Virtual Professor for Day Delivers Alumni Expertise, Networking Opportunities

This year’s Professor for a Day event may look a little different, but the valuable opportunity to connect alumni with Walsh students remains undiminished. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Walsh alumni were invited to virtually take part in this year’s annual event, which opened the door for many out-of-state alumni to participate via Zoom from as far away as Colorado, Texas, Washington, and for one alumnus, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

“This is my second time participating in Professor for a Day, and my first time doing so virtually. Professor for a Day is an opportunity for me to give back to the Brothers of Christian Instruction and to honor the memory of my mentors Dr. John McKeon and Dr. George Duncan,” said 1990 alum Robert Williams, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, University of Akron, who presented to Dr. Nina Rytwinski’s Psychology class on Zoom from Dubai. “As a professor at a nearby state university, I teach awareness, persistence, and resilience to students soon to embark upon the unexpected opportunities in their budding careers. Students are reassured in their doubts and occasional anxieties when alumni can say that is par for the course, but persistence triumphs in the end.”

Each year, the Walsh alumni office invites Walsh graduates to return to their former classrooms as professionals to share their real-world experiences with students in their chosen field. The Professor for a Day program was organized to provide students with a different perspective on career options and opens the door to guest lecturers.

“Connecting alumni with students is an invaluable part of the Walsh experience and one that I believe is mutually beneficial. Although we can’t physically be together, we’re thankful that technology has allowed us to bring back a favorite alumni program that welcomes familiar and new alumni faces into the classroom,” said Director of Alumni Relations Stephanie Koontz '08. “We couldn’t have pulled off this virtual endeavor without cross-campus collaboration and the support of our esteemed faculty. Many thanks to our faculty and alumni for supporting this program.”

Walsh alumni are paired with courses that directly correspond with their careers. As guest lecturers, they speak candidly to students about various topics including the responsibilities of their job, what they do on a day-to-day basis, and how their careers developed.

“This is my first year and I’m looking forward to it. Being virtual isn’t a factor, although I’d love to be back on campus in Dr. Mark Rogers’ class,” said Jason Hicks ’07, Account Manager at Amazon in Seattle, Washington. “It’s simple, Walsh has done everything for me. So I’ll never hesitate to do something for them. I’m looking forward to discussing the power of networking and how I’ve been able to utilize the skills I’ve learned along the way to build the relationships I have today.”

Alumni representing every decade of Walsh history shared their expertise in the professional areas of graphic design, communication, biology, psychology, education, business, physical therapy and nursing. For alumni like Eric M. Franklin '16, participating in Professor for a Day is a way to give current students the same opportunities they experienced as Walsh students networking with alumni in their chosen field.

“I decided to participate in Professor for a Day because I gained so much from the experience myself as a student at Walsh. It’s a great way to reconnect with former classmates and faculty,” said Franklin, Assistant Project Manager at Cupertino Electric, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. “I believe it’s more important than ever for alumni to be engaged in giving back in this meaningful way and to help coach students through obstacles that they may face along the way.”


Photo Caption: Jason Hicks '07 presents on Zoom from Seattle, WA, to Dr. Mark Rogers' Class


Photo Caption: Dr. Robert Williams ’90 presents on Zoom from Dubai, United Arab Emirates 


Photo Caption: Alumna Olivia Rush '12/'15 talks to students about her career in graphic design