Skip to main content

Prospective students, these alumni are happy to share their experiences with you! Please reach out to one person at a time, and also feel free to get in touch with staff at or (309) 438-7090.

Current students and alumni, please join our Alumni Group on LinkedIn!

Alumni Ambassadors Nick Canfied

Nick Canfied '17

Peace Corps Fellow - Political Science

Contact Nick

Hey, I'm Nick! After completing my Peace Corps Service, I knew I wanted to solve difficult development problems with innovative solutions. Using my Peace Corps and Stevenson Center experiences, I created a company to address a difficult problem for developing countries' education systems and teachers. During the past year I have been working as a digital nomad in Southeast Asia to run my educational company while creating start-ups in business consulting and e-commerce. I believe that entrepreneurship + community development can truly change the world, and I hope I can convince you to hop on the same Stevenson Center path that led me to where I am today!

Alumni Ambassadors Molly Cook

Molly Cook '18

ACED Fellow - Sociology

Contact Molly

Hi everyone! I currently work for ISU as a Workforce Development Coordinator at the Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support. I am excited to work for ISU and be able to work remotely from my home state of Michigan. Before starting my current role, I was the Development Director at Haven House, a family homeless shelter in East Lansing, Michigan. Prior to graduate school, I completed a year of service as a homeless youth case manager in Detroit, Michigan and worked in the non-profit and education sectors. I completed my ACED placement at Missoula Economic Partnership in Missoula, Montana, and I LOVED it! The Stevenson Center taught me the development, communication, and theoretical skills I need to feel confident in each position I have had. In my free time, I love to visit the amazing Great Lakes, lay in my hammock in my living room, hike, run, do anything Harry Potter themed, and spend time with my dog, Ellie. I love answering any questions, and I can't wait to hear from you!

Alumni Ambassadors Lindsey Earl

Lindsey Earl '18

ACED Fellow- Anthropology

Contact Lindsey

Lindsey Earl grew up in west Denver, walking distance from hiking trails and camping spots. After studying at Colorado State University, Lindsey joined AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) where she was placed on two teams of 18 to 25-year-olds. For two years, she and her teams traveled the nation serving nonprofit and governmental organizations. After a challenging year as a team leader, Lindsey transitioned to graduate school for Cultural Anthropology at the Stevenson Center! Lindsey's thesis research was about how the city complaint system perpetuates the homelessness encampment eviction cycle. Her professional practice was at Change Happens!, a public health nonprofit in Houston’s Third Ward. Since her service commenced three days before Hurricane Harvey, the majority of her contribution became forming and assisting the disaster services department as well as helping with grant writing. Lindsey returned to Denver to apply the skills she has learned in academia and working across the country to improve her home city. Lindsey currently works at Adams County Department of Community Safety and Wellbeing as the Homelessness Coordinator, leading the county's strategic efforts to end homelessness. She lives with two roommates and her Flemish Giant rabbit Mr. Noodle. In her free time, she attempts to learn Spanish, hikes, cooks, paints, and listens to too many podcasts.

Alumni Ambassadors Doug Gass

Doug Gass '18

Peace Corps Fellow - Kinesiology and Recreation

Contact Doug

I am the South Skunk River Watershed Project Coordinator for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. I work primarily with farmers to find practical solutions to water quality concerns in streams, rivers, and other waterways throughout my project area. My BS is in wildlife ecology and I received my MS in kinesiology and recreation from Illinois State University in 2018. Prior coming to the Stevenson Center, I spent several years as a habitat management specialist for non-profit organizations around the country. I also served in the Peace Corps as an economic development volunteer in Uganda from 2010-2012. I’m excited to be a resource for prospective Stevenson Center students and encourage anyone to reach out with questions.

Alumni Ambassadors Ryan Hebert

Ryan Hebert '16

ACED Fellow - Political Science

Contact Ryan

I am currently working as an Urban Forestry Analyst in the Office of Environmental Policy & Sustainability at the City of Tacoma, Washington. The issues I'm focused on are increasing tree canopy, especially in underserved neighborhoods and drafting policy changes to support a healthy urban forest (including being able to grow fruit trees on public property). After graduating from Illinois State University I was accepted to a year long community development professional fellowship called Challenge Detroit where I worked for the Quicken Loans Community Fund. After which I spent 2 years with The Greening of Detroit, an environmental nonprofit founded in 1989, focused on reforestation, workforce development, and environmental education in Detroit. Prior to ISU, I served two years in AmeriCorps (Returning citizen work in northern Minnesota and public health work in Connecticut) and earned a BS in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. I enjoy weightlifting, reading, soccer, road trips, working on my old Jeep, and planting trees. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the Stevenson Center, grad school life, or life after grad school.

Alumni Ambassadors Andrew Kuka

Andrew Kuka '17

ACED Fellow - Sociology

Contact Andrew

Hi Everyone! My name is Andrew, and I am one AmeriCorpsy Fellow. After completing 2 terms of service (NCCC and Rebuilding Together) I completed the ACED Fellows Program at ISU and am now the Data and Performance Measurement Analyst at the Washington Reading Corps. My professional advancement over the past few years could be described as a series of fortuitous peaks and insufferable valleys; both of which pushed me along toward a vague idea I had for my future. So yea! Feel free to email/call me and I will tell you whatever I can about ISU, the Stevenson Center, the professional practice for Fellows, and the Sociology program. Thanks!

Alumni Ambassadors Cecilia Montesdeoca

Cecilia Montesdeoca '17

ACED Fellow - Anthropology

Contact Cecilia

Cecilia Montesdeoca is a Diversity Advocacy Specialist with Illinois State University. She is responsible for planning and delivering programs and services, primarily to student populations, related to diversity and inclusion. She uses her expertise to engage in student outreach, assess programs and services, and conduct select presentations and training on issues of diversity and inclusion. Cecilia also advises and works closely with multi-cultural student organizations and coordinates regular cultural awareness events for the campus community. Cecilia has a B.A. in cultural anthropology and community health education from Illinois State. She is also an alumna of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Summer Congressional Internship program, AmeriCorps Illinois Public Health Association, and AmeriCorps NCCC Southwest Region.

Alumni Ambassadors Emily Rego

Emily Rego '16

ACED Fellow - Political Science

Contact Emily

I am an Illinois State University alum who is passionate about community outreach and business development. I have served as an AmeriCorps volunteer for two terms in Connecticut and in Illinois. I received a B.A. in International Relations from Roanoke College. I have had wonderful opportunities both personally and professionally to meet and work with exceptional people and to travel to amazing places. ISU has opened so many doors for me- I can't wait to see what's next in my career!

Alumni Ambassadors John Thornburg

John Thornburg '17

ACED Fellow - Kinesiology and Recreation

Contact John

I currently work as a Grants Management Program Analyst at East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging, where I completed my professional practice. Prior to the Stevenson Center I served in two AmeriCorps terms: one as a mentor/tutor to at-risk youth in Waco, Texas, and the other as a part of an emergency response team based out of St. Louis, Missouri. I was in the kinesiology and recreation program at Illinois State University, and completed previous degrees in Park and Recreation Management and Sport Pedagogy.