Leadership Iowa University showcases path to success in Iowa

September 8, 2017 | Iowa companies learn how data can help drive their business Jessi Steward, Marketing & Programs Coordinator, Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation, jsteward@iowaabi.org

"What is my next step?” “How can I get there?” “What can I do to stand out?” These are just a few of the many questions at top of mind for college students heading back to campuses across the state this fall.

Colleges are no longer defined by the courses they offer, but rather by the experiences and outcomes they can provide their students. From working alongside leadership at a global company in Chicago to spending a semester interning at the U.N. in Vienna, students are on a constant search for their next big resume-builder outside the confines of a classroom.

With the need for talented workforce in our state, the ABI Foundation works to show off what Iowa has to offer to a new group of bright, forward-thinking college students each summer through the Leadership Iowa University (LIU) program. LIU offers the hands-on learning experience that students crave while connecting them with professionals and opportunities available to them—and they don’t even need to use a passport.

Marilyn Mueller, professor of management at Simpson College and curriculum chair of the LIU Board, helped develop the program in its inception and continues to provide the opportunity for Simpson students to attend each summer.

“Students today learn best when there is a strong experiential component, and LIU has perfected that approach. In some ways, LIU is a ‘mini-internship’ and an intensive introduction to Iowa on a scale not otherwise available,” said Mueller.

This year’s program was held Aug. 6-10 and based in Des Moines. During their five days together, the students were exposed to a variety of industries in Iowa from government and business to manufacturing and agriculture. Participants visited organizations, heard from inspiring speakers and took part in activities to better prepare themselves for the years ahead.

“For one concentrated week, students directly experience a variety of professions and learn about career paths and service opportunities that they would otherwise miss. Because of the willingness of Iowa professionals to help with our program, we have put together an incredible week for participants,” explained Mueller.

Student participants had the opportunity to connect with more than 100 Iowa professionals from a wide range of backgrounds in just five short days. As part of their experience with LIU, each student will be assigned with a mentor, who is an Iowa professional who works in his/her career field of interest.

“LIU was an incredible experience that can be compared to none. The professionals that I met were always interested in my future career goals and offered advice to help guide me on the right path to accomplishing those goals,” said Keaton Hoogendoorn, a senior accounting and business major at Dordt College.

Allie Karpurk, a senior at Simpson College studying political science, noted that participating in LIU gave her a unique perspective as a nonnative Iowan, and even allowed her to explore additional career options she had not previously considered, despite having recently interned in Washington, D.C.

“Prior to this experience, I knew little about the job prospects in Iowa. I can thankfully say that has changed,” Karpurk said. “My experience in the program expanded my knowledge on career opportunities and industries available in Iowa and provided me with connections and great friendships I would not have made anywhere else.”

Participants walk away from LIU with a new perspective and appreciation for the state of Iowa, as well as great connections and friendships with like-minded student-leaders. Students realize that those big opportunities they are searching for can be found right here in our great state.

To learn more about Leadership Iowa University and how it can complement your organization’s summer internship program, visit LeadershipIowaUniversity.com.