Success: Rachel Collins

When Rachel Collins ’01 was a secondary education student at Mount Mercy, she learned one of the most important career lessons she would learn: treat every student she meets with the quality of attention she received while at the university.

“Though my professors solidified my desire to work in an educational setting, my soccer coach, Amir Hadzic, showed me the kind of person I wanted to be. He gives you his total attention when he is with you. I told myself I wanted to treat every student with that quality of attention.  As an educator, I believe building relationships is the most important aspect of what I do.”

While attending Mount Mercy, Collins was also raising a young child. The university was flexible with her schedule, which allowed her to be a part of the women’s soccer team, an opportunity she thought she would have to give up.

“Being able to be a college athlete was something I thought I would have to give up as a young mother, but MMU also helped me meet that goal,” Collins said. “My professors and soccer coach made my experience wonderful. I transferred to MMU my sophomore year, so I had a year of experience to compare it to. As a young mother, my time away from home had to be worthwhile, and I felt every minute on campus was valuable.”

After graduating from Mount Mercy, Collins worked at Metro High School in Cedar Rapids before deciding to go back to graduate school for school counseling. She continued to work as a teacher while in grad school and graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007 with a Master’s in School Counseling. At that time, she was working at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids and was able to move directly into a counseling role there.

“I work with students in three major areas: personal and social support, academic planning, and college and career readiness. Various activities fall under each domain. I most enjoy working with students individually to help them make important life decisions. Sometimes that is helping them through a tough emotional time, sometimes that is advocating for them as learners, sometimes that is assisting them with narrowing down which college is right for them.”

Collins believes all students looking for the right university need to consider key factors.

“For those considering Mount Mercy, I would give the same advice I give when considering any college or university: Make sure the institution you choose is the right fit for you. Consider your program or major of choice, the size of the school, the community you will live in and how far you wish to be from home.”

For current Mount Mercy students, Collins suggests taking advantage of every new opportunity given.

“Take advantage of every activity and opportunity that presents itself to you. The college years are so unique and full. You may discover even more about yourself by trying new things and committing to grab hold of every opportunity.”

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