Does a liberal arts education open doors to opportunities? Just ask Rebecca Johnsen.
Johnsen arrived at Randolph-Macon College as the fourth child in her family to become a Yellow Jacket (two years later, the youngest Johnsen, sister Rachel, joined the class of 2012), but she forged her own pathway, playing lacrosse, participating in the debate club, appearing onstage in the Cobb Theatre, and serving as an orientation leader. And that's just the beginning of the list of Johnsen's R-MC pursuits. In the classroom, she double-majored in economics/business and drama and added a minor in Spanish. Around campus, she served as a tutor in the writing center, joined the staff of the Yellow Jacket student newspaper, gave her time to volunteer events, and was the recipient of numerous awards.
Meanwhile, she participated in the Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship program in the summers before her junior and senior years; during the first summer she directed a stage play, and during the second summer, "I conducted research on the ethical dilemmas underlying the 2005-2007 housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis," she says. She also traveled twice to England with J-term classes, once again devoting one January to the stage (a Fine Arts trip to London) and the other to the world of finance (a course at Wroxton University focused on management as well as the British economy). "Both experiences were literally life-changing," says Johnsen.
She didn't slow down in her senior year, either. In the spring, she completed an internship at Bon Secours Richmond Health Foundation through R-MC's Bassett Internship program, and the summer following graduation found her at the Agora excavations in Athens, Greece. A post-graduate internship in publications at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond led to her current position as a finance writer. "I research and write articles for several investment newsletter services sent to almost 40,000 subscribers," she says. "My job requires me to keep track of over 100 stocks. I also maintain multiple subscriber-only websites and address questions and feedback from our subscribers. My job changes daily, but I love every moment of it!"
Reflecting on how her richly varied R-MC experience prepared her for the future, Johnsen notes, "Success in today’s world requires constantly adapting to circumstances beyond our control. My best defense has been the critical thinking and organizational skills I developed through R-MC’s rigorous courses. And real life, by nature, is interdisciplinary: businessmen and women need to understand ethics, environmental scientists need to understand politics and historians need to understand economics. What better way to become a well-rounded individual than by obtaining a liberal arts education?"Paving the Way for Success Rather than prepare students for one career, Randolph-Macon College prepares students for a lifetime of careers in an ever-changing world. Exceptional faculty work with students to cultivate their ability to think critically and analytically and to find creative solutions for solving problems. R-MC graduates are well-prepared for successful careers, often far outside of their areas of study. The Randolph-Macon EDGE, the cornerstone of the Center for Personal and Career Development, helps Randolph-Macon students lead the pack when competing for jobs and top graduate schools. Students have the support of faculty, career coaches, alumni and staff as they focus on their personal and academic ambitions. Students may choose to pursue paid or volunteer internships in a wide variety of settings. The Bassett Internship Program has been successfully placing students in academic internships both in the U.S. and around the globe for 30 years. Coordinated with the Center for Personal and Career Development, the program helps students identify their interests and matches them with an appropriate internship opportunity. Randolph-Macon’s alumni provide a strong network of support for students throughout their time at the college or in assisting them after graduation with career direction and opportunities. The college’s Four-Year Degree Guarantee guarantees in writing that freshmen who meet the Four-Year Degree Guarantee requirements will graduate within four calendar years. If not, Randolph-Macon will waive tuition costs for courses needed to complete the degree. Currently, 95 percent of R-MC graduates complete their degree in four years or less—an important value-added benefit for parents to consider when visiting colleges with their students. Study Abroad programs offer students a beyond-the-classroom global perspective and opportunities to immerse themselves in other cultures. Students can choose from a host of travel courses during January Term and semester-abroad programs. The Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program gives students the opportunity to conduct 10 weeks of original research under the guidance of faculty mentors. Many students present their findings at national and international conferences. Read more Alumni Success stories.