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Northwestern University

‘Weinberg in the World’

The College’s new podcast series brings the wisdom of alumni to students as they explore career paths

By Rebecca Lindell  

Students at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences enjoy ample opportunity to tap the College’s alumni network for career guidance, insight and advice. 

That’s true even in the midst of a global pandemic that has, for the moment, curtailed the face-to-face meetings that typify the College’s student-alumni offerings. 

To ensure that students continue to have access to that wisdom, Weinberg College has launched a new podcast series, “Weinberg in the World.” 

The series features a variety of discussions with alumni. Episodes focus on hot career topics, explorations of different paths, and interviews with alumni who have leveraged their arts and sciences degrees to build rewarding professional lives. 

“Since we are not able to bring alumni back to campus at the moment due to the global health crisis, we wanted to get creative in how we shared our career-exploration resources with students,” said Cassie Petoskey, director of the Austin J. Waldron Student-Alumni Connections Program.   

“A podcast is perfect for students in different times zones around the world, because they can tune in whenever they have time. We are excited that we can continue to connect students with alumni through the digital resources at our fingertips.” 

New episodes are released weekly. Thus far, the program has released 10 episodes. 

Wide variety of topics

“We talk with all alumni about their experiences on campus at Northwestern and how their arts and sciences background plays out in their current work, and then we dive into a hot topic that is different with each episode,” says Petoskey, who hosts each episode. 

“For example, Jeanne Sparrow ’91 was a radio host during 9/11, so we talked about the similarities and differences between her experience then and now during the global pandemic. Steve Greenspon ’91 is the CEO of Honey-Can-Do-International, and has had to make some tough calls during the pandemic. We talked with him about how leaders can prepare and work through crisis situations. And Rachel Shine ’13 is a social worker and therapist, so we talked with her about her recommendations for how to handle an uncertain world and other tips she has for self-care.” 

The series also features an interview with Austin J. Waldron, whose generous support of the Waldron Student-Alumni Connections Program has made possible a wide range of opportunities for Weinberg College students to interact with and learn from alumni in a variety of professional fields. 

As a Northwestern student in the 1970s, Waldron originally thought he would pursue a career in medicine. After he graduated, however, he leveraged the flexibility of his arts and sciences degree in psychology to pivot to a rewarding career in operations at the parent company of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.

Many options

“One of the reasons I think the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences is such a great school is because it gives you so many options,” said Waldron, whose academic path included memorable coursework in Russian and German history as well as classes in chemistry, psychology and other disciplines. 

In the podcast, Waldron traces his career path. Though he began as a customer service representative, he soon discovered that operations offered a degree of opportunity and challenge that he hadn’t anticipated but found he greatly enjoyed.  “I took some chances, which I think is an important lesson for kids in the workforce,” Waldron says.  

Future episodes of the Weinberg in the World podcast will feature student conversations with alumni regarding their career options and will illustrate how alumni leverage their arts and science background regardless of their career path. 

Alumni who wish to share their experiences, knowledge and expertise with students via the podcast series can learn more on our website or contact Petoskey at






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