Navigating Success: How Waukee APEX Guided Ian Coon to a Career in Communications

Ian Coon, a 2016 graduate of Waukee High School, found his career path while participating in the Waukee Aspiring Professional Experience or APEX program. He now serves as a Communications Manager at the Alliance for Education in Seattle, WA. Ian says his experience with career courses at Waukee Community School District (Waukee CSD) significantly influenced his college journey and professional career.

APEX Experience

In the fall of 2014, Ian enrolled in the Designing Communications Solutions APEX course. This course offered hands-on learning experiences that Ian found more beneficial than traditional high school classrooms.

So much of communications work is learned hands-on and by completing projects and having mentors that show you best ways to lead campaigns and leverage new tools. With the speed at which technology changes, it’s hard to access this new industry knowledge in a textbook course with multiple-choice tests at the end of a quarter,” Ian explains.

During the course, Ian’s class collaborated with DLR Group, an architecture firm in the Des Moines metro area.

Being in an office environment every day was my first exposure to office small talk and politics, what is appropriate dress, holding the door for someone walking down the hall, how to be kind to people without having to be their best friend or desk mate and many of the other skills. It seems small, but those interpersonal skills stand out in your ability to make connections and friends, and ultimately impact how successful you are at completing your job in my industry that is very people-centered,” Ian notes.

Future Ready

Ian’s APEX experience ignited his interest in communications and marketing. After high school, he pursued a degree in Public Relations and Organizational Leadership with a minor in Leadership at Wartburg College. Today, as the Communications Manager at the Alliance for Education, Ian’s role in the Advancement Department involves raising funds for students, families, and educators through various communications and marketing strategies. His responsibilities include press and media relations, event planning, social media content creation, and website management.

Taking my APEX course influenced me to stay in the communications and marketing industry. My time in the course gave me the space to practice some of the passions I had like graphic design, video production, and strategic campaign planning. The communications industry is wide and APEX helped me to focus my lens to know what I specifically did and didn’t like,” Ian shares.

Advice for APEX Students

“You will only get as much out of your APEX course as you put into it. Taking the initiative to lead projects, ask questions, make connections, and seek out new opportunities will make you stand out,” Ian advises.

By embracing these opportunities, APEX students can pave the way for their future success, just as Ian did.

Learn More about our Career Compass

Our APEX program isn’t the only option for students working towards their career dreams. Our Career Compass provides alternative paths for students to explore and experience different programs on the journey to find future passions.