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Emily, Jordan and Katherine Voigt (Emma Stough '17/Augustana Photo Bureau)

Voigt credits Augustana for career liftoff

Jordan Voigt '09 didn't plan on becoming the youngest-ever president of Genesis Medical Center in Davenport just six years after graduating from Augustana College. But looking back, he knows he did a few things right to get there.

"Never burn a bridge, keep positive relationships, and look for every opportunity," said Voigt, 28, after a meteoric rise to a position in which he oversees day-to-day operations for two hospital campuses with 450 physicians, 3,000 staff and 1,000 volunteers.

Voigt, a graduate of Bettendorf High school, was the first in his Iowa family to attend Augustana, and it became a family tradition. Recently he shared a visit to campus with his fellow alums, taking pictures with his twin sisters Katherine Voigt '11 and Emily Voigt '11, and Jessica (Hoyer) Voigt '09. He met Jessica his junior year, and they married Sept. 26 in Ascension Chapel.

And Augustana is not the Voigts' only tradition. All of them are successful in the field of health care: Jordan in administration, Katherine as a physician's assistant at Texas Children's Hospital, Emily in medical equipment as a representative for Arthrex in Chicago, and Jessica as a speech pathologist in Rock Island.

"The common theme is we like to help people," Jordan said. "We want to give back to the community and help make a difference, and I think that's why we're all in health care."

"Our parents instilled those values," Katherine added. "They made it part of our upbringing, and Augustana allowed us to flourish."

They all participated in community service at Augustana, and took advantage of extracurriculars like sports and Greek life.

Career resources

They also made strong connections with the office of career development, which has been dramatically expanded as CORE (Careers, Opportunities, Research and Exploration). And those career resources made a dramatic difference, they said, opening doors to experiential learning through internships, and making connections with alumni in their field.

"That's how I got my internship," said Emily, who now lives and works in downtown Chicago. "I connected with alumni who got my foot in the door with the industry of medical devices. Without Augustana, or if I were at a larger school where I didn't have those personal connections, I couldn't have done it."

Jordan also recalls networking with alumni and experimenting with internships before acquiring his master's degree in healthcare administration. But he also credits Augustana with teaching him the professional skills he uses every day.

"I remember walking in freshman year for a classroom presentation, and I had note cards," Jordan said. "By the end of senior year, all I had to do was look at my (PowerPoint) slides a couple of minutes beforehand to be ready for a presentation. And now, every day, that's what I do.

"So it's the skills you learn, not only in making presentations, but project management and working with people. If I hadn't gone to Augustana College, and if I'd been in a large institution, I wouldn't have been able to develop those skill sets at such a young age. I wouldn't have been prepared."

'It's definitely opportunities'

With all the Voigts in health care, there's also a lot of good-natured ribbing about who has the best job. Katherine is sure it's hers, deeply involved in patient care on the bone marrow transplant team at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. In her life, too, she says Augustana played a critical role.

She discovered her medical calling on a trip to Nicaragua with Augustana's JETS program (Joining in Education Through Service), in which students work in public health clinics, often providing the only link to health care in rural areas.

Katherine then leveraged Augustana's partnership with the Texas Medical Center to secure a research internship with Texas Children's Hospital, an internationally recognized leader in pediatric medicine. It led to a master's degree from Baylor College of Medicine, and her work on ground-breaking technologies for children's health care.

"It's definitely opportunities," Emily said about the success the siblings have shared. "We were provided with opportunities for internships, getting the exposure we needed in our field, and getting help from professors to take the next step."

The experience has also stirred a deep sense of humility within the Voigts, which they highly recommend, whether they are in Chicago, Houston, or Davenport at the top of their field. "Never carry an ego with you," said Jordan. "Always stay humble. I still do the grunt work some days."

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