Our alumni have gone into a wide variety of fields after graduating from the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre. Here is a sample of their accomplishments:
Michael Kazanow (B.A. 2022)
In his senior year, Michael took part in an internship at the American Orthopaedic Association. After graduation, that internship turned into a full-time job where he is now the Marketing Coordinator.
Cassidy Schmidt (B.A. 2020)
After graduation, Cassidy was hired as the Marketing Coordinator for the Palatine Park District, and then she began her new job as the Social Media Coordinator for the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Anthony Guerrero (M.A. 2020)
After completing his M.A. thesis, "The Power of Drag: Performance, Activism, and Self-Expression," Anthony was admitted to the Ph.D. program in Media, Cinema, and Digital Studies in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Leslie Hurtado (B.A. 2020)
While a student at NEIU, Leslie was a news editor for the NEIU Independent, an audio producer at the Lit + Luz Festival, a community reporter covering the COVID-19 beat for Cicero Independiente, and an intern at WGN Morning News. After graduation, Leslie started a paid position as a news intern at WBEZ Chicago helping the news team to research and write stories as well as helping them to produce radio packages. She also launched a podcast with Diane Boukhalil called "Rabiosa Medina Radio."
Adriana Soto (M.A. 2020)
Adriana works as a high school English teacher, Congressional debate coach, and as a Teacher Leader in education issues as they relate to diversity, equity and inclusion. She was admitted to the Latino and Latin American Studies master's program at University of Illinois at Chicago.
Merva Morina (B.A. 2015; M.A. 2020)
Merva works as a fielding coordinator at InsightsNow, a market research company, where she assists in the development and organization of consumer claims research.
Sean Carey (M.A. 2019)
Sean is now the Interim Associate Dean of Instruction at the Humboldt Park Vocational Education Center at Wilbur Wright Community College where he is also the Co-chair of the Business and CIS Department.
Nic Anderson (B.A. 2019)
Nic worked as a news reporter at the Journal and Topics Media Group, a social media manager with several companies, and launched Queer on the Street, a news site that covers the NYC LGBTQ+ community. Nic was selected for a competitive internship at CNN in the summer of 2023 and will graduate with a Master's degree in Journalism from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in New York City in December of 2023.
Ata Younan (B.A. 2019)
Ata has been published by Borderless Magazine, was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with the Assyrian Policy Institute, received Honorary Mention in the Nuevas Voces New Play Festival for her play titled "The United Statesian Nightmare," and worked as a production manager for the Stage Center Theatre.
Thomas Krettler (M.A. 2019)
After graduating with his master's degree, Tom was hired at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn to teach Fundamentals of Speech Communication and has been teaching there since 2019.
Madeleine Panos (B.A. 2018)
Madeleine co-founded a youth outreach program (Mothers Trust Teens of Lake County) and was an intern at the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic. She was admitted to the Widener University Law School in 2020.
Jessica Vasquez (B.A. 2017)
Jessica is now an Extension Program Coordinator for the NEIU Center for College Access and Success, where she has participated in the Obama Foundation's Community Leadership Corps. She is currently working on an online workshop series for high school seniors to assist them in their college preparations. She is also completing the NEIU master's degree program in Human Resource Development.
Elise Taylor (M.A. 2017)
Elise is now a Ph.D. student at Purdue University where she is focused on Organizational and Computer-Mediated Communication.
Toreana Meeky (B.A. 2017)
Toreana was accepted into the M.F.A. program in Creative Producing at DePaul University.
Chris Churchill (B.A. 2014; M.A. 2017)
Chris was accepted into the M.F.A. program in Documentary Media at Northwestern University.
Samentha Sepulveda (B.A. 2015; M.A. 2017)
Samentha earned a Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she is took a mixed-methods approach toward the study of Intercultural Communication. She is now an Instructor here at NEIU.
Devin Pickell (B.A. 2017)
Devin joined the Jerry Thomas PR firm after graduation, and then he moved into technology marketing as a Content Specialist at G2 Crowd.
Alyssa Vincent (M.A. 2017)
Alyssa is now a Knowledge Manager for Perkins and Will, a global architecture and design firm.
Selena Alvarado (B.A. 2017)
Selena was hired as the marketing coordinator at the event planning/design company Lil Epic Design after completing an internship with the company.
Sarah Goodman (B.A. 2017)
Sarah was accepted to the M.A. program in Creative Media and Technology at Berklee NYC.
Mary Kroeck (M.A. 2016)
Mary now works as a content strategist in the Division of Marketing and Communications at Northeastern Illinois University. Her comedic short story, "Seven Secrets of Happiness, or How to Just Survive Today" was recently published in Illinois's Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction. Another short story titled "Letters to My Cat" was published in Illinois's Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Nonfiction and America's Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction.
Lacy Marlow (B.A. 2016)
Lacy works for USIM as Director of Digital Media Operations within the agency's Media Department. She creates processes and procedures that help various departments within the agency run while also managing a staff that handles digital media reconciliation.
Javier Aquino (B.A. 2015)
Javier went on to complete a master's degree in Educational Leadership at Concordia University Chicago and then entered a doctoral program in Interdisciplinary Leadership - Higher Education Administration at Governor's State University.
Benjamin Van Loon (M.A. 2015)
Benjamin is Communications Director for the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE), whose members represent 24 countries and $3 trillion in assets under management. Benjamin also serves as an adjunct instructor at NEIU, where he teaches a course in Public Relations.
Abrahim "Abe" Harb (B.A. 2015)
Abe is a Learning Solutions Associate with the Front Line Operations Team at Grubhub where he uses his creativity to generate solutions for learning and to facilitate training opportunities. You can visit abeharb.com for his creative work and resume.
Taylor Seletos (B.A. 2015)
Taylor is an account manager for LaSalle Network.
Kimberly Shotick (M.A. 2014)
Kimberly is now a Student Success Librarian and Assistant Professor at Northern Illinois University.
Katie Anderson (B.A. 2014)
Katie went on to complete an M.Sc in Project Management from the University of Limerick, Ireland.
Melissa Brand (B.A. 2014)
Melissa is an accounting coordinator at 3L Real Estate in Rosemont. In August 2020, she was accepted into a master's degree program in Communication at Purdue University with a concentration in strategic communication and public relations.
Natalia Eicker (B.A. 2014)
Natalia was hired as the development assistant at the Chicago Botanic Garden where she assists with fundraising, event planning, and donor stewardship.
Katie Kelly (B.A. 2014)
Katie was accepted into the Loyola University Paralegal Studies program before she passed away in 2016.
Aleksandra Wyrazik (B.A. 2014)
Aleksandra was accepted into the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
James McNeil (B.A. 2012)
James completed an M.A. in Communication at the University of Colorado Denver where he is now employed as an instructor in the Communication Department. James also teaches communication courses at Regis University in Denver.
Rico Self (M.A. 2012)
Rico is now a Ph.D. student in Communication Studies (with a focus in Rhetorical Studies) at Louisiana State University.
Daniella Bajtner (B.A. 2012)
Daniella was accepted into the Master of Arts in Organizational and Multicultural Communication program at DePaul University.
Max Plumpton (B.A. 2012)
Max earned an M.A. in Communication from the University of South Florida and is now a Ph.D. student in Communication Studies (with a focus in Rhetorical Studies and Cultural Studies) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Julien Wight (M.A. 2012)
Julien was accepted into the Ph.D. program in Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota. In February 2013, Julien was selected by the White House to participate on a social media panel for President Obama's 2013 State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. Julien presented research at the 2013 Gender Matters conference and the 2013 Central States Communication Association conference.
Jasmin Bleu Pellegrino (B.A. 2012)
Jasmin was accepted into the graduate program in Photojournalism at Boston University (BU). In 2012, she received First Place for her photo essay about the current state of Gary, Ind., from the Illinois College Press Association. She has worked for BU News Service, and has traveled throughout New Hampshire to cover the Obama/Romney Campaign.
Zachary Gingold (B.A. 2011)
Zachary co-founded Birdhouse New Media, a company focused on digital marketing, after he graduated from NEIU. He now works for Twitter where he manages business relationships with Twitter Official Partners.
Nicole Kashian (M.A. 2011)
Nicole was accepted into a Ph.D. program at Michigan State University. She is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Florida International University where she researches and teaches in the area of computer-mediated communication.
Alexis Johnson (M.A. 2011)
After completing her master's degree, Alexis was accepted into a Ph.D. program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she wrote a dissertation focused on social support and person-centered communication for family caregivers of patients with cancer. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Arkansas Tech University where she teaches courses such as Health Communication, Family Communication, and Dark Side of Communication.
Iona Brinson (B.A. 2011)
Iona earned her master's degree in Legal Studies from the Arizona State University Law School.
Abby Lenz (B.A. 2010)
Abby was hired by the Neal & McDevitt Law Firm in Chicago.
Razan Suleiman (B.A. 2010)
Razan was admitted to the M.S. program in Strategic Brand Communication at the University of Illinois.
Kimberly Podgorski (B.A. 2010)
Kimberly is employed as web editor for NBC Chicago, and was recently hired as a WGN assignment editor.
Paulina Kowalczyk (B.A. 2010)
Paulina works as a Family Resource Specialist at Illinois Action for Children.
Laura Aldmeyer (B.A. 2009)
Laura is now employed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Lara Stache (M.A. 2009)
After earning her M.A. at NEIU, Lara earned a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is now an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Governors State University.
Michalina Maliszewska (M.A. 2009)
Michalina is now the Coordinator of Graduate Student Activities in the College of Graduate Studies and Research at NEIU.
Aaron Olbur (B.A. 2009)
Aaron is a Grassroots Marketing representative at Road Runner Sports in San Diego.
Jeffrey Tischauser (M.A. 2008)
Jeffery published his book "Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim Bias in American Newspapers" (Edwin Mellin, 2010; foreword by Katrina Bell-Jordan). This book stemmed from Jeffrey’s M.A. thesis project.
PJ Randhawa (B.A. 2008)
After graduating with a B.A. from NEIU, PJ earned an M.A. in Journalism from DePaul University. She then became an Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter at KSDK NBC News in the Greater St. Louis, Mo., area. She is currently the Investigative Race and Equity Reporter for the award-winning Facing Race Unit at KING 5 NBC News in Seattle, Washington.
Melissa Calypso (B.A. 2008)
After graduating with a B.A. from NEIU, Melissa earned an M.A. in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University and has since worked professionally in public policy, grantmaking, and journalism. In 2022, Melissa began to serve as a Government Affairs Fellow at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation where she crafts policy memos and researches pressing policy issues for leaders at the U.S. House of Representatives.
Natalie McAlee (B.A. 2007)
While at NEIU, Natalie worked for the NEIU Independent and was on the NBC5 Street Team. After graduation, she formed her own digital marketing company, HILO Social Media. She now works as a communications specialist for a corporate airline and created a podcast, "Wonder Women of Aviation," which was named as one of Flying Magazine's top seven podcasts about aviation.
Viviana Belisle (M.A. 2007)
Viviana is now Communications Director and Advertising Liaison at Chicago-based Inclusion Solutions, where she coordinates the marketing of products and promotion of events to business owners and the disability community for a company whose mission is to advocate, increase awareness, and develop solutions for accessibility issues.
Phil Schlichting (B.A. 2007, Media Minor)
After graduating from Northeastern Illinois University, Phil went on to graduate from John Marshall Law School. He is now a Research Attorney at Katz Law Office Ltd.
Daniela Vitale (B.A. 2006)
Daniela graduated from NEIU and started a career in college recruitment and admissions counseling. In recent years she has also followed her passion to launch Sfera Sicilian Street Food, which includes a pick-up and delivery location near our El Centro campus.
Paul Clermont (B.A. 2003) and Fred Clermont (B.A. 2003)
Paul and Fred are both assistant principals in Florida. They also started Teachers for Haiti, an organization that takes teachers and other professionals to Haiti every four to five months.
Kyla R. Darling (B.A. 1999)
Kyla has been working as a producer, director, and videographer of KRD Productions for the past fourteen years. In this time, she has produced more than sixty programs for a local cable station. In 2000, she received a video award (Cammy) from the Naperville community television, in the performance category. She is currently in the process of producing a documentary about bullying in the workplace.
Vershawn Ashanti Young (M.A. 1998)
Vershawn published two books in 2011: "From Bourgeois to Boojie: Black Middle-Class Performances" (Wayne State University Press) and "Code-Meshing as World English: Pedagogy, Policy, Performance" (National Council of Teachers of English). He is the host of the "New Books in African American Studies" podcast.
Nancy Greco (M.A. 1996)
Nancy works as a professional actress. She taught Theatre and Humanities at Moraine Valley College. Nancy does a lot of medical acting/communication teaching for most of the medical schools in Illinois and Indiana. She will be appearing in The Ritz at Circle Theatre in April of 2012. Since obtaining her M.A. at NEIU, Nancy has been able to support herself as an actress/performer.
Cat Gleason (B.A. 1995)
After graduating with a B.A. from NEIU, Cat earned an M.F.A. in Directing (theatre) from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (1999). In 2010, she completed a Ph.D. in Theatre Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (dissertation: "Mapping the Lincoln Park Nexus: Historiography and the Origin of Chicago's Off-Loop Theatre Movement"). She is currently an Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.