News Archive

David Wunderlich

In a nutshell, what do you do?
My main focus is acting; it’s what I love and what I came out here to do. However, this year, I’ve been involved on the other side of the camera as well. I started my own company, Break Free Productions, as a platform to create and cast myself in my own work. It’s been quite the learning curve, but incredibly rewarding as well.
What are you working on right now?
As I’m writing this, I just stepped off the set of General Hospital. I recur on that show as the bartender at the Metro Court Restaurant. I’m also currently in the process of submitting a short film I produced and starred in to various festivals locally, nationally and internationally. It’s something I’ve been working on with some colleagues for the past six months, and now the film is finally finished and we’re in the process of getting it out there and (hopefully) being recognized for our hard work. This film has taught me so much about the filmmaking process. I’ve been there every step of the way from inception to completion, and then some! It’s insane the amount of work it takes to get a movie made. I have a whole new appreciation now when I sit down and watch a film.
Why do you love what you do?
I’ve loved movies for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been fascinated by actors, too. I can remember as a kid watching the red carpet just to see the interviews of the actors and then changing the channel as soon as the awards started because I didn’t know any of the movies that were nominated! There was just always something so unique and authentic about actors and from a very young age it’s been a quality I’ve admired. And once I started acting, I knew why this quality exists in actors. Learning to be a better actor is learning to live a fuller life, plain and simple. Any reservations you have as an actor are the same reservations you have in your life, and learning to work through those is unbelievably rewarding.

It’s also because of the way films have affected my life. Films have the power to open your mind and your heart to something, or to bring clarity to a struggle you’ve been dealing with, and even to change the direction of your life. It’s happened to me so many times, and my hope is that I can someday return the favor, maybe help some kid realize his dream.
How did Albion help you get there?
I did my first play at Albion. Albion also gave me the opportunity to come out to LA and intern on the set of Cougar Town my junior year, and it was during that internship that I decided I was going to go all in and pursue acting as a career. If it weren’t for my four years at Albion, I might not even be out here right now. But, ultimately, the liberal arts education I received there has helped me more than I had ever imagined. I opened my mind through it, and nothing could be more helpful for a career in the arts. 
For me, Albion...
...is a place I'll always look back at and smile. The classes, the football games, the Greek life, and most importantly the friends, are some of the best memories I'll ever have.
Anything else you'd like to add?
The older I get, the more I realize, especially in this day and age, you can make money doing anything you want to! People are inventing new jobs every single day. Find what you love, whatever it is that you’d gladly do for free, and go make a living out of it. Don’t take the safe route, it’s not even guaranteed to be safe! So take a risk, do what you love and find a way to make money doing it. That’s what you got an education for, isn’t it? Use it!

Take It Further: David's IMDB profile, Communication Studies, Theatre

Connie Van Onselder

In a nutshell, what do you do?
I manage, direct and oversee all aspects of Keeneland’s cash management, financial reporting and other financial matters. This includes managing the finance staff, maintaining banking and other outside relationships, overseeing audit and tax reporting and presenting financial data to the Board of Directors.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently analyzing the financial impact of potential changes to a vendor contract as well as reviewing the daily profit-and-loss statement for our spring race meet.
Why do you love what you do?
There is no finer institution in the sport of Thoroughbred racing or Thoroughbred auctions in this country. The tradition, history and beauty that are Keeneland make it a wonderful place to come to work every day. I am also blessed to work with a superb senior management team that is collaborative and innovative while maintaining the long-standing traditions of giving back to the community and the Thoroughbred industry.
How did Albion help you get there?
A liberal arts education and Albion in particular taught me critical thinking. As a top financial officer, it is imperative that you know how to question and apply logic as well as manage people. Management is actually taught at Albion, something that I have seen fellow colleagues struggle with. Experience is essential in management, but having the basics in your head before you start and working through scenarios in a classroom setting definitely provide an advantage once you work past the “number crunching” positions.
For me, Albion ...
... encouraged independent and critical thinking, provided real-world internship opportunities that opened doors once I graduated, exposed me to topics and people that I had not been exposed to before, and introduced me to some of my closest lifelong friends.
Anything else you’d like to add?
So many schools today are concentrating on educating for the major and job. This may provide students with their first job, but the well-rounded liberal arts requirements are what will produce the leaders of tomorrow.

Take It Further: Connie featured in Io Triumphe! magazine (Spring-Summer 2013 issue), Economics and Management, Gerstacker Institute

Erich Owens

In a nutshell, what do you do?
I'm a Software Engineer at Facebook. I work on the Public Content Ranking team. Our goal is to surface and recommend high-quality content to users based on their interests and currently trending stories.
What are you working on right now?
I'm currently building machine-learning classifiers to distinguish between different types of posts and posters, leveraging many interesting mathematical and statistical principles to drive abstract pattern recognition.
How did Albion help you get there?
Albion College was an excellent place to begin my career. The residential focus allowed me to identify a strong peer group to live and learn from, and it fostered connections to faculty to the point where I felt comfortable regularly attending office hours or asking questions in class. The students and research faculty at my later schools were also impressive, but the community aspect was not nearly as individually focused.
Looking back, were there benefits to participating in Albion's Dual Degree Program in Engineering instead of the more traditional route of four or five years at an engineering school?
The pre-engineering program encouraged me to focus on broader interests. A five-year program gave me plenty of time to take plenty of interesting math and science electives, but it also allowed me to take courses in literature, game theory, philosophy and art, and even spend a semester abroad in Budapest. This focus on the liberal arts was essential to my development as a human being and a well-rounded professional, and could not have been possible in a compressed four-year curriculum.
Do any Albion courses or experiences stand out in your mind as particularly helpful while you were in engineering school?
The focus on math faculty who'd excitedly explain concepts in analysis or algebra or industrial mathematics—that went a long way toward building the fundamentals I'd apply in more advanced courses in later years. For instance, my linear algebra course was not a bag of tricks, but rather focused heavily on building a geometric intuition that carried me clean through real analysis (critical for understanding Jacobian determinants and the Inverse Function theorem), functional analysis, and many basic tenants of machine learning (say, Mercer's theorem and the Kernel trick). My sense of larger schools like the University of Michigan is that their basic undergraduate courses like this try their hardest to weed students out of competitive majors rather than nurture this sort of critical understanding of important topics.
What are some of your favorite memories of your time at Albion?
Living, working and throwing/attending concerts in the Coffeehouse co-op. Staying up late in Palenske Hall working on problem sets, commandeering a classroom all to myself. Living my final year in Munger Hall with my best friends. Being supported and encouraged by faculty to ask as many questions as I could, to apply to programs I thought way out of my league, and to generally be the best person I could be.

Take It Further: Dual Degree Program in Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics

Erin Knight

In a nutshell, what do you do?
I work with five direct reports and transfer new processes into the pilot plant. It is an exciting place to work because we are on the cutting edge of biotechnology and we get to experiment with new equipment every year.
Looking back, were there benefits to participating in Albion's Dual Degree Program in Engineering instead of the more traditional route of four or five years at an engineering school?
The biggest advantage is the well-rounded education that you end up with. Unless you want to go into a strictly technical route, being exposed to a range of subjects from women's studies to world religions challenges you to learn to formulate opinions and have discussions. When you work in a dynamic corporate structure, most of your day is spent navigating the business processes, negotiating with peers or across groups and learning new things. Although I do occasionally have to remember how to set tuning parameters or explain to someone what an endothermic reaction is, it isn't the biggest part of my day.

Another real benefit was the small class size at Albion. At a bigger school many students get lost in the intro chemistry and math classes, and even if they pass they don't necessarily internalize the concepts. At Albion, professors were very accessible and we had great class discussions.
Do any Albion courses or experiences stand out in your mind as particularly helpful while you were in engineering school?
Taking a couple of classes as independent study while I was at Albion was really useful. Not only was it instrumental in letting me graduate in five years, but I think the experience of working through things on my own was a good experience for the work world, when you don't always have a lot of direction but still need to figure out how things work. Also, I found that thermodynamics and reactions engineering were pretty easy after taking the pre-reqs at Albion. The courses at Albion covered most of the concepts, so I was way ahead of my classmates at Michigan in those areas.
What are some of your favorite memories of your time at Albion?
I loved playing in the jazz band at Albion. I was a flute player in high school and picked up the sax just my senior year. I never would have made it into the jazz band at Michigan, so I am thankful for that experience.

Take It Further: Dual Degree Program in Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science

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