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Prestigious Graduate Schools Await Recent Alumni

June 8, 2021

Adnan Sose graduated the last weekend in May with a double major in business administration and international political economy. But his academic career isn’t over.

“I never thought about graduate school in my first two years at the college. I first began contemplating graduate school at the start of my junior year,” said Sose. “I did some soul searching in the summer of 2020 and decided that graduate school is what I want to pursue.”

The next stop for Sose is Switzerland, where he’ll pursue an advanced degree at the Graduate Institute of Geneva in the fall. There, he’ll work toward a Master’s degree in International Affairs. Options were plentiful for Sose, who grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho, as the son of Bosnian immigrants, including Johns Hopkins University, one of the most prestigious institutes of higher learning in the country.

“Ultimately, I let the potential life experience guide me into making my decision,” he said. “I felt as if going to D.C. (Johns Hopkins is located near Washington, D.C.) I'd be left wondering what life would have been like in Geneva, and not the other way around.”

Sose is far from the only student in the graduating class of 2021 who will move on to graduate school.

According to Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness Mark Heidrich, almost half (48 percent) of the College’s graduates between 2005 and 2018 attended some level of graduate school. Heidrich says this can range from a doctoral program to a non-degree learning experience. Data analysis from the most recent commencement classes isn’t clear yet, but the numbers are likely similar.

“This confirms what we are seeing nationally, which is that a large proportion of undergraduates are engaging in some level of specialized learning in areas that enhance their career options and opportunities after they graduate,” Heidrich said. “And this confirms that The College of Idaho provides a foundation for and an openness to learning after receiving an undergraduate degree.”

Nearly 40 percent of College of Idaho graduates pursue advanced degrees in health/medical fields. More than 10 percent go into education. Just under 10 percent choose law school. Others, like Annika Thomas ‘19, seek further education in engineering.

Thomas will be starting the mechanical engineering graduate program this fall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, commonly referred to as M.I.T., the number one graduate program in mechanical engineering in the entire country. She just completed the College’s dual-degree cooperative agreement in engineering with Columbia University, earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics-physics at the College before spending two years at Columbia to achieve a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

“Five years ago, I could never have imagined that I would be where I am today,” said Thomas, who was featured in a 2018 issue of Quest Magazine. “While I’m grateful to have the opportunity to pursue graduate school at a renowned institution, it’s not something I could have done alone and I couldn’t be more grateful for the constant support from my faculty, staff, and peers at The College of Idaho.”

Thomas and Sose both intend to pursue roles in leadership beyond grad school. Sose aspires to work in diplomacy while Thomas would like to blaze trails in STEM fields for women as a professor and researcher in aerospace engineering.

“Teaching is an integral part to developing STEM, so I've spent a large part of my academic career focused on community outreach and teaching through running enrichment events, tutoring, and teaching,” Thomas said. “I've had the opportunity to work for the last two years at the Columbia Tutoring and Learning Center which focuses on providing academic resources for local high school students to bridge their opportunity gap. This has been the most fulfilling work I've done during my undergraduate career, as nothing compares to inspiring my students who used to have no confidence in STEM to pursuing college degrees in astrophysics and computer science.”

Like Thomas, Sose credits his time at the College with preparing him for his next step.

“The college provided me with the resources to find the appropriate graduate programs,” Sose said. “I must thank all the professors in the political economy department, old and new, for providing me with the proper guidance.”

The College of Idaho has a 130-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit