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Dec. 17, 2015
Owen Rauckman was drawn to Northwest Missouri State University by its interactive digital media (IDM) program in hopes of becoming proficient in web design and web development.
Three and a half years later, the Olathe, Kansas, native is graduating from Northwest with his bachelor’s degree and with summa cum laude honors. Next month, he begins his career at Garmin – where he also spent two summers as an intern – as a user experience developer in the company’s marketing department.
“I wanted to be a web developer and that's what I'm going to be doing after I graduate,” Rauckman said. “I did want to own my own business at one point, but after having some internships I've realized that I like working in a workplace. I'm glad I had those opportunities to help me know that’s what I’d rather do.”
Rauckman certainly made the most of his opportunities at Northwest.
He served as a teaching assistant for computer science and information systems classes for three years, and he participated for two years on the department’s RoadShow Team, speaking to high school students about computing careers and opportunities at Northwest. He presented a poster about Responsive Design at the 2014 Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Central Plains Conference.
He was a member of Upsilon Pi Epsilon national honorary society for computing and information systems students. He was active in in DigEm, an organization for students interested in digital electronic media, and served as its vice president last year. He was selected twice for Knacktive, an advanced undergraduate experience at Northwest that mimics a professional marketing communications agency, working first as an interactive digital media manager and as a project manager the next.
CS/IS faculty voted him the Outstanding Interactive Digital Media–Computer Science Freshman and the Outstanding Interactive Digital Media–Computer Science Senior. He also was a National Science Foundation S-STEM scholar for the duration of his academic career at Northwest.
“IDM has been awesome because I'm in the art building. I’m in Wells doing marketing and social media and web stuff. I’m over in Colden doing computer science,” Rauckman said. “So I guess you could say I'm learning how to speak all the different languages. It's fun to meet different people in different areas.”
Rauckman work hard for sure, but he is quick to credit faculty members who mentored him at Northwest – even while he battled a health scare during parts of his sophomore and junior years. Rauckman struggled to stay positive and keep up on his work in between doctor visits.
Rauckman is thankful for his instructors teaching intangible skills, such as communication skills, workplace behavior and time management.
“The computer science teachers are a good influence because they are always looking out for the students, and they help us with professional development,” Rauckman said. “They give us the encouragement and opportunities we need to advance and get the internships. They are all willing to help you get an internship or, if you are struggling in a class, go to their office hours and they’re like, ‘Hey, how can I help you?’”
Rauckman arrived at Northwest with a goal of earning his degree and securing employment by the time he graduated. Northwest provided Rauckman an environment that challenged him but also paved the way for him to achieve his goal.
“Bearcats always go the extra mile and pay attention to detail,” he said. “I've learned to try to master my craft, instead of just getting work done. It's good to push yourself and challenge yourself when you know others around you are also challenging themselves. It's a good, encouraging environment that can help push you further.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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