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Northwestern Alumni Association

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Valerie Tunny Holton ’74, ’77 MBA


Valerie Tunny Holton ’74, ’77 MBA is a self-described “lifelong learner”—which is why she returns to Northwestern each spring for A Day with Northwestern, an all-day event featuring prominent faculty and alumni speaking on a variety of timely topics. “From medical technology to Chaucer, there’s something for everyone,” says Holton, who has served on the program’s executive board for the past six years. “It’s the perfect way to learn something new.”


Holton’s passion for learning is what originally attracted her to the University. “I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up,’” says Holton, who chose Northwestern because it offered her the opportunity to explore a wide range of disciplines in an academically rigorous environment. After considering degrees in art history and political science, she turned her focus to marketing, which she says “appealed to her creative side.”


Following graduation, Holton accepted a marketing position at a bank and began taking evening classes at the Kellogg School of Management. She earned her MBA and went on to work more than 35 years in marketing, spanning the banking, corporate, and non-profit sectors.


Beyond career exploration, being at Northwestern in the ’70s offered Holton the chance to learn about the world from the diverse perspectives of the students around her. “It was a time of turmoil,” says Holton, who says she straddled two different college worlds. “I protested the Vietnam War, demonstrated down Sheridan Road, and attended the 1972 NU Grateful Dead concert,” says Holton, “but I also enjoyed Greek life as a sorority sister in Alpha Chi Omega.”


Now retired, Holton says she has never been busier. She is a docent at the Art Institute of Chicago, volunteers for several non-profit organizations, serves meals at a homeless shelter, explores her creative side by taking art classes, and enjoys hiking and biking. A resident of the Chicago area, she regularly returns to campus to attend concerts, plays, and lectures and she is an avid Northwestern football and women’s lacrosse fan.


Holton is particularly excited to return to campus on April 22 for A Day with Northwestern. She has already earmarked a number of “must see” sessions, including Dr. Julian Bailes’s lecture on traumatic brain injuries in sports and Geraldo Cadava’s session on Hamilton.


Life is a journey,” says Holton, reflecting on her continuing passion for learning. “If we’re lucky, we can come full-circle to return to what we really love.”


Registration is now open for A Day with Northwestern. Learn more. >>

Jessica Garcia ’10 and Breanne Smilie ’07


When the men’s basketball team steps onto the court to face the Vanderbilt Commodores in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 16, fans Jessica Garcia ’10 and Breanne Smilie ’07 will be there to cheer them on.


The engaged couple—who met after graduation when they joined the same intramural basketball league—have followed the Wildcats’ historic season closely. “Some games have been gut-wrenching, but they’ve all been fun to watch,” says Garcia.


Garcia and Smilie—who both grew up and still live in the Chicago area—are both lifelong sports fans. “Growing up in Chicago, you live and breathe Chicago sports,” says Garcia. “It was easy to jump in and start being a Northwestern fan.”


Choosing a Northwestern Direction


Smilie, who played for Northwestern’s women’s basketball team, became a Wildcats fan in elementary school during her first basketball camp at the University. When it became time to decide on a college, Northwestern was a top choice.


“I wanted to play basketball at a high level but always had academics at the forefront of my mind,” says Smilie. “Northwestern offered me the opportunity to focus on both while also allowing me to stay close to home.”


As a student-athlete, Smilie says she gained a deep admiration for Northwestern Athletics—and its focus on high academic standards. She earned a degree in communications and now works in healthcare sales at the College of American Pathologists. She says her coursework—including classes in theories of argumentation and bargaining and negotiation—prepared her well for a career in sales.


Unlike Smilie, Garcia originally envisioned heading to the East Coast for college but changed her mind after being accepted at Northwestern. “I decided that staying in the Midwest and attending one of the best schools in the country was a top priority,” she says.


She earned a degree in learning and organizational change from the School of Education and Social Policy and now works as a consultant at Slalom, a business and technology consulting firm.


Lifelong Wildcat Fans


Garcia and Smilie return to Evanston regularly to attend basketball and football games—and have also traveled around the country to support the Wildcats. In 2015, Smilie flew to Waco, Texas, to watch the women’s basketball team compete in its first NCAA tournament since 1997. Watching the game as an alumna, says Smilie was “a very special experience.” This winter, the couple traveled to New York to watch the Wildcats play in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.


‘A Huge Milestone’ for Men’s Basketball


This season, Garcia and Smilie have had their eyes on the men’s basketball team—and its record-breaking 21 wins. They credit Coach Chris Collins with bringing in the “right group of guys” to take the Wildcats to their first-ever NCAA Tournament. “We always thought that when Collins’ recruiting classes became seniors they would finally have a chance at the NCAA Tournament,” says Garcia, “but we never imagined it would happen a year earlier.”


The couple says that participating in the tournament is a “huge milestone’ for the men’s basketball program—because it puts the program on the map as one of the elites in the Big Ten. “We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Collins and his team,” says Garcia.


Visit Wildcats NCAA Tournament Central for more information about the upcoming Tournament, including details about the official N Zone Rally in Salt Lake City, watch parties around the country, social media, and more.

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to feel like a chore. This April, join the Northwestern Alumni Association for its Spring Cleaning series, which includes four hour-long webinars designed to help you declutter your life, build positive work culture, maximize efficiency, and foster positive relationships.


Check out the lineup of free career webinars offered this April, and register today by clicking on the links below.


Say Yes to Yourself and Destroy the Noise

Date: Wednesday, April 5, 2–3 p.m. CST

Speaker: Candy Barone

Candy Barone, executive coach and CEO of You Empowered Strong, shares powerful strategies for removing the “clutter” from your personal and professional life. She identifies the factors that may be getting in the way of your success and shares strategies for removing them to bring yourself—and your career—to the next level. Register >>


Great to Greater

Date: Tuesday, April 11, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Will Harper ’14 MBA

Will Harper ’14 MBA, partner at Like Humans, discusses the power of shared values in building an organization and its leadership. His approach is designed to help you create highly motivated and loyal teams, harness diversity, and build an enduring organization that achieves out-sized results. Register >>


There are 72 Hours in a Day

Date: Tuesday, April 18, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Dr. Jeffrey Sterling ’85

Dr. Jeffrey E. Sterling ’85, a leader in community-based medicine and founder of Sterling Initiatives, LLC, shares his approach to maximizing productivity. He discusses the strategies he developed to support those seeking a higher level of efficiency as part of his 72 Hours Lifestyle community. Register >>


How to Live a Drama-Free Life

Date: Tuesday, April 25, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Carol Ross ’83, ’87 MS

It’s time to drop the drama. Career coach Carol Ross discusses how each of us unconsciously poisons our career, relationships, and our happiness by reaching for “false emotions” in reaction to everyday events. She discusses the danger of false emotions and offers strategies to break their grip on you—clearing a path to your emotional freedom. Register >>


The Northwestern Alumni Association believes in life-long career development to help you maintain your professional edge. For more information, and to register, visit our webinars page.

This March, the NAA will present A Week with Northwestern: Northwestern Women on Strategies for Success, a series of webinars hosted by University alumnae and staff. This special week of learning and inspiration will take place March 6-10.


Check out the lineup of free career webinars offered this March and register today.


Wailin-Cropped.jpgCrafting Your Story Through Podcasting

Date: Monday, March 6, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Wailin Wong '03 MSJ

Audio stories aren’t just for public radio anymore. Thanks to blockbuster shows like Serial, the podcast scene has exploded in the last few years. Wailin Wong '03 MSJ, co-producer and host of The Distance, a narrative podcast focused on business, explains how to start your own podcast and shares tips for conducting great interviews. Register >>



Tish-CROPPED.jpgFinding Your Voice(over)

Date: Tuesday, March 7, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Tish Hicks '88

Tish Hicks '88, founder and master sensei of the V.O. Dojo, brings her love of the art and business of voiceover to this webinar. She shares ten simple rules you can use to bring the power and potential of your voice to your business, your life, and the world. Register >>



Alecia_WartowskiCROPPED.jpgBeing a Powerful Negotiator

Date: Wednesday, March 8, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Alecia Wartowski

Alecia Wartowski, Interim Director of the Northwestern University Women's Center, discusses how to know what you want and get what you deserve in business. She addresses the wage gap, how to benchmark and target compensation packages, and techniques for fair negotiation. Register >>



Stacey Kim-CROPPED.jpgTime Management for Overworked Women

Date: Thursday, March 9, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Dr. Stacy Kim '90

Many talented women are feeling overwhelmed. The more capable they are, the greater the demands they face—on the job and at home. Professional Certified Coach Dr. Stacy Kim '90 shares effective—and counterintuitive— strategies to correct common productivity and efficiency mistakes. She provides concrete steps busy women can take to change the way they look at their time and reclaim their energy so they can have more fulfilling lives. Register >>


The Northwestern Alumni Association believes in life-long career development to help you maintain your professional edge. For more information, and to register, visit our webinars page.

Don Headshot-resized.jpg

Don Martin ’94 PhD


Don Martin ’94 PhD is an expert on all things grad school. A former dean of admissions at Northwestern, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago, Martin started his own business—Grad School Road Map—in 2008. Almost a decade later, Martin has coached more than 250 grad students, spoken at more than 50 colleges and universities worldwide, and published a book, Road Map for Graduate Study: A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students.


On March 29, Don will share his expertise with the Northwestern community in a free webinar, Q & A with an Expert on the Graduate School Experience. In this interactive webinar, Martin will offer insights and answer questions about all aspects of the graduate school admissions process, from research to applications to enrollment.


A native of Philadelphia, Martin began his own graduate school journey in 1988, applying to the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern with the goal of studying higher education administration. The program “was a perfect match,” says Martin, “and the faculty and staff really care about students.”


Martin—who says he grew professionally and personally during his six years at Northwestern—still remembers watching the registrar add “PhD awarded” to his profile, calling it his “favorite Northwestern experience.”


Martin says that his Northwestern degree opened doors for him professionally and helped pave the way to his current career. By sharing his insights in the graduate school experience, he hopes to help others fulfill their educational and career goals.


Martin says the webinar program offers “the perfect opportunity for me to give back to the Northwestern community, and in doing so, help students and alumni considering graduate education.”


Learn more about the NAA’s career webinar series and upcoming webinar offerings.


Jonathan Marino ’06


During his freshman year at Northwestern, Jonathan Marino ’06 traveled to El Salvador with the University’s Christian Ministry. A native of Rockford, Illinois, Marino had never traveled outside of the United States before—and he embraced the opportunity to learn more about the country and its people through the trip’s hosts, Chaplain Tim Stevens and Campus Minister Julie Windsor Mitchell.


Marino spent his spring break immersed in the small community Stevens and Mitchell had been visiting for many years. “It was the kind of learning experience a person can only get through people with long-standing relationships to a place,” Marino says.


Inspired by his trip to El Salvador—and coursework in social policy—Marino began thinking about how he could bring global engagement opportunities to other students. “While Northwestern provided many opportunities to study abroad at that time,” says Marino, “there was no program that really combined thoughtful service, study, and community immersion all into one.”


During his senior year, Marino partnered with his friend Nathaniel Whittemore ’06 to conceptualize a global service program that would combine academic coursework with experiential learning abroad. With funding from the University, Marino and Whittemore launched the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI), which was housed within the Buffet Institute for Global Studies.


GESI started as a small program—serving about ten students and focusing only on Uganda—solidifying under the leadership of Marino and Whittemore, who came back to work at the University after graduating. Marino credits the next generation of GESI staff and former Buffett Institute Associate Director Brian Hanson with “growing the program beyond Uganda and raising funds to enable students on financial aid to participate regardless of cost.”


Today GESI serves hundreds of students who learn from and work in communities in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Kenya, and Uganda.


Now a founding director at MapStory—an open atlas for mapping global change over time—Marino lives by the motto “life is best lived as a series of daring adventures taken from a secure base.” He says that the foundation Northwestern provided him has allowed him “to pursue several adventures already.”


After leaving GESI, Marino traveled to northern Uganda to study post-conflict resolution with support from a US Fulbright Scholarship. He then moved to Washington, DC, where he worked at an education policy think tank for several years before stepping into his current role.


Marino says that his commitment to learning is as strong now as it was when he was a student. “Life really is a journey,” says Marino. “It is a really nice feeling to know that I will always have my Northwestern community to turn to along the way.”


One way Marino shows his appreciation for Northwestern is by giving to programs that are especially meaningful to him. “I give back to Northwestern because I want future generations to have the world opened up to them, as it was for me,” Marino says.


David Leuchter ’07 and Dulce Vasquez ’08


“People always think we met in Evanston!” Dulce Vasquez ’08 says of how her relationship with husband David Leuchter ’07 began.


In fact, though both graduated from Northwestern University, their paths didn’t cross until Dulce moved to Los Angeles in 2008 to work at Zócalo Public Square, a start-up nonprofit publication. David, who had moved back to his native Los Angeles after graduation, attended Dulce’s housewarming party at the invitation of her roommate, mutual friend, and eventual matron of honor, Meryl Cooper '08. He and Dulce bonded over a shared passion for Northwestern football and he invited her to a watch party. After dating for several years, the two married in 2014.


“Northwestern is at the heart of our relationship,” says Dulce, “and it means the world to be married to another Wildcat.” The couple live in Los Angeles—David works as a project manager for Kiewit Corporation, focusing on major public transportation projects, and Dulce is director of strategic partnerships for Arizona State University.


The two express their mutual love for Northwestern in many ways. David leads recruitment efforts for his company at Northwestern, connecting students to internship and work opportunities. Dulce serves on the Northwestern University Leadership Circle Los Angeles Regional Board as well as on the Los Angeles Regional Campaign Committee. She also has served as an ambassador for #CATSGiveBack since the annual fundraising effort launched on Giving Tuesday in 2013.


Dulce and David are both gold-level members of NU Loyal, the giving society for donors who support Northwestern in three or more consecutive years, and have made gifts to Northwestern every year since graduation.


Dulce, once a scholarship recipient herself, gives to Northwestern to sustain programs serving low-income students. David originally chose to attend the University because it provided “a top engineering program [with] the opportunity to grow outside of my coursework.” He found those opportunities—and a community—through a number of student-led theater programs, and today he continues to support the Dolphin Show, Arts Alliance, and similar groups.

In the decade since graduation, Dulce and David have established their own campus tradition: returning for Homecoming Weekend every fall, which gives them a chance to meet up with friends and enjoy the full tailgating experience: “A crisp 60 degrees, sun, yellow leaves—Evanston in October is magical,” says Dulce. 


Rob Schoenthaler ’92 and Lauren Knudsen Schoenthaler ’92

When Rob and Lauren Schoenthaler—who met during their freshman year at Northwestern and married six years later in 1994—moved into their current home, they painted the front door purple as a reminder of their time at Northwestern. This fall, the Schoenthalers will bring this same Purple Pride to their 25th Reunion, where they will serve as national reunion co-chairs.


The Schoenthalers live in the San Francisco Bay area—Rob is the CEO and founder of Atollogy and Lauren is a senior associate vice provost at Stanford University—but make it a point to return to Evanston for Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. These weekends, says Rob, give them “a chance to return to campus and reconnect with friends.”


Lauren says that participating in Reunion has strengthened the family’s ties to the University and its many generations of alumni. “Everyone at Reunion Weekend has a slightly different Northwestern direction,” says Lauren, “but we can still find connections and share what makes Northwestern and Evanston special.”


The Schoenthalers are looking forward to revisiting old haunts during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. They plan to stop by Allison Hall, where they met, as well as Lauren’s Alpha Chi Omega sorority house and Rob’s Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house. They’ll also visit the lakefront, where Rob once painted “You are my sunshine” on a rock for Lauren. The rock has been painted over for many years, but the couple still enjoys walking along Lake Michigan and attempting to figure out which one it might have been.


Rob and Lauren are also excited to reminisce about the experiences that were most meaningful to them as students. “We loved football games,” says Rob, “and we went to a whole lot of theatre.” He counts the Mee-Ow show and Wednesday night dollar movie on Central Street among his favorite memories.


A visit to Evanston wouldn’t be complete without visits to their favorite restaurants, says Lauren. “We have to stop at Giordano’s for Chicago deep dish pizza,” she says “and, of course, make a stop at Buffalo Joe’s for spicy wings with celery sticks and ranch.” 


When they’re not fulfilling their duties as national reunion co-chairs—serving as ambassadors for the University and motivating fellow alumni to come back and give back in honor of Reunion—the Schoenthalers are actively engaged in the Bay Area’s Northwestern alumni community. Rob conducts admissions interviews—which he calls “a great opportunity to talk with interested and incoming students”—and Lauren represents the University at college fairs.


Recently, the Schoenthalers inspired a high school student in their neighborhood to apply to Northwestern after they shared with her the story behind their purple front door. “I want to go to a school people care about so much that they paint their front door to remind them of it each time they enter their home,” the student told Lauren.


As Rob and Lauren approach their 25th Reunion, the Schoenthalers look forward to celebrating the University that has impacted them in so many ways—connecting them to each other and to the greater Northwestern Network.


Learn more about Reunion festivities at the 2017 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, which is scheduled for October 5-8.

Jason and Miwa-cropped.jpg

Jason Sanghi ’09 and Miwa Takaki ’09


As students, Jason Sanghi and Miwa Takaki moved into the same residence hall when they each arrived at Northwestern, but it was through an introductory engineering course that they truly became friends. Jason, wanting to get to know Miwa better, stood near her when team projects were assigned early in the quarter—or, as he puts it, “I snuck into her group.” They started dating soon after.


For Miwa, that intro class brought her more than a life partner: it gave her a firsthand look at the compassionate side of engineering. The pair’s team was assigned to a hospital, where they interviewed stroke patients and developed a tool to make their hospital stays more comfortable. “It was such a hands-on class,” Miwa explains, “and the focus was on building something for others.”


Miwa ultimately double majored in economics and industrial engineering. As graduation approached, she wasn’t sure what kind of career she wanted to pursue. She initially worked in business analytics, but eventually moved to Los Angeles, California, for an industrial engineering role. Jason, then an electrical engineer for Lockheed Martin, was based out of Washington, DC and travelled constantly for work. For several years, the couple balanced their careers with the ins and outs of a long-distance relationship.


Then Miwa suggested a change of pace: she wanted to bring together her diverse skills and decided an MBA would be the right way to do so. She suggested they both relocate to New York City, a place with ample opportunity for each of them. Jason, interested in a career shift and ready to retire his travel-heavy schedule, enthusiastically agreed.


Today Jason focuses on development and operations for WebMD, enhancing the user experience for over 200 million users each month. After completing her MBA, Miwa successfully brought together her technical and business skills by joining the team at eBay, where she now serves as senior technical product manager for the algorithmic merchandising team. She also recently completed a second master’s degree, this one in sustainability management at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.


Miwa and Jason are both members of NU Loyal, the giving society for donors who support Northwestern in three or more consecutive years, and they continue to feel Northwestern’s presence in their lives. In 2016 alone, they attended three weddings of Northwestern couples. They’re also active in the New York City alumni community and join the Young Alumni Ski Trip almost every year. What they value most, both say, is learning about the diverse passions that fuel their Northwestern friends. From doctors and professional musicians to political advisors and an entrepreneur who’s launching a distillery, Miwa and Jason’s varied friendships show there are many ways to apply skills gained at Northwestern to your own life path.


Miwa notes that Northwestern’s commitment to meeting the full financial need of admitted students is key to creating a diverse and dedicated student body; this commitment fuels her own desire to give back to Northwestern today. In her words, “So many of us couldn’t have attended—and wouldn’t be where we are today—without that promise.”


For Miwa and Jason, Northwestern provided a launching ground to their careers, giving them the tools to follow their own interests in technology. The areas they support at Northwestern reflect the people and programs that impacted their own lives. From student initiatives like the solar-powered SmartTree to supporting Northwestern Engineering, their gifts ensure future generations also have the chance to discover and pursue new passions and write Northwestern stories of their own.

Eric and Mo.jpg

Alumni mentor Eric Terada ’02 and mentee Mo Ran ’19 connected through the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program in October 2016.


When Eric Terada ’02 was looking for ways to give back to Northwestern, he came across the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program, which pairs alumni with current students and with other alumni looking for guidance on navigating their careers, exploring new career paths, and pursuing educational opportunities.


Eric, a consultant at McKinsey & Company and father of two, liked the idea of guiding students and recent graduates at the earliest stages of their careers. “I wanted to help students and alumni figure out what they want to do, what they’re good at, and how to best communicate their stories with prospective employers,” Eric says.


This fall, Eric began mentoring Mo Ran ’19, a junior from Daqing, China, who is working toward dual degrees in engineering and communications. Mo—who is also an active participant in Northwestern Student Holdings, a student-run company that funds and manages a portfolio of businesses—appreciates the real-world business insight his mentor provides.


Eric meets regularly with Mo in person and over the phone to discuss career development and share tips on writing résumés and cover letters. Mo is grateful for the opportunity to learn from an accomplished professional in his field of interest, and says that Eric “has helped me develop a better understanding of the business world and how to demonstrate my qualifications.”


A native of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, Eric chose Northwestern because of its Mathematical Methods in Social Sciences (MMSS) program and graduated with a degree in economics. As a freshman, Eric joined Phi Delta Theta fraternity and says that the Greek system taught him a lot about leadership and organizations. “I love that fraternities and sororities are basically mini corporations,” says Eric.


Nearly 15 years after graduating, Eric still feels a deep appreciation for his alma mater, saying, “Northwestern brought me lifelong friendships, instant credibility in the job market, and amazing learning and growth that I continue to build on today.”


Eric says that he would recommend the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program to alumni interested in staying connected to the University and supporting its students and recent graduates—and points out that mentorship has also benefitted him personally and professionally. “Mentoring has allowed me to give back and build relationships,” says Eric, “and it has also helped me reflect on the growth I’ve experienced since attending Northwestern.”


To find out more about the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program and to sign up, visit

Registration is now open for the NAA’s February career webinars. This month’s webinars—which cover topics ranging from starting a business to planning for retirement—can help you maintain your personal and professional edge—no matter where you are in your career.


Check out the lineup of free career webinars and register for one (or more) today.


moyer-resized.jpgEducation Seminar: Slicing Pie

Thursday, February 2, 2017, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Mike Moyer ’96 MS

You and a partner go in 50/50 on a new business—you do all the work, while he owns half the company. Slicing Pie outlines a simple method for dividing equity in an early stage company.  In this webinar, entrepreneur and Slicing Pie creator Mike Moyer ’96 MS, explains how you can acquire everything you need to build your business without cash. Register >>



coach-lowell-resized.jpgPositive Work Culture: Developing the iY Generation

Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Lowell Wightman

In this webinar, Lowell Wightman, founder of 360 Mindset, explores the iY—or Millennial—Generation. He shares basic organizational strategies you can use to help the millenials in your workplace maximize their potential and also discusses the cultural elements essential to the success of this generation.  Register >>



Dave-Collins-resized.jpgUnmute Yourself: How to Use Improv in Virtual Meetings

Thursday, February 16, 2017, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Dave Collins ’10

Dave Collins ’10, communications consultant and improv trainer, explores how to make virtual collaboration—including conference calls and online meetings—more enjoyable and productive. He discusses the challenges of virtual communication and shares some fun and simple exercises you can practice with your colleagues to make your virtual meetings run more smoothly. Register >>


marianne-resized.jpgFive Steps to a Happy Retirement

Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Marianne Oehser '77 MBA

When most people think about retirement, they focus on the financial component—but don’t consider all of the other aspects of their lives that will be changing. In this webinar, Certified Retirement and Relationship Coach Marianne Oehser '77 MBA explores the challenges and opportunities that come along with retirement and shares a proven process for finding direction and happiness during this major life transition. Register >>


joseph-lie-resized.jpgQ & A with a Career Change Expert

Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 12–1 p.m. CST

Speaker: Joseph Liu ’00

JosephLiu ’00, former brand marketer turned career change consultant, shares insights from his own career reinventions—leaving medical school to pursue a business career, moving from the U.S. to the UK, and leaving the corporate world to launch his own business. He also shares stories—including several featured on his Career Relaunch podcast— of people who have successfully navigated major career changes. Register >>


The Northwestern Alumni Association believes in life-long career development to help you maintain your professional edge. For more information, or to register, visit our webinars page.


Amy Kraushaar ’88 MS

On January 24, Northwestern | Connects will bring Wildcats together for events in 59 cities around the globe—rolling through 24 time zones in a single night. Amy Kraushaar ’88 MS is looking forward to joining the celebration from her home in Lisbon, Portugal, where she has lived for nearly ten years.


When Kraushaar attended the Northwestern | Connects event in Lisbon last year, she had no idea there were so many fellow alumni in her city—and was amazed when more than 40 people showed up at the event. “The minute each person walked in the door,” recalls Kraushaar, “it wasn’t about being Portuguese, it was about our shared memories of Northwestern and Chicago.” Kraushaar recalls meeting alumni from all areas of Northwestern—including Kellogg graduates, Bienen School of Music alumni who had studied under a prominent Portuguese professor, and many others.


Over the past year, Kraushaar has continued to strengthen her relationship to the global Northwestern community. She joined the Global Ambassadors program, which connects her with current students studying aboard in Portugal. She says that shared experiences with “culture shock”—as well as mutual ties to the University—have made it easy to get to know the students with whom she is paired.


A native of Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kraushaar graduated from the University of Iowa and then earned a master’s degree in strategic marketing from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern. Kraushaar attended evening classes at the downtown campus with other working professionals enrolled in the Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) program.


She developed strong bonds with her classmates and professors in the classroom, and recalls a particularly memorable course in which she worked with a team on a pitch to Spiegel Corporation for their Together clothing line. “We spent a quarter doing research and analysis, developing a creative and marketing strategy, and building an advertising campaign,” recalls Kraushaar. “It was great fun, and even better, when the Spiegel executives reviewed our pitches, our team won!”


Currently, Kraushaar works at Bizdirect, a tech company based in Lisbon, where she directs international partnership development. She has worked in advertising and strategic marketing for nearly thirty years—and credits Northwestern with helping her stay current in a constantly changing field. “I owe a great deal of my ability to evolve with the industry to Medill’s IMC program,” says Kraushaar. “The program was grounded in the necessary foundations and data-driven—even at a time when we didn’t have nearly the amount of data we have now.”


Kraushaar’s recent experiences connecting with the Northwestern community in Lisbon have helped her build new relationships and strengthen her ties to the University, and she is grateful for the impact the alumni group has had on her life. She encourages other alumni living around the world to consider attending a Northwestern | Connects event later this month.


Find out more and register for Northwestern | Connects at


Join the conversation with the hashtag #NUConnects.

Photo_Alex Pollack-Cropped.jpgAlice Zhu ’19 and Alexandra Pollack ’13


Alexandra Pollack ’13 credits the Northwestern Network with helping her break into the investment management industry. Via LinkedIn, Pollack connected with an alumnus from 1976 who played an important role in her most recent job search that concluded with securing a position at Northern Trust in Chicago. As an investment associate, she works on a team that manages portfolios for high-net-worth families. Now, she is sharing her own professional experiences with recent graduates and current students to help them navigate their careers. 


A native of Great Neck, New York, Pollack enrolled at Northwestern because of its strong 

academic reputation, outstanding music program, and proximity to Chicago. Active in student life, she competed on the fencing team and played alto saxophone in the marching band. Pollack says that performing at the 2013 Gator Bowl and celebrating the win was the “the perfect way to end my last season of band and football.”   


Since joining the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program—a network of more than 5,000 alumni and students—Pollack has mentored several students including Alice Zhu ’19, who is interested in a career in the financial industry. Every few months, Pollack and Zhu meet in person or online to talk about classes, resume preparation, summer internships, and interviewing strategies. Pollack has advised Zhu to take the time to get to know her professors and to start networking early—advice that would have been welcomed when she was a student. 


For Pollack, being a mentor has also benefitted her personally. “By giving advice, I’m forced to think about it myself and reflect on my own career path and experiences.” And when the time is right, she hopes to have her own mentor from the program. “Mentoring is a full-circle program. By being in both roles, I can benefit from all aspects of the process.”


Bethany Crystal ’09 (right) with husband Jason Crystal ’06 (left)

When the Wildcats take on the Pittsburgh Panthers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on December 28 in New York City, Bethany Crystal ’09 will be there to cheer them on.


Crystal, a flutist, has been an avid Northwestern football fan since the first time she stepped onto Ryan Field with the marching band as a freshman in September 2005. After her initial experience cheering on the Wildcats—as they defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies by a single point—she went on to have many other memorable football moments. One of her favorite memories was Northwestern’s narrow victory over Iowa in 2005. “After the game,” recalls Crystal, “quarterback Brett Basanez raced across the field in his bare feet, climbed into the drum major’s stand, and led the band in playing Go! U Northwestern one final time.”


A native of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, Crystal’s decision to attend Northwestern was based in part on the excellent reputation of its marching band—as well as its academic programs, proximity to Chicago, and fact that her mother is an alumna. Now a resident of New York City, Crystal works as a general manager at Union Square Ventures, where she acts as a “community builder” for the more than 60 companies in her investment portfolio—helping them learn from one another, share best practices, and ultimately build better businesses. A Medill graduate, Crystal never envisioned herself working in venture capital but says that her current position is the “perfect blend of what I loved the most about journalism—talking to people, writing, and traveling.”


Crystal is active in the Northwestern community, serving as president of the Medill Club of New York and a member of NUMBALUMS, the Northwestern University Marching and Band alumni group. She is proud to celebrate Purple Fridays—wearing purple during football season—and greets fellow alumni she meets around New York with “Go ’Cats!” Earlier this year, she married Jason Crystal ’06 and the couple had their wedding band play Go! U Northwestern at the reception. Says Crystal, “We never miss an opportunity to cheer on the Wildcats.”


Crystal is thrilled that the Wildcats are coming to New York for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, “just a subway ride away” from where she lives. The evening before the game, Crystal will host a NUMBALUMS bar night at Hurley’s Saloon in the theater district. On game day, she and her husband will head to Yankee Stadium, where they will participate in the N Zone tailgate before heading inside for the game. Crystal is confident that she will have more celebrating to do after the Bowl—following another Wildcat victory.

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Wildcats around the world are getting ready to cheer for Northwestern as the team takes on the Pittsburgh Panthers in New York at the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on December 28 at 2 p.m. EST. Even if you’re not traveling to the game, you can still follow the action at a watch party hosted by an NAA club in your city. Go ’Cats!



ESPN, 2 p.m. EST

ESPN College Football Schedule >>



NU Club of the Twin Cities

Watch Party: Cooper Pub

1607 Park Pl. Boulevard

Louis Park, Minnesota

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Matthew Larson, 952-698-2000

Open invitation


NU Club of Dallas – Fort Worth

Watch Party: Mucky Duck

5064 Addison Circle

Addison, Texas

When: December 28, 2016 at 1 p.m. CST

Contact: Chirag Gupta, 972-233-9362

Open invitation


NU Club of Charlotte

Watch Party: Jackalobe Jacks

1936 East 7th Street

Charlotte, North Carolina

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Bill Farley, 414-350-8973

Register >>


NU Club of DC (Washington DC Area)

Watch Party: Blackfinn Ameripub DC

1620 Eye Street NW

Washington, District of Columbia

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Sharon Sullivan, 585-899-0312

Open invitation


Watch Party: Brickside

4866 Cordell Avenue

Bethesda, Maryland

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Bill Horin, 301-312-6160

Open invitation


Watch Party: Blackfinn Ameripub Merrifield

2750 Gallows Road

Vienna, Virginia

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Lee Stevens, 571-212-5203

Open invitation


NU Club of NYC/Medill Club of NYC

Watch Party: Blondies

212 West 79th Street

New York, New York

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Bethany Crystal

Open invitation


NU Club of the United Kingdom

Watch Party: Home of John Edwards

Location details will be sent following your RVSP

When: December 28, 2016 at 7 p.m. GMT

Contact: John Edwards

RSVP with number of guests via email


NU Club of Naples

Watch Party: Bokamper's

8990 Fontana Del Sol Way

Naples, Florida

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Jennifer Trammell, 440-655-1188

Register >>


NU Club of Cincinnati

Watch Party: The Pub in Rookwood (Rookwood Commons Shopping Center)

2692 Madison Road

Cincinnati, Ohio

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Register >>


NU Club of Phoenix

Watch Party: Half Moon Sports Grill

2121 E. Highland Avenue

Phoeniz, Arizona

When: December 28, 2016 at 12 p.m. MST

Contact: Sharon Brooks

Register >>


NU Club of Virginia

Watch Party: Wild Wings in Charlottesville

820 West Main Street

Charlottesville, Virginia

When: December 28, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. EST

Contact: Lori Schwanhausser, 847-809-5525

Open invitation


Watch Party: Humboldt Steel

150 Boush Street

Norfolk, Virginia

When: December 28, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. EST

Contact: Diana Schofield, 254-498-7794

Open invitation


NU Club of San Francisco

Watch Party: NU San Francisco Satellite Campus

44 Montgomery Street, Suite 1800

San Francisco, California

When: December 28, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. PST

Contacts: Daphne Wyse or Jack Stephen, 415-361-8136

Register >>


NU Club of San Antonio

Watch Party: The Lion & Rose British Restaurant & Pub at The Rim

17627 La Cantera Boulevard

San Antonio, Texas

When: December 28, 2016 at 12 noon CST

Contact: Sandy Gulledge, 210-410-8123

Open invitation


NU Club of Los Angeles/NUEA West

Watch Party: Rush Street

9546 Washington Boulevard

Culver City, California

When: December 28, 2016 at 11 a.m. PST

Contact: Dan Hess, 954-292-1092

Open invitation


NU Club of Seattle

Watch Party: Belltown Pub

2322 First Avenue

Seattle, Washington

When: December 28, 2016 at 11 a.m. PST

Open invitation


NU Spirit Club of Madison

Watch Party: Sky Club at Ovation 309

309 West Johnson Street

Madison, Wisconsin

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Dan Jagla, 414-745-7724

Open invitation


NU Club of Tampa Bay

Watch Party: Eats American Grill

4502 South Dale Mabry Highway

Tampa Bay, Florida

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Phillip Zee

Register >>


NU Club of Central Florida

Watch Party: The Harry Buffalo

129 West Church Street

Orlando, Florida

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Wes Meltzer, 224-420-0432

Register >>


NU Spirit Club of Sacramento

Watch Party: Clubhouse 56

723 56th Street (56th & H Streets)

Sacramento, California

When: December 28, 2016 at 11 a.m. PST

Contact: Lisa Hightower, 916-849-4834

Register >>


Eastern Iowa

Watch Party: Buffalo Wild Wings

2020 Edgewood Road, SW

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

When: December 28, 2016 at 1 p.m. CST

Contact: Liz Driskell, 319-431-1042

Open invitation


NU Club of Greater Sarasota

Watch Party: Gecko's

Corner of Fruitville and Cattlemen Roads

Sarasota, Florida

When: December 28, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. EST

Contact: NU Club of Greater Sarasota

Open invitation


NU Club of Atlanta

Jocks and Jills (Galleria Specialty Mall)

1 Galleria Parkway

Atlanta, Georgia

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Toni Perling

Open invitation


NU Club of Orange County

Watch Party: BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, The Market Place

13130 Jamboree Road

Irvine, California

When: December 28, 2016 at 11 a.m. PST

Register >>


NU Spirit Club of Central Illinois

Watch Party: Buffalo Wild Wings

603 S. Main Street

Normal, Illinois

When: December 28, 2016 at 12:30 p.m. CST

Contact: Bryce Bowlin, 630-967-4894

Open invitation

NU Club of Chicago

Watch Party: Kincade’s

950 W. Armitage

Chicago, Illinois

When: December 28, 2016 at 1 p.m. CST

Open invitation

NU Club of Columbus

Watch Party: Roosters, OSU Area

3370 Olentangy River Road

Columbus, Ohio

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Piper Ryan, 949-922-9231

Open Invitation

NU Club of NC Triangle

Watch Party: Carolina Ale House, Brier Creek

7981 Skyland Ridge Parkway

Raleigh, North Carolina

When: December 28, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST

Contact: Leia Droll

Register >>

NU Club of Colorado

Watch Party: Blake Street Tavern

2301 Blake Street

Denver, Colorado

When: December 28, 2016 at 12 p.m. MST

Contact: Stacey Singer, 303-667-9200

Open invitation

NU Club of Houston

Watch Party: Doc's Motorworks Bar & Grill

1303 Westheimer Rd.

Houston, Texas

When: December 28, 2016 at 1 p.m. CST

Open invitation