Share Tweet Share Email

Annual COMS event helps students see future by reaching out to alums in their chosen fields

May 8, 2013

COMS 309 Performance in Speech Communication courseEvery year, Judy Santacaterina and Matt Swan conduct “mock interviews” with the students enrolled in COMS 309 Performance in Speech Communication course.

“The objective here is to demonstrate to students how the public speaking and performance skills cross contexts,” Santacaterina said. “We were surprised at how many students had never experienced a formal interview.”

Before the event, each students is asked for input regarding careers where he or she have an interest – for example, broadcasting, advertising, film, PR, HR, sales or law school – and then are paired with a professional working in that field.

Students are required to submit résumés and dress appropriately.

“Interviews last 15 minutes, and students are graded on a number of different criteria from body language, appearance, vocal quality, resume, word choice, poise and professionalism,” Santacaterina said.

The students in the class cannot say enough about the value of this project. “It was one of the most interesting and beneficial assignments and my most favorite assignments of any course at NIU,” says Kevin Bartelt, sophomore communication major.

The success of the program is due in large part to the number of alumni who volunteer their time to help conduct the interviews. This year, the list ranged from a corporate communication specialist to a human resource consultant to a novelist.

Alumna Jeannette Ray said that she loves coming back to NIU to participate in the interviews: “It is a way of giving back and to visit with old friends and faculty.”

Judy Santacaterina

Judy Santacaterina

Alums who returned this spring to help were:

  • Jennifer Howard (NIU media services)
  • Kara Lamar Sneigowski (corporate communication specialist)
  • Mark Pietrowski (CLAS external programming PR and marketing)
  • Cathy Doederlein (CLAS internship coordinator)
  • Jeannette Ugolini Ray (human resource consultant)
  • Mike Morig (WREX former on-air personality; now media sales)
  • Matt Solomon (creative director, writer; novelist)
  • Nancy Santacaterina Donohoe (public relations)

by Linda Watson