travel for my studies to places such as the Andes because of the professors in the Earth and Environmental Science Department. It is such a close community with faculty that care so much about their students.

"UNI’s smaller campus allows students to work closely with their professors and create a home away from home. Faculty ensure that they have the tools and experience necessary to achieve their dreams. If I had to do this all over again, I wouldn’t choose any other school."