Business 40th

Iyonna Young '22 and Dr. Caddie Putnam Rankin

When a student’s world changes, and a new world is opened to her. When a professor inspires a student to change the world.

Purpose Discovered.

Young & Putnam Rankin

Iyonna Young '22, Quality Assurance Assistant, TM3 Solutions

Dr. Caddie Putnam Rankin, Chair, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Corporate Social Responsibility 

Iyonna Young

It was Fall, 2018. Iyonna Young was a freshman and she was having serious misgivings. She had never lived in a small community. She wasn’t sure she could excel in the confines of a small community. She was anxious about making new friends. She faced an uncertain path to a career.  

The Backstory

Iyonna: Those first few weeks were a little shaky. I was scared and insecure. I hadn’t yet discovered my learning style. But gradually I began to realize that the smallness of Washington College was surprisingly comforting. If I struggled with an assignment, I could easily hit up my friends for help. My professors were kind and caring and helped me work out ways to be a better student. But the biggest realization of all was how much I underestimated how powerful and impactful it is to spend time with your professors, and how much of an advantage that really is. They opened an entirely new world to me. I realized I can do anything I put my mind to. 

The best example of this was a class I took as a Junior in Corporate Social Responsibility with Dr. Putnam Rankin. It was an honors class with only eight students, so you couldn’t just blend in. You had to talk. It was very hands on, and that’s where I found that I’m a kinesthetic learner. I’m the type that grabs the marker and the whiteboard, I’m teaching it back to my classmates. The more I learned about the passion and purpose of some for-profit firms, and the more I knew about business ethics, the corporate world and its obligation to give back, it hit me: ‘This is exactly what I want to do.’ Dr. Putnam Rankin connected me with her network. She helped me find internships. She took a genuine interest in me, not just as a student, but as a whole person. To this day, I still cherish the content Dr. Putnam Rankin shared, and the inspiring way in which she taught it. It all just clicked. 

Dr. Putnam Rankin: College life for Iyonna was, in the beginning, challenging, which is typical for many students. Iyonna stood out as a very strong student. Her perseverance was remarkable. She was good at pushing herself, and almost pushing me, which is an excellent quality.  

I saw then, and still see in Iyonna now, so much promise for a bright career as she makes her way into the real world. Because the way to make a difference is to challenge yourself and to challenge others. Iyonna has that inner drive to grow, and as she applies it to her interests, she and those organizations she touches will thrive.  

As part of its 40th anniversary , the Business Management Dept. is proud to feature the stories of star alumni and the professors who inspired them. The year-long celebration will culminate in a Fall gala.