CROOKSTON, Minn. -  It was the early 2000’s when a confused college student, not certain of what career path would fit her, began her journey to a now-established and respected branch manager at Crookston’s First Community Credit Union. In this feature, UMC alumnus Dana Jonsson highlights a number of positive experiences and qualities she gained during her time as a business management and marketing student at the University of Minnesota Crookston. 

When it came to her favorite courses and learning new things, we heavily discussed the marketing courses and professors she had while being a part of the Golden Eagle family. With me also being a marketing alum, we had no trouble diving right in. We found ourselves comparing stories and sharing our favorite aspects of business that keep us in the field.

Although, as most college students know, it wasn’t always an easy road to the degree. Considering that Jonsson was a transfer student from the University of North Dakota, of course she was hesitant during her first few months in Crookston. Not knowing many people (or none at all), discovering a new campus, starting over with a new curriculum, etc. It wasn’t long before Jonsson turned these obstacles into opportunities. Jonsson describes her early impressions “I love the community feels and knowing your classmates, I came in as a transfer student so I didn’t know many people in my program. But even these days I still see them around in the community and can talk and relate to them with ease.”

As we were discussing our college experiences, we came across a common thread in what we enjoyed in a classroom. At UMN Crookston, the motto is “Small campus, big degree” and the two of us agreed that the smaller the classroom, the greater the return students get on their education. We (Jonnson & myself) have been on both sides of this story, where we find ourselves in lecture halls of 200+ and the other being on a first-name basis with the professor. Jonsson also shares her favorite part about being at UMN Crookston “the faculty and staff care and want the best for everyone in the class. If you are absent, the professors notice. It’s important to keep making connections and getting to know those around you.”

When it comes to being a manager, being able to lead and communicate efficiently is paramount. Jonnson shared how every employee she has communicated and reacts differently to certain tasks and situations. “I learned how to pick up on certain cues and how to deal with individuals through many projects and group activities at UMN Crookston,”  I asked Jonnson if there was a certain professor that had any impact on her learning experience. She mentioned Steven Shirley, a former marketing professor at UMN Crookston and now president of Minot State University. “He taught me a number of things that I still apply to my career on a day-to-day basis.”

As we were wrapping up our interview we found another shared experience we believe the majority of college freshmen go through, the dreaded public speaking class. Jonnson states “I was deathly shy in high school, to the point where I wasn’t comfortable talking to anyone. When I came to UMN Crookston I was still trying to avoid talking and presenting in front of others. After failing to avoid both, I ended up coming out of my shell at UMN Crookston. Now presenting and public speaking is a huge part of my job that I take lots of pride and joy in. If I had not gone to UMN Crookston I don’t think I would be where I am now.”

Jonsson has come a long way from being a confused college student with an unknown path ahead of her. Now, she is doing great things at First Community Credit Union and we are excited to see what is ahead in the future for the UMN Crookston alum.

Story Contact: Shawn Smith