Driving Change in Higher Education.

Alumni Spotlight

Welcome to the MSCSA Alumni Spotlight where we periodically feature MSCSA Alumni doing interesting and worthwhile things after their involvement in MSCSA. Alumni are chosen based on their continued leadership and community involvement following their time at MSCSA. We are very proud of our accomplished alumni and are always searching for the next spotlight.


If you’d like to nominate an individual for the spotlight please drop us an email. 

Tyler Vigen

Alumni Spotlight Tyler Vigen

Where did you attend college and what was your major? I went to Normandale Community College, then to Metro State. At Metro State, I majored in Criminal Justice.

What is your current job? I am a Summer Associate at Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago. I'm also an author of a book called Spurious Correlations and small business owner. But primarily, I'm still a student!

I started working on the Spurious Correlations project in May of 2014. It was just a fun side project, but after sharing it on Facebook it ended up on reddit and Business Insider did an article on it. For the next few weeks, I did a lot of interviews about it with NPR, BBC, Vox, and a number of other news outlets. Hachette Book Group got in touch and wanted to see if I was interested in putting together a fun book of charts, which I happily accepted! In May of 2015, the book was published, which was very exciting. Whenever I mention the book, my publisher likes me to include where to buy it. So here is where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at a bookstore near you.

Right now I'm heading into my third and final year at Harvard Law School to finish my J.D. So, since we're counting the A.A. at Normandale, that will be degree #4. Since I worked full-time in undergrad, not being allowed to work so much (under ABA rules) has been a relief. In that free time, I've been able to develop other tools for students. These include a course catalog with all the information about every class that students are really looking for (Does this professor allow laptops in the classroom? How hard is the exam?), an outline bank (these are not as popular in undergrad as they are in grad school, but imagine if 2,000 people were taking the same ten classes and how useful it would be if they all shared notes), a textbook exchange (Craigslist, but all the students and only the students from Harvard Law School), and an employment research tool.

While these are ostensibly developed as part of my company, the truth is that only some parts of it could ever hope to make a profit. Instead, the IT team working with the Registrar has been remodeling their course catalog after mine, the Dean of Students Office is re-writing their course evaluations based on the survey that informs my course catalog, and the Office of Career Services just provided a grant to integrate my research tool with their employment information. Even though these changes mean that those parts of my services will become obsolete, integrating them into the school is a definite win for students. And I still get excited about seeing good things happen for students.

What drew you to become involved in MSCSA and what position(s) did you hold? I joined MSCSA because I wanted to be involved in the student government at Normandale, and MSCSA was an extension of that. I was the Presidents' Group chair 2008-2009 and the President 2009-2010.


Mara Brogan

MSCSA Alumni, Mara Brogan

Where did you attend college and what was your major? I majored in Natural Resource Technology - Forestry, with a wildlife ecology certificate, at Vermilion Community College.

What is your current job? I am currently a store manager of ACE Hardware.

What drew you to become involved in MSCSA and what position(s) did you hold? I wanted to be a part of MSCSA because I wanted to help people and make a difference. I loved that I got the opportunity to meet so many people from around the state and that everyone of them had something unique to offer. During my time with MSCSA, I was an alternate for my region and my goal was to always be a strong student leader.

Are you currently involved in any community or volunteer work? If so, what types of projects or organizations are you passionate about? I am currently on the Minnesota State College Alumni Association (MSCAA) Board. I feel very fortunate because now I'm helping give back to the organization that gave so much to me and many others.


Abby Ledvina

Are you currently involved in community or volunteer work? If so, what types of projects? I currently do a number of different community and volunteer work. I am living and working in Hanoi, Vietnam. I chose this place because of the high demand for foreign teachers.  Outside of the classroom I work individually with students to improve their English for school, work and future careers.   

What is your current job? I am an English teacher at LANGMaster. I work with Vietnamese college students who are learning English to further their careers and provide for a better life for themselves and their families.  We help build confidence and a good mindset to strive beyond their self-limitations. They will be the future leaders in companies, organizations and nonprofits. As they start their careers, they will need to have a good foundation for when they encounter the challenges they will be facing in the future. 

Where did you attend college? Inver Hills Community College for my associate’s degree. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay for my bachelor’s degree.

What was your major? Human Biology

What position(s) did you hold while in MSCSA? I was the Presidents’ Group Chair and the Student Senate President at Inver Hills Community College.


Lyman Hawbaker

MSCSA Alumni, Lyman Hawbaker

Are you currently involved in community or volunteer work? If so, what types of projects?I am currently involved in a program that works with disadvantaged, low-income individuals of all ages to overcome barriers to employment.  Previously I volunteered with an organization that brings the arts to underserved children in New York City.

What is your current job? Deutsche Bank, Private Equity & Private Markets

Where did you attend college? Cornell University and Normandale Community College

What was your major? Bachelor of Science, Industrial & Labors Relations Associate of Arts

What position(s) did you hold while in MSCSA? I did not hold any MSCSA positions, but I was the Student Senate President of Normandale Community College.


Victoria Vlad

Are you involved currently in community or volunteer work? If so, what types of projects? Next to my full-time job, I occasionally volunteer in my community – currently Chisinau, Moldova. My most recent experience was volunteering for the Delegation of the European Union to Moldova where I helped organize an information booth in Tiraspol on Europe’s Day. Previously, I’ve been involved as a volunteer trainer. While in Washington, D.C., I volunteered at DC Central Kitchen (with my Capital Semester colleagues). As an intern for the Institute of World Politics, I volunteered at various events.

What is your current job? Since March 2012 I’ve been working as an economist with an independent think-tank based in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. I am involved in projects in budget transparency and also coordinating communication around BudgetStories.md, an open budgets and data visualization project

Where did you attend college? I pursued my bachelor’s degree in economics with an International Economic Relations major at the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova. In 2009 through 2010 I studied economics at Riverland College in Austin, Minnesota, on a full U.S. government scholarship under the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (a program of the U.S. Department of State). In the fall of 2012, I studied public policy at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., a Capital Semester program with The Fund for American Studies.

What position(s) did you hold while in MSCSA? I received the MSCSA Leadership Scholarship in 2009.


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