Iowa Lakes leads to lasting friendships, professional prep
Through her time in the paralegal program, Iowa Lakes Community College helped Nikki Shaw Thompson prepare for the workplace and meet new friends — relationships she still cherishes today.
“I continue to use the tools that (Iowa Lakes) provided along with the contacts made at (Iowa Lakes),” Thompson said.
Thompson earned her associate’s degree from Iowa Lakes in 1994, and went on to get her bachelor’s degree in political science/sociology from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake. She worked as a paralegal for 19 years, primarily in family law and personal injury, doing plaintiff and insurance defense work.
In 2015 Thompson obtained her health/life insurance license and is now employed with Midwest Group Benefits in Decorah, where she specializes in individual insurance sales and client services.
“I had so much fun at (Iowa Lakes), and met some lifelong friends there,” said Thompson, who received several scholarships, including one for basketball, that helped defray her costs.
In addition to the personal relationships she forged with many people at Iowa Lakes, she especially valued her adviser in the paralegal program, Michael Johnson, and found her instructors helpful and encouraging. As a political science fan, she especially appreciated social science instructor Doug Lietz.
“I would also have to say that John and Carolyn Walz will always carry a special place in my heart, as I am sure they do with all student athletes, who had the pleasure of getting to know them,” Thompson said. “They always welcomed us into their home and lives, and still do to this day.”
The paralegal program at Iowa Lakes is well-respected throughout the state of Iowa, according to Thompson, and served as great preparation for the career path.
“I think (Iowa Lakes) helped in my professional endeavors preparing me for the next steps in life, including preparation for furthering my education, good work ethic and maintaining life-long relationships with wonderful people,” Thompson said.
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