Connecting Outside the Classroom: Taking a Page from Dusty's Book
By Theresa Schmidt
What do jazz music, computers and Bogey the Bearcat have in common? Incredibly, these seemingly unrelated words are, in fact, related thanks to McKendree student Dusty Page. The perfect role model for McKendree’s commitment to engagement, Dusty has a long and diverse list of extracurricular activities and interests that include playing drums for the “Yard Dawgs” jazz quartet, studying Computer Information Systems at McK and taking first place in the 2010 Auffenberg Auto Mall College Advertising Competition for a video featuring McK’s beloved mascot Bogey the Bearcat.
Dusty says, “[At McKendree,] there are so many opportunities for students to be involved both on and off campus in the community…[It] has everything to offer that you would find at a large university, but here, almost any student can get involved, whether it be with athletics, theater, journalism, student government, music or volunteerism. I believe that this enhances the college experience for McKendree students.”
No one appreciates everything that McKendree offers better than Dusty. While he has been involved with wide-ranging interests all of his life, Dusty has really seen his dreams take off since coming to McKendree. “This past semester has given me a lot of practice in time management and communication. I was a project manager in a Systems Design class, I am a Student Ambassador, I worked in the Admission Office and I manage my jazz quartet (the “Yard Dawgs”). I enjoy challenges like this since I believe the workload is similar to what a manager in the workforce will have,” he explains.
In fact, one of Dusty’s biggest and most recent accomplishments is the direct result of a class assignment: “I won first place for the video advertisement category in the Auffenberg contest, [which] was an assignment for a McKendree Principles of Management class last fall (Fall 2010). All students in the class were required to create a video, print or an audio advertisement and submit their entries to Auffenberg. Since I had experience in high school working in video production, I chose a video advertisement.” It seems Dusty’s education is already paying off: he used his $1,000 first place prize money to reward himself with a MacBook Air, which will come in handy as he seeks an internship with Express Scripts in St. Louis this summer and works toward acquiring his Master’s in Business Administration from McKendree by Spring 2014.
Fortunately, McK’s commitment to personal development outside of the classroom has given Dusty an edge in his field. “Professor Nathan White of the Division of Computing has been a great influence with community engagement. In the past year with ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), students have had many opportunities to listen and network with the various guest speakers, attend AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association) events, visit a data center in downtown St. Louis and work with a local business to develop a new e-commerce website."
This outside involvement has allowed him to be a part of history, as well: “My favorite course that I have taken would be American Politics during my first semester at McKendree. The class, along with the rest of the McKendree community, had an opportunity to attend a MAP grant rally in Springfield, IL. [My professor] Dr. Ann Collins and I met Governor Pat Quinn and had our picture taken. I really enjoyed the experience.”
Of course, his on-campus activities are nothing to sneer at either: “I have been a member of the McKendree Jazz Ensemble for two years, and the jazz concert we hold in the Hett at the end of every semester is one of the best concerts on campus. [As a Marching Bearcat,] it is a lot of fun to play upbeat music at the football and basketball games, to be part of the McKendree school spirit and to see other students at the games.”