Alumni Profiles

Ben Kimbell, Contract Specialist, U.S. Government
Ben Kimbell

After graduating in December 2008 with a major in communication and a minor in marketing Ben Kimbell was certain he wanted to work in some area of professional selling. He really liked the idea of advertising promotion or some other job in the sales industry. The problem was, he could not find a job anywhere and was getting frustrated with his options.

He applied for his current position in April 2009 and decided to give up on a career in the private industry. Now, instead of selling or promoting products he makes decisions on what to purchase for the United States Army. His job is currently in Rock Island, Illinois on Arsenal Island, and will be transferring to Warren, Michigan April 24, 2011.

"I have been on the job for a year now and I absolutely love it. I find the work rewarding, knowing your number one customer is the U.S. solider. Each day is different and it never seems to get boring." says Ben. His job title is Contract Specialist which involves many functions of the Army acquisition process, from planning, soliciting, negotiating, to awarding contracts, and overall contract administration. Depending on the requirements for certain acquisitions and the market conditions, is how he determines certain contract standards.

So if you can't find that job you're looking for right out of college in advertising, marketing, or sales. Think about a job with the Government; it's America's number one employer.

Erika Lowe, Administrative Assistant, Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine
Erika Lowe

Hello from the Windy City! Erika graduated from WIU in 2009 as a communication major with a double minor in marketing and public relations. Erika was heavily involved in the FYE/Peer Mentor programs, PRSSA, Delta Zeta, Student Government, and several honor societies.

According to Erika, "I used what I learned in my classes to be effective leaders in almost every organization. Your teachers and professors notice this- and then keep you in mind for awards and scholarships that the department offers. I was the recipient of the Wayne N. Thompson award and also was selected as the Departmental Scholar my senior year. Get involved!" So why does this all matter? Employers and graduate schools seek out communication majors and minors who rocked out their time in school!

Don't leave WIU with any regrets! Within a few months after graduation, I started working at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. I am an administrative assistant in cardiology. I use all of my communication skills-and those I picked up being involved-every day. I also think taking the interviewing class helped me be confident and secure during my employment search.

In a few months, I will be leaving Chicago to attend the University of South Carolina on an amazing scholarship to obtain my master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs. My acceptance and scholarship to graduate school can only be a product of my wonderful education from Western Illinois University and the Communication Department. GO LEATHERNECKS!!"

Mariahn Watkins Career Center Director, National College of Business and Technology
Mariahn Watkins

Mariahn Watkins is the Career Center Director at National College of Business and Technology in Nashville, TN. Her primary duty is to assist her graduates, current students, and alumni with finding positions in their field of study. She does this by conducting various workshops on Resume Construction, Interviewing, Salary Negotiation, Job Search Strategies, and Online Personal Branding.

"My Communication education at Western Illinois University was a key component to what I do." Mariahn, said. "I learned the important theories of how to interact and guide students from a variety of ethnicities. This directly came from my studies such as Interpersonal Communication at WIU. They also greatly lowered my Communication Apprehension as I conduct workshops approximately 3 times a week in addition to my other lectures in the community. It's one thing to teach a student how to do things, my Communication education at Western Illinois University taught me how to inspire a student to overcome challenges in a down market in order to find a job in his or her field". Mariahn also continued her education and earned a M.S. in Communication at Illinois State University in 2006.

Megan Bolt Product Line Manager, Dot Foods
Megan Bolt

Megan Bolt is a product line manager at Dot Foods, Inc. in Mt Sterling, IL. "When I graduated from Western Illinois University, I knew my degree was broad enough that I could work in a lot of different areas. Currently, I work with manufacturers such as Oneida and Snyder's where I communicate with them on buying product for Dot Foods," said Megan.

She provides a constant flow of communication on when product will be available to the customers and manages the inventory that comes into the warehouses. Having impeccable communication skills is important because she is exchanging timely information in many different channels to internal and external customers.