I was able to do it all at Wartburg

NAME: Elissa Shipp
MAJOR: Music education
 CURRENTLY: 5-12 Instrumental Music and K-12 Vocal Music teacher, Clarksville Community School District

WHY WARTBURG: I chose Wartburg because of the professors in the music department. When I was looking at undergraduate programs, I was really looking to make a connection with the professors I would be working with. Wartburg stood out to me because when I met the music faculty, I felt instantly welcomed and important. It was at one of my first visits to Wartburg that one of the instrumental professors invited me to attend Band Camp at Wartburg to meet new people and grow my musical talent. Between meeting the professors and attending band camp, Wartburg was the obvious fit for me!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG TRADITION: My favorite Wartburg tradition is Homecoming week. As a student and as an alumni, there are so many fun opportunities to be a part of. Some of my favorites include the homecoming parade and the lacrosse alumni games!

WHAT WAS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I never thought that I could have been a part of a sports team in college before coming to Wartburg. I was told that it was pretty much impossible to study music education while also being a part of a college-level sports team because of the time and commitment each of those things took. When I started out at Wartburg, I was not part of a sports team because of this, but as my first two years went on I was really missing that aspect of my student-life. When I heard that the women’s lacrosse team was looking for athletes to join their program, I decided this was my time, and Wartburg made it possible for me to make that decision. I never imagined before Wartburg that I would continue athletics in college, but I am so happy that I had that opportunity. 

Elissa Shipp

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: Wartburg prepared my for my life after college by getting me out into classrooms all four years of college. I had heard horror stories of others whose first experience in a classroom was student teaching their senior year of college and that’s when they found out a classroom was not for them. I was able to get into a classroom right away my freshman year and feel out what music education was actually like. This was fundamental in forming my decision to continue in the program and network with music teachers around Iowa before I graduated.

HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED TO THE COLLEGE: Since I live in Waverly, it is pretty easy for me to stay connected to the college. I make it a priority to come back at least for a couple of events each year. This past year I attended Christmas with Wartburg with a friend from college, and I also went to several home lacrosse games with another friend from college. I am proud that I am a Wartburg alumni, and I want to attend things on campus to continue to show my support. I also have the awesome opportunity of taking my students to lots of different honor band and honor choir festivals that Wartburg offers throughout the school year. This is an awesome way to expose my students to what Wartburg has to offer while also staying connected with professors and college happenings.

HOW ARE YOU LIVING OUT THE WARTBURG MISSION: I really try to live out a “life of leadership” day to day. As a teacher, you are a leader that our future generations learn and grow from. I think that it is important to remember that as I nurture my own students so they may also live a life of leadership someday.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: I would tell any current student to get involved as much as possible. Wartburg is a place where you can “do it all.” You want to join a choir? Go for it! Always wanted to continue your athletic career? Go talk to the coaches. Want to see what it is like to work in a library setting? Stop in and ask! The faculty and staff do an amazing job of helping you fit in what you want to do with your academics.

WHY WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: My experience was worth it because I was able to do everything that I wanted to do, and I mean EVERYTHING! I had the incredible opportunity to get my degree while also being a part of music ensembles, a sports team, and holding an on-campus job. The campus is small enough that my coach knew my professors and it was easy for me to figure out how to be flexible with everything I was involved in.