While many alumni return to Drake as employees, one class in particular has been drawn back to the University. Seven members of the class of 2010 work in various positions across campus. We talked with a few of them to see what it’s like to be on the other side of the Drake experience.
What made you want to work at Drake?
Danny Akright, JO’10, AS’10; digital media publisher: I love Drake and I think most people who went here love Drake. The opportunity to come back was very appealing.
Dain Taylor, BN’10; defensive line coach, Drake football: It was an opportunity to continue being around the game I love, continue my academic career, and come back to the Drake University experience.
Crystal Nance, JO’10, AS’10, assistant director of admission and diversity initiatives for the Drake Law School: I came back to the Midwest to be closer to home. I was familiar with Des Moines and wanted another job in higher education.
Evan Faverau, JO’10, admission counselor and digital media specialist: The digital media part really caught my eye. The fact that a position like that was available at Drake was really exciting.
Tisleen Singh, JO’10, admission counselor: I worked in the Office of Admission for three years as a student and was very involved with Student Senate. I fell in love with higher education.
Eric Gudmundson, JO’10, AS’10, interim coordinator of student activities: When I was looking for jobs, I wanted to move out of the Midwest. But when I was at another institution, I felt the difference; I felt like Drake had a much better sense of community.
What has your experience as a staff member been like?
Akright: It’s different than being a student. You see the opposite side of the University, but it’s still the same community.
Taylor: It is fulfilling to work with young men who want to be leaders and impact the community. I also get to work with a great staff who put family, academics, and doing things right above the “anything to win” mentality that some coaching staffs at other schools have.
Faverau: We have a good culture and community here. You get to see the other side and experience just how much work it takes to keep the University going.
Gudmundson: It’s fascinating. I’ve noticed how everything is so student-focused; I’ve really seen and appreciated the sacrifices that the staff and faculty make for the students. It goes above and beyond.
What has changed since you were a student?
Taylor: The implementation of “The Bulldog Way” in the athletics department is the biggest change. It is a playbook on how to communicate between coach and player and between athletes. It is a guide we promote every day to achieve excellence as a team and as a University, which is really cool and positive for the school.
Singh: I’ve noticed that the student body is changing. Each successive class is more intelligent, academically driven, and focused than the last.
Gudmundson: The events we put on now—the collaborative programs like Celebrate Drake—are bigger than what we ever did when I was a student.
Faverau: I think the biggest thing is the shift from Spike’s to the Quad Creek Café. I’m kind of jealous of what today’s students have.
Do you have a different perspective of Drake now?
Akright: When I was a student, I saw Drake as this nebulous, non-personified entity. Now I see that Drake is really made up of the community of people who work and study here.
Taylor: One thing that my eyes have been opened to is just how large and involved the Drake community is here in Des Moines. Since graduation, I’ve realized just how lucky I was to go to this school.
Nance: I truly understand the mission statement now. I’ve come full circle; now I’m in charge of executing it in the law school.
What do you like most about working at Drake?
Akright: There are so many staff members who are Drake alumni, so you have a deeper connection with them than you would working someplace else.
Nance: It’s a home-like environment, and everyone is here for the students. It makes me appreciate the education I received, and I hope to give that to students in my own capacity.
Singh: Many things. First, I love the people. We have a really strong sense of community, and the Office of Admission is a tight-knit group. Second, Drake completely changed my life: It opened doors I didn’t know existed. It is fun to see the prospective students you knew could thrive here actually come to Drake and have that experience.
Gudmundson: I came back for the community. When I was a grad student at another school, it didn’t feel like students came together as a campus, and to see the students at Drake so engaged makes me not really care about working the long hours. I love the energy.
-By Gabriella Bedore, public relations major, class of 2013