Here, you will find bios of the alumni attending the CAL Career Conference.
John Abel is a Federal Contracts Consultant at Winvale in the Washington D.C. Metro area. He graduated from JMU in May 2017 with a B.A. in History. He’s been working at Winvale since his graduation, focusing on government contracting and federal acquisition opportunities for small and large businesses.
Lauren Armbruster is currently working as a systems engineer at The MITRE Corporation, a government sponsored research and development center in McLean, Virginia. She has received multiple MITRE awards for her work on national security futures assessments and sustainable recruitment efforts. She graduated from JMU as the Valedictorian of the ISAT department with an Intelligence Analysis B.S. and as the Religion Department’s Outstanding Graduate with an Interdisciplinary Religion B.A. Her major in Interdisciplinary Religion is an asset to her developing career that prepared her to assess divergent perspectives and engage in critical problem solving. Lauren was also an intern in the Intelligence Community and a research intern with the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Terrorism and Peace during her time at JMU. The MITRE Corporation offers extensive benefits and advanced academic opportunities that Lauren plans to take advantage of in pursuit of a Master’s degree in the fields of public policy or advanced analytics. She looks forward to engaging with current students for recruitment and networking opportunities!
During his academic career, Haima Askari spent time studying and working abroad in Spain, Morocco, Iraq and Germany. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from JMU in December 2016, he left for Berlin to work as a legislative aide for the president of the German parliament where he researched various policy issues with a focus on transatlantic relations. Haima is currently studying at UVA where he plans on finishing a Master of Public Policy and Leadership at the Batten School.
I am an insurance professional with over 30 years experience in the Medicare and individual Health Insurance marketplace. My Liberal Arts education from JMU provided me the skills and knowledge to be a life-long learner and pursue several career paths before finding the career that I believe is my true calling. The ability to communicate effectively and work in many different settings gave me the strengths I needed to be a successful insurance sales professional.
Marissa Blair Martin was born and raised in the small rural town of Amherst, VA. Since a young age, Marissa has been passionate about advocacy and social change and has always aspired to promote positive civil and social change. Marissa obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Justice Studies from James Madison University in 2011 and immediately enrolled in law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate in 2014. On August 12, 2017 Marissa was in Charlottesville, VA as a counter-protester with her fiancé and friends, one of whom was Heather Heyer, to protest against hate speech and the hateful ideologies the Unite the Right Rally presented. Since August 12, 2017, Marissa has been active in speaking out against hate and is attempting to nurture positive conversation about social issues dividing our nation. Marissa has appeared in interviews on CNN with Chris Cuomo, AM Joy on MSNBC, The Ellen Show and many other platforms to try to bridge gaps and promote positive social change.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from James Madison University in 2012, with a double major in Religion and Anthropology. I worked briefly for the JMU Office of the Registrar and Virginia State Police following graduation, but returned to my passion for student affairs in 2014 as the Visitor Relations Coordinator for the JMU Office of Admissions. After working at the University for a year, I began the Master of Public Administration program, and officially became a “Double Duke” in May 2018. During the time I was completing my graduate degree I moved into a new role within the Admissions Office, and now work as the Assistant Director for Major Events.
Mary Clare Boucher
Mary Clare Tracy Boucher is currently a special education English teacher in Chesterfield County Public Schools. As a seventh grade teacher, she aims to show a wide variety of students with varying abilities the importance of becoming a reader and writer for life. After graduating cum laude from JMU in 2012 with a major in English and minor in Special Education, Mary Clare worked for the FBI in Washington, D.C. as a management and program analyst. While there, she helped write and edit standard operating procedures, training manuals, and a variety of enterprise-wide policies. After a few years contemplating her next career move, she heard the call to become a teacher and enrolled in and graduated from the University of Virginia’s Master of Teaching program, while simultaneously becoming a full time special education English teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools. When she’s not trying to pass along her deep love of reading and words to seventh graders, Mary Clare enjoys painting, cooking, camping, exploring her new hometown of Richmond, VA, and (of course) reading and writing for pleasure.
After graduating from JMU with a BA in English, I worked for a few years as a paralegal at a large white-shoe law firm.
I quickly realized that I wanted something different for my life. So each night I taught myself to program after work. After more than a year of self-study, I took the plunge and got a Master’s degree in Computer Science at Brandeis University.
There, I took core classes in CS and explored topics I found interesting, especially Natural Language Processing, which is a sort of applied Linguistics. My Linguistics classes at JMU integral to my success there.
Between years at Brandeis, I interned at Ginger.io in San Francisco. They are a startup trying to make mental healthcare more accessible. I wrote backend code to support their main app.
Next I worked for Practice Fusion, a company that builds an electronic health record system. I worked on a small team charged with finding creative solutions all over their technical stack.
Currently I’m a full-stack software developer on Yelp’s Search Experience team. Though sometimes it’s stressful, I’ve enjoyed the challenges of engineering a product that touches millions of people.
Tim Brown currently works for Envision Physician Services, where he serves as the Site Administrator for the company’s hospitalist practice at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway, NJ. He first became interested in working in health administration through his volunteer work as an Emergency Medical Technician for the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad after graduating from JMU. As a student at JMU, Tim was a member of the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) and served as the Risk Manager, as well as one of the Judicial Chairs. He was also involved in the Justice Studies Student Organization (JSSO), where he served as the first recording secretary. Tim’s long term goal is to either hold an executive level leadership position in healthcare compliance, or investigate healthcare fraud for the government. In addition to holding a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies (Track A), Tim also holds a Master of Science in Health Administration from the College of Saint Elizabeth, and a Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Compliance from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law.
I am an associate attorney in a small law firm in Lynchburg, Va. I graduated from JMU in 2013 with my degree in Justice Studies and from the University of Richmond T.C. Williams School of Law in 2016 with my juris doctor. As an attorney, I represent clients and their interests in a wide variety of civil and criminal matters in state and federal court, and I recently finished my certification to be a guardian ad litem and represent children in domestic matters.
I received my B.S. from JMU in Writing, Rhetoric, & Technical Communication in 2015 and am currently pursuing my M.A. at GMU in Professional Writing and Rhetoric. Since then I’ve worked as a professional writer and editor for the last four years. I’ve supported two non-profits, an online magazine, a newspaper, and now an IT government contractor in their writing and editing needs.
Kristie Cunningham is senior vice president of Communications for BAE Systems, Inc., responsible for leading all external and internal communications activities for the organization â€” developing and executing communications strategies and delivering compelling and innovative messages across a full range of communication media and channels.
BAE Systems, Inc. employs more than 32,000 employees in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Israel, and generated 2017 revenues of approximately $10 billion. As a member of the Inc. Senior Leadership Team and Global Communications Council, Cunningham directs media relations, employee engagement, marketing communications, and community investment activities to shape perceptions among customers, other external stakeholders, and employees.
Cunningham is a successful communications professional with 25 years of experience. Her work developing and executing high-impact communications strategies that support key business winning campaigns and enhance the company’s brand and reputation in the U.S. and international markets has been recognized with honors that include an IABC Gold Quill Award.
She joined BAE Systems in 2010 as vice president of Employee Engagement, and later held a dual position leading global employee engagement for both Inc. and BAE Systems plc in London. In this position, she led international teams to support strategic business initiatives, promote collaboration across our diverse workforce, and foster employees’ understanding and pride in the work they do.
Prior to joining BAE Systems, she served as a director of Communications at Northrop Grumman, where she oversaw marketing communications, executive and employee communications, and media relations. Her tenure in the defense and aerospace industry was preceded by almost a decade of communications experience at AOL, which followed her roles at MCI WorldCom, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, and the Washington Times.
In the broader community, Cunningham is a past vice chair and active member of the Communications Leadership Committee for the Aerospace Industries Association. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Mission Continues and the Washington, D.C. Area Advisory Board for Tech Impact, and is also a member of The Seminar, a premier organization of chief communications officers and public affairs executives.
Cunningham holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from James Madison University and is also a graduate of the CEO Leadership Program designed and led by Linda Hudson, former president and CEO of BAE Systems, Inc. She resides in Northern Virginia and enjoys competing in duathlons as an avid runner and cyclist.
During final semester at JMU was a NBC intern at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy. Immediately after JMU I started my career as a NYC NBC page then started an Ad Sales Marketing career at Bravo doing product integrations in shows like Top Chef and Project Runway. From there I took at job with ABC doing brand integrations on daytime, prime time and late night. I moved to the west coast with ABC, got an executive media at USC then went to UNINTERRUPTED where I lead brand partnership sales.
I began my education at JMU as a biology major, but switched paths and graduated with a B.A. in English. While attending JMU, I worked as a campus police cadet and dispatcher. From this nexus, I began my career as a police officer with Harrisonburg Police Department. From there I moved to the Bridgewater Police Department and in 2015, I was hired as the Chief of the Timberville Police Department.
My professional education began at JMU, but continues to this day. I have also been privileged to teach and develop training for police officers and citizens for almost 20 years. My career has been marked by several promotions which further challenged my organizational and leadership skills. The critical thinking and communication skills learned at JMU helped form the foundation for my success through every phase of my career.
OFD Consulting owner, Meghan Ely, combines in-the-trenches event experience with a love of wedding PR to empower her clients to take their businesses to new heights. She is a WeddingWire Education Expert as well as a regular contributor to Wedding Planner Magazine, Wedding Business Magazine, Catersource and SpecialEvents.com.
Meghan represents clients globally and has earned them coverage with the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Brides, Bridal Guide, the Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, the Travel Channel, HGTV, Brit & Co and Refinery 29, among others.
Meghan has served on the national board of WIPA and is a long-time member of the NACE conference education committee. She is also an adjunct professor in the Mass Communication department at Virginia Commonwealth University, specializing in Public Relations. Most recently, Special Events honored her as one of the top 25 young professionals in the event industry.
Chip Ferguson is currently a partner with the full service law firm Arent Fox LLP, where he has practiced since 2004. Chip represents hospitality and senior living companies, mortgage loan insurers, and non-profit associations and corporations in connection with the acquisition, sale, leasing, franchising, management, and financing of real property assets.
Prior to joining Arent Fox, Chip was an associate at Tennenbaum & Saas and at Kennedy Covington. He graduated from James Madison University in 1995 with a B.S. in History and from Emory University in 2000 with a J.D.
Kara is a Senior Account Supervisor at Adfero, a DC-based full-service communications agency. After graduating from JMU in 2012 with a BA in Communications Studies (PR concentration) and a minor in Sports Communications, Kara joined Adfero as an Account Coordinator – Adfero’s paid internship program.
Currently, Kara leads a variety of communications work with the American Medical Association, National Association of REALTORSÂ® and the National Retail Federation. Projects range from video production to social media and advertising strategy. Over the last few years, Kara’s work has primarily focused on large-scale, integrated campaigns for advocacy and corporate clients.
Jeff leads the analytics and advisory work of AkarAsia (akarasia.com), an entrepreneurial Asia-facing digital intelligence and government affairs consultancy. AkarAsia is at the intersection of digital media, strategy, and public affairs in the fastest-growing markets of the world, providing insights and helping Fortune 500 clients move Asia.
Prior to joining the AkarAsia team, Jeff advised and facilitated intellectual property technology transfers for prominent research faculty at Georgetown University. In addition, he has consulted for major clients in the commodities and aviation sectors, and interned at frontier market private equity fund Schulze Global Investments (now part of Cerberus Capital) in their Mongolia office. He also had stints at the US-China Business Council and The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center working on China-related trade and investment issues and regional economics.
Alexandra “Zan” Guendert
Zan is a Policy and Public Affairs Associate at Capitol Point Group. Her job is in the Washington D.C. Metro area. She graduated from JMU in 2017 with a B.A. in Political Science, Public Policy and Administration.
Erin Halpin is a 2017 graduate of James Madison University with a B.A. in English and a minor in Creative Writing. She works as an Admissions Counselor for the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia and was recently awarded the Virginia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers New Professional Award of the year. Erin has also continued to write creatively and was published in an anthology,Virginia Emerging Writers, in the fall of 2018. She hopes to continue her formal education in the future with a Master’s degree in Social Work.
Griffin is a digital creator/director/producer in NYC. Comfortable wearing many hats and working in different mediums, including AR/VR, Griffin led a small production team at Discovery Channel that created innovative content for every major social platform and attracted millions of views on both editorial and branded projects.
As a crime analyst in Henrico County, I support all units within the police department including patrol, and criminal investigations including homicides, robberies, property crimes, and narcotics investigations. My main roles are mapping crimes with geostatistical software and analyzing cellular phone records.
Michael Hickman earned bachelor of arts degrees in English and Religion in 2009 and a master’s degree in English in 2011, all from James Madison University. Since then, he has taught in the department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication, first as an adjunct and currently as a full-time instructor. Now a “triple Duke,” Michael teaches General Education writing and literature classes, occasionally in the rooms he once sat in as a student. His professional interests include cultural studies, writing pedagogy, digital communication, and American Modernist literature. Personally, he enjoys reading, playing stringed instruments (guitar and mandolin, specifically), singing in choirs, and cats, including his position as board member at Cat’s Cradle, a local non-profit which seeks to ensure and maintain and safe, compassionate community for cats in the Shenandoah Valley.
John Hughes III
I graduated in 2009 from JMU with a degree in history, and in 2012 from the University of Richmond School of Law. Since joining the Virginia bar, I have held a variety of positions, including in private practice in a small firm, in-house counsel at a mid-sized software company, and now in-house at a large company with international reach. I am also a Director on the JMU Alumni Association Board of Directors and a member of the College of Arts and Letters Alumni Advisory Board.
I have worked for over 20 years in higher education administration including nine years in Division I Athletics and over 11 years in Academic Affairs.
I have experience in keeping high level government officials organized and handling sensitive information, and have enjoyed opportunities of becoming a close confidant to these officials and their senior staff. I add value to my organization by understanding that my position requires a certain level of discretion through my participation in discussions with top-tier officials. I offer the experience of working in a high-stress, fast-moving environment in which there is always a need to multi-task and quickly process information from a variety of sources simultaneously.
Carrie Klamut is a 2009 graduate of James Madison University with a nonprofit management graduate certificate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the Senior Manager, Hospital Systems for the American Cancer Society serving in the nonprofit sector since 2011. She is an active member of community health coalitions, an avid volunteer, and has been awarded Advocacy Champion of the Year for her work in youth tanning bed prevention, youth tobacco prevention, cancer research funding and oral chemotherapy parity legislation.
Kendra Kojcsich is a Vice President at the global communications agency Porter Novelli. Kendra Kojcsich has more than 10 years of experience in the social impact space. She works with clients to develop and implement media strategies, brand messaging, materials development, special events and celebrity engagement. Major campaign’s that Kendra has lead include the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and The Walt Disney Company’s Magic of Healthy Living. She leads integrated communications programs with a specialty in earned media, celebrity engagement, paid media and strategic partnerships. Kendra holds leadership positions for several professional organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors as President of Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR), steering committee of Young Marketing Communicators and UN Foundation Communication Corp. She routinely judges industry awards, including the CLIOs, Washington Women of the Year and WWPR’s Emerging Leaders awards. Kendra graduated James Madison University in 2005 with a B.S. in Communication Studies and a minor in Political Science. She was named JMU SCOM Alumni of the Year in 2015 and on Washington Life’s Young and the Guest List: Rising Stars Under 40.
Ronny Lau is a political professional with more than 5 years of experience in advocacy and public policy.
Currently, Ronny serves as a Federal Lobbyist for the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional organization, which represents over three million members in the public education community. He is their lead on a number of federal legislative issues affecting public schools, including higher education, IDEA, school modernization, Native American schools, and STEM education.
Prior to joining NEA, Ronny was the Assistant Director of Public Policy at the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), where under his leadership, music was enumerated as part of a “well-rounded education” within the Every Student Succeeds Act. He also served as Health Policy Fellow for Congressman Ron Kind (WI-03) and worked on the Democratic coordinated campaign for Senator Mark Warner (VA) and congressional candidate John Foust during the 2014 election cycle.
A Virginia native, Ronny is graduate of James Madison University’s Class of 2013, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. As a growing leader in the field, Ronny was recently selected for the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership’s Emerging Leaders Program at the University of Virginia.
My interest in applied linguistics led me to the classroom. I did not study education in undergrad, so I applied to an alternative certification program in order to pursue my teaching license. I taught English as a Second Language in DC Public Schools while also working on an M.Ed. In Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Reading Education at the University of Maryland. Currently I work as an instructional coach. In this role I create and facilitate school-based professional development for elementary school teachers.
Brenna Matlock joined the CISR staff as Project Manager and Research Associate in June 2015, and has assisted with planning and implementing three Senior Managers’ Courses (Vietnam ’15, JMU ’16, and Croatia ’17). Previously, as a Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellow, she worked as an assistant program manager in the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA). In that role, she helped manage the Middle East, South and Central Asia, Africa, and global conventional weapons destruction program portfolios. She graduated magna cum laude from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in justice studies (global justice and policy concentration). She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in writing, rhetoric and technical communication at James Madison University.
Working at the intersection of strategy and product development, Milt draws on 15 years in corporate leadership, along with a love for the humanities and communications, to identify opportunities, analyze challenges, and implement solutions. He can’t resist a tough problem, and once attempted to teach symbolic logic to high school students. Milt holds a degree in Philosophy.
Jonathon Matthews is a Connecticut native and currently serves as a communications and personal aid to a Member of Congress from Texas. Working on Capitol Hill for over two years, Jonathon has gained valuable insight and experience with messaging strategies, crisis communications, and time management, while also learning that Members of Congress are just regular people and the priceless value of having a cup of coffee with a friend. He is constantly looking for opportunities to hone his writing and public speaking to improve his political communication skills. He is also an avid quoter of movies, lover of nonfiction books, and amateur impressionist. Jonathon holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from James Madison University.
Matthew Merritt graduated from James Madison University in 2013 with a double major in Spanish and Global Justice Studies. Following graduation, he joined the Peace Corps as a Primary English Teacher in Lesotho, Southern Africa. As a volunteer, he taught English literacy and reading comprehension, directed a girls’ empowerment camp, and started a swimming school. He also facilitated sessions on life skills including HIV/AIDS mitigation, gender equality, healthy masculinity, and leadership development. Following two years of service, Matthew moved to Charlottesville, VA and is currently Peace Corps’ Regional Recruiter for Central and Western VA. Outside of work, he is the Outreach Manager for Conservation Music, a nonprofit which brings environmental education through musical collaboration to rural communities across Southern Africa. Matthew is an active alumnus serving as the current Co-President of the Charlottesville Dukes and is a board member for JMU’s Graduates of the Last Decade affinity chapter. He is extremely passionate about serving others and loves giving back to his JMU community through his time, talent, treasure, and testimony.
Patrick, Co-Founder of Flywheel Digital, helps leading Consumer Package Good clients achieve digital sales, brand, shopper marketing, advertising, and supply chain goals. An expert in Amazon workings, Patrick has lead engagements for clients including Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Organic Valley, Hershey’s, Performance Health, and Manitoba Harvest to figure out how best to work with and through eCommerce sites and the unique needs of the channel.
Flywheel was an early adopter to Amazon Marketing Services and has built a proprietary technology stack that allows massive scale through programmatic management resulting in Flywheel becoming the largest AMS agency.
Patrick brings significant technical and analytical experience developed from his diverse experience. Before starting Flywheel, Patrick started and lead an ecommerce team that grew client sales from $230k to $100 million in sales in three years. Before that, Patrick oversaw the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s web, social, email, online fundraising, and volunteer engagement strategy and execution.
Patrick worked on numerous political campaigns managing websites, targeting, and voter contact. Patrick received his BA in English from James Madison University and lives in Catonsville, MD where he can ride his mountain bike out his door, usually with his Jack Russell Terrier, George, close behind.
Walt Morris is a Business Manager at Flywheel Digital, the leading advertising and solutions provider for companies on Amazon. He graduated (’17) with honors from the School of Media Arts & Design, and minored in Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication.
When he is in Harrisonburg, his go-to meal is the “Greg Brady” from Jack Brown’s, and he enjoys playing golf at Lakeview Golf Club.
Secondary-level English educator with four years teaching public school, with experience in developing and delivering reader-writer workshop curriculum and advising student publications.
Julie Mussen is the Marketplace Director for Unison Global, the leading provider of software and services that advance commerce and collaboration among government contractors and their customers. An experienced operations manager with a demonstrated history of working in the procurement industry, she is skilled in government procurement, market research, and management.
Rosanne North-Jack is a Young Adult Librarian at the Bull Run Regional Library, part of the Prince William County Public Library System. She specializes in designing fun and engaging programs for teens in Grades 6-12, such as her long running Anime Brigade fandom, escape rooms, cooking competitions, and gaming programs. She also manages the library’s very active teen volunteer program through her monthly Teen Advisory Group meetings and 60+ volunteers during the library’s annual Summer Reading Program. She also maintains a partnership with the local schools to bring the library’s resources and programs to teens outside the library. Rosanne has presented at professional conferences on her partnership and collaboration with the local high schools to support teens, including the Virginia Library Association Annual Conference and the Virginia Association of School Libraries Conference. Rosanne is a legacy graduate of JMU who received her Bachelor of Arts (English) degree in 2008 and her Masters in Library Science from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2010. She has been working in libraries across the Northern Virginia region since 2011, specializing in children’s and teen services. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, son, and two cats and is a voracious reader.
Tiffanie is a graduate of York County Schools and helps students determine what they want to do career and college wise after they graduate. She holds the Global Career Development Facilitator and Virginia Community College Career Coach Certifications, a Bachelor of Arts from James Madison University with an emphasis on Public Relations and Master of Arts in Education in Higher Education from Western Kentucky University. She spent 10 years working within Residence Life Departments at NC State, James Madison and Western Kentucky Universities and has presented programs and training sessions on a variety of topics at the local, state and national levels.
Prior to her work at Thomas Nelson/York High School, she was the Director of Employer Partnerships/Internships at the University of Central Florida where she coordinated internship and certification opportunities for students and she served as an Assistant Director at the Cohen Career Center at the College of William & Mary. Tiffanie also served as a Regional Trainer and Branch Manager in the Corporate Sector, with Woodforest National Bank and as an Assistant Director at the Career Management Center at Old Dominion University.
After graduating from JMU with a double major in Justice Studies and Sociology, Ashleigh Salyers served as a Traveling Consultant for Gamma Phi Beta Sorority evaluating chapter policy and risk. Since then, she has started working at Odin, Feldman, and Pittleman Law Firm in Reston, Virginia as a Legal Assistant in Government Contracts, Intellectual Property, and Labor/Employment.
Kerry grew up in southern New Jersey, and when she attended JMU for her undergrad, she never left. After graduating in 2016 with a degree in English, she worked as the Youth Services librarian and Massanutten Regional Library before she started her current position as Outreach Coordinator for JMU Libraries. If you use social media, follow Kerry’s management of the JMU Libraries Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
Katie Sensabaugh began working at the Center for Global Engagement in August of 2018 as the Assistant Director of Study Abroad. She previously worked at the Office for Student Accountability and Restorative Practices within the Restorative Practices unit working to build relationships and repair harm between students. In her new role, she provides administration and oversight of all aspects of the study abroad programs; works with the Study Abroad leadership team on student recruitment, enrollment, and preparation; and is responsible for various procedures and logistics related to study abroad programming.
In addition to her current role as Assistant Director, Katie has previously led study abroad programs to South Africa, teaches within the Justice Studies Department at JMU, and is the Director of the Harrisonburg International Festival. Prior to coming to JMU, Katie received her Masters at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa in International Justice and Transformation and received her undergraduate degree from JMU in Political Science and Justice Studies.
Devan Soyka graduated from JMU in 2013. Since then she’s been a proofreader for Tax Analysts magazine, taught in Japan as a JET Program participant, and is now a professional script writer on four video game titles.
Dan St John
I graduated from James Madison in ‘09 with a BS in Justice Studies and again in ‘11 with an M.Ed. in College Student Personnel Administration. During my time at JMU, I worked in the Office of Judicial Affairs, the Office of Residence Life, and Career and Academic Planning. Afterward, I went on to earn my Ph.D. in Counseling from Old Dominion University in 2014. While I doctoral student, I taught undergraduate classes, assisted in faculty-led research, and served as an academic advisor. Since 2014, I have worked at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Currently, I am the Director of Academic Development and an Assistant Professor within the Graduate Art Therapy and Counseling Program. Also since 2015, I have served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at ODU in both the Department of Counseling & Human Services Department and the Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership.
John Taschek is Senior Vice President of Market Strategy at salesforce.com. He is responsible for corporate product strategy, competitive intelligence, and market influence. Taschek came to Salesforce in 2003, bringing over 20 years of technology evaluation experience.
Previously, Taschek ran the testing labs at eWEEK (formerly PC Week) magazine for 11 years and was a member of its editorial board. He is an award-winning columnist whose coverage of enterprise applications has been cited in numerous research and academic reports. He is also the author of several books on computing technology.
My name is Elizabeth Tyree, but I go by Beth. I have worked in the news broadcasting industry for five years, immediately after graduating from JMU with a Bachelor of Science in WRTC. I have held three different positions, including production assistant, news producer, and my current position at digital executive producer. With my work in the news broadcast industry, I’ve come to learn how to perform under pressure, be decisive, and be thorough with how I present my work. This career has led me to be more open-minded with how information is presented to me and how I perceive things that happen. I have won an award from The Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters, I have been nominated for an Emmy, and been a part of my station’s Edward R. Murrow award. Working in this industry has been thrilling, as no day is the same. I feel like I have learned the skills necessary to move, either into a bigger market, or into a completely different field.