March 18-19, 2013

A new initiative that seeks to connect NMU Alumni and students through classroom visits, skillbuilders, networking and more!

Sunday, March 17  
Late afternoon/evening Board meeting and social evening
Monday, March 18  
Times vary  Classroom visits as scheduled

3 p.m.


Rebecca Thompson '09


Valerie West '07

Skillbuilder: Personal and Professional Branding            

Presenters: Rebecca Thompson ’09 and Valerie West ’07

The Back Room, University Center


This workshop will offer insights and tips on how to create a personal brand both online (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs) and offline (professional etiquette, attire, business cards). Focusing on everything from the power and pitfalls of social media to how to present yourself professionally, the workshop will provide attendees with valuable, real world advice for developing and managing their personal brand.

Register here:



Rebecca M. Thompson '09 is the Senior Director of Engagement at the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, which mobilizes the caring power of Detroit and the region to improve communities and individual lives in measurable and lasting ways. In this role she oversees the organizations community engagement, volunteer engagement, and public policy and advocacy efforts. A native Detroiter, Rebecca recently relocated back to the city from Washington, DC to contribute to the cities revitalization. Previously, she served as the Director of Young People For (YP4), a strategic long-term leadership development initiative that works to identify, engage, and empower the newest generation of progressive leaders to create lasting change in their communities. Prior to joining YP4, she served as Program Manager for the District of Columbia Youth Advisory Council in the Executive Office of the Mayor and as the Legislative Director for the United States Student Association (USSA). Rebecca has provided trainings to change agents nationwide and has been featured on C-SPAN, in the Washington Post, and the New York Times discussing higher education access and affordability issues.  Rebecca has undergone extensive leadership training including the Women's Campaign School at Yale, the White House Project, and the Center for Progressive Leadership's Michigan Political Leaders Fellowship, among others. She was also recently selected for the 2013 Class of the prestigious Michigan Political Leadership Program. Rebecca also serves as a national trainer for ElectHer, which trains college women to run for student government and elected office. She lives in Detroit's New Center neighborhood. 

Valerie West '07 is the Digital Content Specialist at the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.  She creates digital campaign content for emails, blogs and the UWSEM website while helping maintain the social media presence for the brand’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. She also films and edits videos that capture the success stories of individuals benefitting from UWSEM/partner programs. Previously, Valerie worked at The Oakland Press, a daily newspaper, and became one of the youngest section editors on staff as the Community Engagement Editor. She wrote, edited and laid out stories for a weekly special section while updating the paper’s website. She also worked as a writing mentor, offering training and support for emerging writers at the Press. During her last year with the newspaper, she created a blog, The VALunteer Project,” that chronicled a year-long experiment of local volunteerism.


6 p.m.  


Daryl Vizina '01

Featured Speaker:  Daryl Vizina ‘01

How I achieved professional success with my NMU Degree

Keeping law and order

Pioneer Room B, University Center

Networking Reception to follow

Free for students, faculty, staff and community members to attend.


After four years in the private sector, Daryl Vizina '01 won a contested election to become Prosecuting Attorney for Cheboygan County, Michigan at the age of 31.  Managing a staff of ten attorneys and support staff and a felony caseload of 200 cases annually, Mr. Vizina has achieved great success since graduating from NMU in 2001 with a degree in Political Science and Speech Communication.  A native of Indian River, Michigan, Mr. Vizina will discuss the path that led him to NMU, how that decision shaped his personal and professional journey, and his thoughts on how success is different for everyone. 


This event is sponsored by Wildcats for Life, a student group dedicated to building connections with NMU alumni, and the NMU Alumni Association.

Tuesday, March 19  
Times vary Classroom visits as scheduled

3 p.m.  


Jeremy Pickens '01

Skillbuilder: Rental Confidential: Everything you need to know about renting an apartment     

Presenter: Jeremy Pickens ’01

The Back Room, University Center


If you rent an apartment than this workshop is for you.  Learn your rights as a tenant from an attorney and NMU alumnus who practices law here in Marquette.

 Register here:



Jeremy '01 is an attorney with Plunkett & Cooney where he handles civil defense litigation. He earned his BS from NMU in 2001 with a double major: economics and english. He received his law degree from Michigan State University College of Law in 2006. Jeremy is a member of the Michigan State Bar and Marquette Bar Association. An award-winning attorney, he placed first in the Jessup International Moot Court Competition in 2006. He is the chair of the Marquette Board of Parks and Recreation Board and a member of the KMK Cycling Club. Jeremy and his wife, Devon, live in Marquette. Jeremy's parents are NMU alumni.


4 p.m.


Carissa Waters '04

Skillbuilder: Creating Win-Win Situations Through Conflict Resolution

Presenters: Carissa Waters ’04 and Lina Blair ‘05

Pioneer Room A

Register here: http://www.nmu.edu/studentleaderfellowship/node/50  


Conflict- it's gonna happen. Personalities clash, ideas clash and sometimes people just don't get along. Even if you're the type of person who gets along with everyone, you will come across situations in the workplace that are tough to navigate. We will discuss and practice methods to avoid conflict if and when possible, along with managing unavoidable conflicts in a professional manner that leads to successful resolution, and keeps the peace in the workplace.


Carissa '04 is a Registered Nurse at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Ill. While at northern, she was active in student government and the Student Leader Fellowship Program, among a number of other activities. Carissa is a lifetime member of the NMU Alumni Association.

Lina is originally from Quincy, Illinois and found NMU while her family lived in Battle Creek, MI. She came to NMU in the fall of 2001 and graduated from Northern with a bachelor of science in psychology.  As an undergrad, Lina was involved with the Student Leader Fellowship Program, Halverson Hall Government, and First Impressions. She worked as a resident adviser in Gant Hall and was a summer orientation staff assistant. After graduating, Lina served as the resident director of Gant Hall; during this time, she earned a master of science in training and development.  Lina started with the Academic and Career Advisement Center in August 2008 working with the Academic Proficiency Program. She is now the Director of Orientation.


7 p.m.   

Speed Networking Event

Superior, Michigan and Ontario Rooms, University Center


Learn tips on networking from NMU’s Career Services and then put those skills into practice with NMU alumni from diverse professional backgrounds.  Students will talk with alumni in "speed" rounds of 3 minutes then rotate to the next available alumnus/a. During each round, students will practice introducing themselves while learning about the other's profession. Time is provided in the end to discuss the experience, share advice on networking and for more conversation.  Speed Networking simulates the short window of opportunity many find themselves in when realizing the chance to make a career connection, such as in an elevator or at a conference. 


Attendance is limited and students are required to RSVP to reserve their spot.  Students can learn more and RSVP by visiting the Wildcats for Life Facebook Event page at http://www.facebook.com/events/211936242282536/ or by sending an e-mail to wfl@nmu.edu


Are you an NMU graduate who would like to volunteer?  Let us know at alumni@nmu.edu


This event is sponsored by the NMU Alumni Association, Wildcats for Life and NMU Career Services.

Attendance is limited and students are required to RSVP to reserve their spot.  You can RSVP by sending an e-mail to wfl@nmu.edu .

Find information and event details at www.nmu.edu/alumni