Idaho Falls Alumna Builds Higher Education Career with Perseverance & Mentorship
Alumna Krysta Madrigal transferred to the University of Idaho in 2014 as a single mom pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Due to her circumstances, she enjoyed the online format of her degree program. She said the flexibility of online learning allowed her to learn at her own pace and set her own structure, a good fit for her lifestyle.
While the program was online, she found both community and employment at the University of Idaho, Idaho Falls. She worked as an administrative assistant proctoring tests, scheduling appointments and organizing the graduation ceremony. In addition, she had the opportunity to organize a career fair in collaboration with career advisors in Moscow through the Career Services Office.
“I have never met such accommodating and supportive faculty and staff than at the Idaho Falls location,” Madrigal said. “I have never felt more supported in my life, and from what I could see from other students, they also really liked the community feel.”
She said one of the biggest driving forces for her success was her academic advisor Debbie Caudle. She said Caudle initiated and supervised an internship position that facilitated programming for Denim Day, an annual holiday for sexual assault awareness and prevention.
She said Caudle helped network with people she knew, including the local sheriff’s department, to host workshops on how sexual violence can be prevented and what resources are available.
“She pushed me, challenged me and always encouraged me,” Madrigal said. “She lifted me up when life got hard. She also helped me grow professionally through mock interviews, resume editing and answering any questions I had.”
Madrigal is now pursuing a master’s degree in human and resource development through Idaho State University in hopes of obtaining a supervisory role within higher education. She is currently a financial aid advisor and veteran school certifying official for the College of Eastern Idaho.
“Even though I got my cosmetology license in 2009, I just wanted to do more,” Madrigal said. “A lot of my life I heard maybe college was not for me, but I took a chance. I think the hardest part is just starting.”
Caudle said Madrigal aspires to be a college advisor some day and provided her scenarios and basic advising tips. She was also an integral part of Idaho State University’s Career Services Office in Idaho Falls, Caudle said.
Some of the skills Madrigal developed included networking, public speaking and explaining resources to others under Caudle’s wing. Caudle said she is proud Madrigal got out of her comfort zone by making new connections and for making the Dean’s List at U of I as well.
“Krysta has gained a lot of confidence since I have known her and has always been a beautiful woman,” Caudle said. “She is courteous, dedicated and very detail-oriented. She is driven and knows what she wants to do.”
Madrigal said working for U of I made her fall in love with working in higher education. She said it also prompted her to attend graduate school.
“I have loved working with students in just about every capacity of working at the University of Idaho and now at the College of Eastern Idaho,” Madrigal said. “I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best people in the world that love their students and love what they do.”