Jake '10 and Kelsey (Vaaler) Vaith '11

Internships Turn Into First Professional Jobs

“The summer before my senior year, I had an internship at Mayo on the orthopedic trauma floor. I was offered a job after graduation and worked there as an orthopedic trauma nurse,” Kelsey says. “Now I work as a nurse on the cardiovascular surgery/cardiovascular transplant progressive care unit.”

Jake also had an internship that led to his first professional job. “The summer before my senior year, I had an internship with Hormel Foods in Austin, Minnesota, as a software engineering intern. After the internship, I was offered a job with them that started after I graduated,” Jake says. “I worked there for a little over a year before I took a job with Olmsted Medical Center (OMC) in Rochester, Minnesota as an information privacy specialist working with the health information management and IT departments. A year or so later, I was promoted to the health information management systems and operations manager at OMC. I was in that position for about six months before I joined Mayo Clinic as an IT systems engineer in November 2012. Most recently, I was promoted to a senior IT systems analyst at Mayo Clinic, also.”

Senior Paper/Project

“The title of my senior paper was ‘Safety and Ergonomics: What Has Not Been Proven Effective and Implications for the Future,’” says Kelsey. “I researched back-injury cases and what has been done since to prevent them. I also looked at what worked, what didn’t, and made recommendations for the future. It was interesting to learn from what I researched and then experience back injuries firsthand with my co-workers.”

Jake says, “I completed a senior project instead of a paper. I assisted with the implementation of Reason, Luther’s web content management system. It gave me experience working with people from all levels of an organization. I worked with Luther systems administrators, web content staff, professors, and students.”

Off-Campus Studies Provide Perspective

“I think my study-abroad experience helped me become a better nurse,” says Kelsey. “I went to Norway and Russia, where we looked at cultural ties and World War II. I think that experience translates well to nursing since I work with people from so many different backgrounds.”

Jake says, “I studied off-campus by taking a J-Term trip to Silicon Valley. We went to California and visited companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Pixar, and a whole bunch of other start-ups. It was very eye-opening to experience the culture of these companies.”

I think the connections at Luther go beyond professors. You make lifelong friends there. The majority of our wedding party were Luther grads.

—Kelsey Vaith '11

Jake completed his MBA in the spring of 2013. Additionally, both Kelsey and Jake are looking to enter doctoral programs in the future with aspirations of becoming professors at an institution like Luther.

Both of us talked with some of our professors to get advice about the processes involved. Their perspectives helped solidify some of our decisions.

—Jake Vaith '10