Alumni Talk-Back Banner

Our Alumni Talkback series is designed for current NEIU students exploring different options for careers after completing their degrees.  

Attending these sessions, not only will you see that yes, there is hope for a serious and successful career for those who come out with degrees in English, but you will also get the opportunity to hear what it's like to market that degreewhat interviews may be likeand most of all what you may or may not have realized about the job possibilities out there, both the good and the bad.  

In every session, we've tried to book a variety of alumni with different voices, backgrounds and interests. But all of them should give you a sense of "heyyou can do this," and the reason for that is "I am doing this right now."    

Alumni Talkback 1: Jobs Frequently Sought by English Majors

Sept. 28, 2021

In our first Talkback, we were pleased to hear from Allison Videtti, now Vice President of Marketing at Great Lakes Credit Union; Colleen Brennan, now Senior Paralegal at Baker McKenzie; Carl Hauck, currently a software engineer at Scion Group; Matt Kiefer, a journalist at WBEZ Chicago; and Rebecca Wiggins, now working as a Technical Writer for the U.S. Coast Guard. Each of our former English majors (or M.A. English grads Wiggins and Hauck) explained how what they're doing today still involves the skills and dispositions they learned as English majors. If there was a common theme it was that no matter where one finds a career, English prepares students with the key attribute of empathy, which all of our guests agreed has led to their success in the workplace. 

Talkback 1 Zoom session; Passcode IW9m&9$. 

Alumni Talkback 2: For Future High School English Teachers and Administrators

Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021

In our second Talkback, we were pleased to hear from Allison Ruggles, Lincoln Park High School; Mimi Cross, Steinmetz College Prep; Kyle Fitzmyer, Morton West High School; Josh Smith and Hans Kim, Lane Tech High School; and Ken Johnson, dean at Chicago Math and Science Academy. This month, our guests briefly described their path to their present position (some longer than others!) and then each shared with our audience one piece of advice our future teachers ought to know as they consider work in secondary education. Afterwards, they took questions and discussed topics from what the interview process is like to how one can (or cannot) anticipate the effects of trauma outside the school as it impacts the classroom.  

Video Recording of Talkback 2


3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

What do former CEOs of NBC, Xerox and MTV, an NFL football coach, a commissioner of Major League Baseball, a Nobel Laureate in medicine, and the celebrities Vin Diesel, John Legend and Reese Witherspoon have in common? They, among many others, were all English majors who found paths after college outside of teaching or publishing. Come and hear from our own alumni who took “unpredictable” paths with their degrees, and find out what motivates them and how the skills they learned in English at NEIU serve them still today.

Our alumni guest roster includes:

  • Ian Feigle, Editor at Publications International, Ltd.
  • Jenn Lee, MFA Student in Creative Nonfiction, Columbia College, Chicago
  • Mark Eldred, Pastor, Bardstown Road Community Church

Video Recording of Talkback 3

Alumni Talkback 4: Thinking about the Ph.D. in English?  

3:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

Featured guests: Rebecca Wiggins, Technical Writer; Susan Landwer, Ph.D. candidate, Marquette University; Katelyn Jurjens, Ph.D. candidate; Northeastern University, Elias Cepeda, Ph.D. candidate, Southern Illinois University

Connect via Zoom