My liberal arts education prepared me for business ownership

NAME: Staci McNicholl 


MAJOR: Social work 

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: CEO and senior therapist, The Rock Counseling Group

WHY WARTBURG: I first heard of Wartburg from my Honor’s English teacher in high school. Her daughter went to Wartburg, so I decided to check it out. I visited Wartburg with her on a weekend, and I LOVED everything about it — small classes, the faith-based perspective, and especially the exceptional social work program (the oldest in the state of Iowa and one of the oldest west of the Mississippi). I always knew I wanted to major in social work, and Wartburg was the perfect fit!

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU COULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I never would have imagined that I would own my own business. The liberal arts education (taking courses in macroeconomics, political science, etc) has well prepared me for this path.

HOW ELSE DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE:  Volunteering within the social work department (Toys for Tots, for example) has prepared me for a life of service and giving back. My business’ name, The Rock Counseling Group, is a direct reference to Psalm 18:2 — it is HIS name that is on the business, not mine. Our practice regularly participates in fundraisers/giving to the Champaign-area community. We believe that mental health wellness is a right, not a privilege.

Staci McNicholl

WHY WAS YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: My experiences in the social work program have benefitted me immensely in terms of future preparedness for my career. The intense and rigorous program, with its multiple internships — I was able to do a total of four internships at six different agencies while at Wartburg — was immeasurable. I interned at agencies such as Allen Women’s Health Center in Waterloo and WIC in Dubuque. These internships, in addition to the coursework, fully prepared me for the Master’s of Social Work Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This set the stage for a very successful career as the CEO/owner of The Rock Counseling Group, a therapy practice I own with my husband. We employ 12 other therapists in Central Illinois and are one of the most respected private practices in the area. My twins are 15, and are beginning their college search. One of my girls wants to be a therapist, and Wartburg is at the top of her list. 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Wartburg is worth it. It made an immeasurable impact on my future successes — when others say that where you go to school doesn’t matter (just that you do), I beg to differ. I would not have had nearly the extent of education and preparedness that I did if I did not attend Wartburg.