Stephanie Luetgers has been part of Capella’s FlexPath pathway as a coach since its inception less than 3 years ago.
She’s enthusiastic about the program and the opportunities it opens up for students. She recently took time to answer a few questions about her work (and her life).
Q. What is your role at Capella?
A. I work with students who are earning their degree through FlexPath. I’m with them from the moment they enroll until they graduate. I work with them to keep them on track to achieve their goals.
Q. Why do you work at Capella?
A. I sit in my chair every day for three reasons:
- Capella’s values match my values. Specifically, we both want to professionally and personally empower others to do their best and be their best.
- The high levels of professionalism, strength, and greatness are exciting and innovative, and that’s a contagious feeling for me.
- I love working with students, hearing about their success stories, both academic and what they’ve learned about themselves in the process.
Q. What does a typical day look like as FlexPath coach?
A. My days are really fast-paced, which I like, and variable. I’m on the phone, in meetings, answering emails, all to assist in the process of helping the students meet their goals. My job is to collaborate with students, get to know them, what they’re good at or struggle with, and what their goals are.
I have to be flexible. Their goals and struggles may change. As they move and grow and change, I have to do so as well. Sometimes I cheerlead; sometimes I have to be firm.
Hear Stephanie talk about the qualities that make up a good FlexPath student, and how she provides support as a FlexPath coach, in this exclusive Capella podcast:
Q. What is your coaching philosophy?
A. The flow needs to be fluid. I need to create a connection via honest interaction to build a rapport so I can provide encouragement, and so the student can trust me.
Q. Please share a bit about your background and how you came to Capella.
A. Well, it’s an interesting story! I studied psychology and criminal justice in college. After college, I was offered a job as a nanny, which I accepted. After a few years, I wanted to do something more aligned with my education. I took a job as the program director at a women’s correctional facility, and I loved it. But eventually I wanted to take more steps to advance my skills and my career. I heard about Capella at a dinner party and joined the staff 8 years ago as an advisor. When FlexPath was created, I wanted the opportunity to work in that area. I’m gaining even more skills.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. The fast-paced environment and the variety. I really thrive on that. But what I also enjoy can be summed up in something a student said to me once. They never thought they could do this, but realized that if they put in the time and the effort, they could. Ultimately, they understood themselves better and had more confidence. This outcome is not because I’m doing a great job, but because they’re really learning.
Q. What is the single biggest challenge facing your field right now?
A. It’s such a new model that we have to change our mindset. We have to teach students how to learn in a different fashion. They’re in control of what they learn.
Q. What skills are most important for your field?
A. Listening, patience, problem-solving, excellent critical thinking, adaptability, persuasiveness, and being genuine. You can’t learn to be genuine. It’s something within you. It’s important because not all student contact is transactional. Conversations with them can be emotional, and they can tell if you’re genuine or not, which affects the level of trust.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not working?
A. Sometimes I’m just quiet, reading anything from fiction to the New England Journal of Medicine. I’m also very active and love to run, cycle, surf, snorkel, and canoe. I’m on the Minnesota Freeze Australian Football Club. Travel is also very important to me, allowing me to observe other individuals and cultures.
Q. Coffee, tea, or soda?
A. I have a fourth answer for that question—water! I stopped drinking caffeine 15 years ago. When it comes to calories, instead of orange juice or a beer, I’d rather have chocolate chip cookies. So, water is my drink of choice.
Learn more about FlexPath.