“It doesn’t matter if you’re blood related; what matters is those relationships you have with people,” senior Raegan Wagner said.
Wagner, a communications major with an emphasis in public relations, has almost always been able to find a purpose in helping others during her time at Northwest.
Wagner came to Northwest reluctant to leave home. Her move-in day caused her a lot of anxiety, as her parents would be leaving her by herself for the first time.
“I am so close with my parents. When they dropped me off in Millikan, I was still telling them goodbye while I was going to my floor meeting,” Wagner said. “I never thought I’d make it past first semester, but now I have developed into this person, and I just do not want to leave Maryville.”
From being alone to personally knowing more than her fair share of other Bearcats, Wagner has climbed her way to the top over four years. It was not without the help of the family she created.
Wagner says this family-oriented way of living goes way back, starting with some of her favorite memories.
“My sister and I had knock-down-drag-out fights over clothes,” Wagner said. “I came back from my spring break trip and she texted me because she saw her clothes in my pictures.”
Sister bonding memories are not the only contribution to a strong reliance on family though. Wagner says her parents have always been great at guiding her through the hard times.
“I grew up in a great household, so I really am blessed to have that,” Wagner said. “Getting to where I was, I never thought I would get through college. My parents did a great job of making sure everything was normal for my sister and me.”
Wagner learned one lesson from her parents after a falling-out on her father’s side of the family when she was younger.
“Just because you’re blood related doesn’t mean those people are always going to be there for you,” Wagner said.
She takes this lesson and applies it daily.
“That’s just kind of what I had to learn, so I am very blessed for the people in and outside of family that I do have,” Wagner said. “All of my friends here and all of their families are like my second family.”
Wagner took this lesson and ran with it. Right after starting classes, she decided to join Phi Mu and met some of her best friends. During her time at Phi Mu, Wagner’s relationship with her friend, senior Jessica Feltner, grew. Wagner and Feltner met their freshman year in their dorms and both made the decision to join Phi Mu together.
Feltner has nothing but positive things to say about Wagner.
“I think others view her as extremely confident because she carries herself well and knows what she is capable of doing and what she wants to achieve,” Feltner said. “People are naturally drawn toward her because she is so welcoming and inviting.”
Comments like these helped Wagner secure her position as recruitment chair of Phi Mu her junior year. Feltner also lead next to Wagner as Phi Mu’s new member educator.
After beginning to build her own family tree in Phi Mu Wagner decided to back to her roots by joining the Northwest Dance Company.
“I have been dancing since I was three,” Wagner said. “This year, I went through a tough time in my life, so dance was an outlet for getting those emotions out. But it was sad, being the last year I could do it. I just love how you can express yourself in so many ways.”
It is the expressive nature of dance and its variety that has kept her coming back for 20 years. Ready to move on past college, Wagner must finally leave her love for dancing behind. She is doing this knowing she made some of her greatest friends in the Northwest Dance Company.
From the beginning of her involvement in dancing at Northwest, Wagner had a position as the marketing chair in the Dance Company. Later, Wagner served first as vice president, then as president of the Dance Company.
“It’s going to be weird leaving that behind,” Wagner said. “I told the current president that I will be back for every show. I told them that if they ever need someone to come back and judge anything, I’d love to.”
Alongside holding two different positions within her organization, Wagner decided to apply for an internship with Northwest’s athletic department her junior year. She was able to gain a position as an athletic marketing intern.
“For all of the athletic events, we run the music and we do all of the setup,” Wagner said. “For volleyball and basketball, we run the promotions. We come up with ways to get people involved and increase fan engagement.”
Even though she was only an intern, Wagner pushed the limits when it came to engaging and being a part of the lives of others. One of the friendships she made during her time as an intern was with senior Taylor Korte.
“Raegan is someone who knows how to work hard and is someone you can trust,” Korte said. “She has been a leader to me in many ways, and now she is a great friend.”
Korte described how she thinks others view Wagner, saying her go-getter attitude is maybe her most defining quality.
“Others think Raegan is a go-getter. She knows how to make anyone feel needed and valued and she recently started her own makeup business,” Korte said. “She inspires people to do what they want and to follow the thing you are passionate about.”
As Korte said, Wagner found the time to start her own makeup business this semester called “Make-Up by Raegan.”
“In January, I started ‘Make-Up by Raegan’ and I have already booked five weddings, and I have done a photoshoot for a blogger in Kansas City for her and her intern last weekend,” Wagner said. “I have always had a passion for makeup and like I said, I went through a time in my life where I just really needed to find myself and I said ‘Why not?’”
It was at this point that Wagner began to physically see the family she had built up through her college career.
“I posted my logo on my personal Instagram and explained what I was doing. I told everyone where they could follow the business,” Wagner said. “The response I got, I wasn’t expecting at all. I am lucky to have a lot of supportive people in my life who are willing to go on this journey with me. I just never had that much faith in myself to do something like that.”
Now less than a month from graduation, Wagner has managed to secure a position with ReDiscover, a non-profit organization.
“It’s a mental health organization and they help people of all ages,” Wagner said.
ReDiscover helps people obtain services for substance abuse and mental health services who might not normally be able to afford it.
Even though she is moving on, Wagner is certainly planning to maintain her makeup business on the side as well.
“It’s definitely something I want to do on the side as I start my career to see how that works out for me. But if it ended up being my full time job, I would be perfectly content,” Wagner said.
Wagner is moving past Northwest, but her second home is a place she will never forget. Wagner wants to leave those remaining with some advice.
“You get out of it what you put in. If you do not know and you are worried about being involved, just try it,” Wagner said. “Just try to stick it out; try anything and try everything. If you do not like it, at least you can say you tried.”