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If you witnessed the Homecoming Parade at Southeast Missouri State University this year, most likely you saw Southeast graduate student and St. Louis, Mo., native, Julie McCausland, hard at work. Julie, who received her bachelor’s degree in psychology in May 2004 at Southeast, is currently enrolled in the University’s Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration program. In addition to taking a full load of classes in the evening, Julie has worked as a graduate assistant in the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center since January 2002.
Julie’s responsibilities as a graduate assistant are grooming her for a career in university advancement. She is involved with every thing from marketing to alumni services and fundraising activities. Julie says after she graduates in May 2006 with her master’s degree, she wants to find a job in higher education and alumni services.
“The best thing about working in the alumni office is continuing my connection with Southeast,” Julie said. “I’m gaining experience in a field I’m very interested in, but I’m also helping advance my alma mater in a variety of ways.”
Julie says Southeast contributes tremendously to her success both in the classroom and in her work.
“Southeast helped me become the person I am today because the University provided me enough traditional face-to-face interaction with my professors while giving me a chance to gain some practical experience,” she explained. “My professors shaped my learning experience because of the passion they were able to transfer to me through their lectures and projects.”
Julie says the experiential learning she obtained in her undergraduate program, as well as her graduate program, has helped her become a better practitioner in the field of alumni services and university advancement.
When Julie isn’t working hard at an alumni banquet or fundraiser, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading a good book or seeing movies at the theatre.
“I enjoy visiting downtown Cape Girardeau because there is usually a local band playing in one of the restaurants on the weekends,” she said. “But the best memories I have are with the friends I’ve made at Southeast over the years. There has never been a dull moment!”
Julie says she also enjoys traveling when she has the time. Her favorite destination is Ireland. While visiting the country, Julie was able to learn more about her family’s Irish history and ancestry. Two destinations she would like to see in the future are Italy and Germany.
Julie’s best advice for future Southeast students is to get involved in an organization or extra-curricular activity.
“Education is something that takes place both in and outside the classroom,” Julie explained. “Don’t be too shy and not get involved in something on campus because it could turn out to be the best experience of your life.”