“I found a community at St. Ambrose.”
Twyla is an independent soul who created her own path to college. She chose to become an Ambrosian, in part, for our small class sizes and the comprehensive education we provide. Then, we exceeded her expectations by providing a personal, supportive and encouraging community where she thrives.
Hometown: Long Grove, Illinois
Twyla doesn’t consider herself a traditional college student. After high school, she took a year to figure out where she was going next. She spent time abroad in India and Thailand, and a short stint in Texas. After returning to Chicago, Twyla dedicated her time to working as a CNA at an elderly home and began her college search. During a holiday celebration with her best friend, some of the extended family members mentioned a six-generation tie to SAU. It sparked Twyla’s curiosity and she took a tour. It was then she began to discover her community here at St. Ambrose.
Twyla attended a high school with 5,000 students. The classes were huge and often teachers didn’t remember if they had her in a class, or which one. There was little time for one-on-one help. Our 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio was very appealing. “I am a fan of the smaller classes, and it was a nice transition. The whole-person individual education they talk about at SAU is something you really see. I’ve experienced it," she says.
How are you involved at SAU?
Twyla is creative and likes to perform, and found numerous ways to get involved. She’s a member of the SAU Dance Company, University Chorale, and Bella Voce (women’s acapella). She's the cardio dance instructor for student fitness classes and assists the Art Department and Catich Gallery with marketing. Twyla has several part-time jobs, and her work experience is highly valued by her professors. They often ask her to share her professional experiences with the class. After living on campus for three years, Twyla transitioned into an apartment off campus.
What do you value most about your Ambrosian experience?
Twyla says the dedication and support shown by professors demonstrate SAU's commitment to a higher standard of learning. Economics Professor Ted Woodruff PhD, offers weekend office hours, which works best with her schedule. Once, when she became overwhelmed by all she was juggling, Woodruff invited her to lunch, listened, and encouraged Twyla to put herself first. When she discovered a possible gap in financial aid, several professors walked her through other options. And, English Professor Nancy Hayes PhD, gave Twyla a list of potential scholarships specific to her talents, interests, and situation. “My professors know me, they see a value in what I am doing, and have encouraged me to keep going. And as I keep moving forward, they move forward with me,” Twyla says.
Why Choose the Management and Marketing Programs?
Twyla says her niche is hospitality and her goal is to own a restaurant someday, possibly a dog daycare, too. We are preparing her for those goals and so much more. She launched her Ambrosian education with a management major, then added marketing when she discovered it would only take one more class to make her minor a second major. Now, she is considering adding a third major in sales, something Twyla said is possible because of the comprehensive business education we provide. “If I am unable to find a job in the hospitality industry, I will have so many other options. The skills I am learning here are highly valued in any industry.”