Jordan Ukena ’17 – Finds Her Path to Success in Biology and Heads to Graduate School

Why did Jordan Ukena ’17 choose Simpson? Initially, because of a boy. So the better question to ask is why she stayed when the relationship fizzled. Well, because of a different type of relationship: the kind she had with her professors.

“My professors have opened their office doors and their hearts to help me discover my true potential as a student and as a human being,” Jordan said. “They have provided answers when I asked questions, advice when I wanted their opinion, and lectures when I didn’t.”

Meanwhile, Jordan’s in-class instruction put her on a path for success as she enters Southern College of Optometry in Memphis. Originally, however, she planned to study physical or occupational therapy. It was one of Dr. Brown’s classes that changed her mind.

“I loved the topics covered, the teaching style, the lab experience, the professor and the overall vibe of Carver Science Hall. I knew that I wanted more, and switched my major to biology the very next semester,” she said.

After finishing optometry school, Jordan looks forward to returning to the Midwest and, hopefully, owning her own practice.

“I love the fact that I have the option to come back to the area after graduation and practice in smaller communities to provide care to the more under-served populations,” she said.

You’re unlikely to find a stronger advocate for office hours than Jordan. Yes, they allowed her to get help with homework and classes, but they served a much larger purpose to her. The Manson-native found a home away from home and another family in them.

“During office hours, my professors have taught me many lessons beyond the textbook materials and lectures,” she said. “I have learned how to overcome failures and academic obstacles I have also learned how to ask the appropriate people for help when I need it, not just when I want it.”

In the classroom, professors at Simpson taught Jordan the coursework and information she needed to know to be successful in her field, things she’ll likely Google someday when she can’t remember the specifics. But the biggest lessons they taught her are the ones that can’t be Googled.

“Just give them your four years, and Simpson College all of your money, and I can guarantee that this bunch of brainiacs will turn you into the most prepared, professional, and genuine individual possible, and a true Simpson Success Story.”

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