Graceland Spotlights

James Thomas Jr. '09 has created a life he never thought possible. And now he's giving that same chance to high school football players who might otherwise believe they can't do the same.

Peoria, Illinois-born Tommy Ratkiewicz-Stierwalt ‘12 knew at a very young age he wanted to be involved in the arts in some capacity and began performing in the third grade. He was first involved with local theatre in 2007 when cast in the ensemble of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dream Coat at Quad City Music Guild in Moline, Illinois where he grew up.

Graceland University believes experiential learning is an important part of student success, and the Principal Voice of the Young Consumer (VOYC) Business Challenge provides Graceland social media marketing students with just that. Each spring for the past five years, students in the Social Media Marketing class at Graceland have had the opportunity to develop a real marketing plan for a Fortune 500 company.

Keely Cardwell graduated from Graceland in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). After working as an RN for seven years, she is currently finishing a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) at the University of Kansas. Horizons caught up with Keely to hear about her burgeoning career and Graceland memories.

Mike Davis ’10 samples the pizza everywhere he goes. It is all part of the cultural immersion that Mike includes in his research. His time at Graceland included managing the Pizza Shack, and he considers himself a connoisseur.

There is a reason why people choose to be on one side of the camera and not the other. Peering through her Nikon D810, Tara Shupe ‘11 shies away from being in a photograph and struggles to reveal her accomplishments, but she is finding success capturing the world from the other side of the lens. Freelance photography careers are not very linear, and success comes in surprises. Tara is open to gathering creative energy at every turn and thankful for the broad artistic base she received during her Graceland years.

Success: Chelsey Shinn

April 3, 2017

Success: Lexi Kroesen

April 3, 2017

When Andrew Murphy '14 started at Graceland, he had seen little of the world beyond the Midwest. In Lamoni, "the center of everywhere," he became friends with Hawaiian volleyball players who inspired him to travel. After a summer in South Korea with World Service Corps, he was on his way to being a global citizen serving the less fortunate.

Graceland graduate Paloma Ortiz ‘15 is a busy woman with a plan to move justice forward. She is excited about her career and the direction her life is going. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Spanish/Chemistry minors, she was accepted to Emporia State University’s Master of Science program in forensics.