My liberal arts experience shaped me as a person

Alex Keninger ’22 is leaving Wartburg College with a job as a cloud support associate at Amazon in Seattle, blending his interests in computer information systems and business. This end is a far cry from when he first came to Wartburg from Ankeny, Iowa, undecided with a tentative interest in business. It was Wartburg that allowed him to explore and find his passion for computers.

“I wanted to find a liberal arts school to really find what I wanted to do. I thought maybe business, so I began with that. Then, my freshman year, I took a programming class and loved it. So, I picked up a computer information system major alongside my business major. I also picked up a concentration in management,” Keninger said.

Since he discovered what he wanted to do, Keninger has worked to incorporate his two majors utilizing the liberal arts education at Wartburg to fit his needs.

“I think one of the great things about being in business and computer science at Wartburg is being able to kind of combine those interests. I can pick up things form both majors to take into the career that I really want to do. Another important thing is the small class size that allow for developing those hands-on experiences with soft skills that bigger schools may not be able to provide,” Keninger said.

One of those hands-on experiences was the systems design project that Keninger worked on with his classmate Michael Hoelzer.

“It is a web application for stock management. It manages a portfolio alongside stock information with real-time data all in one place. I am really happy with how it turned out. I have been interested in the financial stock trading. I kind of wanted to build a web app to blend those two interests of my majors together,” Keninger said.

Alex Keninger

Beyond coursework, the ability to build experience through work-study and internships was important to Keninger. He worked several work-study jobs during his time at Wartburg, but his time working with the IT office has set him up for his next job.

“I think having the experience from working with the IT office here, being able to talk about that will be really beneficial to my career. The job that I am going into is really using a lot of those personal connections working with clients and trouble-shooting elements. I was able to draw on a lot of those while I was interviewing,” Keninger said.

Another opportunity that Keninger utilized is Wartburg West, which is an experiential, urban studies program in Denver, Colorado, designed specifically for Wartburg College students. Through experiential learning in an urban setting, students clarify their vocational goals, develop professional skills, and refine their personal values.

“I did Wartburg West in 2021, and it was great, probably one of my favorite Wartburg experiences. Just being able to live in Denver and have that small group of friends, all while doing an internship.  Schools that offer stuff like that, smaller schools like Wartburg, have those opportunities with smaller groups. It was a fantastic experience. I am really glad that I can add that to my resume and show employers that I can take initiative to get that experience in a different location,” Keninger said.

All these opportunities have allowed Keninger to make the most of his time at Wartburg, which is something that has set him up for his future.

“I think my experience has helped me figure out what I want to do. I got to explore the athletic side when I was first here. Then I got to explore the study abroad, Wartburg West opportunity. I had classes from different majors and with different professors, getting that whole rounded experience. That whole liberal arts experience has really shaped me as a person, and it is going to show in my career.”