1. K-State home
  2. »Pilots
  3. »Pilots Alumni

Pilots Program

Words from our Alumni

How has the Pilots Program impacted your journey and helped you achieve your goals?

Sid ArguelloIsidro (Sid) Arguello, K-State Alum

"Pilots helped me to have confidence in myself; to strive for goals that scare me enough to make opportunities for myself. Pilots gave me the discipline I lacked to become an effective leader."

Sid formerly worked for the House of Representatives and is now working as a paralegal for the New York City Law Department Family Court system.


Lenndy BatistaLenndy Batista, K-State Alum

"The Pilots Program helped me establish an academic foundation with the skill set and professional mentality to best succeed during my undergraduate career at Kansas State University. Pilots served as an academic and personal support system for me as a first-generation college student throughout my four years at the college." 

Lenndy graduated with a B.A. in Social Work from KSU and a Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas. She now serves as an academic counselor for the Pilots Program!

Connie BeckConnie Beck, K-State Alum

"Coming into college, I never expected to do well. I figured I would barely pass my classes and never anticipated to find anything that I was passionate about because of the experiences that I had had in high school. However, over the course of my freshman year I started to notice that I was actually doing really well in school. I had A’s in all of my classes and even participated in class because I understood the material. For the first time, I was really enjoying school!

At the end of the year I left campus with a huge smile on my face. Not only did I walk away with the best grades I had ever received, but I walked away with the one thing that had changed my life forever: confidence and belief in myself. Ultimately, if it wasn’t for the Pilots Program’s structure, encouragement, and tremendous guidance, I honestly never would have gotten the chance to enjoy the experiences that I have had in college academically and holistically, nor would I have found my passion for helping students develop over time. Without a doubt, the Pilots Program inspired me to help others and taught me that underneath all insecure students, there is a confident student waiting to find out their true potential.

I am very interested in working with college students and am hoping to seek a career within Higher Education after College. All the more, I am excited to seek out what the real world has to provide and am anticipating what the future will hold!”

Connie served as a Pilots Program student intern and graduated in 2014 with a degree in Family Studies & Human Services. 

Nicole C Nicole Casonhua, Junior in Theatre

"The Pilots Program was very beneficial for me during my freshman year here at Kansas State because it helped me to ease my way into the college atmosphere without feeling overwhelmed. I am an out-of-state student, and with the smaller classroom settings, I was able to meet friends quickly, some of which are still my best friends to this day, and receive more one on one attention. The Peer Assistants were also great and helped me to achieve my goal of high grades by helping me prepare for tests, understand content, and giving me good advice in order to write strong papers. Without the Pilots Program, I feel that jumping into college level classes would have been a lot harder to tackle and more stressful for me to endure. Also, I was able to receive a scholarship through the Pilots Program which was a great blessing financially.

I (have served as a) Peer Mentor for the Pilots Program, and I love inspiring other students in achieving  their goals of being a successful college student, and helping them to enjoy their years at Kansas State University! Pilots helped me get on my feet and rolling towards my major and future career in Theatre with a minor in Public Relations!"

Marcus Dobson Marcus Dobson, Senior in Business Finance

“The Pilots Program helped me tremendously on establishing healthy study habits to endure challenging academics and also suggested some positive habits to balance a college social life at the same time. Pilots however, did not hold my hand; the nature of the Program is to guide you with available information to help you make your own choices towards your own college experience. As a result, my freshman year created for me a foundation from which I now work upon for the remaining years that I have left at Kansas State University. 

Now I am a Peer Assistant in the Pilots Lab tutoring Sociology and contributing to students' foundation. I am a senior, majoring in business with an emphasis in Finance. My career goal after graduation is to become part of the Federal Reserve of Kansas City in the Financial Management Department. It will be a great way for me to start up my career after Kansas State University, as I will continue on towards graduate school for my Masters in Finance and Economics.

CassieCassie Kerr, Senior in Mass Communications 

"Pilots helped me gain confidence in myself, as well as the abilities to believe in myself. I learned how to study, overcome test anxiety and use proper time management to be a full time successful student. 

I (have served as a) Peer Assistant for Pilots, guiding students to reach their goals, just as I was taught. I have continuously followed my goals and dreams and will soon graduate with a Journalism degree in Public Relations.”

Cassie currently serves as the Pilots Program student intern for marketing/social media and will graduate in May 2015! 

Michelle L

Michelle Langvardt, K-State Alum

“The Pilots Program helped teach me the tools and study skills I needed to be successful in college and in life.”

Michelle Langvardt graduated in 2005 with a B.S. in Business Administration. She is currently employed by Kansas State University in the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President as an Administrative Assistant / Commencement Coordinator.

IngridIngrid Perez, K-State Alum

“The Pilots Program allowed me to focus on what was important during my first year of college. It gave me the tools to learn how to organize myself and study the way a college student should prepare for classes. 

Ingrid earned a degree in Human Resource Management in 2014 and interned with Cargill Inc. She was heavily involved with the Latina-based sorority, Lambda Theta Nu Sorority Inc.

MadaiMadaí Rivera, K-State Alum

"Pilots provided me the guidance and academic support I needed as a first-generation college student. I've developed long-term friendships with former students and staff who have supported me as an undergraduate student, graduate student ad as a professional. I'm proud to be a Pilots alumna." 

Madaí currently serves as the Coordinator of Academic Services & Diversity for the College of Human Ecology Dean's Office and she is the Admissions Coordinator for Hispanic Recruitment at Kansas State University.

Morgan Rose Morgan Rose, K-State Alum

“Pilots taught me perseverance. Coming to college I did not believe school was a strength of mine. With help from the PAs (Peer Assistants), advisors and instructors, I learned differently. They taught me not to give up, ask for help when I needed it, and to believe in myself."

Morgan graduated from K-State in 2013 and now teaches second grade in the Blue Valley (Kansas) School District.

Madison Sha

Madison Sha, Senior in Early Childhood Education

“Throughout high school I was really unsure if I was fit for college. I had a really hard time with school and I had lots of help along the way. I danced my whole life and even though I knew there were other things I was passionate about, I decided that because of my struggles with academics I should just go to school to dance. I came to K-state with the intentions of only dancing. Throughout my first semester here my thoughts on this changed drastically. I found that I was able to accomplish so much more than I thought I was capable of. I started to actually believe in myself as a well-educated person. As a result this Program has shaped me into the student that I have become during my time in college. Due to the never ending support and motivation from the staff and peer assistance, I finished my freshmen year of college with the best grades I have ever earned. Being able to have mentors and peers along the way gave me a great feeling of community and confidence. This was especially comforting to have at such a large school like K-state.

Now, I am working as Pilots Peer Assistant and I absolutely love it. I am majoring in Early Childhood education with a focus on Early Autistic intervention. I am also majoring in dance as well. I am a part of the Greek community as well as an active leader in other organizations on campus. I can honestly say that without the great support that the Pilots Program had to offer me, I would never have come so far in achieving my dreams.”

Natalie Schafer, K-State Alum

“The Pilots Program helped to encourage me to adapt to my first semester at Kansas State University. The Program helped to give me more self-confidence in my academic career, and also encouraged me to try new things and join new organizations. The Program also helped to establish what type of student I am with identifying new study skills and ways to organize my school work. If someone would have asked me my freshman year in the Program what I would be doing now, I would have never guessed I would be so successful in my job and academic career.”

Natalie graduated in 2014 with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Leadership Studies. As a student, she served as an Executive Team Leader at Target Corporation and currently works as a Talent and Culture Analyst at DSI in Kansas City, MO.

Ryan VRyan Vonderhorst, K-State Alum

"I joined the Pilots Program as a non-traditional student after serving in the Army. The Program gave me great advice and helped guide me through courses and college decisions as I started to go back to school. The greatest benefit was having a unique study space and peer-tutors to help you with all the basic subjects. After my freshman year, I returned as a peer tutor for the Program, helping to teach psychology and algebra. As a member of Pilots, I found it very rewarding to help guide new students into the world of college, and still stay in touch with students I met along the way. I look back at Pilots as, academically, the best thing that happened to me at K-State. 

Ryan is in his fourth year of medical school and works in Wichita for the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

He provided words of wisdom and inspiration at our 2015 Scholarship Awards Reception and 20th Anniversary Celebration. Thank you for for sharing your journey with us, Ryan!