Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, October 30, 2014

Students heading to Chicago for networking with alumni, friends

Twenty-nine La Follette School students are going to Chicago on Thursday, November 6, for a career development visit that culminates with an alumni reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce in the Wrigley Building, Suite 900, 410 N. Michigan Avenue.

"One of the benefits of the La Follette School is the access and close proximity to policymakers," says second-year student Ben Emmel, who is going on the trip. "I'm excited to travel to Chicago and meet with nonprofit and government professionals, and learn about the career opportunities in Illinois."

The first stop is the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where analysts Matt Rosenberg, a 2003 Master of Public Affairs alum, and Lindsay Read, 2009 MPA, are coordinating the visit.

The next event is a lunch and nonprofit policy discussion moderated by La Follette School Associate Director Hilary Shager. Panelists will be:

  • Kristine Giornalista, 2004 MPA, who was senior project manager for IFF, a multistate nonprofit community development financial institution before becoming neighborhood services manager of Oak Park, Illinois, in 2014. She earlier worked Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, an anti-poverty nonprofit based in Chicago.
  • Ciara Mentzer, 2012 MPA, who became a communications strategist at Chicago Public Schools in September after two years as a policy associate with Advance Illinois, an organization that promotes a public education system in Illinois that prepares all students to be ready for work, college and democratic citizenship.
  • Greg Gross, 1979 University of Wisconsin–Madison alum and president of the Michael Reese Health Trust, a foundation that helps improve the health and well-being of people in metropolitan Chicago.

Students will next visit Cook County Chicago City Hall for a public policy panel talk moderated by Nate Inglis Steinfeld, who graduated in 2012 with degrees in public affairs and law. He worked for the City of Chicago's Office of Inspector General as a policy analyst, then in November 2013 became the research director for the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council. Also serving on the panel are Candice Jones, director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and Andy Schwarm, Cook County's chief performance officer.

In the late afternoon, 1991 alum and chief executive officer and president of Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Theresa Mintle is hosting an international policy panel that will discuss how the Export-Import Bank benefits the U.S. economy. The panelists will be Courtney Thompson, director of corporate relations for the Boeing Company; Philip Pittsford, international sales manager for NOW International; and Michael Howard, managing director of the Export-Import Bank of the United States' central region.

A reception from 5:30-7 p.m. for alumni, friends of the La Follette School and students will follow at the chamber, which is in Suite 401 of the Wrigley Building, 401 Michigan Avenue. 

"We appreciate Theresa's graciousness in organizing this panel and hosting the reception," says Outreach Coordinator Bridget Pirsch, who is managing the trip's logistics. Outreach Director Terry Shelton and Student Services Coordinator Mary Treleven are also going on the trip.

"The day will be a great opportunity to meet with La Follette alumni, who have had diverse career paths and work in areas ranging from health care and anti-poverty efforts to economic development and program evaluation," says Emmel, who is the La Follette School Student Association's alumni liaison. "I expect that I and the other students will come back to Wisconsin with a better understanding of how to plan and advance our careers—and knowledge of careers outside of Wisconsin."

Hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be provided at the reception. For planning purposes, an RSVP is appreciated (but not required) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (608) 265-2658.