During this spring semester, before spring break, the School of Communication at Illinois State University brought in many guest speakers to classes and events open to all students. The speakers brought new ideas and shared advice with the students as an engaging way to give back to their alma mater.
Early in the semester, ISU alumnus Ryan Cashman came and spoke to all students in a workshop about successfully obtaining a job after graduation. Cashman graduated from ISU in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and in 2017 earned a master’s degree in communication, focusing on media studies. He also graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. Since obtaining his master’s degree, he has gone on to become a speech coach, producer, education and learning specialist, and more. He has been “around the block” and knows the “ins and outs” of getting a job, which is what he came to talk about.
“Apply, apply, apply,” Cashman said. He talked about why it is important to apply to as many opportunities as possible. No matter if the jobs meet all or most of your criteria, it is good to apply and get the experience of interviewing and applying. He gave great tips and advice about how to create a solid resume for each interview and how to write a strong cover letter, both of which are essential on the journey to getting a job.
Other speakers came and spoke to students in particular classes. Two alumni came back to speak to Tom Lamonica’s COM 275 Sports Communication class. The first speaker was Nancy Worley, who is the associate sports information director and covers many sports at the University of Louisville. She spoke to the class about her work at Louisville and about gender in sports. Starting her career was hard at first for her, being a woman in sports, but she has come far and done well in her career.
The other speaker was alumnus Jay Blunk, who is the senior vice president of the Chicago Blackhawks. Blunk, a former student of Lamonica’s, spoke to the class about how he unexpectedly became the first intern at the Chicago Cubs to then work for that team, and later joining the Chicago Blackhawks. He has changed the fan experience for both those teams and their respective professional sports, and he talked to the class about how he has done that.
All the speakers were beneficial to the students in the School of Communication. From their time at ISU until now, they have made and continue making great impacts in the world. The students greatly appreciated them sharing their experiences and wisdom, and we look forward to hearing from more alumni guest speakers in the future.