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Career Services welcomes new leaders

Career Services is pleased to welcome two new leaders to its team. This summer the department welcomed Natalie Alexander and Quanisha Kumi-Darfour as associate directors.

Natalie Alexander

Natalie Alexander, associate director for employer engagement, is responsible for building relationships with employers and the University and creating opportunities for students and employers to connect.

Alexander photo

Natalie Alexander, Career Services associate director for employer engagement

“I am excited to build on the strong foundation Career Services has established by diversifying how to connect employers and students through opportunities beyond career fairs,” states Alexander. “I look forward to creating more personalized experiences and smaller interactions so our students can learn what employers are seeking in candidates. In that way, students can craft their college experience to gain the skills and experiences they need to be competitive in their careers.”

Alexander wants to expand the experiential learning program. “With so many organizations creating and sustaining meaningful internship programs during the pandemic, our experiential learning program should prepare Redbirds to be on the forefront of career readiness, beyond traditional internships.”

Prior to Career Services, Alexander worked for University Housing Services as assistant director of student development, and formerly served as a residence hall coordinator. She has also served in the nonprofit industry as prevention director for Safe Journeys, an organization providing domestic violence and sexual assault services, and is a certified Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate.

Quanisha Kumi-Darfour

Quanisha Kumi-Darfour ’06, associate director for student relations, is responsible for increasing student engagement with Career Services and developing and enhancing career development and career readiness initiatives.

Kumi-Darfour photo

Quanisha Kumi-Darfour, Career Services associate director for student relations

“Illinois State students and alumni are dynamic. They have a lot of innovation and creativity to share with the world,” states Kumi-Darfour. “I look forward to understanding their needs from a holistic perspective and ensuring Career Services is inclusive, thoughtful, and providing relevant services to prepare them for any industry they are led to undertake.”

Kumi-Darfour is committed to building relationships with faculty, staff, and students and has demonstrated a commitment to this during her time at Illinois State.

“Establishing welcoming and affirming experiences at Illinois State fosters an inclusive campus community,” states Kumi-Darfour. “I am committed to helping all of our students and constituencies feel heard, connected, and uplifted as they live their best Redbird life.”

With a master’s degree in higher education, Kumi-Darfour previously served as the first coordinator of case management for the Dean of Students Office and held several professional roles within University Housing Services. She is a member of the University’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, the president of the Association of Black Academic Employees (ABAE), and serves as the advisor for two registered student organizations: The Onyx Connect and the Profound Pioneers Entertainment Group.

Career Services Director Pamela Cooper is pleased to have the new associate directors join the department. “Natalie Alexander and Quanisha Kumi-Darfour bring valued experience, energy, and passion to Career Services. As we continue to provide Redbirds with innovative and comprehensive career readiness and development assistance, we are proud to welcome their leadership. I look forward to our future together in helping Redbirds create their legacy with their careers and assisting them with their career success.”