Class of 2010
Anne E. Davis (Class of 2010) completed both her Rhetorical Leadership concentration and her M.A. in Communication at UWM. She returned to Minnesota where she has a fulltime job organizing a website for an HVAC distributor. Anne is also considering pursuing a PhD to study Rhetoric further; she was accepted to a strong program, but deferred admission for the present. Her undergraduate degree is in Communication from University of Minnesota-Duluth.
A 2010 Rhetorical Leadership graduate, Ashleigh Lund is now completing her MA in Communication at UWM. In 2010-11 she will serve the department as a teaching assistant for the first time. Ashleigh’s long-term interests are in politics and advocacy campaigns, areas for which her Rhetorical Leadership training equips her well. For example, her summer 2009 RL internship with Citizen Action of Wisconsin offered her the opportunity to use her rhetoric skills to advocate for health care reform, and she was instrumental in organizing Milwaukee women suffering from the current health care system to speak out. See http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/51439652.html for a news interview regarding the July 22, 2009, Milwaukee Women Speak-Out on Health Reform with one of the women whose experiences Ashleigh “story-banked” as part of her project. In the 2010 Wisconsin governor campaign, Ashleigh is volunteering with “Barrett for Wisconsin”; because of her communication background, she often writes the first drafts of letters and other campaign documents. Ashleigh's undergraduate degree is from UWM in Communication.
Class of 2009
Pi-Ching Chang (Class of 2009) returned to her hometown of Taichung, Taiwan, upon graduation to work as a language consultant for Columbia Consulting Company. She hopes to use her Rhetorical Leadership knowledge and skills to improve her society. She is particularly interested in environmental issues, education and media phenomena, and pragmatic strategies to improve social order.
After completing his MA with a Rhetorical Leadership Concentration as a central focus, J. Alex Wright (Class of 2009) spent a summer leading tour groups comprised of foreign travelers around the continental U.S., a project that provided rhetorical challenges on a daily basis, each with its own nuanced communicative obstacles. He then became the Marketing Manager for Wisconsin's largest liquor distributor, Badger Liquor Company, where he uses his Rhetorical Leadership training daily as he negotiates terms of promotional events, sources material, and finds public address and personal accountability at the heart of his position. On his own time, Alex researches potential entrepreneurial opportunities in the renewable energy sector with a goal of creating a one-stop shop for all of a small business's or homeowner's needs with respect to wind and solar energy. Alex is taking technical energy training at night in pursuit of this dream, but states that his Rhetorical Leadership education will be pivotal in turning any technical certification into contracts.
Malynnda Johnson (Class of 2009) is enrolled in UWM's doctoral program in Communication. Her interests lie in researching activist groups (especially those focused on animal rights), investigating HIV/AIDS educational campaigns, and analyzing how rhetorical strategies can challenge college students' behaviors and perceptions. Her future plans include being a professor and providing rhetorical analysis and effective, ethical leadership in activist campaigns.
Bekki Willems-Solc (Class of 2009) enjoys college teaching and hopes to do more of it. One of Bekki's main interest areas is community development and sustainability. With her Rhetorical Leadership preparation in how to organize arguments and how to critically assess an issue and approach it from multiple perspectives, she hopes to become involved in an organization that works with these issues, whether a fair trade business or a non-profit organization or UWM's new School of Fresh Water. Bekki is currently pursuing her PhD in Urban Studies at UWM.
Class of 2008
Upon graduating with her M.A. and Rhetorical Leadership Concentration, Rachael Hill (Class of 2008) returned home to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to complete Victory Bible Institute's year-long in-ministry internship, a program designed to train lay ministers. She now serves as Teen Enrichment Leader for teens living in Tulsa project housing to provide positive recreational, academic, and community service programs as alternatives to boredom. Rachael also works in Student Recruitment Services for Tulsa Community College. Her true passions are mission work and youth; she travels to less fortunate countries as often as possible to make a difference in orphanages, schools, plazas, and refugee camps. Rachael is applying to pursue a PhD in Urban Education. She did her undergraduate work in Communication at the University of Tulsa.
Emily Lenard (Class of 2008) is a public relations and social media consultant for Comet Branding + PR in Milwaukee. She utilizes her Rhetorical Leadership training on a daily basis to provide clients such as Marcus Hotels & Resorts, FSI Healthcare, and Paragon Development Systems with strategic public relations and social media implementation plans for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business brands. She does many speaking engagements to educate legislators, government agencies, and college students on the importance and implications of social media (e.g., a workshop for the State-Environmental Protection Agency, http://environmental-symposium.org/2010/workshops.html). During her Communication Master's program at UWM, Emily did a Rhetorical Leadership internship with the Governor’s Office of Wisconsin. This experience provided connections that helped lead to her first job after graduation at Nation Consulting, a political public strategies firm, where Emily specialized in nonprofit development, online strategies and management, campaign message and design, and event coordination. While at Nation Consulting, Emily also became Associate Director for Wired Wisconsin, a nonprofit technology issue advocacy coalition; in that capacity, she traveled across the state speaking to economic development organizations and served as a conference guest speaker on the importance of broadband internet access for rural communities. At UWM, Emily was the VP of Communications for the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association. Emily came to UWM with a background in public relations and an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.
Angela McGowan (Class of 2008) is a full-time Instructor of Public Speaking at Winona State University and is applying to doctoral programs in Communication for Fall 2011so she can further her study of Rhetoric. Angela is interested in using her Rhetorical Leadership background for political communication, including speech writing. She managed Jeremy Miller's successful campaign for the 2010 Minnesota state senate. Her candidate, a newcomer to politics, won the endorsement of the Republican Party in the first round of balloting at the endorsement convention with a surprisingly strong 64% of the votes; due to the campaign’s ground work in getting out the vote, Miller ultimately won the general election by a narrow margin (see http://www.winonadailynews.com/news/local/article_3d7a5a46-e711-11df-8de7-001cc4c03286.html). During her undergraduate work at University of Minnesota-Duluth, Angela double majored in Political Science and Communication. While at UWM, Angela did a Rhetorical Leadership internship with Democratic Senator Lena Taylor's Campaign for Milwaukee County Executive. She also has worked as a legislative aide for public officials in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Class of 2007
Robin Scholz (Class of 2007) has completed her coursework and is currently studying for her doctoral qualifying exams as she advances toward a Ph.D. in Rhetoric at the University of Maryland. Place-bound in Wisconsin for the first year after she graduated with her M.A. and Rhetorical Leadership Concentration, Robin taught as an Adjunct Speech Instructor at Herzing College in Madison. She also served part-time as a Communication Assistant at Wisconsin Relay to relay calls between deaf/hard-of-hearing and hearing individuals. Both jobs were very meaningful to her in their own ways and allowed her to continue teaching speech and even learn some sign language. Robin's undergraduate work includes a B.A. from UW-Madison with majors in Communication Arts and Political Science.
Brian Rothgery (Class of 2007) was a professional labor organizer and social justice activist who returned to school to become more effective in his work. He recently moved from being Organizing Director to being Communications Coordinator for the Wisconsin Voices coalition during the state budget fight, a new role for him at Citizen Action of Wisconsin (CAW). CAW is an issue-focused coalition of individuals and organizations committed to achieving social, economic, and environmental justice. After graduating from UWM with his M.A. and the Rhetorical Leadership and Mediation and Negotiation Graduate Certificates, Brian landed the position of Health Care for American Now Campaign Coordinator with CAW. Health Care for America Now was a national campaign that played a leading role in moving health care reform legislation through Congress by educating the public about the importance of reform and mobilizing people to press their representatives to support reform. While at UWM, Brian served as VP for Bargaining and President of the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association. He received his undergraduate degree in History from UW-Madison in 1999.
James E. Draeger (Class of 2007) is a Coalition Specialist for Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) Health Care Wisconsin, a newly organized union of 7000+ nurses and home care providers. As Coalition Specialist, Jim works to strengthen relationships between the union and its public and consumer group allies. This coalition of union members, care providers, patients, and public advocates works to ensure Wisconsin residents receive quality healthcare. Previously, Jim was the Co-op Director for People's Books Co-op. After completing his Rhetorical Leadership Concentration as part of an M.A. in Communication, Jim spearheaded the drive to form a cooperative to save a local bookstore when its owner retired. With a colleague, Jim organized the surrounding community to found and then directed the daily operations of People's Book Cooperative, Milwaukee's first independent cooperative bookstore. People’s Books’ mission is "to provide books that stimulate the intellect and the spirit in a way that supports the community in building a just and sustainable society," and the co-op boasts 150 members and 30 volunteers. Additionally, after brief stints as a political organizer for the American Federation to Teachers and as Operations Director of Peace Action Wisconsin, Jim now functions as Chair of the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice. Read an article on Jim's recent peace work in The CapTimes. Jim's undergraduate degree in Communication Studies is from UW-La Crosse
Chad Gobert (Class of 2007) is currently an Online Training Specialist for UMass Boston. From 2007 to 2009, Chad held a corporate training position for Kinex Medical Company, a small, but rapidly growing medical supply company in Waukesha, Wisconsin. That initial position included preparing and publishing online teaching materials as well as face-to-face training, and his firm encouraged his team to theoretically analyze and present at academic conferences their broader findings on how the curricular materials that they developed operated. Prior to returning to school to UWM for a graduate degree that included a Rhetorical Leadership Concentration, Chad worked as a sales representative for Charter Manufacturing. His long-term plan is to return to work in a public relations/human resources setting, a work environment where he says he uses many of the concepts of rhetoric and leadership that he gained from the Rhetorical Leadership program. As a UWM undergraduate, Chad double-majored in Journalism and Communication.
Class of 2006
Stacy Siebert (Class of 2006) is a full-time Communication Skills Instructor at Waukesha County Technical College teaching oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills. She originally returned to school after a career as a paralegal in the Dane County District Attorney's office in Madison. Stacy's decision to study Rhetorical Leadership was motivated by her passion for social change regarding domestic violence and a desire to examine and be empowered to address how language and social order perpetuate that problem. Since graduating with her Rhetorical Leadership Concentration and M.A., Stacy has taught communication at Cardinal Stritch University and UW-Parkside as well as working as a Program Development Specialist with the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Stacy's undergraduate degree is in Social Work from UW-Madison, where she also earned Criminal Justice and Women's Studies Certificates.
Class of 2005
In 2007 Colleen Simmons (Class of 2005) is Services Manager for We Energies, where she manages electronic billing and payment programs and is responsible for the development and implementation of improvements in related products and services. Colleen started at We Energies in 2007 as a Communication Support Specialist, a role that combined training and internal communication for customer services. After completing her Rhetorical Leadership Concentration, Colleen won departmental support to attend an extended "Visual Rhetoric" workshop at Northwestern University, and her first job after graduation was as a Catalogue Development Specialist for ICM, a company that markets children's learning products to teachers. Colleen's undergraduate degree is from UWM in English.
Class of 2004
Erin Rodriguez Martell (Class of 2004) earned her Rhetorical Leadership Concentration as part of an M.A. in Communication. She now works as an Equal Opportunity Assistant for the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The OFCCP is responsible for conducting reviews of companies that hold federal contracts to ensure that Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity requirements are being met. Erin's undergraduate degree is in English from Marquette University.