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Millikin University > Alumni & Friends > Stay Connected > MY Times > Issues
Alumni Spotlight: Meredith Hoefert Wessler '09

Name: Meredith Hoefert Wessler ’09

Current job position (or additional field of study) and where:
Physician Assistant at Vita Center for Women in Decatur

Millikin major:
Biology

Why did you choose MU?
I liked the fact that it was only about two hours from my hometown. My dad attended Millikin about 25 years before me, and I remember visiting MU as a child and being in awe of the beautiful campus. When I visited again as a senior in high school, Millikin seemed like a great fit. It didn’t hurt that I ended up marrying my tour guide! I met my husband in 2004 during my college tour, and we got married in 2011.

What activities did you participate in as a student?
I joined Delta Delta Delta as a freshman, and I served in a leadership position in the sorority. I was also an orientation leader.

Who was your most memorable MU professor and why?
I learned a great deal from all of my professors, but if I had to choose one, I would choose Dr. Marianne Robertson, professor of biology. She taught with so much energy and passion that her classes became my favorites. She also took time to get to know her students, which made me feel even more invested in her classes. I still remember so much of what she taught during that time.

What is your most memorable MU experience?
Graduating. Knowing that my time as a college student was over was such a mix of emotions. I felt excited about what was to come, proud of what I had accomplished and sad that my time as a college student at Millikin was over.

What is one concept you learned at Millikin that you use in your work regularly?
I learned to accept and value people from different backgrounds. Millikin had a very diverse student population, and this prepared me to be more understanding and appreciative of people with different personalities and upbringings.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?
I love going to work knowing that I will hopefully help my patients feel better physically and mentally. I love listening to people and helping them to solve their problems and complaints. It is such a rewarding experience, and it reinforces why I chose the occupation that I did.

What have you done that you are most proud of since graduating from MU?
I began graduate school 10 days after I graduated from Millikin, and I received my master’s degree in physician assistant studies just 27 months later. I am proud to have chosen a profession that I thoroughly enjoy and to recognize how much hard work was involved in arriving at this point in my life.

Where do you hope to be five years from now?
I hope to still be practicing as a physician assistant at my current office. I recognize how lucky I am to look forward to going to work every day. I want to continue feeling that way until I retire many years from now.

What advice would you give to current Millikin students about preparing for life after graduation?
I would encourage students to appreciate this time in their lives and to not get too overwhelmed with the stress of finding the perfect job or planning their entire future immediately. Enjoy your time as a young adult, and accept the fact that you don’t have to have life figured out just yet!

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Want to be spotlighted as the "Young Alum of the Month?" We are seeking recommendations and self-nominations for outstanding young alumni who have demonstrated innovative and responsible professional leadership and have the potential for future success. Email Jaclyn Weisenborn ’09, associate director of alumni engagement, with a short write-up of why you or your nominee should be considered for this profile. Please include a list of successes and achievements in your nomination, and attach a portrait or headshot (if available). One alum will be featured each month in MY Times.

What’s New on Campus? Millikin has a Doctorate Program!

Last month, Millikin launched and enrolled its first class in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), a practice-focused doctorate. Two tracks are offered in the program:

  • Track 1: Nurse Anesthesia Track for professional registered nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree or master’s of science degree in nursing and want to become a nurse anesthetist
  • Track 2: DNP Completion Track for advance practice nurses who want to complete the doctorate as their highest-earned academic degree

Track 1 in the DNP program is a 36-month, full-time, year-round program with more than 2,400 hours of clinical practice. Decatur Memorial Hospital partners with Millikin for this track, with Dr. Rhonda Gee of DMH serving as the program director. Thirteen of the 16 students in the new DNP program are enrolled in this track and will graduate in December 2017. This track accepts up to 15 students.

Track 2 is a 24-36 month, part-time program. Three students are enrolled in this track, all with advanced practice nursing degrees (Midwife, Nurse Anesthesia, Clinical Nurse Specialist, or Nurse Practitioner).

Dr. Kathy Booker, director of the School of Nursing, identified the continued need for anesthesia providers and additional doctorally prepared nurses in the field. The program is off to a good start, she says, and Millikin may consider adding other DNP tracks in the future.

Applications are due July 1 each academic year, with a new class enrolled every January.

For more information or to apply, visit www.millikin.edu/nursing, call Millikin’s School of Nursing office at 217-424-5034, or email msn@millikin.edu.

Career Corner: Connect to opportunities through Big Blue and a Career Fair, too!

Looking for a job? Take advantage of your Big Blue network and the opportunities it affords. Here are some great ways to use your Big Blue connections in your job search:

Participate in the Career Fair on campus Feb. 26, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the lower level of Richards Treat University Center. Register or log in to Big Blue Jobs at www.collegecentral.com/millikin for a list of employers who are registered to attend. Big Blue Jobs also serves as the main hub for job opportunities posted exclusively for MU, and you can also search postings pulled from several national job boards.

Be sure to access the mentoring network, where you are encouraged to connect with your fellow alumni and to serve as a mentor to current students.

In addition to Big Blue Jobs, you can also connect to employment opportunities through the Illinois Small College Placement Association (ISCPA). Visit www.iscpa.org to learn more at the ISCPA online career center.

Visit the Career Center webpage www.millikin.edu/career to learn more about other online resources, or to contact our office with any questions.

If your organization has job or internship opportunities, we encourage you to register as an employer on the system and share your job opportunities with the Big Blue community.

By Kristin Nisbet-White, assistant director of the Millikin Career Center

Big Blue Love: Kirsten Lendyke Agnello-Dean and Chase Agnello-Dean, both '06
Kirsten Lendyke Agnello-Dean and Chase Agnello-Dean

Names:
Kirsten Lendyke Agnello-Dean and Chase Agnello-Dean, both ’06

Hometowns:
Chase: Geneva, Ill.
Kirsten: Battle Creek, Mich.

Millikin majors:
Chase: BA Art
Kirsten: BFA Musical Theatre

When, where, and how did you first meet at Millikin?
Chase: In the Woods on Halloween, senior year.
Kirsten: When my roommates and I were coming back from a Halloween party in 2005, we ran into Chase and one of his roommates in the Woods apartments. Our roommates were both education majors so they introduced us. Chase asked me to model for a photo shoot, bought me a grilled cheese afterwards at Steak n’ Shake, and the rest is history.

What do you remember about the first time meeting each other?
Chase: She was really nice, really pretty.
Kirsten: Chase seemed really nice, but wasn’t wearing a Halloween costume. My roommates and I were all in matching devil outfits.

What did you do on your first date?
Chase: I took her to dinner at Tuscany. As usual, I was late, but I had flowers. We ordered calamari, and I had to eat all the pieces with legs because Kirsten would eat only the rings … I had found the perfect person, since I like eating the pieces with the legs.
Kirsten: We went to the little Italian place that was across from the Woods apartment complex. Chase was 10 minutes late but showed up with roses, so it was okay.

Where was your favorite place to hang-out together at Millikin?
Chase: We liked to party with friends in the Woods.
Kirsten: We both had crazy busy commitments because of my major and his job at the Herald & Review, so we didn’t hang out a whole lot, but when we did it was usually with friends in someone’s apartment.

What is your most memorable Millikin experience as a couple?
Chase: Graduating. It was nice to share this life experience with someone you love (although I never got my $2 bill in my diploma).
Kirsten: In spring of our senior year, we would eat popsicles in the hammock on his balcony after our classes ended on Fridays. It was such a sweet, simple time.

Where has your relationship taken you since Millikin?
Chase: Chicago and married.
Kirsten: We moved to Chicago together after graduation and have been living here since. We were married downtown in 2008, bought a condo and added a rescue dog to our life. We’re both keeping busy, with Chase working as the coordinator of team photography for the Chicago Blackhawks and me living a double life as an American Guild of Musical Artists union singer/dancer and a social media strategist for two worldwide beauty companies.

What advice would you give young couples in love at Millikin?
Chase: Enjoy college and spending time together … make lots of memories before real life bills kick in.
Kirsten: Date outside your major! If I hadn’t branched out and met friends of my roommates in other departments I never would have found the person I was meant to be with.

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Want to share your story of how you found love at Millikin? Email Jaclyn Weisenborn ’09, associate director of alumni engagement, with your expressed interest. One couple will be featured each month in MY Times.

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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL