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UW Profiles

Student Success at UW

Molly Cook has fond memories of going to work with her parents.

No wonder: Michael and Marilyn Cook, both engineers, would sometimes take their eldest daughter and her sister, Kate, on tours of coal mines in Wyoming and Colorado, exposing them at a young age to one of the nation's most critical industries.

"There's a picture I remember of me and my sister that was taken in one of the mines," Molly says. "It's one of my favorite pictures of my childhood."

A smile stretches across her face as she relives the memories that helped shape her future. "I would go through the mines with them and everything, and I just thought it would be so cool to do that when I grew up," Cook says.

Soon, Cook will fulfill her dream of a working in the mining industry -- an opportunity made possible by a degree from the University of Wyoming. A civil engineering major from Berthoud, Colo., Cook will begin work in June as a mining engineer for Arch Coal in Gillette, where, ironically, her parents worked young in their careers.

"The University of Wyoming has given me all the skills I need to be a success," says Cook, citing the strength of her professors and coursework that taught her the value of team building, time management and critical thinking. "I feel like all of my opportunities here have rounded me."

As UW prepares to celebrate its 124th graduating class, Cook is one of several soon-to-be graduates who will strike out on their own in an especially difficult and competitive job market. But a UW degree gives them an upper hand, says Steve Farkas, director of the Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Career Center in the UW College of Business.

"I believe the overall experience afforded to UW graduates during their academic careers is unique.   The collaborative approach taken by our administration, faculty and staff to create a business-ready learning environment offers UW students a distinct, competitive advantage," Farkas says. "I consistently hear from our employer partners about how impressed they are with our students; students who are able to effectively communicate their value to an organization through the delivery of both technical and soft skills.

"Additionally, a degree from UW grants access to a strong alumni network that has historically increased the prospects of securing employment opportunities."

Like Cook, Dan Adams is just weeks away from launching his professional career.  He says UW's personalized approach to education, coupled with the university's solid course offerings, have him "well prepared" to enter the workforce.

Following graduation, Adams will move to Omaha, Neb., for an internal auditing position with Union Pacific, which operates the largest railroad network in the United States.

"I can't say enough nice things about Steve Farkas or the College of Business. It's been fantastic," says Adams, a management major from Cheyenne. "The faculty's amazing. The dean is incredible. He cares more about the students than you would ever expect. I think that's true for the faculty, too."

The university's mentoring doesn't end upon graduation, either.

Westin Grabow, who, in 2010, earned his degree in business administration, with minors in international business and marketing and communications, says his former UW professors were happy to help when he turned to them during a post-graduation job search that spanned months.

"I hadn't realized how well-connected my professors were until I stepped out of the university setting," says Grabow, a project coordinator at Egg Strategy, a Boulder, Colo.-based brand strategy firm. "I can call any of my professors, even today, and they'd love to hear about how things are going in my life and in my career. There really is a personal touch that I don't think you get at other universities -- and their professional networks are absolutely world class."

With the aid of his former professors, Grabow was able to strengthen his own professional network and use his connections to find work in his desired field. His UW education, he says, has done the rest.

"When I was still an intern [at Egg Strategy], I had somebody who had been there for four or five years tell me that I was one of the hardest workers they had ever seen," Grabow says.

He chuckles and adds, "I didn't feel like I was working that hard. I was just doing what the university trained me to do."

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Molly Cook

Molly Cook and her sister Kate in one of her favorite childhood photos.
Molly Cook and her sister Kate in one of her favorite childhood photos.

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