Alumni Meet with Undergraduates for Annual Career Event

Alumni Meet with Undergraduates for Annual Career Event

alumni career event

For the annual Alumni Career Luncheon, 12 accomplished SESP alumni are meeting with undergraduates to share ideas about career paths. Alumni participants in the special career event are Joanna Cohen (BS06), Leah Templeton Engelhardt (BS65), Barry Goldberg (BS05), Andrew Green (BS15), Jan Hall (BS75), Keith Lewis (BS85), Carolyn Ludwig (BS60), Julianne Piotrowski Nery (BS95), Sarah Rosenbaum (BS10), Joe Ruklick (BS59), Marilyn Ruschhaupt (BS65) and Melanie Taylor Williams (BS75).

Alumni participation allows students to explore potential careers and forge connections with alumni whose careers range from teaching to law to human resources to consulting. About 40 SESP undergraduates are attending the special career event.

Alumni and students are meeting over lunch in Annenberg Hall on October 16, and alumni will lead small-group sessions to share their career stories. Students are assigned to alumni whose professional experiences lined up with their interests.

“Our students are eager to hear about potential career paths and life after Northwestern,” says adviser Megan Redfearn (MS12), who organized the event. The alumni interaction is intended to help students think about careers — by getting ideas, finding advice and starting to build a network through alumni of SESP.

Joanna Cohen studied human development and psychological services at Northwestern, where she conducted research at the Family Institute and did her SESP practicum at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago. After graduation, she pursued a career in international development through field-based jobs in Southeast Asia. She earned a master’s in international development and research and then worked as associate director of monitoring and evaluation at Heartland Alliance International. Afterward, she got involved in both US-based and international programming at the MacArthur Foundation, where she is a program officer of evaluation. She recommends taking risks and finding a sweet spot between what you love and what you are good at.

Leah Templeton Engelhardt majored in education because she wanted to teach French to elementary students but never had that job. After teaching in elementary, middle and secondary schools for 11 years, she received a PhD and spent the next 30 years as a professor and administrator at Mississippi State University, Purdue and Oklahoma State University. Grants of over $2 million allowed her to pursue her passion for providing new teachers in Oklahoma with mentors to help them succeed. Her current work as a consultant to colleges of education and state departments of education and as an accreditation visitor gives her the opportunity to visit college campuses and meet students and faculty. She recommends finding a mentor.

Barry Goldberg, who majored in secondary teaching, is a PhD candidate in history at the City University of New York and a part-time professor at Queens College. He interned at Facing History and Ourselves, student taught at Senn High School and taught U.S. History at CICS Northtown Academy. He was also a research aide and speechwriter for the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. He has received numerous academic research fellowships in history as well as the Kerr History Prize for the best article published in the journal New York History.

Andrew Green, a learning and organizational change major, is a talent analyst at Mercer. The summer after his junior year he did a human resources analytics internship in Boston, which he found was a wonderful opportunity to learn a lot about himself personally and professionally ... and about Microsoft Excel. Green is the winner of the SESP Undergraduate Alumni Leadership Award and is a member of the Highest Order of Excellence Society and the Order of Omega Society.

Jan Hall found that experiences at different schools prior to student teaching and admissions office work had a major impact on her life. She earned a master’s degree in career and adult education from Northern Illinois University. During her 40-year career, she was a middle school teacher in rural Illinois, community college/university career adviser, nonprofit school/business partnership coordinator, corporate tech sales executive, K-12 education technology sales consultant, regional educational technology director with the California State Department of Education, and nonprofit student technology director. She has been on the boards of California Computer Using Educators and California League of Middle Schools. She is now retired.

Keith Lewis, who majored in human development and psychological services and interned with a Chicago public relations company, is now president of VeraSpark Consulting. His jobs have included media buyer at Leo Burnett, Bennie the Bull for the Chicago Bulls, senior consultant in change management at Accenture, manager at Dave Pelz Short Game Golf School, vice-president of business development for Eagle’s Flight Creative Training Excellence, and independent consultant. He recommends finding careers that you are passionate about in alignment with your core values.

Carolyn Ludwig, who majored in education, worked with refugees in 1961 and later taught Berlitz English in Munich, as well as English and social studies.

Julianne Piotrowski Nery, who majored in social policy, went to law school at Pace University and eventually returned to Chicago to work with the Cook County State’s Attorney Office as an Assistant State’s Attorney. She later worked with a private firm for 10 years and then went on hiatus to raise three boys. During this time, she served on the school board and the board of the local children’s museum. At Northwestern, she was active with AISEC and participated in a Washington, D.C., leadership seminar that was instrumental in her career decision. She also volunteered at the Sheil Center, worked at Norris and did research with Diana Slaughter-Defore in SESP.

Sarah Rosenbaum, who majored in human development and psychological services, participated in extracurriculars such as Senior Connections and Special Olympics. After graduating, she worked as the youth director at a synagogue in Glencoe, establishing youth programming of all varieties. Last year she began rabbinical school at the Hebrew Union College, spending a year at the college’s Jerusalem campus. She recently moved to Los Angeles and will complete the remainder of the program at the campus here. She serves as the student rabbi for a small congregation in Redding, California.

Joe Ruklick is a retired professional basketball player who played in the NBA. At Northwestern he was named Athlete of the Year in 1958 and made All American with one of the most winning basketball teams in Northwestern’s history. He was also a charter member of the Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame. His extracurricular activities included being mentoring kids and serving as president of the N Men’s Club, changing its rules to admit women. After his basketball career, he worked as a newspaper reporter and authored a book about racism in the NBA. He believes youngsters learn to read and thereby write when they’re free from “toxic TV.”

Marilyn Ruschhaupt is a retired primary level teacher who lives in Flossmoor, Illinois. During her time at Northwestern she was active in Panhellenic Association, sorority activities, Wildcat Welcome for freshman students. Her experience at SESP had an impact on her life working with children as a parent, a classroom teacher, or a school volunteer.

Melanie Taylor Williams, who majored in secondary teaching, taught history in Chicago Public, Atlanta Public and DeKalb County Schools for 31 years. At Northwestern, she studied history and English literature, was involved in volleyball intramurals and had a work-study job in the School of Engineering. She was a Fulbright-Hayes fellow for group projects abroad. She also was selected for National Endowment for the Humanities summer programs and institutes. She is now retired.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 10/20/15