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Knox Magazine

Spring 2020


(Re)Engaging with Knox: It's Never "Too Late"

by Adriana Colindres

Regine Rousseau '94 speaks to a student at the Career Impact Summit. Photo by Peter Bailley '74

When entrepreneur Regine Rousseau ‘94 was invited to speak to Knox students a few years ago, the timing couldn’t have been much better for her.

"I was at a point where I had a story to share," recalls Rousseau, owner of Shall We Wine in Chicago. "I was asked at the time where everything started to come together with my business, and I knew that I could pass on what I've learned to someone else. I could have an impact on the student body."

That’s exactly what happened, and she has continued to build on her relationship with the College by working with students in search of career advice and mentorship. Until the 2016 Career Impact Summit, though, she hadn’t returned to campus for years. The two-day summit, designed to better prepare students for their after-Knox lives, brought together more than a dozen alumni and about 80 students for a series of networking opportunities and discussions on searching for jobs and developing careers. 

Rousseau says she thinks many alumni find themselves in a situation like the one she was in: wanting to engage with Knox after graduating, but feeling uncertain how to go about it.

“Sometimes it's not that alums don't want to get involved. It's that alums don't know how to get involved,” she says.

In her case, that first invitation to re-engage with Knox by speaking to students fit well with her talents, interests, and experiences. “I have very limited time, like everyone else, and so when someone asks something that is specific of me, I'm able to activate." 

Regine Rousseau '94 shared her journey from Knox student to entrepreneur
During a campus visit, Regine Rousseau '94 shared her journey from Knox student to entrepreneur. Photo by Peter Bailley '74

"I figured out that my story would have impact"

Rousseau presented the 2016 summit’s closing session, "Dare to Dream: Having Confidence in Yourself," in which she described her professional journey from Knox theatre major to successful entrepreneur. She spoke about her work in various career fields, including sales and marketing, and how she ultimately achieved her longtime dream of creating her own business. She encouraged students to fulfill their own dreams by using the skills they've developed at Knox, and she called on them to believe in themselves.

“Eventually, I created this life that was based on the things that I wanted to do, the things that I'm really passionate about,” she says, elaborating on why she agreed to speak to students at that event.

“I really looked at and reflected on my path and realized that there are some people who are going to go through this journey. If someone had told me in college that it's not going to be this straight line, that I would divert and I would try things and I would come back to certain things, that would have been valuable to me. That's why I said yes, because I figured out that my story would have impact."

After speaking at that summit, Rousseau kept in touch with and mentored some of the students she met at Knox. One student worked for her part time. Rousseau has remained involved with the College, speaking to students at a second Career Impact Summit and meeting with members of the Knox Business Club when they visited Chicago. In March, she participated in an admitted students event in Chicago. 

“I think that everyone has to find their way”

Rousseau says she hopes that by spending time with students, they “have learned that they can create their own journey. I want them to feel they can take risks and it's OK, and they have everything that they need to save themselves if one of their risks doesn't pay off."

"Your life is limited if you're fearful, so I hope that my story causes people to say, ‘Hey, I have a passion about something and I'm going to explore that passion and I'm going to explore it for as long as it makes me happy and interested. Then, if things change, I know that I can explore another passion.’"

Rousseau’s time as a Knox student has played a key role in her life ever since.

"Knox was one of the places where I learned to be an entrepreneur,” she says, citing her experience producing the play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.

“Knox created an environment where I felt comfortable putting on that type of production. I was assigned a faculty advisor that taught me about how to put on a production. I had to learn that there are royalties to be paid. I had to learn how to gather a team of people to support the production lighting, sound. I learned how to build a team, how to cast a show. I learned how to become a director, which is, to me, very much like being an entrepreneur.”

Rousseau enjoys sharing such memories with Knox students because it helps them recognize that through their student experiences, they are developing skills that are relevant in the working world. She also is glad to be strengthening her connections to Knox.

“I don't think it's ever too late” for alumni to become re-engaged with the College, no matter how many years have gone by, she adds. 

“I think that everyone has to find their way,” says Rousseau. “Sometimes people are not in a situation where they can give financially, but they can give time or they can provide resources that the College needs. I think it's about finding how you can contribute.” 

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Knox Magazine

Spring 2020


(Re)Engaging with Knox: A Few of Our Engaged Alumni

by Adriana Colindres

Generous with their time and knowledge, Knox College alumni often have returned to campus, both in person and through technology, to share their experiences and insights with current Knox students. Here are just a few examples.

Photo by Brea Cunningham

Juliana Tioanda ’95, Senior executive at Microsoft

Juliana Tioanda ’95 spoke to students at a Professionals in Residence panel discussion that also included alumni who represented technology giants Amazon, Facebook, and Google. She explained how her Knox major in modern languages served as a model for communicating effectively between different audiences, such as programmers and customers, or project managers and executives. She also cited the lasting influence of First-Year Preceptorial, the course in which all first-year students explore the language, culture, and meaning of the liberal arts. "It forces you to form an opinion and then to look at different perspectives, to hear different perspectives."

Maurice Harris
Photo by Peter Bailley '74

Maurice Harris ’08, Research manager at the Greater MSP Partnership, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Maurice Harris ’08 has participated in several mock interviews, the Professionals in Residence series, and speed networking. “I love coming back to Knox to connect with old professors and staff and to give some of my knowledge and time to students who are trying to determine their life after Knox!” Harris says. “I hope students get a better understanding of career paths that they may have not thought of. Graduating from Knox [as a political science and history double major], I never thought I would work in my current career, and getting a Knox education allowed me to be flexible in pursuing grad schools and later careers that I didn't plan on when attending. Also, I want the students to know that you don't have to have it all figured out by the time they graduate and that college is the time to experiment and try different things!”

Hannah Basil Bryant
Photo by Peter Bailley '74

Hannah Basil Bryant ’13, Financial planner at Basil Financial Group

Hannah Basil Bryant ’13 presented a lunchtime talk last fall to students with an interest in the financial industry. At the event, organized by the Bastian Family Center for Career Success, the economics major fielded questions from students and discussed potential career options. “As I’ve made progress in my early working years, I’m seeing more clearly the benefits of my liberal arts education. I’m thriving in types of work that require excellent communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills,” she says. “I’m motivated to help the next generation of Knox graduates understand this unique advantage and leap into the workforce as best they can.” She has returned on other occasions, such as speaking to StartUp Term students.

Carl Nordgren and Krista Anne Nordgren
Photo by Peter Bailley '74

Carl Nordgren ’73, author and entrepreneur, and Krista Anne Nordgren ’12, startup marketer, web and product designer, and business owner

Carl Nordgren ’73 and Krista Anne Nordgren ’12, father and daughter, teamed up for a three-day series of lectures and workshops at Knox as part of a Professionals in Residence event that focused on creativity and entrepreneurship. In a workshop called “Radical Work: How Creatives, Activists & Humans of All Kinds Can Build a Business,” Krista Anne discussed the value of honesty and transparency in business. She also told students: “The world needs more people applying hope and vision in all areas of life, and business is such an important one.”

Eryn Jackson

Eryn Jackson ’18, Conflict support specialist at Foley & Lardner LLP, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Eryn Jackson ’18 participated in a 2019 speed networking session at Knox to help students gain a better understanding of what life is like directly after graduation. She felt comfortable interviewing students “because I *just* went through” what they’re going through now. “It’s really hard [for current students] to relate to CEOs or managers who have been working for an extended period of time,” says Jackson, who had a self-designed major in business communications at Knox. ”I think they can see themselves in my shoes much easier.”

Laura Lueninghoener

Laura Lueninghoener ’16, Senior Marketing Analyst at LivCor, Chicago, Illinois

Laura Lueninghoener ’16 has returned to campus to critique students’ mock interviewing skills, and she has made herself available to help students in other ways, such as accompanying a group that toured Microsoft’s Chicago offices in 2019. “The Microsoft experience was a great opportunity  to connect with current students to discuss their interest in marketing, data, and technology, and to answer their questions about the job search process,” says Lueninghoener, who had a self-designed major in media studies at Knox. “If I can offer any advice or help for students, I am more than happy to do that. Several Knox alumni did that for me, and I love paying it forward when I can.”

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Knox Magazine

Spring 2020


(Re)Engaging with Knox: Join the Online Community

An engaged network of alumni is a key component in the success of Knox College. Alumni who would like to give back their time and talents to help Knox students and alumni with professional development can choose from a number of options.

Through the KNect Online Community, alumni can volunteer as mentors to other members of the Knox community who are seeking career advice. Alumni also may ask someone else to be their mentor, search for them within the directory, and request mentorship.

In addition to mentoring, recent upgrades to the KNect Online Community offer alumni more functionality, increased connection opportunities, and additional privacy options. The enhancements also give the community a look and a structure that is similar to the most popular social media platforms—providing the ability for alumni to create events and affinity groups, post jobs, and take part in career discussions. 

“The more opportunities we can provide for students to connect with alumni within their career field(s) of interest, the more of a chance they’re going to have to figure out if they want to continue [pursuing] that career,” said Eric Johnson, Knox’s associate director of alumni engagement for campus connections.

Alumni can register to join the KNect Alumni Online Community at knoxknect.com by using a LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, or email account. KNect is also available on the Graduway Community app in the Apple App Store or the Knox College KNect app on Google Play.

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Knox Magazine

Spring 2020


Forgetting Where the Ys Are

by Lily Lauver '21

Lily Lauver '21 works at the letterpress. Photo by Steve Davis

All day, we spend our time typing sentences in seconds. On our phones, people type with just their thumbs, with autofill words and phrases. In so many ways, we’ve written human intervention out of the act of writing itself. But letterpress printing involves human intervention deeply. It is a process where individual letters are set in lines by hand, locked into a press, inked, then pressed with paper to create a print. The human hand is a risk to any one of these parts of the process, is both integral and invisible to the success of the printed page.

Harry “Hal” Keiner ‘67 wanted to give students an opportunity to learn about typography, printmaking, and graphic arts through practical means. On a summer day in 2016, he arrived in Galesburg from North Carolina with a collection of letterpresses and other printing equipment in the back of his pickup truck. Together, he and Knox faculty set up the letterpress shop in The Box, a space in downtown Galesburg that houses local businesses along with the sculpture and ceramic studio of Associate Professor and Chair of Art Mark Holmes and the writing studio of Professor of English Monica Berlin ‘95. Her studio is called The Space.

Faculty member Nick Regiacorte and donor Hal Keiner '67 install letterpress equipment.
Faculty member Nick Regiacorte, at left, and donor Hal Keiner '67 install letterpress equipment. Photo by Steve Davis

After arriving at Knox a year and a half later, I spent many warm Sunday afternoons writing and reading at The Space. Monica picked up quickly on my love of her collection of broadsides—excerpts of prose and poetry, often with an accompanying illustration—on the walls. About half of these many broadsides were the work of Kelly Clare ’16, the first student to take up letterpress at Knox. Monica showed me the letterpress shop, and I started there as a sophomore in an independent study with Associate Professor of English and director of the creative writing program Nicholas Regiacorte, who has been involved in the letterpress shop since its inception. Nick taught me how to use the letterpresses, and that term I printed poems and bits of prose, as well as a series of excerpts from postcards that my dad wrote. Slowly, I got to know this slow craft.

When the poet Ross Gay gave a reading on campus last spring, he observed that boredom has become a rarity, and thus a gift, in our lives. I think that poring over a case of type, sorting and forgetting again and again where the ys are, the quiet and the solitude of it, encourages boredom: empty space wherein I can think around, with, about the letterpress and its intricacies. I’ve lost countless minutes fixing typos, have come to understand authors’ choices down to the letter, thought that one day, if ever I write a poem that would hold up to an hours-long process like this, I’ll print it. Over time, letterpress work has situated itself more and more internally in my process as a thinker and creator.

Inking the letters
Inking the letters. Photo by Steve Davis

The shop is bright and neutral, smelling of strange oil and, when the heater kicks on, like an iron. The echoes in the letterpress shop encourage hushed tones. This is where I work, sit up straight in front of a flat drawer full of small heaps of letters. Line by line, space by space, through the poems I print. The craft demands focus—so often my mind has wandered away from the work, coming back to realize a typo. In letterpress, there is no backspace, just sorting back through the type, pulling out the tweezers, performing an operation on the growing block of text in front of me.

Letterpress work, in its most perfect print, is humble. In the shop, we call things what they are. The word letterpress itself describes this: a leaving behind, an impress of inked text. We call the spaces that are made of copper coppers. There is a slug cutter for cutting slugs, soundless metal strips that slide between each line. When the printed page is left without a blemish or fold, the letterpress printer has written herself out of the work completely. Active homage. Letterpress then is really a joyful process—each letter, character, and space set by hand.

A broadsheet in progress
A broadsheet in progress. Photo by Steve Davis

After these many solitary, thoughtful hours in the letterpress shop, I found an entirely new feeling toward the craft when I saw our broadsides in the hands of their authors, in the hands of this writing community. When writer Peter Orner came to campus for a Caxton reading in the fall, Nick printed a broadside to honor the event. When poet and translator Hai-Dang Phan read from his collection Reenactments for a recent reading, Nick and I collaborated on a broadside of Phan’s poem, “Osprey.” Since, we created another broadside for Professor of English Gina Franco’s reading, printing an excerpt from her new poetry collection, The Accidental. These prints are the first of a series made under the name Prairie Moon Press, a title dreamed up for the space by Robin Metz, co-founder of Knox's Program in Creative Writing, who passed away in 2018.

My successes in the letterpress shop are products of the work of a community, lively and warm. Professors like Monica, Nick, and Mark take it upon themselves daily to include students in legitimate, meaningful work—to notice students, to ask that we take our work seriously together. And last fall, Hal donated yet another press, this one a self-inking machine called the Challenge. Its size—1,200 pounds—enables us to produce more prints and make a greater impact on our community with this craft.

Letterpress work often doesn’t make sense; it is slow, tedious, and yields few prints. But I believe there’s something in us still that loves the feeling of paper, the interface of reading from a made, physical object. 

At Hai-Dang Phan’s reading, I watched my friends, professors, classmates, and other attendees pick up the broadsides and understand them as a human-made, communal artifact. Letterpressed artifacts preserve the moment by acknowledging our comings-together as acts of community, acts of humanity. So my hope is that the letterpress shop can continue to be a space for people to disconnect from digital noise and look beyond it—to understand words as things we can hold, as things we can think about deeply even as we type them, letter by letter.