As a lawyer, reporter, adjunct professor at Medill, and mother, Pam Menaker ’75, MSJ ’76 is quite the Renaissance woman.
When Pam arrived at Northwestern, she came in with enough credits to start as a sophomore. She was able to jump right in and take her journalism classes. During her junior year, Medill created the Teaching Newspaper class. “I was selected as one of the four students to test out the program,” says Pam. She was put in the bureau in the small town of Herrin. “It was so memorable and such a great experience, and the program ended up being a big success.”
When it came time for Pam to graduate with her bachelor’s, the dean of Medill asked if she would stay on another year and get a master’s degree, so she did. She ended her master’s year in Washington DC. While in DC, she interviewed for a job as a speech writer at the White House, but she realized it wasn’t the right path for her. She applied for and got a job with the Chicago Tribune as reporter. “I went with my gut, and it worked out,” says Pam.
Eventually, she transitioned to television. While she was working at ABC, she attended night law school at Loyola University. “I spent four years running from ABC to Loyola!” she says. “I’ve always been the type of person who can’t sit still! And when you’re in college, you have so many hours to fill, and I never wanted to waste a minute.”
“I felt that because I came to Northwestern with an idea of what I wanted to do, I was able to focus my energy on achieving that goal,” says Pam. “I knew I wanted to go into journalism, and being a student at Medill definitely solidified that decision for me. I used all the things that the school offered to get on that trajectory.”
Pam has been involved in her reunion committee a number of times. “I had a very rich experience at NU because I took advantage of a lot of programs and the many opportunities that were available. I like staying involved because of that positive experience.” Pam looks forward to reaching out to people she knew to remind them of the good times they had. “It’s such a perfect opportunity to come back, reconnect, and relive the past for a day. For me, it’s a time to come back and appreciate everything the University gave to me—that it helped shape who I am today.”
Each of Pam’s children has a degree from Northwestern: Michelle ’07, Elise’13 MJ, and Mark ’15 MA.