As part of a new feature series, we are catching up with WOU alumni to see where life has led them after graduation. Next up is Casey Brown ’20, from Independence, Oregon. Since graduation, Casey has been working as a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual, and as a supervisor at Little Caesars on the weekends. We spoke to Casey about his time at WOU, his experiences post-graduation, and the advice he has for his fellow Wolves.
Why did you choose WOU?
I can answer that in a few different ways, but the best answer is probably that I would be close to my family. I wanted a way to obtain a college degree and experience while still helping and contributing to my family as it is very important for me to see my family thrive.
What advice do you have for future or current Wolves about life after college?
Get connected immediately. LinkedIn is a great tool to network with people/professors who work in your desired industry. Reach out to them and introduce yourself. The best part of life after college is that your hard work can finally be presented and shown off to the world. I know it seems like all of the work you put into this degree is useless, but I promise that’s not the case. Put yourself out there and connect with people and you’ll see how beneficial the knowledge you learned from college is and how that knowledge translates to actually impacting your life.
Do you have any meaningful anecdotes about professors or experiences you had at WOU?
The professors I interacted with were some of the best people I’ve ever met. They were caring and passionate about truly educating their students. The campus is beautiful and each Fall I love to walk the whole perimeter of the campus.
How has your WOU degree shaped your career path?
The current position I hold requires a bachelor’s degree. This isn’t the case for every industry and company, but it’s a great credential nonetheless. The information I gained from the countless hours of studying and lectures definitely helped me develop as a professional. This is one of the reasons why I find it beneficial to pursue my Masters degree at OSU, which I will be attending in the Fall. The degree I earned also taught me how to deal with adversity. I had two jobs and an internship while juggling classes on top, which pushed me out of my comfort zone. In the long run, being pushed out of my comfort zone was one of the most rewarding things I can take from my college career.
Growing up with a single mother, I wasn’t likely to even graduate high school, however I broke that stigma and strived to accomplish my goals. I became a first generation student and graduate by working hard and using my past as motivation and not a crutch. My father (who was separated with my mother and had a stroke a few years ago) passed away during my Junior year and I was still able to stay determined to succeed.
Did your intended career path change while at WOU? If so, how? Were there any classes/professors that influenced your decision?
I never changed my major but I did change my minor to Economics after taking Intermediate Microeconomics with John Leadley. I knew Economics was something I wanted to learn more about after having the honor to attend one of Leadley’s classes. After the term ended I changed minors and registered for another class with him. He was and has been a strong influence to me as a person and a professional. I wouldn’t have been successful in the field if it wasn’t for Leadley’s elegant way of teaching and interacting with his students.
What do you wish you knew before you graduated?
I wish I knew how much I’d miss WOU. Everytime I drive through campus I’m reminded of the memories that were created there. I worked on campus, I was a student, and I grew up in the area, so the campus itself holds a great value to me.
How have you stayed connected to WOU, post-graduation?
I still have meaningful relationships with my old coworkers and friends that still currently attend WOU. I also stay updated on upcoming events by following WOU on social media.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years? 10 years?
In five years I will have my Masters degree and develop meaningful relationships that will present opportunities for me to help and be more involved in my community. In ten years I hope to have made an impact in my community, the people I grew up with, the people who taught me over the years, and the people who love this town just as much as I do, which includes Western and its students.