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Honors Alum Going on Tour

Honors College graduate Joey Coe, class of 2011, has been busy since graduating from WKU. He will be heading out on a national tour with his band Mount Saint Elias. Joey took some time to catch the Honors College up on what he has been doing since graduating.

Q: What have you been up to since leaving the Honors College?

Joey: About 3 days after graduating from the Honors College, I took an internship with Semester at Sea, and worked closely with Dr. Bernie Strenecky on various Community Development projects on the May 2011 voyage of Semester at Sea.

After that, however, I took some time to do some reflection. Because College was non-stop-I was on the success treadmill and running very, very fast. I needed a time to pause and ask myself “what is it that I truly want to do?” Not “what can I be most successful at” or “what is the highest paying job I can acquire” but truly, “what do I want?”

It’s a tough question to ask oneself. Ultimately, I decided that my wants and desires would always be evolving, but at the time (Fall 2011) I decided I wanted to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. I also knew I needed to do something in conjunction with that because A. I knew music alone wouldn’t pay the bills right away and B. I’ve never been happy just doing one thing- I need to have a life full of different projects that feed off each other- i.e., I needed something to do that would give me something to write songs about!

So, I took a job as a Trip Leader with Backroads, an active travel company with trips in 40 countries. Since then, I’ve been leading hikes, leading bike rides, telling stories about the politics of Panama, teaching about Sequoias, making lunches, and all the other tasks that come with leading week-long active vacations in Alaska, Yosemite, Napa and Sonoma, Death Valley, Big Sur, and Panama.

When not leading trips, I’m busy writing, rehearsing, and performing songs with my band, Mount Saint Elias. We’re a five piece folk-rock band based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we’re heading on a national tour in November and December. Our music is available on our website at www.mountsaintelias.com  , or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/praisethebeat.  We’ll be playing in Bowling Green with The Cartoons on Tuesday, November 25th.

Q: What impact has the Honors College had on you personally and professionally?

Joey: The Honors College had a massive impact on me both personally and professionally. Personally, some of my best friends in the world to this day lived on my floor in Minton “Mintron” Hall. They are some of the kindest, brightest, most vivacious individuals I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. They, and the Honors College itself, challenged me to think critically, to dream big, and gave me both the connections and the skills to make magic happen.

Academically, the Honors College courses provided a classroom environment that I have very fond memories of. There are students who are not in the Honors College at WKU who are very bright and driven to learn, but there are a lot more of them in the Honors College. In non-honors classes, I sometimes felt a bit of an odd duck- I was burning to learn, to criticize, to read, to discuss- but sometimes I was the only one in a class of 50. But in Honors classes, I knew I didn’t have to hold back, I knew that most everyone else in the class had done the reading as well, and wouldn’t mind a spirited conversation.

For more information about Joey’s band, Mount Saint Elias, and to get more information about the show in Bowling Green, like the band on Facebook.

Know an Honors College alum that is doing great things? Let us know at honors@wku.edu!

mount saint elias

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