PSEO Success: Julie Soderlund and Lily Dunkle

Daughter follows in mother’s footsteps at Inver Hills

Julie Soderlund, 49, took general education courses at Inver Hills Community College for two years as a Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) student while attending Rosemount High School. Julie graduated from RHS in 1990 and went on to earn her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Urban Studies with a Minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Minnesota.

Today, Julie owns and manages EMERGE Coaching and Consulting Services. She started her business in 2013 and excels as a leadership coach and project manager. Julie also serves as the IT program director for Minnesota States Services. She previously worked for 15 years for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, becoming the Office of Management Support and Development director in 2007.

Julie has fond memories of her time as a PSEO student. What she liked best about the experience was feeling “grown up” and meeting people with different interests.

“I also enjoyed having a flexible schedule that allowed me to work and save money for college after high school,” she said.

In her free time, Julie enjoys day trips and exploring Minnesota, reading or listening to novels, playing cards and board games such as Royal Crown Cards or Quirkle, and listening to live music.

“I love going to concerts at the Minnesota Zoo amphitheater,” she said. “I’ve seen Grace Potter, Sara Bareilles and Brandi Carlisle there.”

She also enjoys concerts at The Basilica of St. Mary; she’s seen Matt Nathanson, Fitz and the Tantrums, and ZZ Ward at that Minneapolis venue.

PSEO runs in the family…

Julie’s daughter, Lily Dunkle, 17, is just beginning her college career at Inver Hills—three decades after her mom. Lily attends Eagan High School and is slated to graduate in 2022. She started as a PSEO student at Inver Hills in 2021 and, like her mom, is taking general ed courses. She is looking forward to continuing her education at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.

“I’ve already been accepted at MSU,” she reported, “and I plan on studying film and psychology.”

Lily works 10 to 15 hours a week while attending high school and college as a team member at Paws Doggy Daycare. She is centering her career goals on working as a wildlife videographer and photographer as well as a psychologist.

In her free time, Lily likes making music—she sings, and plays guitar and keyboards. She also enjoys painting abstracts on small canvases, skateboarding and hanging with friends.

Both Julie and Lily consider Eagan, Minnesota, their hometown. Lily’s brother, Evan, 21, also attended Inver Hills. He received his Associate of Arts (A.A.) in 2021 and is now majoring in political science at the University of Minnesota. The family resides in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Evan, Julie, Lily Lily and Evan Evan, Julie, Lily

More about PSEO at Inver Hills…

The Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program allows 10th, 11th and 12th grade students to earn credits that can meet high school graduation requirements while simultaneously earning transferable college credits. Dual credit courses offer high school students the opportunity to enroll in rigorous courses that further prepare them for postsecondary education.

Inver Hills allows PSEO students to take courses that are held on the college’s campus in Inver Grove Heights or online either full time or part time. PSEO offers students a wide variety of class offerings as well as the opportunity to pursue more challenging coursework than may be available at the high school level.

The PSEO program covers the cost of tuition, fees, and required textbooks and materials for college-level courses taken for high school credit. Students who continue their education beyond high school can transfer their PSEO coursework as college credits, saving both time and money to complete a college degree.

PSEO students are responsible for providing their own transportation to campus. Parking is available on campus and you do not need a special permit. Inver Hills is on the Metro Transit bus route and offers the College Pass discount. Reimbursement for transportation expenses may be available through the school district if the family’s income level is at or below the federal poverty guidelines.

LEARN MORE…

Julie Soderlund Q & A

Julie Soderlund
What advice would you give high school students thinking about participating in PSEO?

PSEO offers great growth opportunity while offering the safety net of high school.

What is one defining challenge facing the current generation of college students?

Adapting to an everchanging world situation.

Why did you choose your career path?

Working with government and organizational leaders to move ideas forward is inspiring to me.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Retired spending quality time with my family and friends.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:

LAUNCHING

Julie Soderlund 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Walking around the lakes
  2. Place you would most like to visit: London
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Parenting
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Create a foundation to help those struggling in the U.S. 2) Buy a vacation home in Kauai, Hawaii 3) Hire a chef to prepare all of my meals
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Only Murders in the Building
  6. Time period you would explore if you could time travel: The future in 20 years
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Write a book that helps people achieve their goals
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Loon 😀
  9. Dream occupation: I have it—solopreneur
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Michelle Obama
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Singing
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Human equality

Lily Dunkle Q & A

Lily Dunkle
Why did you decide to participate in PSEO at Inver Hills?

I really liked the idea of a more open schedule along with starting the process of earning college credits.

How do you balance your college and high school responsibilities?

I am currently only enrolled in College Algebra and Photography at Inver along with one music production course at the School of Environmental Studies. Because the majority of my coursework is at Inver, I balance it out by using the college’s resources such as math lab and peer help.

What do you like best about being a PSEO student?

The freedom! 🙂

What is one defining challenge facing the current generation of college students?

I would definitely say the effects of COVID and what the pandemic has changed for so many.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

In Montana living near Yellowstone with a family and a film contract with National Geographic.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:

EXCITING

Lily Dunkle 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Dancing of all kinds
  2. Place you would most like to visit: All of Europe
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Zip-lining in Alaska
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Donate majority 2) Give to family 3) Somehow use the money to spread awareness of current events
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Chicago Med
  6. Time period you would explore if you could time travel: Back to when I was younger (2000s)
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Make an impact and leave happiness for others
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Penguin
  9. Dream occupation: Wildlife film/photographer
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Jack Johnson
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Harmonica
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Equality
Learn more about PSEO at Inver Hills by contacting:

Mary Kadrlik
PSEO Admissions Advisor
651-450-3661

Learn more about attending Inver Hills by contacting:

Admissions Team
651-450-3000
College Center

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