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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 will attend the 2023 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.

2023 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 Seve Brantley

Steve Brantley earned a BA degree in English with a Film Studies Minor from the University of Iowa. After college Steve lived in Dublin, Ireland and worked as a waiter for several months. On returning to the United States, Steve moved to Portland, Oregon and worked at Kinko’s Copy Center, then worked at Whole Foods Market in Chicago before returning to graduate school. He earned the Master of Library Science degree and a Master of Arts in Communication and Culture degree at Indiana University. Steve has been an academic librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at Eastern Illinois University, where he is Professor of Library Services and the head of the Research, Engagement and Scholarship unit in Booth Library.

Photo of Tachel Brown

After graduating with a BA in English from Eastern Illinois University in 2020, Tachel Brown went on to work in digital marketing, specializing in social media, digital advertising, blog copywriting, email marketing, web design, funnel building, and lead generation. Today, she manages the social media and digital strategy at Pavlov Media, a fiber Internet company based in Champaign, Illinois, that serves 44 states and Canada.
Photo of Journee Evans Jurnee Evans, a May 2022 graduate from EIU with a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and minors in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Film Studies, recently left their job as a Legal Advocate and has since been working on a myriad of creative works that includes poems, plays, short stories, novels, songs, art pieces, and video game and film projects they hope to soon share with the world. They are also exploring using their vast creative skills on a freelance basis that allows them to use their passions to create art for others and help others create their own art.


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.

Photo of T. Johnson-Tillman

Tameka Johnson-Tillman is an Assistant Professor of English at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, IL and a doctoral student at Illinois State University. Her research interests include rhetoric and composition and curriculum design with a focus on accelerated learning models. She is also interested in literacy within the field of composition studies.Tameka has been teaching at the community college level for ten years. As a graduate of Parkland College and Eastern Illinois University, she has witnessed the positive impact that comes from developing relationships between professors and students and how those relationships can enhance students’ lives. To continue that tradition, she chooses to teach at the community college level.

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.


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.

Photo of Jill Monroe

Jill Monroegraduated from EIU with a B.A. in English (2014) and an M.A. in History (2018). As an undergrad, she also minored in Professional Writing and Women’s and Gender Studies. Currently, Jill is the editor and academic assistant for the Illinois State Geological Survey, a part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. From 2013 to 2020, she worked for Mayhaven Publishing, Inc., a small book press in Mahomet, Illinois. During her first five years at Mayhaven, Jill was the Editorial Assistant, a role in which she worked directly with the editor and authors to move accepted manuscripts through all stages of production. She also maintained the company’s online catalog and website and aided in marketing. From 2018 to 2020, Jill served as Mayhaven’s Managing Editor, directing all aspects of publication, including acquisitions, editing, design, marketing, as well as most administrative tasks and overseeing interns. Following Mayhaven’s closure in 2020, Jill began working as an editor for The Illinois State Geological Survey. In this role, she supports the Survey's basic and applied research activities by drafting, reviewing, and editing technical and scientific publications and other documents related to energy, particularly geothermal energy and carbon dioxide geological storage. Jill has also been an Illinois State licensed substitute teacher since 2019. Because her position with the Survey allows for a flexible, work-from-home schedule, Jill finds subbing to be a fun and fulfilling opportunity for social engagement—especially when she gets to teach English! When not checking for commas or asking for a student’s opinion on Poe, Jill is home with her dog and cat, watching re-runs ofThe Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.


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.


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.

Photo of Kristin Runyon

Kristin Runyon earned her BS in Special Education from Truman State University (Kirksville, MO) in 1989, her MA in English from UIS in 2001, and her National Board certification in Adolescence and Young Adult English Language Arts in 2007. At EIU, she was a co-director for the Eastern Illinois Writing Project, a coach for Teaching with Primary Sources, and a frequent post-graduate student at EIU. Kristin has worked as a teacher for 34 years, employed in six different schools by five different school districts across three states. Almost 2/3 of her career has been at Charleston High School employed as a special education and English teacher, including dual credit composition and literature courses. Currently she is in her fourth year as the media specialist and her third year as the journalism teacher (and she is excited to share that she will be retiring at the end of this school year). Additionally, Kristin has presented at EIU Institute Day, ROE11, IATE state conventions, and at NCTE conventions, as well as serving as an evaluator for NCTE's REALM and Achievement Awards in Writing.

Photo of Diana Taylor

Diana Taylor is a Career Counselor in Career Services department at Eastern Illinois University. After spending over 16 years in the corporate world working in hospitality and sales, Diana came back to higher education to continue her passion for helping college students succeed. Diana's sole focus is to help students investigate, learn, and develop plans and grow into great working professionals. 

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. He also curates the popular daily “Glancing Back” feature and his column, "The Throwback Machine," featuring his musings on items found in the paper’s archives, from old Radio Shack ads to Kenny Rogers TV-movies, runs on the front page of the paper and online every Saturday.

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



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

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.

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.

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.

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


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.
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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Contact Information

Department of English

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

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