Megan Kongaika said that she has a network of former Rocky Mountain College students to thank, in part, for helping her along in her career.
A native of Glendive, Kongaika followed her older sister to Rocky in 1999 to pursue an education degree with a focus on English literature.
“It was a symbiotic relationship between the professors and the classroom, and they were almost more like facilitators than lecturers,” said Kongaika, 35. “And I really loved that about the structure.”
She said the school instilled professionalism and growth into the schoolwork, and it served her well years after.
With her degree, Kongaika took a teaching job in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2004. She worked four years and met the man that would become her husband. When the time came that she’d have to make a long-term commitment in Alaska, she decided to see what other opportunities were out there.
She moved back to Billings to pursue her master’s degree in public relations through MSUB. But her Rocky roots landed her a job.
She applied for a communications position at Employee Benefit Management Services, a Billings-based company led by two Rocky boosters. She earned her master’s within her five years at the company.
“Those five years of mentorship under (Rocky grad LynAnn Henderson) were just incredibly transformational,” Kongaika said. “And I don’t know how much of it you can pin on being a product of Rocky, but I would have to argue at least some of it.”
She said she found the same growth mentality with the company that she had in college.
Nine months after earning her master's degree, she took a job at Billings Clinic. She said it was another learning process, jumping into a medical science community and communicating it to the public.
And two months ago, she made the jump again, taking a public relations job with Altana Federal Credit Union.
Kongaika said she keeps in touch with an education professor at Rocky, as well as her college roommate, whom she calls her “professional partner in crime.” Together, they’ve been handling marketing for the Yellowstone County Relay For Life for 10 years.
This year, they’re chairs for the event.
Now in a new job in Billings, with a young family, she said the mindset fostered at Rocky is becoming a model for the company world.
“I think businesses are starting to follow that model and sort of tip hierarchy on its side, because there’s a lot of brilliancy that comes out of youth and a lot of progression that comes out of having youthful people at the table,” Kongaika said. “And I feel like Rocky has really understood that for a very, very long time.”