Driving Change in Higher Education.

Tyler Vigen

Alumni Spotlight Tyler Vigen

Where did you attend college and what was your major? I went to Normandale Community College, then to Metro State. At Metro State, I majored in Criminal Justice.

What is your current job? I am a Summer Associate at Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago. I'm also an author of a book called Spurious Correlations and small business owner. But primarily, I'm still a student!

I started working on the Spurious Correlations project in May of 2014. It was just a fun side project, but after sharing it on Facebook it ended up on reddit and Business Insider did an article on it. For the next few weeks, I did a lot of interviews about it with NPR, BBC, Vox, and a number of other news outlets. Hachette Book Group got in touch and wanted to see if I was interested in putting together a fun book of charts, which I happily accepted! In May of 2015, the book was published, which was very exciting. Whenever I mention the book, my publisher likes me to include where to buy it. So here is where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at a bookstore near you.

Right now I'm heading into my third and final year at Harvard Law School to finish my J.D. So, since we're counting the A.A. at Normandale, that will be degree #4. Since I worked full-time in undergrad, not being allowed to work so much (under ABA rules) has been a relief. In that free time, I've been able to develop other tools for students. These include a course catalog with all the information about every class that students are really looking for (Does this professor allow laptops in the classroom? How hard is the exam?), an outline bank (these are not as popular in undergrad as they are in grad school, but imagine if 2,000 people were taking the same ten classes and how useful it would be if they all shared notes), a textbook exchange (Craigslist, but all the students and only the students from Harvard Law School), and an employment research tool.

While these are ostensibly developed as part of my company, the truth is that only some parts of it could ever hope to make a profit. Instead, the IT team working with the Registrar has been remodeling their course catalog after mine, the Dean of Students Office is re-writing their course evaluations based on the survey that informs my course catalog, and the Office of Career Services just provided a grant to integrate my research tool with their employment information. Even though these changes mean that those parts of my services will become obsolete, integrating them into the school is a definite win for students. And I still get excited about seeing good things happen for students.

What drew you to become involved in MSCSA and what position(s) did you hold? I joined MSCSA because I wanted to be involved in the student government at Normandale, and MSCSA was an extension of that. I was the Presidents' Group chair 2008-2009 and the President 2009-2010.

Alumni Spotlight Tyler VigenWhat skills did MSCSA teach you that positioned you for future success and what skills did you learn from MSCSA that you still use today? From MSCSA, the most important skill I learned was handling people. It was a magnificent learning experience. In retrospect, it is humbling to see how many times I missed the opportunity to do something so much better. MSCSA taught me to learn from those opportunities and take risks.

What was your proudest MSCSA moment? Making a group of students genuinely excited about attending a conference. The Governing Council meetings and the General Assemblies have the potential to be extremely meaningful, yet boring endeavors. Getting people to enjoy being there was my favorite thing.

What advice would you like to share with current/future members? Take advantage of every opportunity to learn. One of my most vivid (abeit not proud) memories of MSCSA was when I was campaigning for President and someone called me out for wearing a suit with black khaki pants instead of actual dress pants. Prior to that, I honestly didn't know there was a difference. It sounds ridiculous or trivial, but MSCSA was the first time I found myself in professional situations that were not speech class or a job interview. Sometimes I was close-minded to learning from these experiences, but when I allowed myself to learn from them I got a lot more out of them.

 

 

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