• Kimmy Rooney, Graduate Student

    "What I find especially valuable about my time at Luther is that I experienced academic, personal, and social growth over my four years there; it was a holistic experience."

Kimmy Rooney '13

Teaching Experiences Are Good Career Prep

After graduating, Kimmy taught junior high and high school French at a school district in Wisconsin. “The year after that I was in Dakar, Senegal, where I taught English as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant,” she says. “While in Dakar, I applied to grad school with the goal in mind of eventually becoming a professor. Now I’m in my second year of the master’s portion of my program and I will continue on to the Ph.D. portion next year.”

She says she was inspired by her courses and learning experiences at Luther. “That’s why I’ve decided to pursue a Ph.D. in French literature: I want to become a professor of French at the collegiate level.”

Undergraduate Research Builds Skills

When Kimmy reflects on her Luther education, she appreciates the blend of courses that connected her majors of French and Africana Studies so well and also the opportunity to participate in research. “The occasions to partake in and present research projects were invaluable in preparing me for my current studies and my career beyond,” she says. “I was fortunate to be guided and encouraged by an advisor that valued student research and promotes it regularly among her students. These opportunities provided me not only with presentation experience but also with the beginnings of a skill set that I’ll use for the rest of my career.”

A Memory that Stands Out

Now that she’s an instructor herself, Kimmy reflects on the courses in her majors and recognizes how thankful she feels for the diversity of methods that her professors used to conduct their courses. “I remember most vividly the courses in which engaging and critical discussion were everyday occurrences,” she says. “I admire the skill and patience that it takes to elicit meaningful discourse amongst students.”  

A More Personal College Experience

When Kimmy was choosing a college, her final decision came down to two very different schools: a large, nationally known public institution and Luther. “Ultimately, I decided I wanted my education to be a more intimate, personal experience,” she says. “Before making the decision, I had already witnessed, during my campus tours and while exchanging with faculty, staff, and current students throughout my college search, that I would be able to engage at Luther on a more personal level. The welcoming and enriching atmosphere that those interactions provided led me to choose Luther.”

Luther Provides a Comprehensive Education

What I find especially valuable about my time at Luther is that I experienced academic, personal, and social growth over my four years there; it was a holistic experience,” she says. “In courses like Paideia, African American History, Physics and Energy, and Questions in Education, I was challenged and my professors took a genuine interest in my education.”

She also appreciates that she met lifelong friends in her dorm during her first year and built meaningful relationships with choir members in Aurora, Cathedral Choir, and Collegiate Chorale. “I knew a significant majority of students, staff, and faculty on campus,” she says. “I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

Advice for First-Years

As a recent grad, Kimmy has many suggestions for how Luther students can make the most of their college experience. “Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. Go to all the concerts, conferences, discussions, comedians, forums, dances, sports games, and dorm events,” she says. “If and when you can, get involved with a research project. Study abroad! Take language classes beyond the requirement. Really work on improving your writing and presentation skills. Ask your professors for help when you need it and struggle and grapple with the difficult ideas brought up in your classes.”