Barry McNamara  |  Published May 08, 2024

98%, Again

College’s First Destination Survey shows vast majority of the Class of ’23 at work or in school.

TAKING THE NEXT STEP: After celebrating on their Commencement Day last May, 98% of the Class of 2023 then headed off to emp... TAKING THE NEXT STEP: After celebrating on their Commencement Day last May, 98% of the Class of 2023 then headed off to employment or graduate school, according to the College's annual First Destination Survey.MONMOUTH, Ill. – It’s been almost a year since Monmouth College graduated its Class of 2023, and nearly all of its members are either employed or continuing their education.

According to the College’s annual First Destination Survey, which tracks information from within six months of graduating, 98% of the College’s newest alumni are either working or pursuing a graduate or professional degree.

“Our First Destination report for the Class of 2023 continues to show that Monmouth College graduates are moving on to meaningful work and graduate school experiences, as well as serving and educating in communities all over the world,” said Marnie Steach, director of the College’s Wackerle Center for Career, Leadership and Fellowships. “Our graduates are using their Monmouth College experience to impact the world.”

At 81%, the survey had an impressive knowledge rate, which is defined as the percentage of graduates for which the institution has reasonable and verifiable information concerning the graduates’ career activities. Steach said that rate is now back to its pre-pandemic heights.

‘I could not have done it without her’

One of the many early success stories from the Class of 2023 is Ally Clay, who relied heavily on Steach and the Wackerle Center as she prepared for her post-Monmouth life.

ALLY CLAY: After she received her diploma from President Clarence Wyatt, she began a new chapter, attending graduate school... ALLY CLAY: After she received her diploma from President Clarence Wyatt, she began a new chapter, attending graduate school at George Washington University, a school she chose, in part, because of an internship she had while studying at Monmouth.“Marnie was critical to me in finding my next steps – in my case, grad school,” said Clay, who is studying for a master’s degree at George Washington University. “She helped me get an internship through The Fund for American Studies, and that led to me to D.C., which then made me want to come back to GW for grad school.”

Clay was not alone in landing an internship during her time as a student. Seventy-four percent of the class reported having at least one such experience during their time at Monmouth.

Planning to attend graduate school and then going through the steps to do it are two different things, but Clay said she had plenty of help clearing the hurdles along the way.

“Marnie helped with my application materials, résumés, personal statements, etc.,” she said. “I could not have done it without her. She’s incredible, and I miss her so much. I miss Monmouth, in general.”

“(Marnie) helped me get an internship through The Fund for American Studies, and that led to me to D.C., which then made me want to come back to GW for grad school.” – Ally Clay


A member of the class who went directly into the workforce was Elijah Lind. He credited Monmouth’s alumni network and a helpful faculty member for landing his current position at Dubuque, Iowa-based Flexsteel Industries.

Chuck Johnson ’00, a past student at Monmouth and current employee at Flexsteel, reached out to Professor (Mike) Connell, asking if there was anyone who would be interested,” said Lind. “I was taking Connell’s class and immediately went to apply. From there, I interviewed with Chuck in (nearby) Aledo and started immediately after Commencement at Flexsteel,” as a customer care specialist.

Other ’23 Monmouth graduates have landed positions at the Mayo Clinic, Halliburton, Navistar, Deloitte and the Environmental Defense Fund, to name a few.

Other ’23 Monmouth graduates have landed positions at the Mayo Clinic, Halliburton, Navistar, Deloitte and the Environmental Defense Fund, to name a few.


In addition to George Washington, members of the Class of 2023 have continued their studies at four Big Ten schools – Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin – as well as schools such as the University of Notre Dame, the University of Florida and the University of Arkansas.


Outstanding preparation

Clay was not only a fan of the help she received from the Wackerle Center, but from her educational experience at Monmouth.

“My master’s program here at GW encompasses a lot of the things I first learned in classes at Monmouth through my public relations major,” she said.

For instance, Clay’s final paper for her graduate-level research design course was similar to one she did for professor Shweta Srivastava’s “Communications Research Methods” class, and she also found similarities in material from her “Persuasion” class at Monmouth, also taught by Srivastava.

“Another example is last semester at GW, I had a ‘Principles of Public Relations’ class and made a campaign focusing on domestic violence,” said Clay. “I first had experience doing such a project at Monmouth in Joel Reed’s PR class and the capstone course taught by Trudi Peterson. I find what I learned at Monmouth in all the work I do here in my master’s program at GW. I’m definitely very thankful for my time at Monmouth.”

GABRIELA PETERSON: Her Next Step sign, which she held at last May's Commencement, says it all. GABRIELA PETERSON: Her "Next Step" sign, which she held at last May's Commencement, says it all.Another 2023 grad who shared Clay’s sentiments is Gabriela Peterson.

“The Wackerle Center, specifically Marnie, helped perfect my résumé and job application materials to prepare me for Vermont Law School,” she said. “My Monmouth College education has been extremely beneficial in law school. The intensity of being both a chemistry and political science double major prepared me for the hefty workload in law school.”

Added Lind: “My Monmouth College education helped me with time management, as well as not focusing too much on any shortcomings, but instead moving past them.”

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