Rasmussen Grad Helps Current Ras Students Find Confidence, Paying it Forward
Amy Ites knows how meaningful finding a job can be. Not only has she changed careers herself and interviewed hundreds of candidates as a recruiter, she now works as a career services advisor at Rasmussen University, where she also graduated from, and helps students and alumni navigate their career paths.
Today, Ites works with health information management students and nursing students, the industry she started in. After dropping out of college, Ites first worked as a medical records clerk for seven years at a local clinic in southern Minnesota. While she enjoyed the job and her coworkers, she knew that without any higher education, she was going to be stuck with the same type of duties and the same pay range for the rest of her career. Ites knew she wanted more than that, so she began to look into her options.
Though she had previously attended a state university right after high school, it wasn’t the right fit for her at that time in her life. And at this point, full-time school wasn’t an option. Like many of the students she advises today, Ites worked while earning her degree. “I had to work and that working student is still the Rasmussen student today,” says Ites.
Rasmussen University had just opened a campus in her city and was offering some entirely evening programs. Ites could make that work. Her employer agreed that, on days she had class, she could come in earlier than normal and leave early to make it to campus.
Ites enrolled in a business certificate program with an emphasis in sales and marketing. “I knew these were skills I could use in life and in any industry.” Nine months later, in 1986, Ites walked away with her certificate in hand.
Embarking on her career
From there, Ites went on to work in personnel, job development and recruiting positions. Ites thrives connecting people with positions that fit them. “I’ve interviewed on both sides of the desk,” she says.
Back to Rasmussen
Ites stayed connected with Rasmussen, speaking at commencement ceremonies. She even found herself back at Rasmussen as an admissions advisor for four years. She took advantage of her employee benefits and took courses on her lunch breaks as she worked towards her Associate’s degree. But with a kindergartener and a self-employed husband, Ites struggled with the admissions schedule that included evening recruiting and orientation events, so she left for more flexible employment, part of which included working as an alpaca rancher!
Finding her place
In 2008, when the recession hit, many started to consider going back to school. Lucky for them, Ites arrived back at Rasmussen as a career services advisor. In this role, she encourages students, addresses false career ideas and gives students practical job search tips. Her experience helping others find employment fit her position perfectly. “I know I’m in the right place now because it never gets boring—there are always new students to help,” she says.
While in the career services position, Ites earned her Bachelor’s degree in business management. While working full time, she spent many Saturdays doing homework. It got tough towards the end as she took three classes at a time to finish faster. “I absolutely understand why students sometimes drop close to the end of their program. You can get burned out from work life, family life and the time you have to put into your education. I have walked in their shoes, and I get it, but you have to keep going.”
When Ites graduated, she felt overjoyed and relieved to walk at the June 2012 commencement ceremony. Though she usually ran the commencement ceremony, that year she just got to be a graduate. “I ran around and met some of the people who had been in my online classes!” she says.
She encourages current students to visit with career services. Ites loves pep-talking students—reminding them how much experience they already have and giving them the confidence they need to continue.