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Finlandia Success: Alex Chutskoff ’15

January 25, 2017

This month’s Finlandia University alumni success story is focusing on recent alumna Alex Chutskoff – a Liberal Studies major who is now working as a Senior Injury Adjuster at Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. In this question-and-answer session she talks about the meaningful experiences she had at Finlandia that prepared her for her career.

Alex Chutskoff FinnU Alum Success Story

MEET Alex Chutskoff

You were recruited here to play hockey – what about Finlandia drew you in compared to the other schools who showed interest in you?

Alex Chutskoff Finlandia AlumniFinlandia was a name I never heard of before the hockey coach at the time emailed me after watching me play at a college showcase at Shattuck St. Mary’s in 2009. After researching the school I found the degrees offered and class sizes the most enticing, apart from hockey. After visiting the campus my senior year of high school, I was sold on the small-school appeal. Small class sizes are a bonus, but it was also the way I saw professors interact with the students that interested me. Many professors go by their first name, and take the time to develop relationships with their students. At a larger university I knew I would just be another body in the class, and the thought of meeting a professor during office hours who didn’t even know my name was intimidating. At Finlandia every professor knew me and also learned what kind of student I was, and was able to offer me as much help as I needed to be a successful student.

What made you interested in becoming a history / liberal arts major?

My original plan was to major in Pre-Professional Science; however, the degree was limiting in taking many science courses. As I began to explore different fields of study through my elective courses, I took great interest in the history department. History was always a course I enjoyed in high school, and I found the American take on history fascinating being a Canadian citizen. I also saw this program as an opportunity to expand my horizons and become a well-rounded student, a trait I believed would be desirable when applying for graduate school.

How did your liberal arts education at Finlandia prepare you for graduate school and eventually your first job?

My education at Finlandia, as earlier stated, allowed me to become a well-rounded student. I learned a lot of science that would go on to help me in my graduate studies. The history courses also taught me how to think critically, question the status quo, and I became a much stronger writer. All of these factors allowed me to succeed as I pursued my Master of Science at Eastern Kentucky University in August 2015. My first job upon completing my Master of Science was as a part-time personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach at the local soccer association in my hometown of Abbotsford, British Columbia Canada. Two months later I landed my first permanent full-time job as a Senior Injury Adjuster at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. My job requires critical thinking, strong verbal and written skills, and understanding of how the body works.

Alex Chutskoff Finlandia AlumWhat advice would you offer someone considering becoming a liberal studies major?

For future students I would highly recommend the liberal studies major at Finlandia. The degree is very flexible where you can pick courses that interest you, and have two or three areas of concentration. If I could do it all over again I would choose the same degree. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try a new field of study. I made the leap to take an American history course, and ended up with a concentration in history. College is a time to explore yourself and find your passion, and the variety of courses at Finlandia allow you to do so.

The small class sizes are often cited as an example of a strength in FinnU’s educational experience. How do you think those benefited you?

As mentioned earlier, the small class sizes allow you to develop relationships with the professors. The professors are able to learn how you best work as a student, and how to challenge you to be better. The professors were all available during their office hours and outside of those hours when necessary, which made them accessible as a college athlete. This is also an advantage as college athletes miss several classes during the semester. I had professors who allowed me to turn in work early, take exams early and even catch up on lecture material during office hours. I also had two professors during my time at Finlandia allow me to take independent study courses in which they mediated.

When you look back at your time at Finlandia, what are some of your strongest and most meaningful memories?

My most meaningful memories come from playing on the hockey team for four years. Having the opportunity to play college hockey was a dream many Canadian girls have, and I was able to live my dream while pursuing my education. The chance to live in a new country and travel to many different cities through hockey is something I will never forget. I was also lucky enough to have met my fiancé who was also a student and soccer player at Finlandia, Nic Hendrickson. We now live in Abbotsford, British Columbia Canada and are both working and planning our wedding.

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