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High-achieving housemates prepare to go their separate ways

Golf House 2016If you're wandering around off campus, you may notice The Golf House, home to Stephen Thoen, '16, Andrew Dodge, '16, Austin Billeter, '16, Oliver Rudnicki, '16, and Luke Cherry, '17. Many of the residents of The Golf House were connected through Whitworth's golf team. Now, four of them are about to graduate and transition into new positions or graduate school.

"We've been a tight group since freshman year, and it's tough to envision what life will be like after we graduate and go our separate ways," Dodge says. "I don't have much time to think about it, nor do I want to think about it. I want to be able to enjoy the last weeks that we all have together before we start our 'real lives' without a grey cloud hanging over our heads that soon we won't be able to hang out and see each other on a daily basis."

Dodge will be attending graduate school at Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C., after graduating from Whitworth. Going to graduate school has been Dodge's plan since he changed his major to bioinformatics.

"Last summer I took part in a biostatistics internship and summer program at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, so that turned me on to the field in general," Dodge says. "I was able to communicate with faculty one on one, and part of the program was having panels of current grad students and professionals who currently work in the field."

Dodge engaged in another internship after his sophomore year at Whitworth.

"I worked with Dr. Kent Jones and another student in the field of bioinformatics," Dodge says. "This was my first intensive research experience, and it really excited me about doing this sort of work as a career."

After graduate school, Dodge hopes to work for a biostatistics research consulting firm.

"I hope to be exposed to many types of research projects and to have the ability to have an influence in many different ways on a diverse range of projects," Dodge says. 

One of Dodge's housemates, Stephen Thoen, will be working as a software developer for Nike after graduation, specifically working on migration from existing platforms to the Cloud. Thoen found this position through a Whitworth alum and applied.

"I worked for 2nd Watch, a Cloud Solutions company in Liberty Lake, where I learned that Amazon Web Services and Nike were searching for developers who had experience with Amazon's Cloud," Thoen says. "Whitworth allowed me to network and meet new people within different types of businesses. This network has allowed me to follow new opportunities and learn the necessary skills to pursue this cloud software engineering position."

Austin BIlleter, a third housemate, found a position at Eide Bailly, where he will audit, review and complete compilations for various clients in the Spokane area.

"This consists of investigating a client's financial statements to test for legitimacy and for any significant or unusual items," BIlleter says. "I also fill out individual tax returns when I'm not doing any audit work. It may seem boring, but I really enjoy it – and I get to meet clients personally instead of sitting at my desk all day."

Billeter didn't feel fully prepared for the demands of the auditing world, but he felt Whitworth gave him other applicable skills.

"Whitworth prepared me more on the professional side, learning how to compose myself in a professional setting," Billeter says. "This has helped me make connections with my fellow clients and employees to help me understand my role in the company as an intern."

Overall, the housemates are excited for one another's opportunities.

"It will be tough for me to see them go, but I am very impressed with their achievements," Billeter says. "All in all, I have had a great year with these guys and I am truly grateful to have them in my life."