April 15-19, 2019

Note: times and dates are subject to change
An asterisk (*) indicates ISU alumni

Monday, April 15

Keynote Name: The Face of The Power House
Steve Solomon: Vice President of Corporate Relations at Exelon

Description: Hear from Steve Solomon, School of Communication alumni, who has worked his way to the top of a fortune 100 company as the Vice President of corporate relations at Exelon Corporation.

Time/Location: 9:00 – 9:50 a.m. in CVA 145 

Awards and Scholarship Luncheon

Time/Location: 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the Circus Room, Bone Student Center

Panel Name: Planning the Perfect Event

Description: From weddings to corporate outings, professional event planners share how they prepare and present the perfect event.

Time/Location: 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. in Fell 152


  • Rachel Garner* – Event Planner at SMG Soldier Field
  • Stephanie Duquenne* – Associate Director of Alumni Relations at ISU
  • Samantha Schultz* – Event Planner at Palace Events

Panel Name: Why Being a Journalist Matters

Time/Location: 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. in Fell 180


  • Lenore Sobota – Reporter for the Pantagraph
  • Mary Cullen* – News Reporter and Produce for WGLT
  • Julie Martin* – Executive Producer for TV-10
  • Jim Kirk* – Publisher and Executive Director at Crain’s Chicago Business

Panel Name: COMedy Night

Description: Come to the show of the night and see our local ISU SNL open up for some of the most talented and hilarious ISU alumni working in today’s entertainment world.

Time/Location: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. in  SCH 138


  • Andrew Bogue* – Senior Marketing Coordinator at Medix
  • Mary McMahon* – Broker at @properties
  • Ryan Cashman* – Training and Development Coordinator at SMS Assist L.L.C.

Keynote Name: Eye on the Prize: Honoring the Legacy of the Activist

Fred Hampton Jr.: President and Chairman of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee (POCC) and The Black Panther Party Cubs (BPPC)

Akua Njeri: Chairperson of the December 4 Committee & Advisory Committee Board Member at POCC

Description: Activist Fred Hampton Jr. and his mother, Akua Njeri, will talk about the life and legacy of civil rights advocate Fred Hampton Sr., addressing Hampton Sr.’s dream of social progress fueled by Solidarity between races, classes, and divisions.

Time/Location: 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. in  SCH 130


Tuesday, April 16

Event: Career Institute

Description: Students can take advantage of the Career Institute, boasting over 25 professional networking opportunities divided into two segments. The education segment allows students to ask questions about resumes, portfolios, and interviewing answered by professionals. The networking segment allows students to meet with recruiting professionals one-on-one to gain more insight on the job search and how to navigate it. The Career Institute is perfect for all students regardless of your major or year in school.

Time/Location: 9:00 a.m. – noon in the Brown Ballroom, Bone Student Center

Panel Name: Customer Connections

Description: Public Relations professionals will share the importance of knowing and serving your clients.

Time/Location: 12:35 – 1:50 p.m. in Fell 148


  • Caitlyn Luchsinger* – Account Supervisor at Zeno Group
  • Jamie Fox* – Corporate Communication & Marketing Director at Caterpillar
  • Rachel Kobus* – Associate Director of Alumni Relations at ISU
  • Kelly McNamara* – Vice President at Fishman
  • Glynis Gibson* – President of Gibson Communications, Inc.

Panel Name: Be the Change: Careers in the Non-Profit Sector

Description: Illinois State University is a “civic engagement” campus, and these alums have incorporated into their careers. Come hear them talk about their experience in non-profits.

Time/Location: 2:00 – 2:50 p.m. in Fell 152


  • Markie Maloof* – Specialist, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Kenneth Porter* – Civic Engagement at Mivka Challenge
  • Ashley Souk* – Communication Professional at Home Sweet Home Ministries, Inc.

 Keynote Name: Kim Presents: Finding New Opportunities Post Graduation

Kim Kaufman: Public Speaker/Storyteller at Kim Presents

Description: Life after graduation can take you down a multitude of paths. Kim Kaufman is here to help you navigate through the uncertainty, present opportunities for growth, and find joy along the journey while advancing in the professional world.

Time/Location: 3:35 – 4:50 p.m. in SCH 130

Event: Mocktail Hour: A Networking Event

Description: Four recruiting professionals talk about what they look for in applicants interviewing for the job. Learn from them along with networking with other communication professionals. This event is sponsored by The Student Alumni Council and Association for Women in Communications. Free appetizers, headshots, and mocktails will be provided. Please register with the link (link to come soon).

Time/Location: exact time tbd in the Hancock Stadium Club

 Wednesday, April 17

Keynote Name: Life Through a Lens

Mitch Pugh: Executive Editor for The Post and Courier

Time/Location: 9:00 – 9:50 a.m. in CVA 145

Panel Name: Social Media Savvy

Description: Future employers will see your social media profiles. Are your posts going to help or harm your career? These panelists will answer your questions.

Time/Location: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in Fell 275 (SMACC)


  • Melissa Schrader* – Human Resources Manager at State Farm Insurance
  • Suzannah Kerr* – Special Investigation Unit (SIU) Specialist at Pekin Insurance
  • Tim Bill* – Executive Director of Marketing & Public Information at Heartland Community College

Panel Name: Behind The Screen: Inspiration, Motivation, and Perspective

Description: Gain insight from professional bloggers and hear how they stay ahead in the “follow frenzy” of today’s information universe.

Time/Location: 2:00 – 2:50 p.m. in Fell 176


  • Kameron Williams* – Blogger and Vlogger at
  • Jessica Elliot – Freelance Writer and Blogger
  • Ashleigh Lalla* – Social Media Manager at Gossip Genie
  • Abby Baffoe* – Blogger and Vlogger at

Event: Documentary Film Festival

Time / Location: 6:00PM – 9:00PM at the Normal Theater

Doors open at 5:30PM. Please click here to see the schedule of documentary films being shown.

Thursday, April 18

Panel Name: Outside The Box

Description: Alumni who found themselves in a career that is “outside the box” from what they imagined themselves doing post-graduation.

Time/Location: 9:35 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. in Fell 152


  • Melissa Libert* – Director of Development at WGLT Public Media
  • Randy Paulissen* – Director of Student Housing at Young America Realty, Inc.
  • Connor Small* – Marketing Manager at Young America Realty, Inc.
  • Colin Coyne* – Aviation Recruiter at LAUNCH Technical Workforce Solutions 

Panel Name: The Stress of Campaigning

Description: Campaigns are one of the most stressful parts of being a political candidate. Hear from prior candidates about challenges they faced.

Time/Location: 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. in Fell 162


  • Jason Barickman* – U.S. Senator for Illinois’ 53rd District
  • Nikita Richards* – Member of J.B. Pritzker’s Transition Team
  • C. McBride* – Non-Partisan Member of the Normal Town Council
  • Steve Suess* – Chairman of the McLean County Libertarian Party

 Panel Name: Throwing Away the Pink Collar

Description: These women create better workplaces with professional identities that over power gender stereotypes.

Time/Location: 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. in Fell 280 (CIC)


  • Jillian Collins* – Vice President of U.S. Growth at Golin
  • Colette Rozanski* – Business Development Director at R.C. Wegman Construction
  • Molly Tesdall* – HR Business Partner at Amazon
  • Kelsey LeRose* – Senior Account Executive at Schafer Condon Carter (SCC)

Keynote Name: The Winning Shot: Leadership in Sports

Dan Muller: Men’s Basketball Head Coach at ISU

Time/Location: 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. in Capen Auditorium, Edwards Hall

Panel Name: Fashion in Communication: Walk the Talk

Description: Alumni in the fashion industry talk about their trials and hardships. Come listen and explore the ins and outs of communication within the fashion world.

Time/Location: 12:35 – 1:50 p.m. in Fell 125


  • Alexis Warnake* – Social Media and Marketing Coordinator for Apricot Lane Peoria
  • Allison O’Brien* – National Stylist at Trunk Club Chicago
  • Sidney Holman* – Merchandise Allocation Analyst at Claire’s Inc.
  • Kelsey Stiegman* – Senior Style Editor at

 Panel Name: Let’s Talk Business: Communication in Corporations

Description: These SoC graduates got down to business. Hear them explain what it takes to thrive in the corporate business world.

Time/Location: 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in Fell 158


  • Lauren Donnelly* – Communications Specialist at Country Financial
  • Sarah Franzen* – Community Relations Specialist at State Farm Insurance
  • Sam Bernier* – Public Relations Specialist at Aldi USA
  • Allison Buehner* – Marketing Communications Specialist at Comcast

 Friday, April 19

Panel Name: The Ball is in Your Court

Description: Many people want to work in sports, but how do you get there? Hear from professionals in sports on how they got into the industry and tips on how you can too.

Time/Location: 11:00 – 11:50 a.m. in Fell 152


  • Amy Wallace* – Senior Account Executive at USA Today Sports Media
  • Mike Williams* – Assistant Athletic Director/Communications at ISU
  • Dan Roan* – Sports Director for WGN-TV

Panel Name: Young Alums: From Interns to Industry Professionals

Description: Recent grads share how they started as interns and developed into industry professionals.

Time/Location: noon – 12:50 p.m. in Fell 125


  • Daniel Gee* – Account Support Specialist at 3Points Communications
  • Molly Dietmeier* – Director of Direct Sales & Marketing at Beer Nuts
  • Jena Sullivan – Media Relations Specialist at Walker Sands Communication
  • Lynn Rossi* – Marketing Coordinator at Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects