Alumna Spotlight: Kristine Deutsch

Veteran earns A.S. degree and builds career in human services field

Originally from Lonsdale, Minnesota, Kristine Deutsch, 37, a 2018 graduate of Inver Hills Community College, joined the U.S. Army when she was 19 years old, serving for five years, June 2000 till June 2005. Her Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), 21J, placed her in the Army Corps of Engineers as a general construction equipment operator.

Based at Fort Lewis in Washington State, Fort Stewart in Georgia and Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, Kristine operated Humvees and HMEE high-speed military backhoes. Her rank at the end of her tour was private first class (E3).

HMEE high-speed military backhoe
HMEE high-speed military backhoe

Kristine earned an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Human Services at Inver Hills. She graduated this past May and walked during the commencement ceremony at Aldrich Arena. She worked while going to school, holding down three part-time jobs. She was a nursing assistant at Northfield Hospital and cleaned private homes for extra cash. She also worked at the college, first in Counseling and Advising and then Veteran Services. Kristine was also an active and engaged student veteran on campus.

“I was very involved with Club VALOR at the college,” she said. “VALOR stands for Veterans And Loved Ones Resources. I served as the club’s secretary. Anytime we had a veterans event or session on campus, I was there to help out Sue Flannigan, the veteran services coordinator.”

Kristine with Sue Flannigan at 2018 Veterans Pinning
Kristine with Sue Flannigan at 2018 Veterans Pinning Ceremony

Due to Kristine’s background in the U.S. Army and human services field, hiring her in the Veteran Services Office was an easy decision. Having Kristine as a part of the Veteran Services team was extremely valuable in serving veterans, military members and their families. She participated in the VA Work Study program and completed her internship through my office for her Inver Hills degree program.

Kristine assisted soldiers, veterans and family members with educational benefits and the many resources available through our office. She served as secretary in Club VALOR for several years and displayed her leadership throughout her time on campus.

Kristine was able to apply all the skills she acquired, which led to her current position with the Minnesota National Guard as a Family Assistance Center specialist. I am very proud of her success—and she will be missed by my office.

— Sue Flannigan, Veterans Services Coordinator

Before she graduated from Inver, Kristine landed a job at the Bloomington National Guard Armory. She serves as a Family Assistance Center specialist, or FAC.

“I am a one-stop shop for resources for service members and their families,” she said. “I am here to help them find the resources they need, for example, financial resources and counseling, Tricare info, education, community resources and support, parent and youth resources, legal and more. I help out every branch and status of the military.”

Kristine will continue her education at Metropolitan State University in spring 2020 with the goal to earn her Human Services Bachelor of Science (B.S.). From there, she would like to attend St. Catherine University to earn her Master of Social Work (M.S.W.). Her lifelong career goals are centered on social work that assists veterans and active-duty military personnel.

“My plan is to get the Bloomington Armory Family Assistance Center up and running again,” Kristine related. “I would like to finish my career working for the VA Medical Center. They need more social workers.”

More about Kristine…

Kristine attended Tri-City United High School in Montgomery, Minnesota. She went on to graduate from Fort Gibson High School in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, in 1999.

“I am the oldest of four girls in my family,” Kristine said. “I grew up in the Northfield and Lonsdale area. I am the only girl in the family who joined the military, finished out college and used my degree toward my career field.”

Kristine has three children, one girl, Mackenzie, 16, and two boys, Logan, 15, and Mathias, 11. Her boyfriend, Luke Anderson, is a U.S. Army veteran with 10 years of service. Luke was deployed in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He works in the door assembly department at Andersen Windows.

One of Kristine’s hobbies is crocheting—her grandmother taught her. During the summer, she likes going to Twins games.

“I try to get out every year to see those big trucks at Monster Jam,” she said. “I usually take the kids. This year I am taking the kids and my boyfriend, Luke. We are all excited and can’t wait. Monster Jam’s in February at U.S. Bank Stadium.”

Kristine mentioned that she and Luke love to cook together. They also go to the movies and enjoy playing Candy Crush.

“I love to shop when I have the money,” she added. “I love going to Ulta to check out the deals and see what’s new for makeup or hair or face stuff. I like to keep busy, but I also like to go home and relax when I have had a long day.”

Kristine resides with her family in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

Pre-Social Work Transfer Pathway A.S.

The Pre-Social Work Transfer Pathway A.S. offers you a powerful option: the opportunity to complete an Associate of Science degree with course credits that directly transfer to designated social work bachelor’s degree programs at one of the seven Minnesota State universities.

The curriculum has been specifically designed so that students completing the pathway degree and transferring to a Minnesota State university* enter the four-year school with junior-year status. All courses in the Transfer Pathway associate degree will directly transfer and apply to the designated bachelor’s degree programs in a related field. Learn more...

Kristine Deutsch | Q & A

Kristine Deutsch
Kristine Deutsch

What did you like best about attending Inver Hills?
Everyone I came across was so helpful in helping me succeed in school.

What is something every community college student veteran should know?
Coming to Inver was the best decision I have ever made because Sue [Flannigan] goes above and beyond for our service members, and she sure knows her stuff better than anyone at any other college I have attended. Sue was there to make sure I succeeded in school.

What is your human services philosophy?
You have to have the passion and patience to be in the helping profession.

Why did you choose human services as your career field?
I want to give back to service members. I didn’t get the help I needed when I was in the Army. Sometime after I got out, more and more programs rolled out to help service members. I want to be there and help out any way I can. We deserve to be treated with the respect we deserve.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

What do you consider your toughest challenge in life?
Having time for myself. I have three kids, a full-time job and a part-time job. Thankfully God has given me a very supportive boyfriend to help me through.

Your greatest accomplishment so far?
I managed to go to school while taking care of my three kids, having three part-time jobs, weekly appointments for my kids and myself, doing volunteer work, and dealing with struggles in my life. I say I did pretty well dealing with all that while being under a lot of stress and pressure.

Your highest goal?
My highest goal so far is getting my Master of Social Work.

Most exciting thing you’ve ever done?
I joined Club VALOR on campus and was able to go to the Student Veterans of America National Conference two years in a row, one at Disneyland in Anaheim and one in San Antonio. All those military students getting together in one location with every one of us trying to make a difference in life was pretty amazing.

Benefits of Career Week at Inver Hills

Career Week is an opportunity for students to have fun while learning about how to excel in their career. Rarely do job seekers get the opportunity to speak directly to employers about the dos and don’ts of resume writing, interviewing and more.

During Career Week, daily activities are geared toward giving students the insider track to become the best candidate in their job search. Students who attend two or more events receive an Inver Hills portfolio.

The first time Kristine came to the Center for Career Development and Community-Based Learning (CCD+CBL) she was seeking assistance in updating her resume. Coming from a military background, Kristine had a multi-page document that included military jargon that is often misunderstood by civilian employers. We worked together to review how her skill sets translate into social work positions by reviewing each statement.

This was a long process, but worth the work when Kristine started applying for jobs. Something I really appreciated about Kristine was how she came to the office before graduation so that when she was ready to graduate, she had already put in a lot of the hard work that goes into the job search. She landed a job before she graduated.

Emily at Backpack to Briefcase 2018
Emily at Backpack to Briefcase 2018

Kristine also took advantage of the many opportunities offered on campus, including Career Week activities. While exploring a career in government, she attended the Applying for Federal Jobs event hosted each year. She didn’t stop there and honed her interviewing skills while exploring more career opportunities during the annual Backpack to Briefcase event. I saw Kristine’s confidence grow as she met with more and more employers and started networking. I have no doubt she brought the confidence she gained from the center’s events to her job interview.

Kristine is an excellent example of how the job search process starts when students come to campus. Her hard work during her academic career made for an easier job search while she prepared for graduation. It’s safe to say that most students come to Inver to expand their career opportunities. At the Center for Career Development and Community-Based Learning (CCD+CBL), we strive to offer opportunities for students to try out careers and improve their professional skills in their chosen field.

Students who want a job—after graduating from Inver Hills or after completing a bachelor’s degree—should come to the center to update their resumes. When a student goes through the exercise of creating a resume, the center can help them identify the opportunities where they have to fill in the areas they may need more experience in while they are in school. Employers are often seeking applicants who have some sort of experience and the center can help connect our students to opportunities in their industry or field.

— Emily Johnson, Director of Career Development

Kristine gallery

Kristine & Career Center/Backpack to Briefcase | Q & A

Kristine at Backpack to Briefcase 2018
Kristine at Backpack to Briefcase 2018

What is something you learned from Backpack to Briefcase that you applied to your most recent job search?
I got great help with my resume.

What did you enjoy most about Backpack to Briefcase?
I was able to practice interviewing. I am not good at that so it was nice to have different people from different companies come out to tell me what I needed to work on and what I did well on.

Why should other Inver students attend Backpack to Briefcase?
The event is a useful tool to help you get the job you want. Practice makes permanent. It is always good to practice.

What challenges did you face in translating your military experience into civilian language on your resume?
Avoid putting military terms like Pac Clerk on a resume—any civilian is not going to know what that means. I received help translating military terms into civilian language on paper. I had to do that with every job I had in the Army.

How was attending Applying for Federal Jobs valuable to you?
I found out what exactly they were looking for in a resume when applying for a federal job. Applying for a federal job is a whole process that can take up to three months to finally get into the job, but the effort is all worth it in the end.

What advice would you give an Inver Hills student looking for a career after graduation?
Don’t wait till after graduation. Start looking before you graduate. I started looking during fall semester and I was able to get a job before the semester ended. It may not be that quick with some, but don’t wait. It’s all about networking. Put yourself out there and sell yourself.

How did visiting the Center for Career Development and Community-Based Learning help you during your time at Inver Hills?
Emily Johnson [director of career development] did a wonderful job getting me the help I needed with my resume and interviewing skills. I needed to sell myself, and I wasn’t doing that in the beginning. Emily has lots of connections with other employers that I couldn’t make on my own. She has resources for people who need interview clothes. She was there every step of the way.

Career Week events

Etiquette Lunch

WHEN: Monday, February 25, 2019
From 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: College Center 117

Join in for the first Career Week event: the Etiquette lunch. You will get a free meal and information about interviewing over the course of the meal. Space is limited, so please:


Attend this event and one additional Career Week-sponsored event and you will earn an Inver Hills portfolio.

Discover Your Strengths

WHEN: Tuesday, February 26, 2019
From 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
WHERE: College Center 117

When you know and use your strengths you are six times more likely to be engaged at work. You can use the CliftonStrengths assessment to identify your natural talents and learn how to maximize your potential.

Attend this event and one additional Career Week-sponsored event and you will earn an Inver Hills portfolio.

Applying for a Federal Job

WHEN: Wednesday, February 27, 2019
From 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
WHERE: Heritage Hall 203

Are you interested in working in federal government or at the VA? Now is your chance to learn about the process, special hiring authorities and more. Do you know someone from off campus who might like to learn about this? Bring them along. This event is open to the public.

Students attending this event and one other Career Week-sponsored event will earn an Inver Hills portfolio. No registration required.

Backpack to Briefcase

WHEN: Thursday, February 28, 2019
From 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
WHERE: Three locations in Fine Arts Building
Check-in held on Fine Arts building second floor; location details included in registration* confirmation.

Join local employers and the Center for Career Development and Community-Based Learning (CCD+CBL) for our annual Backpack to Briefcase event. This is your one-stop opportunity to learn what employers want to see on your resume and LinkedIn profile, and what they want to hear during your job interview.

There will be free food, free LinkedIn profile photos, and other free stuff. But most importantly, this is your opportunity to gain a competitive edge in your future career.

* Registration required.

Email your StarID and major to Career Development.

Space is limited. Please RSVP ASAP.

Attend this event and one additional Career Week-sponsored event and you will earn an Inver Hills portfolio.

Kristine Deutsch | 21 Answers

  1. Favorite season: Spring and Summer
  2. Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): Pacific Ocean around Hawaii
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity: Love the feeling of working out when I have the time.
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: Northern cardinal
  5. Place you would most like to visit: Italy
  6. Favorite holiday: I know this sounds crazy, but my birthday because that is the time of year where it is all about me.
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Panda
  8. Favorite actor or actress: Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling
  9. Favorite band or performing artist: Jamie Grace (Christian Artist)
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “This life is only temporary, only you can make a change.”
  11. Coolest thing in the world: Unicorns
  12. Scariest thing in the world: Jumping off a cliff
  13. Favorite all-time TV show(s): Grey’s Anatomy and This Is Us
  14. Favorite all-time movie: P.S. I Love You
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: To help out as many service members as I can
  16. Most valuable material possession: My Google Pixel; it is my main source of communication.
  17. First thing you would do if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: Give 20 percent to my church
  18. Dream occupation: I am doing it right now, Family Assistance Center specialist at the National Guard Armory in Bloomington
  19. Person you would most like to meet: My niece and nephew who are adopted out
  20. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Being an automobile mechanic
  21. Humankind’s greatest challenge: Having respect toward each other
Learn more about the Center for Career Development and Community-Based Learning (CCD+CBL) at Inver Hills by contacting:

Emily Johnson
Director of Career Development

Shannon Williams
Community-Based Learning Coordinator

Learn more about Veteran Services at Inver Hills by contacting:

Sue Flannigan
Veteran Services Coordinator

Learn more about earning your Pre-Social Work Transfer Pathway A.S. at Inver Hills by contacting:

Cheryl Redinger
Human Services Faculty

Admissions Team
College Center

Kristine (second from right) with fellow students at Backpack to Briefcase 2018
Kristine (second from right) with fellow students at Backpack to Briefcase 2018

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