COM Week preview

COM Week at Illinois State University will take place April 15-19 this year and will feature several guest speakers throughout the week.


The Face of The Power House

Steve Solomon, Vice President of Corporate Relations at Exelon and School of Communication alumni will speak about his experience working for a fortune 100 company.

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

Planning the Perfect Event

Professional event planners will share how they prepare and present the perfect event. The panelist include Rachel Garner, event planner at SMG Soldier Field, Stephanie Duquenne, associate director of Alumni Relations at ISU and Samantha Schultz, event planner at Palace Events

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

Why Being a Journalist Matters

Four panelists including Lenore Sobota, reporter for the Pantagraph, Mary Cullen, news reporter and producer for WGLT, Julie Martin, executive producer for TV-10 and Jim Kirk, publisher and exeutive director at Crain’s Chicago Business will discuss the importance of journalism.

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

COMedy Night

ISU alumni working in the entertainment industry will answer questions for students. Panelists include Andrew Bogue, senior marketing coordinator at Medix, Mary McMahon, broker at @properties and Ryan Cashman, training and development coordinator at SMS Assist L.L.C

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

Eye on the Prize: Honoring the Legacy of the Activist

Activist Fred Hampton Jr. and his mother, Akua Njeri, will discuss 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


Career Institute

The Career Institute will have more than 25 professional networking opportunities divided into two segments. The education segment will allow students to ask questions about resumes, portfolios and interviewing answered by professionals. The networking segment will allow them to meet with recruiting professionals one-on-one to gain more insight on the job search and how to navigate it. The Career Institute will be geared towards students of all majors.

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

Customer Connections

Public Relations professionals will share the importance of knowing and serving your clients. Panelists include Caitlyn Luchsinger, account supervisor at Zeno Group, Jamie Fox, corporate communication and marketing director at Caterpillar, Rachel Kobus, associate director of alumni relations at ISU and Kelly McNamara, vice president at Fishman

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

Be the Change: Careers in the Non-Profit Sector

ISU alumni will discuss their experiences working in non-profit organization. Panelists include Markie Maloof specialist at ALSAC and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Kenneth Porter, civic engagement at Mivka Challenge and Ashley Souk communication professional at Home Sweet Home Ministries, Inc.

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

Kim Presents: Finding New Opportunities Post Graduation

Kim Kaufman will give a presentation about like after graduation. Kaufman will give advice on how to navigate through uncertainty and speak on opportunities for growth in the professional world.

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


Life Through a Lens

Mitch Pugh, executive editor for The Post and Courier will speak to ISU students about his experience in the professional world.

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

Social Media Savvy

Panelists will discuss the importance of social media accounts for professional use. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions about how to make sure their social media accounts can help their career. Panelists include Melissa Schrader human resources manager at State Farm Insurance, Suzannah Kerr special investigation unit specialist at Pekin Insurance and Tim Bill, executive director of marketing and public information at Heartland Community College

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

Behind The Screen: Inspiration, Motivation, and Perspective

Students will be able to Gain insight from professional bloggers and hear how they stay ahead in the “follow frenzy” of today’s information universe. Panelists include Kameron Williams blogger and vlogger at, Jessica Elliot, freelance writer and blogger, Ashleigh Lalla, social media manager at Gossip Genie and Abby Baffoe blogger and vlogger at

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

Documentary Film Festival

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


Outside The Box

Alumni who found themselves in a career that is “outside the box” from what they imagined themselves doing post-graduation will discuss their experiences. Panelists include 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. and Colin Coyne aviation recruiter at LAUNCH Technical Workforce Solutions

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

The Stress of Campaigning

Students will be able to hear from prior candidates about challenges they faced during campaigns. Panelists include Jason Barickman, U.S. senator for Illinois’ 53rd District, Nikita Richards* – Member of J.B. Pritzker’s Transition Team, R.C. McBride, non-partisan member of the Normal Town Council and Steve Suess, chairman of the McLean County Libertarian Party

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

Throwing Away the Pink Collar

Women in the professional field will discuss how they have overcame gender stereotypes in the workplace. Panelists include Jillian Collins, vice president of U.S. Growth at Golin, Colette Rozanski business development director at R.C. Wegman Construction, Molly Tesdall, human resources business partner at Amazon and Kelsey LeRose, senior account executive at Schafer Condon Carter.

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

The Winning Shot: Leadership in Sports

Dan Muller, men’s basketball head coach at ISU will talk to students about his experience as a professional coach.

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

Fashion in Communication: Walk the Talk

Alumni in the fashion industry will talk about their trials and hardships. Panelists include 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. and Kelsey Stiegman, senior style editor at

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

Let’s Talk Business: Communication in Corporations

SoC graduates will explain what it takes to thrive in the corporate business world. Panelists include Lauren Donnelly, communications specialist at Country Financial, Sarah Franzen, community relations specialist at State Farm Insurance, Sam Bernier public relations specialist at Aldi USA and Allison Buehner, marketing communications specialist at Comcast

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


The Ball is in Your Court

Students can hear from professionals in sports on how they got into the industry and tips on how they can too. Panelists include Amy Wallace, senior account executive at USA Today Sports Media, Mike Williams, assistant athletic director of communications at ISU and Dan Roan sports director for WGN-TV.

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

Young Alums: From Interns to Industry Professionals

Recent graduates will share how they started as interns and developed into industry professionals. Panelist include Daniel Gee account support specialist at 3Points Communications, Molly Dietmeier director of direct sales and marketing at Beer Nuts, Jena Sullivan, media relations specialist at Walker Sands Communication and Lynn Rossi, marketing Coordinator at Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects.

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

CINDY HERNANDEZ is News Editor for The Vidette. She can be reached at vidette_cherna9@ilstu.eduFollow her on Twitter at @Cindylu_7 

IF YOU SUPPORT THE VIDETTE MISSION of providing a training laboratory for Illinois State University student journalists to learn and sharpen viable, valuable and marketable skills in all phases of print and digital media, please consider contributing to this most important cause. Thank you.

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