In our Always a Redhawk series, we highlight some of our most recent graduates and the jobs they landed.

Southeast Missouri State University graduated over 1,400 students on May 13, and many who walked the stage decided to stay in the region to start their careers.

According to an economic impact study released in 2022, Southeast alumni and the businesses they work for contribute over $770 million of added income to the Missouri economy. For some students, after spending years in Cape Girardeau working on their degree, the area was the right place to kick off their careers.  

Spring 2023 graduate Maggie Piper poses outside of Academic Hall. Piper will be working as a marketing and communications specialist for the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.


 Maggie Piper, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in corporate communication, is staying in Cape Girardeau. She was hired as the marketing and communications specialist with the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The mentorship, education, and opportunities that I was granted through my program are what helped prepare me to be successful post-graduation,” Piper said. “Interviewing, applying for jobs, communicating professionally, and many more of my skills came from the experience I had throughout my undergraduate education.”

Morgan Ross will be an accounts receivable specialist for Family Counseling Center (FCC) Behavioral Health in southeast Missouri. Elizabeth Wibbenmeyer will start her career in Perryville as assistant plant accountant at Citizens Electric Corporation. Sophie Bollinger, a commercial multimedia graduate, will start as a public relations specialist for TG Missouri in Perryville. Nicole Myers will stay in Cape Girardeau as a program coordinator for Preferred Family Healthcare.

Several students also turned local jobs and internships into their full-time career stops. One example is nursing graduate Tatum McCollough, who will be starting as an ortho-surgical nurse at Saint Francis Healthcare after working there throughout her time as an undergraduate.

“My education prepared me by giving me real life experience in hospitals and facilities, and teaching me the skills I need to know for my job as a nurse,” McCollough said.

Hollie Cotter, a music education major, will be an elementary music teacher at Woodland Elementary in Marble Hill, Missouri. Eduardo Yamakawa will be a mathematics teacher in the Meadow Heights school district in Patton, Missouri. Nigel Williams will be a sixth grade math teacher at Murphysboro Middle School. Those are just a few taking their talents to schools in the area.

Spring 2023 graduate Nigel Wiliams sits on campus before commencement. Williams will be working as a sixth grade math teacher at Murphysboro Middle School.


“The professional development opportunities provided in different courses were fun and engaging and useful for my future career,” said Rebecca Turner, who accepted a position as a 4th grade math and science teacher at Neelyville Elementary.  “Having the opportunity to work in the field during different blocks in my study gave me hands-on learning in the classroom as the role of a teacher. The observations and presentations I performed helped bring me out of my comfort zone and push myself to improve in my areas of weakness and feel comfortable teaching.”

Within six months of graduation, 98% of Southeast graduates are employed or continuing their education. University Career Services supports Southeast students and alumni in launching careers.

“The amount of graduates who enter the workforce is a testament both to the type of students we have a Southeast and the faculty who work hard to prepare them for careers,” said Dan Presson, director of Career Services and interim assistant vice president for Economic and Workforce development. “We have resources on campus to help students and alumni and that’s why our alumni network is so successful, both locally and nationally.”

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Celebrating Graduates

2023 Commencement

With this spring’s 1,414 graduates, Southeast Missouri State University is preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, healthcare professionals and leaders that our communities need. See our news site for more on our grads, including the 2023 President's List and Dean's List.