2012 alumni panel up for discussion

By Brian Park
Executive In-Depth Editor|
12 2012 Prospect graduates are coming back to Prospect Wed. 21 before Thanksgiving break to share their college experience. The alumni panel discussion will take place in the community room in each of the lunch periods. The discussion will be open to everyone, but it will mostly be directed to juniors and seniors in the midst of their college planning. During this time, students will have an opportunity to ask the alumni any questions they may have about college.
Some of the things the alumni will first talk about, according to college counselor Diane Bourn, are how they chose their particular college, the hardest thing about choosing the college, what kinds of things they have learned through the process and their advice to the seniors.
“The whole purpose is for mostly seniors, although any other students, juniors, can come as well, but [it’s] just to get an idea from students who have just gone through that whole college search and transition process,” Bourn said. “Get it right from them: words of advice and what kinds of things they should be thinking about.”
This is the third year of the event, but in the past, attendance has been low. Some of the teachers would bring their entire classes to the discussion, but only seven or eight students from their lunch would come to the discussion for each lunch period. Bourn feels if more people knew about the event, more people would attend, so she is hoping to get the word out and hoping more of the classes will come down this year.
“This is one of those years where I’m really trying it one more year in hopes that because people now know what it is, that maybe we will get more,” Bourn said.
According to Bourn, some of the alumni panelists who return from college wished they had the alumni panel discussion, but they just didn’t know about it.
Although Prospect graduate Owen Hoepfner has not attended one of these discussions while he was in high school, he will be at the alumni panel discussion to discuss his college experience at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Because of his unique process with the college application, Hoepfner thinks he has interesting things to share with the students. He was also given large scholarships, which was a factor in what college he wanted to choose, and is now involved in the honors college at Indiana.
At the discussion, Hoepfner plans to focus on what a big college is like and how students can fit in.
“As cool as it is to read a book on this college stuff, or talk to Mrs. Bourn, nothing is going to hold us back from answering how we really feel talking to a group of students,” Hoepfner said. “And we’re all going to have very different perspectives on the same thing, so instead of talking to one alumni, you’re talking to many, and they can really shed a lot of light on questions.”
Bourn agrees students should attend to hear about their interests from alumni who have gone through exactly what the students will have to face. She believes the alumni will help juniors and seniors by mentioning realistic positives and negatives about transitioning into college.
“I think a lot of times students think that it’s just going to be instantly the greatest thing in the world, like freedom and independence,” Bourn said. “And in the past, some of the panelists have talked about some of their struggles: homesickness, learning what it’s like to have to study when you’re only at school in class three hours a day [and] how you manage your time when you get everything else done, when you got more time than you’ve ever been used to having.”
Alumni panelists:
Jess Giambarberee – Elmhurst College
Scott Hammersley – American University
Maddie Conway – Harvard University
Owen Hoepfner – Indiana University
Christine Garmoe – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Julia Sykes – Penn State University
Julia Wolfe – Truman State University
Jonathan Rhee – Marquette University
Michelle Smith – University of Missouri
Christina Brucci – Michigan State
Allyson Krawczyk – Illinois State University
Kim Brinati – University of Dayton