Study Abroad Alumni: Where are they now?

IU South Bend alumna Nicole Thornton represents a trend in study abroad graduate success.

In 2012, Nicole Thornton traveled to Belize with the Biology Department at IU South Bend. There, Thornton learned about Tropical Marine Biology during the nine-day stay.


Thornton snorkeling in Belize.

Since her time in Belize, Thornton has graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biological Sciences and is working as a Chemist at KIK Custom Products.

This unique study abroad experience gave Thornton a competitive edge. Since graduation, every interviewing employer has asked about her study abroad experience.

“I experienced and learned numerous things, like research and experiment techniques, that could have only been achieved through this study abroad experience,” says Thornton.

In the Biology field, according to Thornton, employers are looking for people with strong research and leadership skills. Thornton learned both of these crucial skills in Belize.

In Belize, Thornton led her research group and delegated tasks and relayed ideas and important information.

“I use those skills every day at work when I have to pass along a task or have to train someone” says Thornton.

Thornton has received research grants and an award at the IUSB Undergraduate Research Conference based on projects she completed after her trip.

Dr. Ann Grens and Dr. Peter Bushnell, the IU South Bend faculty coordinators for this trip, have mentored and written recommendation letters for Thornton.

Three years later, Thornton is still friends with the 19 people she studied in Belize with. They assist each other with job hunting and references.

To learn more about Study Abroad, visit the International Programs website.


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