Student Spotlight: Kali VanBaale

Kali VanBaale: Associate of Arts GraduateHi! I’m Kali VanBaale. I graduated from Indian Hills Community College with an Associate of Arts degree focusing on English and Literature. Currently, I'm a freelance author. I write adult fiction novels, short stories, and essays. I've got one book under my belt, The Space Between, published in 2006, and have just wrapped up a second, Mercy Road. I also teach creative writing courses and manage three little monkeys, aka my children.

The greatest thing Indian Hills allowed me to do was earn affordable college credits while trying to decide on a major. I managed to graduate with no debt and a savings account! I took a wide range of electives on topics that included creative writing, education, and even psychology, and since all of my Indian Hills credits transferred, I was able to begin my university studies as a junior.

I always think of Indian Hills as an intimate, personable school. It was easy to meet and get to know other students and the instructors. I didn't feel lost in the crowd. Indian Hills wasn't the overwhelming step after high school that universities can sometimes be, but it still had that "college" feel.

My two years at Indian Hills were fun and tough all at once. I enjoyed my courses, met my future husband, and made some great friends. I was also trying to grow up and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The four-day school week made it possible for me to work more and earn money, but still keep up with my course load (and the occasional social gathering). I have really fond memories of my time at Indian Hills.

Note: Kali VanBaale was recognized by the Ottumwa Courier as a "Southern Iowan You Ought to Know." She was awarded a 2007 Iowa Literary Award for Fiction and a 2007 American Book Award for her first novel, The Space Between. After completing her second novel, Kali was awarded a major artist grant to begin her third. Now, she is represented by a New York literary agent. In 2010, Kali was awarded a residency at an artist retreat in North Carolina.

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