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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."

Stay tuned for next year's series, beginning September 2022!

Recordings for Fall 2021-Spring 2022

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. 

Video Recording of Talkback 1 

Questions? Follow up? Contact our guests! Allison Videtti; Colleen Brennan; Carl Hauck; Matt Kiefer; Rebecca Wiggins

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

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 

Questions? Follow-up? Contact our guests! Allison Ruggles; Mimi Cross; Kyle Fitzmyer; Josh Smith; Hans Kim; Ken Johnson


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 

Questions? Follow up? Contact our Guests! Ian Feigle; Jenn Lee; Mark Eldred

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

Dec. 3, 2021

In our fourth scheduled event, M.A. students from NEIU going on to Ph.D. programs reflected on the application process, the demands of Ph.D. work (and NEIU's preparation of our M.A.s for such work), and the importance of choosing the right professors to work with! Joining us were Katelyn Juerjens (Northeastern, Boston); Rebecca Wiggins (University of Kentucky); Susan Landwer (Marquette University) and Elias Cepeda (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale). 

Video Recording of Talkback 4 

Questions? Follow up? Contact our Guests! Katelyn Juerjens; Rebecca Wiggins; Susan Landwer; Elias Cepeda


Feb. 23, 2022

In our first scheduled event for Spring 2022 we were joined by a diverse group of experienced teachers who followed in the paths of so many at NEIU, originally a teacher's college. These alumni covered the groundfrom those trained in the mid-90s and now approaching retirement, to those relatively new to the classroom; representing Chicago Public Schools, a charter school and suburban schools. We heard them discuss the differences in their experiences and answer questions about what lies ahead for you. What a panel: Katie Galmiche from Intrinsic Charter School; Toly Walker from Evanston High School; Duc Le from Morgan Park High School; and Sakina Syeda from Kenwood Academy.

Video Recording of Talkback 5. The passcode, if you're asked, will be "gr+8sXc." (Include the period, but not the quotation marks).

Questions? Follow up? Contact our guests: Katie Galmiche, Toly Walker, Duc Le and Sakina Syeda.

Alumni Talkback 6: Oh the PLACES YOU CAN GO...

March 11, 2022

Just before Spring Break, we were joined by Lily Calder, a Senior Account Executive at HOPIN, Manny Cruz, Manager in the Implementation Branch of the UAS Integration Office at the FAA (Washington D.C.); and Nick Langenberg, now working as a client-facing paralegal at Stenger and Stenger (Grand Rapids, Mich.)--after grabbing an M.A. in Lit up there. Talk about a diverse set of destinations for English majors! Plenty of great advice here (as usual) about what skills you ought to highlight on the job market.

Video Recording of Talk-Back 6 Passcode: .@26f+zUJ

Contact our alumni guests: Manny Cruz; Lily CalderNick Langenberg

Alumni Talkback 7: Non-Profits, Finance & Advising, Oh My!

April 15, 2022

As yet more evidence that the skills one gains as an English major can and do apply just about anywhere, our guests for the April Talkback session have found careers in the nonprofit sector caring for LGBTQ+ elders, with the City of Chicago's Department of Finance, and in higher education advising soon-to-be new graduates and pre-professionals (How appropriate? As it ends up, Christine should be running this whole series!). 

  • Abigail Harris-Culver (SAGE: Advocacy and Services for LGBTQ+ Elders)
  • Christine Amezquita (Career Development Coordinator, Georgia College)
  • Santa Torrijo (Project Coordinator, Deptartment of Finance, City of Chicago)

Video Recording of Talk-Back 7

Contact our alumni guests: Abigail; Christine; Santa