Outstanding Students

Alisabeth Von Presley

Q: Where are you from? (city, state) 

A: Marion, Iowa 

Q: Why did you choose Kirkwood? 

A: I started out with a semester at a larger university and it didn’t fit well with my learning style. I liked being able to approach a professor after class with a question, get to know the staff, and enjoy the benefits of smaller class sizes. 

Q: What is your major and how did you choose it? 

A: I am looking to further my education in the study of people and why we are the way we are – Psychology. I chose to dive into the way our minds work because it’s absolutely fascinating. A career in psychology not only navigates the emotions and actions of those around you – but in turn helps you understand society as a whole (and yourself!).

Q: What has been your proudest moment at Kirkwood?  

A: Traveling to Prague to compete in the International Vocal Jazz Festival and representing not just Kirkwood but the United States was absolutely my proudest moment in my college career. Getting to experience a piece of the world I may have never gotten to, and having the opportunity to collaborate with incredible faculty and classmates was priceless. Having the chance to make new friends from other countries while creating music is one of my greatest memories of not just my Kirkwood career – but of all time. 

Q: What are your plans after Kirkwood? 

A: I plan to take a few semesters off to tour with my rock band and enjoy the summer weather. After that I am looking to continue my passion in the field of psychology at the University of Arizona. I’m thinking it’d be really fun to spend a winter NOT shoveling my driveway three times a day. 

Q: What inspires or motivates you? 

A: What inspires me? People. What motivates me? Goals. Mix the two together and I’m a happy girl. I love seeing other people succeed and I’m a fan of a good challenge. I like to look for a deeper meaning in the entire human experience and gently force people out of their comfort zones to tackle new things. Oh yes, and music. Music is my heartbeat.  
Q: Tell us about who you are outside of Kirkwood – hobbies, family, other interests, etc. 

A: I am a singer-songwriter who would normally be touring throughout the year – so thanks to a global pandemic I found myself enrolled at Kirkwood (third time’s a charm, baby!). I own a photography company called TINT and love helping people see themselves how I see them. I run a coffee shop called Stillwater and along with my staff we thrive on giving back to a community who has given us all so much.  
Q: What does be named an Outstanding Student mean to you? 

A: I started at Kirkwood as a teenager and am finally graduating in my early 30’s. I would take a semester here, take a semester there, then leave on a tour and take 2 years off. I would move to New York, move to Chicago, go back to Kirkwood, complete a few semesters, then move to Memphis, tour the world again, etc.  

Kirkwood was always there for me whenever I wanted to come back. With a global pandemic hitting I couldn’t just sit around due to tours being cancelled so I thought – THIS IS FINALLY IT. I’ll finally graduate!! And here we are. I’m graduating this May and I’m not sure I’m ready to accept that I won’t be able to enroll in classes in between big life changes like I’ve been doing for the past ten years.  

What does it mean to be named an outstanding student? I guess you could say just as you have an “outstanding balance” on your bank account – I was an “outstanding student” taking her sweet time (on and off for ten years) to grab that degree. But I did it. And I wouldn’t change a thing about it.  

I love Kirkwood. I feel comfortable to be myself there. The professors were some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. I appreciate their kindness, genuine care for their students’ well-being and their guidance towards being the best version of yourself. 

 I’d recommend this school to ANYONE who asked.  

Categories: Outstanding Students

2 replies »

  1. I returned to college in my late 40s first at KCC and then finishing at Coe. Graduated in 97 at age 50. I loved my Coe classes as much as KCC and learned so much more as an adult! Congratulations and best luck moving forward!

  2. congrats on multi-tasking your music/stage career with your educational goals … yur LIVING the DREAM BABE! keep on doin’ what yur doin’! AWESOME role model not to mention all your musical and stage abilities… you’ve walked the walk … I can TOTALLY see you using your psychology and your patience and kindness & amazing abilities to enable others to CHASE THEIR DREAM!!! congrats from Scottsdale, AZ xo