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Kayla Fielder

Marketing & Management, 2018 | Project Coordinator, AmeriCorps

For some, attending college after graduating high school is a predestined next step. For some, a college education is expected and unquestioned, but for many that next step holds a lot of uncertainty.

Kayla Fielder grew up in Pocatello, Idaho and although her parents did not finish their college education until much later in life- Kayla was expected to go to school. But, due to her parent’s divorce, there would be no financial support to make the leap into her education and on top of that Kayla was not sure what she wanted to study.

“I honestly thought I might just become a lifelong student,” she laughed. “The idea of a real job was terrifying.” At just 18, Kayla, like all other college freshmen, was under the pressure to decide what career path she wanted to invest her time and money into studying so that she could work in that field for a good portion of the rest of her life. “Life does not prepare you to make a lifelong decision like that at such a young age.”

While attending school, Kayla found herself working four part-time jobs at once in order to pay for her education and living on her own. “It was really hard to balance my time between work and class, and homework, and studying. And honestly, I didn’t know how to study.”

But Kayla wasn’t alone in managing the difficulties of transitioning to college life. “ISU wants you to graduate as much as you want to graduate,” Kayla noted that she was able to overcome her struggles with studying by utilizing sources such as the Writing Center and working closely with professors. “They give you all the support you need to make sure that you get from start to finish as flawlessly as possible.”  

After getting through a couple of initial courses, Kayla found she still didn’t know what she wanted to pursue. “So, I started with accounting. But I found I didn’t really like it as much. I was good at it, but it wasn’t my passion.”

“One of my courses required us to apply for jobs as a practice assignment.” So, Kayla put in a few applications and was called in to interview for a Career Path Internship (CPI). The CPI program, which is unique to Idaho State, allows students to work in their field of study for credit in paid positions. “I show up for the interview and it goes really well, so they offered me the position.” At first, Kayla was reluctant. “I said- oh no, you don’t have to hire me it was just for practice, it was just an assignment.” But then she realized this position could allow here to quit some of her multiple jobs and explore a potential career path. “This might help guide me into what I want to do, and it did.”

In her CPI, Kayla found she was able to apply the skills that had helped her to succeed in accounting, but drew in the personal interaction with others that she craved. “The internship program really allowed me to earn money while learning where my skills and my passion collide. My love for numbers and Excel with what I was passionate about- people and caring for others.”

What started out as another job while she studied, became a career path as Kayla began to excel in her new CPI position. Her supervisors began sending her to trainings and priming her for a full-time position that would open up shortly after Kayla’s expected graduation date.

With her career path on the horizon, thanks to her CPI, Kayla decided to continue her education in the College of Business choosing to double major in marketing and management- knowing she could do both programs without extending her graduation date.

Today, Kayla continues to work in the office she first joined as a CPI where she was hired full-time to be a Project Coordinator for Idaho HealthCorps AmeriCorps at the Institute of Rural Health.

“I think if I hadn’t attended college, I would have an okay house, I would have an okay job, I would live an okay life. But, having graduated I think I get to experience life to its fullest.”