May 19, 2020 at 10:00am

Tabor students graduate prepared for professional success

Every May, hundreds of graduates from Millikin take the next step toward their careers. This year, that looked a little bit different than usual. Although COVID-19 brought uncertainties into the lives of our students, they met those challenges head on. A few of our most recent Tabor alums gave us some of their perspectives on their bright futures.

Taylor Isaia ’20 (Peoria, Ill.)

Taylor Isaia ’20“I plan to move to Austin, Texas. Although I currently do not have a job lined up, I plan to have a marketing career in the health care industry ... health care is something that I am passionate about, and it has been a major influence in my life growing up. From this passion, I created a zine called ‘Type 1 Diabetes and Me,’ which won a silver award in the American Advertising awards, one of the industry’s largest creative competitions. I wanted to create a piece that provides information to pediatric patients in a way that made it easier to understand such a complex condition.

“Within the next five years, I see myself established in my marketing career and possibly creating more zines for other complex pediatric conditions, as it is a passion of mine. Millikin was instrumental in helping me to prepare for the future after graduation by giving me multiple opportunities to practice my marketing skills through different student ventures and opportunities for Performance Learning.

“One thing that I am most thankful for during my time at Millikin, and within the Tabor School of Business, is the amazing faculty that I was able to work with and get to know. They truly provided me with invaluable experiences and knowledge that will continue to impact my future. I am also thankful for the multiple student ventures that I was able to participate in, along with the different projects in Performance Learning that I worked on during my four years — specifically, writing a global branding strategy for the country of Ecuador was one of the most challenging and fun projects that I was a part of.”

Isaia graduated with a Bachelor of Science in digital media marketing, with minors in design thinking for leadership and finance.

Morgan Timmons ’20 (Moweaqua, Ill.)

Morgan Timmons ’20“I will hopefully be making the move away from Decatur and to a larger city. I have job options, but nothing solidified yet. I would love to start my career with a health/fitness or nutrition-related company because of the passion I have for health and fitness. I feel like it would always be something different!

“In the next five years, I hope to have transitioned to a higher-level position from my entry-level position and have a solidified future at a company that I enjoy. Depending on how things go, I may also be working toward (or have completed) an MBA.

“Millikin has prepared me for my career after graduation by using Performance Learning and actually letting us ‘do the thing.’ I have had so many opportunities both inside and outside of Millikin during my four years and have already had the ability to start my professional career in marketing.

“I am particularly thankful for Tabor faculty who are always looking out for their students and the ability to have relationships with all of your professors. I don't think I could have made it without their support behind me. It is really important to me that I have connections that have inspired me when I leave Millikin. I’m also grateful for Performance Learning and how it is integrated into every aspect of Tabor.”

Timmons graduated with a Bachelor of Science in digital media marketing, a minor in design thinking for leadership and a certificate in project management.

Serena Black ’20 (Latham, Ill.)

Serena Black ’20“I graduated from Richland Community College in May of 2018 and transferred to Millikin the following semester. Following graduation, I have accepted a position as a staff accountant with Sikich, LLP. My first day is the day after I graduate, and I could not be more excited! I have worked as a licensed insurance agent for the last year, and I have a few years of experience in business professional settings, so I’m hoping the transition is relatively easy for me. I will be auditing organizations across Central Illinois and doing tax preparation during their busy season as well. I’m excited to begin a career in the industry I’ve studied.

“I will be going back to school at some point — I need 15 more credits to sit for my CPA. After I study for and (hopefully) pass my CPA, I will likely go back to school for my graduate degree. I still see myself working in the accounting industry in five years; I want to thoroughly understand the industry, because ultimately I would love to be an accounting or personal finance professor.

“The Tabor School of Business really focuses on group work. At times, this can be challenging, but this tactic has taught me how to effectively network and delegate work amongst colleagues — two skills that are already essential in my line of work. There are four very large projects that I’ve completed at MU that immediately come to mind when it comes to preparing students for ‘the real world.’ The MK300 marketing plan, IB330 international business plan, AC422 audit and BU450 global business plan all involved real businesses with real employees and real conversations. I learned how to apply each of the class concepts through these projects, whereas most colleges only expect you to memorize the information from a book. They were all challenging, but students were rewarded with practical experience after completing each one. They were all listed in my résumé when I applied at Sikich, LLP, and having employers ask about these projects in interviews made the challenges worth it.

“I am grateful for VITA — the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program that accounting students at MU are required to participate in each spring. Because of this program, I was able to apply the concepts of tax accounting and prepare returns for low income families in our community. We were able to provide a service while learning; it was a unique opportunity. I am also thankful for some of the incredible professors at Millikin who have inspired me to pursue a postgraduate degree: Dean Benabess, Dr. Munoz, Dr. Duesterhaus, Dr. Roark, Dr. Brown and RJ Podeschi.

“Lastly, I’m grateful that Millikin University was flexible, compassionate and all-encompassing during one of the most precarious and startling times in American history. When the COVID-19 pandemic was first declared and schools began shutting down, I panicked in fear that seniors like myself wouldn’t complete their degrees on time and that goals we had set would be delayed. Millikin made it so that I just had to adapt to the environment, and they ensured that students would still succeed. Professors were checking in on students frequently, asking about their health and their families. Many professors rearranged schedules to meet with international students in dramatically different time zones and found ways to include all of us in virtual lectures. There is no doubt that COVID-19 had an impact on my senior year and final semester. My heart breaks for the milestones that many of us seniors will never experience, but the majority of the staff and student body at MIllikin University have made this stay-at-home order tolerable — and, at times, even enjoyable — even for us seniors.”

Black graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.