I received a top-notch education
I received a top-notch education
NAME: Travis Graven
CLASS YEAR: 2001
MAJOR: Communication Arts: Electronic Media
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Producer, Iowa PBS
WHY WARTBURG: I chose Wartburg for many reasons, but the top three were probably academics, activities and size. I was interested in both broadcast journalism and music, and Wartburg had incredibly strong programs in both areas. I could easily be involved in activities, both co-curricular and extra-curricular. And I grew up in a small town and attended a small high school, so Wartburg was big enough to provide opportunities yet still small enough to have the sense of community that I wanted. It was home.
HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: I had the opportunity to get hands-on, real-world experience in and out of the classroom. I learned solid fundamentals. Those things helped put me ahead of many other people my age early in my career. And a liberal arts education made me well rounded and prepared me for a journalism career in which you have to know a little bit about a lot of different things, be curious, constantly learn and be able to adapt to change.
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I took two international trips during May Term while at Wartburg. I toured Australia as a member of Castle Singers my freshman year and studied media in Slovakia my sophomore year. Both were incredible opportunities to travel as a tourist, see significant landmarks, have fun, and develop friendships. But they were also tremendous learning opportunities to explore other cultures, expand my understanding of the world, and see how other people view the United States and Americans. Unforgettable memories and valuable life lessons.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG TRADITION: There are so many good ones, it’s hard to pick just one! It would probably be Outfly or Christmas with Wartburg. Outfly truly brings the entire campus together. And as a musician, performing as part of Christmas with Wartburg was an honor and a real treat.
HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED TO THE COLLEGE: I serve on the Department of Journalism and Communication’s national advisory board. I love being able to draw on my professional experiences and offer ideas, advice and feedback to help the department grow, adapt and remain strong. I’m always happy to give back to the college and students in whatever way I can, whether it’s speaking to a class, adjudicating capstone projects for RICE Day, or serving as a UKnight Day champion. I’ve also only missed one Homecoming since I graduated!
HOW ARE YOU LIVING OUT THE WARTBURG MISSION: The Wartburg mission is engrained in my mind. It is such an integral part of everything on campus, that I think it’s only natural that many of us continue that mission long after we leave. The way I carry myself, dedicate myself to my career, nurture relationships, lead by example, and try to serve others all is rooted in the values and mission celebrated at Wartburg.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Get involved. Meet people. Go places. Do things. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Value your friendships and cultivate relationships with professors and staff. You will appreciate having those connections for many years to come. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Academics are important and an essential foundation for your future, but you won’t remember that one little assignment 20 years later. The experiences and people, you will.
WHY WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: I received a top-notch education, had incredible experiences, developed lifelong friendships and discovered who I am. That’s worth it. That’s more than worth it. I practiced journalism across a variety of platforms. I made mistakes and learned from them. Professors cared deeply for me and my future. And years later, they still do. I got involved and had fun. You’re not just a number at Wartburg. You’re known, seen and nurtured. The campus community is a second family.