When Madilyn Heinke went on the college hunt, Luther wasn’t the place she imagined attending. “At first I refused to come to Luther since my dad is an alumnus and I didn't want to go to ‘his’ college,” she says. But one visit to Luther changed her tune. “I fell in love with the people and the atmosphere of campus,” she says. The atmosphere—along with the competitive spirit of the Luther women’s basketball team—made Madilyn want to be a part of the Luther community.Madilyn graduated from Luther in 2020 with majors in physics and visual communications and minors in math, writing, and art.
“So many people and events at Luther shaped me into the person I am today,” Madilyn says. She recalls many conversations with students and staff who encouraged her to forge her own path. She says, “Through the guidance and wisdom of the people Luther attracts, I was able to be true and honest with myself about what I wanted from my life. They gave me the extra push I needed to go for what I want, not follow others’ expectations.”That also meant Madilyn was able to study what interested her. Not confined to physics and visual communication, Madilyn was able to pursue art as well. For those debating a path in art, she has some advice. “Take the art class! If there's something you're curious about, go do it!” she says. “I won't ever regret my time with physics—I learned so much more than just equations—but I'm really happy I was convinced to finish my drawing class.”Along with her varied classes, Madilyn held a work study position with the Digital Media Office. The experience was career-defining. It was there she learned many of the skills she still uses today in the field of digital media. Her digital media co-workers, she says, “are some of the first people to help me understand it was okay to pursue my passion in the art world. Without them, I'd be at optometry school right now and not nearly as happy.”
Much like the rest of the country, Madilyn’s post-graduation plans went out the window when the pandemic hit. She found herself back in Wisconsin with her family and searching for internships to sharpen her career skills. Through her search, she landed an internship at Titletown Tech. It ended up being a perfect fit for her. “While interning, I fell in love with my work and the people at TitletownTech. Going in to work every day feels like walking onto campus after you've been away,” Madilyn says.When her internship ended, they offered her a full-time position. She now works for Titletown Tech’s Equity League. The division focuses on creating more opportunities for Black and Latin companies in the world of visual communications. She has collaborated with individuals from Microsoft and Wisconsin sports teams like the Packers, Bucks, and Brewers to combat inequality in visual communications. “It has been an amazing journey with TTT. They have given me the opportunity to build out their media studio and work with startups that disrupt the market and create impact in the world,” Madilyn says.The ability to stand out is something she credits to her Luther education. “Luther teaches you more than how to do a job,” she says. “The critical-thinking skills you learn are essential to setting yourself apart in the workplace.”