Meet the Career Studio Team
Connie Kreikemeier, MSE – Executive Director
Connie earned her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and her Master of Science in Education – Counseling at Wayne State College. She joined Midland University in the spring of 2013 and has served in career services at Midland since. Prior to Midland, her career spanned 25 years with The Gallup Organization, in both management and consulting capacities. Connie brings that experience to Midland as a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. With a passion for helping individuals to understand their value as a person, Connie helps students recognize and leverage their own talents and appreciate the diverse, valuable strengths in others. Through her efforts to promote trusting relationships, professional connections, and networks, she works tirelessly to connect students and alumni with employers and their opportunities.
Brenda Wilberding, Assistant Director
Brenda earned her BA in Journalism in 2007 from Midland University. During her time on campus, Brenda was involved in Volleyball, Track, and Phi Omega Sorority. After working at Eagle Distributing and Hy-Vee, Brenda returned to her alma mater in 2015 as an Admissions Counselor. In 2016, she transitioned to her role as Business Development Manager, where she worked to unite the Fremont and Midland communities through partnerships with area businesses and alumni. Brenda is excited to be a part of the Career Studio and use her connections and experiences to inspire students to explore their passions and strengths in order to create meaningful career paths. Currently, Brenda serves on the Board of Directors for the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce and the Dodge County Old Poor Farm. Brenda also serves as President for ChamberNet 2.0, is past chair for the Diplomat’s Club, and is a member of Fremont Area Young Professionals. She is a past Board Member of the Fremont Area Veterans Coalition. In 2020, Brenda was recognized as one of the 20 Under 40 Young Leaders in the Fremont community.
Peer Career Coaches
The Career Studio utilizes a peer-to-peer coaching model where students are given the opportunity to receive career coaching from fellow students. This has proven successful for the program as it not only benefits students scheduling the appointment, but the student coaches as well. Through their position, student coaches gain a deeper understanding of navigating the career world, while also helping their fellow students along the way.
Meet the Peer Career Coaches for the 2021-2022 academic year:
Seth Bontrager – Seth is a senior Human Performance major from Huntington Beach, California, and is also a member of the Warrior football team. In his desire to make a difference at Midland, Seth decided to become a part of the peer career coaching team. “I wanted to make a bigger impact at Midland,” he said. “There are students that have never had a job before or have had to think about their future in a serious manner. Helping them achieve their goals, like crushing an interview or submitting the perfect resume, allows me to make a positive impact.”
Seth believes the Career Studio helps create a connection between students and potential employers. “We have a clear understanding of what employers are looking for,” he said. “Your career choice requires you to make the best decisions, and we’re here to help you do that.”
In his goal to one day become a professional football coach, Seth views his role as a peer career coach as a solid stepping stone in the process. “Being a career coach helps me develop skills when it comes to working with different types of students,” he said. “I want people to leave the Career Studio in a better mood than when they came in.”
Cailin Brashear – Cailin is a senior Business Administration Management major from Escondido, California. Along with being a peer career coach, Cailin is also active in PBL, MAC, and Circle K.Cailin knows her way around the Career Studio as she is in her fifth semester as a peer career coach. “I love the opportunities the position provides to push me out of my comfort zone,” Cailin said. “I’ve grown more than I ever thought possible.”
Cailin believes students will gain confidence from working with a peer career coach and puts the importance of career development into perspective for students. “Working with a peer allows students to ask questions in a less formal environment than the traditional career center model,” she said. “I think having someone who understands your struggles and experiences as a student, and helping to turn them into strengths and opportunities is a valuable aspect of the career coaching model.”
As she plans for December graduation, Cailin is grateful for the opportunity to be a leader on campus and wants to help set up the next generation of career coaches for success. “I’ve gained so much as a peer coach and I’m hoping I can give some of that back,” she said. “Working with other peer career coaches is a way to challenge myself and put all that I’ve learned in the Career Studio to the test.”
Elissa Dames – Elissa is a sophomore Accounting and Digital Marketing major from Scribner, Nebraska. She is also involved with FCA/Cru, a member of the Residence Life team, band, Circle K, PBL, and Cardinal Key. Elissa is in her first semester as a peer career coach and became intrigued by the Career Studio during her initial visit. “I went into the Career Studio for an appointment my freshman year and received one-on-one coaching and real advice on how to make my resume better,” she said. “I was thrilled when given the opportunity to be a part of the Career Studio. It’s a perfect way for me to fulfill my internship credit requirements, while also getting a unique work experience to add to my resume.”
Elissa sees great benefits in students being able to learn from their peers and believes that being on the same level as clients helps create a less intimidating environment and provides a more personal experience.
An opportunity to share her knowledge with fellow students will not only allow her to provide valuable information to students but strengthen her own skills. “By taking what I have been taught about resumes, social media, and professional development, and relay that to another person, will reinforce my understanding of these topics,” she said. “My future is still unclear, so I’m hoping this will help me develop a more definitive career path.”
Meghann McCurdy – Meghann is a junior Elementary Education major from Fremont, Nebraska. Meghann is also president of NSEA-Aspiring Educators as well as the Clothing and Fundraising chairperson for Phi Omega. After taking a Midland 201 class her sophomore year, Meghann decided she wanted to be a part of the Career Studio and help other students become career-ready and gain confidence as they head into the workforce.
Through the peer coaching model, Meghann believes students will benefit greatly from having someone with similar backgrounds helping them in choosing a career path. “I think students can gain a lot from a peer coach,” she said. “Students will be able to have a fellow student to relate to and lean on for career preparation.”
Meghann looks forward to creating a strong learning environment for both students and herself. “I am eager to gain more experience helping students,” she said.
Madyson Ray – Madyson is a sophomore Psychology and Sociology major from Blair, Nebraska. Madyson is also involved with track & field along with FCA/Cru, student senate, SAAC, Co-Curricular DRIVE committee, and is an Admissions Ambassador. In her first semester as a peer career coach, Madyson says her passion for being part of the Career Studio team began her freshman year. “I was not very knowledgeable about resumes or cover letters, so I was in the Career Studio a lot getting help from Connie (Kreikemeier) and the career coaches,” she said. “I grew to love the environment and people working in that office. When Connie reached out to me about becoming a career coach, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Madyson is confident students will have a meaningful experience when they visit the Career Studio. “They will learn how to enhance the look of their resume, sharpen interview skills, and discover a career path,” she said. “But they will also develop relationships with the people they work with and gain confidence going into an interview.”
As an aspiring counselor, Madyson looks forward to honing many of the skills it will take for her to be successful in a future career. “This is a great opportunity to learn about coaching versus counseling and to build skills for my future career,” she said. “I hope to develop coaching/mentoring relationships with people and build confidence in myself and everyone I work with.”
Jack Royer – Jack is a sophomore Business Intelligence and Technology major from McFarland, Wisconsin, and a member of the men’s hockey team. Jack’s desire to help others and make sure people are successful in their future careers was a driving force in his decision to become a career coach.
Jack sees many positives for students if they choose to utilize all the resources the Career Studio offers. “Having a peer career coach will help students with resumes, cover letters, and assist them in helping find the right path for their desired career,” he said.
As he works with fellow students in carving a path to a career, Jack is hoping to gain more knowledge along the way and take on more responsibilities in a leadership role.
To schedule an appointment, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.