Monthly Archives: November 2018

WIU-QC Alumna Finds Her Place with Girl Scouts

Maura Warner

  • Communication major
  • English minor
  • Spring 2015 graduate

Where do you work and what is your current job title?

Director of Marketing and Communications, Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois

What is required of you in your position?

I am responsible for the internal and external communications for 38 counties in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. Every day is different and I love it! One day I could be doing a live interview on a news station and the next I’m working with my team to create the summer camp guide. I cover all public relations, email marketing, social media, direct mail, print pieces, website, photography, and advertising. I also love helping with special events for the organization.

4 females posing together.

Warner, a 2015 graduate, poses with local Girl Scouts.

Why did you choose your major?

I always enjoyed writing and public speaking so communication was a natural fit for me. I enjoyed the broad range of skills the major offered and its flexibility helped me when searching for a career.

I think the English minor paired so well with my major. It really helped me refine my writing skills and gave me a creative outlet.

What did you like most about your major?

I loved the professors and students. I still keep in touch with many of my classmates and the faculty. Western Illinois University-Quad Cities was a good fit for me because the small class sizes made it much easier to build connections through classes and student organizations.

How did WIU-QC prepare you for your job?

Covering a broad range of communication theories was very helpful stepping into my career and in general, time-management was a valuable skill I learned in college. I think networking was really encouraged as well and it definitely helped me find a job and then build community connections to help develop program and volunteer connections for Girl Scouts. Also, as much as I dreaded them at the time, working on group projects was so useful to then transition into an office setting.

What did you like the most about your experience at WIU-QC?

I loved being a member of so many students organizations and building friendships with other students and the professors! I really miss event planning with the Communication Student Society and Liberal Arts and Sciences Organization.

Why did you pick WIU-QC for higher education?

I transferred to WIU-QC from a larger university because I wanted to move back to the Quad Cities, but also receive a high-quality education. I toured the campus and sat in on a few classes and instantly thought it was going to be a great fit.

What was your favorite class/who was your favorite professor? Why?

I loved Advanced Organizational Communication with Dr. Young (associate professor of communication). I learned that I really loved looking at communication systems in organizations to see how things can be improved. I enjoyed writing case studies and actually had an opportunity to present research at the Central States Communication Conference. Dr. Young is always so wonderful about connecting opportunities for students and that conference was a highlight!

I would say a close second was a course on science fiction literature with Dr. Hamner (associate professor of English). It was my first English course and I had never read science fiction and was honestly really nervous, but I found I loved the genre and had a lot of fun in that class.

What is a memory of WIU-QC that you often think about?

I have so many memories that just make me laugh because we had so much fun in the communication and English classes! Don’t get me wrong, we were working really hard, but the professors always made classes way more fun than just lectures.

What advice can you offer to current college students who might be interested in going into your field?

Work with your professors to network as much as possible with current professionals and find an internship. It’s a great resume boost and you will enhance your skills working directly in your field. Also, I would recommend to any students to get involved on campus.

Woman posing for photo with children.

Selfie moment on the job.

What is one thing about your job that you didn’t expect, or that might surprise a current college student?

The 8-5 schedule can be a little bit of a difficult adjustment. I always thought not having homework would be such a plus, but I really miss my college schedule.

Information on the communication major at WIU-QC available here

Student-Veteran Spotlight: Nela Swindale

Student-Veteran Spotlight: Nela J. Swindale

Major: Accountancy
Hometown: Albany, IL
Class year: Freshman
Military status: Retired
Veterans Resource Center Representative, Quad Cities Complex 2414

woman in black blazer

Nela J. Swindale

Nela’s Story

I am a Retired Staff Sergeant from the US Army. During my time in the service, which began June 1998, I was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, and twice at Osan Air Base, South Korea. I had been deployed to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. My job was Patriot Missile Launcher Operator and Maintainer. I had the responsibility of taking care of specialized military equipment worth in excess of $1 million.

How Military Service Shaped Her

My time in the military allowed me to see the world and open me up to unique cultures and experiences. I feel that the military shaped me in the person I am today by giving discipline to a young raw teenager and guiding me to be driven and passionate about everything that I do. The experience of being part of the military continues to influence me by knowing that anything that can be accomplished through determination, dedication, and occasional team work.

On Veterans Day, I find myself remembering, first, why I decided to join. Both of my grandfathers served (one during Vietnam War, and one in the Korean Conflict). I remember all the different people I had the honor and privilege to work with side by side. And I send out best wishes to those who are currently serving (especially those who are deployed).

My time in the military allowed me to see the world and open me up to unique cultures and experiences. I feel that the military shaped me in the person I am today by giving discipline to a young raw teenager and guiding me to be driven and passionate about everything that I do.

Life Today 

I like that the WIU-QC campus is small, class sizes are small, and that it fits more into my current lifestyle. As a wife and mother, it offers quality education, with friendly staff and professors that focus on the needs of the student, both academically and personally. WIU-offers to opportunity to succeed while still being able to be who you need to be.


To utilize the WIU-QC Veterans Resource Center,  contact Nela at NJ-Swindale@wiu.edu, or Curtis Williams at (309)762-3999 Ext. 62236.

Student-Veteran Spotlight: Abigail Stevenson

Abigail Stevenson,
WIU-QC Veterans Resource Center Representative

Major: Management
Hometown: Cambridge, IL
Class year: Junior
Military status: Air Force veteran

photo of young woman at desk

Stevenson is one of two student-vet representatives in the Veterans Resource Center, located on the 2nd floor of QC Complex, Building C.

Abigail’s Story

When I was in seventh grade, I decided I was going to join the Air Force. I have a family history of members being in the military, from my brother being in Navy, uncles, and grandparents back during World War II.

I enlisted in the military as a junior in high school, in 2009, but I didn’t swear-in until right before basic training in 2010. I served a total of eight years: active duty Air Force Security Forces for two years, and Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) for six. My basic training and technical school were in San Antonio, Texas. I was stationed at Kunsan AFB Korea in 2011 and Ramstein AFB Germany in 2012.

In the Air Force, we are taught three core values: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in ALL We Do. However, the most important things I learned from being in the Air Force are that you are not alone, no matter how lonely you feel; that it doesn’t matter how outgoing and tough one is, we are all vulnerable; and no matter what your plans may be, God can change them.

“I learned that you are not alone, no matter how lonely you feel; that it doesn’t matter how outgoing and tough one is, we are all vulnerable; and no matter what your plans may be, God can change them.

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