Road Trip: Students Travel to Meet Alumni


Illinois. Ohio. North Carolina. Tennessee. These states were on the Alumni Department’s third annual “alternative spring break” road trip in March to connect students with Northwood University alumni and representatives. The students are all part of NU’s Student-Alumni Network, a group with a mission to create interaction between the student body and Northwood University alumni. Its focus is building connections through community service, volunteerism, fundraising, and networking. Members are students who exhibit leadership abilities, desire campus involvement, and are willing to work with Northwood alumni.

Students are selected to attend the trips based on points accumulated through volunteer and fundraising efforts. Robin Yancer, Alumni Office coordinator, planned the destinations based on requests by alumni. Christopher Deming, director of Organizational Partnerships and Alumni Relations, drove and hosted the students and alumni at the locations.

“Social media works well, but there’s nothing better than meeting our community on a human level,” Deming said. “Everyone realizes that an NU degree opens doors no matter what your location or generation.”


First Stop: Chicago


The ins and outs of city life are something many Northwood students have yet to experience. A busy spring break trip to Chicago gave six students a taste for the challenges and excitement of living and working in the third-largest city in the U.S.

The group began the visit by spending a day meeting individually with three alumni who eagerly shared their insights and experiences on everything from owning a business to working in the global marketplace:

FRANK BELIO, founder and owner of Rate Barn

JUSTINE STAUFFER, Upstream Innovation associate marketing manager for MillerCoors

AMY PFLUEGER, vice president of Global Procurement at Ingredion

After hosting a Chicago Alumni Chapter reception sponsored by Mike Cassidy, vice president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., the students took time to tour the Chicago Auto Show courtesy of Northwood alumnus Brian Finnerty of Ford Motor Company.

For Morgan Stoewsand-Kryscio, sports management major and Student-Alumni Executive Board member, the trip was a chance to make the kind of personal connections that can last well into a student’s professional career. “The trip was extremely rewarding. I really appreciated the opportunity to connect with alumni on a personal level while getting to know fellow executive board members.”



Destination: Places South


Nine students piled into a rented 15-passenger van and headed south for the Ohio, North Carolina, and Tennessee trip. Here’s a brief look at the trip itinerary:

CLEVELAND, OH – The Cleveland Auto Show in March included the 25th Annual Northwood University Reception for Alumni at the I-X Center.

RALEIGH-DURHAM, NC – Alumni gathered in March at The Club at 12 Oaks in Holly Springs, N.C., for conversation in an intimate setting. Brian Bus, of Capital Area A.D.I. - Hendrick Automotive Group and ’02 graduate, hosted the evening.

CHARLOTTE, NC – Holly Jacobs, ’10 MBA and account supervisor at ES3, a Charlotte-area marketing and advertising agency, invited the NU group to visit her office for a business presentation, tour, and networking lunch in March.

NASHVILLE, TN – Twenty Nashville-area alumni met in March at Pinewood Social, a trendy hangout for gathering and bowling. Mike Abbondanza, vice president and general manager of Newtown Nissan and ’99 graduate, sponsored the event.

“It’s exciting to meet alumni at off-campus events. We immediately had a common bond after just a few minutes,” explained Morgan Stoewsand-Kryscio, sports management major and Student-Alumni Executive Board member. “We shared with alumni the incredible physical changes happening on campus, and they wanted to hear updates about their professors.”