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Graduates Return for Professor for a Day 2014

Alumni, 2014-02-19

Director of Business Development at First Energy Cathy Shew ('79) , CEO/Owner Correctional Health Care Group Jonathan Stump ('86), Senior Mass Spectrometry Scientist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute Dr. John Wilton ('74), and State of Ohio Judge Chris Collier ('76) are just a few of the 60 Walsh University alumni who returned to campus as guest instructors for the annual Professor for a Day event. Each January, Walsh graduates return to their former classrooms to share their professional real-world experiences in their chosen fields with current Walsh students. "It is my favorite day of the year," said senior marketing major Katie Hawley. "It is so meaningful. Our guest professor taught us the power of a positive approach – come in with solutions."

Shew taught an 8 a.m. marketing class. Her lesson to a class full of seniors was about how students need to think about marketing themselves. "She was so passionate about her career and where she is going. It's awesome, so encouraging to meet someone who has been in our shoes, sat where we are sitting and gives us a perspective on the real world," said Hawley.

Shew also enjoyed the event. "I love working with young professionals like these, and I've been blessed with very rewarding and diverse opportunities throughout my career...and of course that includes my share of visits to the school of hard knocks known as what not to do," Shew explained. "Sharing vulnerability makes you more real and approachable rather than weak, and regardless of age or experience we have much in common."

The successful Professor for a Day program provides students with different perspectives on career options and opens the doors to guest lecturers. The event has grown each year as more professors request alumni to present in their classrooms. Walsh alumni are paired with a course that directly corresponds with their careers. As guest lecturers, they speak candidly to students about various topics, including the responsibilities of their jobs, what they do on a day to day basis and how their careers developed. "The professor in my class was amazing. She knew how to connect with us and gave us good advice. You could tell she was here to help us with her real world experience," said William Patrick, a senior majoring in marketing.

Mike Bruin ('80) was a second-time guest lecturer in the business ethics class of Dan Cunningham. "Oh I love it, I love to come back. I gave a pension and a healthcare example of ethical issues," Bruin said. "The students then had to role play as advisors."

And, the professors enjoy it as well. "The guest lecturer was a great speaker. She had some great points that helped get me thinking about things I would say to make myself stand out in an interview. Plus, she had good in-class exercises," said Jennifer Epling, who sat in on a marketing research class.

Graduates from business, education, nursing, accounting, and English are among the participants in the 2014 Professor for a Day event. Matt Hutchinson ('08), who coordinates internal information at Ernst & Young, spoke to a corporate communications class. "This is my third time. I love coming back," he said. "I was a student here in 2003, left and returned in 2008 to finish my degree and the professors still know me. You'll never go anywhere else where you connect so well with the faculty and this just shows how much they care."