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EIU Department of English

Handshaking Night 

What can you do with your English major (or minor)? Every few years, we have the opportunity to explore more. Below, you can read biographies of the professionals who were present at our 2022 Handshaking Night to talk with EIU students about their careers and the ways that studying English helped prepare them for a variety of professional experiences.


Below are the biographies for the professionals who who were on hand to talk with EIU students at our last Handshaking Night, as well as biographies for those who have participated at other past Handshaking Nights.

2022 Featured Professional Guests  

Kirsten Bays


Kirsten Bays is an attorney and has two jobs. Ten hours a week she is the Student Legal Services Attorney at EIU. Her “full time” job is being an adoption and reproductive technology attorney. As the SLS attorney, her job is to advise and refer students on a variety of legal matters including small claims court, land lord tenant issues, criminal matters and almost any other legal issue that arises while a student is at school at EIU. As an adoption and reproductive technology attorney, her job is to finalize all kinds of adoptions including private, agency, related, international and ward children adoptions. Additionally, she works in reproductive technology law including drafting related to gestational surrogacy, egg and/or sperm donation and embryo adoption. Lawyers write, read and talk for a living, so her job involves legal writing and research every single day. Although Kirsten didn’t graduate with an English degree from EIU, she almost did and only dropped the double major when she found out it would mean waiting a year to go to law school. She took several English courses while at EIU and the class she credits with helping her the most in law school and legal writing was The Structure of English.

photo of David Busboom


David Busboom is a writer and editor based in Champaign County, Illinois. He earned a BA in English from EIU in 2014, and currently works as a the Managing Editor for the Poultry Science Association. His writing has appeared in such publications as The Saturday Evening Post, Planet Scumm, Let the Weirdness In: A Tribute to Kate Bush, and Exploits. His debut collection of short fiction, Every Crawling, Putrid Thing, was published by Journal Stone in April 2022. More about David and his work can be found at

Picture of Rachel Heicher Rachel Heicher is the Director of Community Engagement and Adult/Child Advocate at Hope of East Central Illinois. She has also taught first-year writing in the English Department at EIU. Rachel earned both a BA and MA in English from EIU.


Chris Houchens picture

Chris Houchens earned his B.A in 2009 and M.A. in 2011. As an undergrad, he worked as a clerk at the Charleston Carnegie Public Library, and as a graduate student, he worked in the EIU Writing Center. After finishing his degrees at EIU, he moved to Champaign, IL and worked as an Assistant Store Manager for Walgreens. After nearly four years working there, he went back to school and earned his M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois in 2016. While at U of I, he worked as a Residence Hall Library Supervisor, running his own mini-library. In March 2017, he returned to the Charleston Carnegie Public Library as the Library Director.


Kim Hunter picture

Kim Hunter is the Director of Student Success Services at Lake Land College. Previously, she worked at the Coordinator of International Studies, also at Lake Land, and as a Community Outreach Coordinator for the Douglas County Health Department. Kim has taught first-year writing and professional writing at Purdue University. Kim is a graduate of EIU's English Department.

Bobbi Kingery photo


Bobbi Kingery is the Director of Career Services and a Master Career Counselor at Eastern Illinois University. Bobbi and her staff provide workshops, career fairs, and one-on-one counseling to help students prepare for their careers, find internship and other experiential learning opportunities, and prepare for all steps of the job search process.
 Stacey Knight-Davis picture Stacey Knight-Davis is the head of circulation services at Booth Library. Stacey holds master's degrees in both Library Sciences and Technology.

      Picture of Shelby Koehne


Shelby Koehne is a writer, editor, and artist living and working in central Illinois. She graduated from EIU with a BA in English in 2013 and currently works as a communication coordinator for the Department of Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She specializes in revitalizing and restoring communication strategies and defunct publications, even though no one really ever asker her to do that. While most of Shelby's writing from the last decade appears in the form of technical documentation, marketing copy, and press releases, she also writes nonfiction and romance. Her personal essays can be found in The Rumpus, The Vehicle, and on her blog via



Picture of Leon Mire

Leon Mire graduated in 2017 from EIU, where he studied English, professional writing, and philosophy. He took a summer internship as a content writer/editor for EIU's Office of Admissions, which led to a graduate assistantship and eventually a full-time job in EIU's Enrollment Management Office as Communications Coordinator. His job involves writing and editing a variety of print and digital publications, analyzing data, and organizing the University's communication plan for prospective students. He also worked as a copy editor for the journal Gazette/Times-Courier before joining EIU's staff in 2019.


picture of Travis Moody

Travis Moody is a Dual Credit and Outreach Coordinator at EIU. He also teaches first-year writing and dual credit English for the EIU English Department. Travis earned his BA in English and Philosophy and his MA in English from EIU.

Brian Silotto picture

Brian Silotto is the Director of Development at EIU. He has worked in fundraising and advancement at a number of colleges, including University of Illinois, Purdue University, Butler University, and Culver-Stockton College.

Clint Walker


Clint Walker attended the Graduate Program in English at EIU from 2009-2011 where his focus was Creative Writing. He currently is the Community Content Coordinator at the JG-TC newspaper in Mattoon, focusing on all items of Community Interest. His column, "The Throwback Machine," runs on the front page of the paper every Saturday. 

Picture of Aaron White Aaron White is the Director of Extended Learning at EIU and contributes to Bluestem Magazine as the nonfiction editor. He holds an MA in Literary Studies with an emphasis in Creative Writing from EIU and is a Ph.D. candidate at Indiana State University studying Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in English Teaching. His creative works have appeared in The Anatomy of Desire: An Anthology of Distance, The World We Live(d) in: Anthology of Poems about Social Justice, Synkroniciti, The Smart Set, and various other publications.
Marjorie Worthington picture Dr. Marjorie Worthington is a Professor of English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She recently became the Director of EIU's Master's Program in English. She specializes in American literature and contemporary fiction.
  Previously Featured Professional Guests  

Amanda Groves


Amanda Groves currently serves as a Lead Faculty member on SNHU’s Liberal Arts team. Amanda started with SNHU as an adjunct faculty member in 2012 and stepped into the Lead Faculty role in 2013. She now works on composition oversight, supports composition faculty, contributes to SNHU’s Writing Across the Curriculum initiative (WriteScape), serves as the Composition Newsletter editor, and works on various special projects. Amanda’s academic concentration includes composition and rhetoric and student empowerment through writing, especially in First-Year Composition. Before her time at SNHU, Amanda worked as a writing tutor and instructor, assisting and teaching writers at all academic levels within higher education.

Jill Monroe


Jill Monroe is an editor at Mayhaven Publishing, Inc., a small but productive press in Mahomet, IL. She earned her B.A. in English from EIU in 2014 and her M.A. in History in 2018. As an undergraduate, she wrote a thesis on women readers in the novels of Virginia Woolf, and her research was presented at the Annual International Virginia Woolf Conference in 2014. Recently, her research on the evolution and use of music in WWI has been published in EIU's Historia. Jill began her career at Mayhaven as an intern in 2013 and became the editorial assistant the following year. After the death of her mentor and Mayhaven founder, Doris Wenzel, Jill became the primary editor for the company in 2018. She is now working on taking over the business. She enjoys her working relationships with Mayhaven's authors and artists, helping them bring their works to life, and providing quality books in a variety of genres to Mayhaven's customers. While editing remains her favorite part of the job, she has also gained experience in the marketing, printing, retail, and legal aspects of publishing.


Bob Newell Bob Newell has been an Instructor of English at Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois since 1999. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from Eastern Illinois University. In addition to teaching at Lake Land College, he taught courses for Richland Community College and Southwestern Illinois College from 1998-1999. At Lake Land College, his core teaching load includes Introduction to Literature, Introduction to Film Appreciation, and Humanities through the Arts. Additionally, he is an internationally published horse racing photographer. His work can be found on NBC, Daily Mail, and TVG.
picture After graduating from EIU in 2012, Abbey Nosbisch moved back to Effingham, Illinois, to begin working as a Marketing Assistant for the Effingham Convention and Visitors Bureau. After five years in the tourism industry and eight years with the City of Effingham, she was promoted to Deputy City Clerk in the fall of 2017 and then appointed to City Clerk in February 2019. As City Clerk, Abbey's functions are broad and vital to the operation and welfare of the community serving as keeper of the official record of the City of Effingham and the City Seal. The City Clerk supervises the City debt, obligations, loans, liabilities and other payments of interest, along with being responsible for all City bonds, contracts, agreements, ordinances, resolutions and minutes. The City Clerk keeps a record of and attends all City Council Meetings. Abbey is also the Freedom of Information Act Officer and Open Meetings Act Officer for the City of Effingham. 
Hannah Osborne

After graduating from EIU in 2016, Hannah Osborne moved to St. Louis to start working at Concordia Publishing House as a copy editor, where she proofread books and other materials. After a few months, she switched positions and became a copywriter in the marketing department. Now, she spends her days writing promotional copy for emails, CPH’s ecommerce website, back covers of books, catalogs, blog posts, print ads, press releases, social media, and more.

Emily Ramage


Emily Ramage served as the English Department’s Presidential Graduate Assistant from 2005-06. While in the graduate program, she received a Williams Travel Award, received first place in the Women’s Studies Program Essay Contest, and taught a section of ENG-1000. After graduating from the master’s program in 2007, she began working as an adjunct instructor and Grants Specialist at Lake Land College. In 2009, she received the Outstanding Master’s Thesis from the EIU English Department and began teaching developmental composition courses for Strayer University. Since that time, Emily has progressed into new roles and responsibilities at Lake Land College, where she works as the Director of Grants and Academic Operations and is responsible for the College’s accreditation. She attributes her professional success to the strong writing background and critical thinking skills acquired during her graduate experience at EIU. Emily lives just outside of Mattoon with her husband, two teen-aged sons, and two fluffy golden retrievers.
Kristin Runyon
Kristin Runyon has a BS in Special Education, an MA in English, and has earned National Board Certification in YA/ELA. She is currently in her 29th year of teaching and has taught in three states in both urban and rural school districts. In addition to teaching, Mrs. Runyon is a co-director of the Eastern Illinois Writing Project, was a coach for the EIU Teaching with Primary Sources, and has presented at EIWP Institute Day, IATE, ILA, and NCTE.

Emily Tooy


Emily Tooy joined EIU's Office of Study Abroad in April 2018. Prior to her appointment at EIU, she was the Associate Director of the Office for Global Engagement at Utah Valley University. She specialize in faculty-led study abroad program development, student recruitment, international risk & emergency management, and policy compliance.  She has worked and studied abroad in four countries on three continents comprising a total of five years. She earned a BA in French from the University of Iowa where she studied abroad at institutions in Pau and Lyon, France, & Quebec, Canada. After she completed her degree, she moved to French Guiana, South America - an overseas department of France - where she was employed by the French National Ministry of Education (le ministre de l'Education nationale). While she worked as a teacher for the French government, she was also a French-English interpreter for the local Military Police (la Gendarmerie). During my career in South America, she was asked by the US Embassy in Paramaribo, Suriname to serve as Warden.

  Joe Tucci graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a BA in English in 2017. While at Eastern he studied Professional and Creative Writing and held an internship at the Mattoon Public Library as a writing intern for a semester. Now he is employed at the library managing their marketing and social media outreach as well as playing a role in their collections development and helping out with programs. He's also currently an intern at the Lumpkin Family Foundation. Next fall he plans to attend the University of Illinois School of Information Sciences to pursue an M.S. in Library and Information Science.
Dustin White
Dustin White is a Web Specialist III in the Eastern Illinois University Web Office, where his primary responsibilities include working with EIU’s academic departments and other campus units to effectively develop and maintain their web presences. He also serves as webmaster for WEIU and provides written content for EIU’s top-level websites and EIU 360, the university’s online magazine. Dustin graduated from EIU in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and went on to work as a sports reporter at the Effingham Daily News before joining Eastern’s staff in 2010. He grew up in Neoga and lives there with his family, spending his spare time providing PR services for a number of community groups and also broadcasting high school sports for Premier Broadcasting in Effingham.






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Department of English

600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-2428
Fax: (217) 581-7209

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