Humanities & fine arts grads share their success stories
Current and prospective Lakeland students heard from three successful Lakeland graduates Tuesday as part of the first of three colloquium events this week.
Returning to campus Tuesday for the Humanities & Fine Arts Colloquium were Karina Aguirre Vazquez ’19, community services coordinator at Partners for Community Development, Inc.; Jessica Leicht ’22, graphic designer and video producer at Shorewest Realtors; and Fabian Qamar ’14, a professional musician.
The graduates each shared stories about their time at Lakeland and how they maximized their Lakeland experience to position themselves for post-graduation success. They shared advice with students on skills that employers are currently seeking and how their coursework, faculty and other mentors they met along the way helped them grow.
The colloquium events invite prospective students to Lakeland to hear from successful graduates as part of a day that also includes interviews for Lakeland scholarships.
For current students, the events provide an opportunity to interact with these Lakeland grads to build their networks.
Qamar graduated with a music degree with emphases in voice and viola, and he has a master of music in voice from UW-Madison. He serves as associate director of music at St. Stanislaus Oratory in Milwaukee. He is featured as a singer and chamber musician in repertoire ranging from Gregorian chant to orchestra masses and he regularly collaborates with members of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
Qamar teaches children’s choir, offers voice lessons, writes orchestra parts, plays organ and conducts. He also maintains a private studio in Sheboygan where he teaches voice, violin/viola and piano. In addition, he is the vocalist and pianist for the jazz trio, Jive Safely, and enjoys other freelancing opportunities throughout Wisconsin.
He encouraged the students gathered to find ways to take a step back occasionally to see the bigger picture of their journey.
“I learned as much outside the classroom as in and I met other people and learned from them,” Qamar said. “I was encouraged to learn through trial and error, and if something didn’t work that’s OK and you learn something from it.”
Aguirre Vazquez graduated with a degree in communication and Spanish. She is community services coordinator at Sheboygan-based Partners for Community Development, where she has created a coalition to provide people access to various services in Sheboygan by breaking down barriers such as language, transportation and socioeconomic status. She provides translation services in her role, translates manuals and other documents for regional employers and provides interpretation services for Sheboygan County.
“Lakeland is so different and warming and kind,” she said. “Being on campus feels warm, like a hug. Because of what I was able to accomplish here and in my classes I am able to do what I do now.”
Leicht graduated with a degree in graphic design and she works at Shorewest Realtors as a graphic designer and video producer. She designs postcards, brochures, social media images and other materials and helps create marketing videos.
She was shaped by numerous roles through Lakeland’s Cooperative Education program, including positions with Masters Gallery Foods, Inc., Generations, an Intergenerational Center and the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra. She stressed to the students that gathering professional experience is a difference maker that will help set their resume apart.
“Employers want people who are well rounded who can handle what comes at you,” Leicht said. “It’s important to have that professional experience to get your foot in the door, and it makes you more well-rounded and employable.”
Colloquium events for Business & Entrepreneurship and Science, Technology & Education will be held later this week.