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MPD2 Welcomes Eight New Alumni Board Members

The program's Alumni Group helps cultivate deeper engagement between former students and those currently in the program.

In 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a need was identified for Northwestern Engineering's Master of Product Design and Development Management (MPD2) program. 

The program's administrators and staff wanted to cultivate deeper alumni engagement, both to keep alumni connected to the program and also to leverage their expertise as mentors for current students. That same year, the MPD2 Alumni Group was formed. 

The group serves as a secondary program Board in addition to the Industry Advisory Board. It started small with five members — Gretchen Gscheidle (MPD2 '20), Amber Hall (MPD '20), Liz Jacobsen (MPD2 '20), Jenny Lee (MPD2 '20), and Tomas Stonehouse (MPD '21) — who actively participated in program events.  

That group decided to pass on their responsibilities to a new set of alumni. The program is excited to welcome eight alumni who will take on Board responsibilities beginning Oct. 18. 

Michelle Mittleman"It is so wonderful to witness alumni being so passionate about their community," said Michelle Mittleman, assistant director for alumni and industry engagement from the Office of Professional Education. "I’m excited to collaborate with the new Board and cannot wait to see how the new leadership team takes the founding members' vision into the future." 

The new Board includes: 

The MPD2 Alumni Group supports capstone mentoring, creates alumni events and social gathering, and fosters professional development opportunities.  

Group members serve on either the mentoring, events, or communications committee. They participate in prospective student information sessions, attend program open houses, and help promote awareness of the MPD2 program in their workplaces and among the larger design community. 

"It is wonderful having an engaged Alumni Group that is willing to network with current students, mentor them, and engage with potential applicants," said MPD2 associate director Susan Goren. "Students and applicants want to hear from someone who experienced being an MPD2 student. Hearing how the MPD2 program benefited these alumni personally and professionally is really powerful." 

The new Board members will each serve a two-year term. 

As they begin their term, the new group members will set updated goals and initiatives further strengthen connectedness between alumni, current students, and program faculty and administrators. 

"It has been a joy to work with the MPD2 Alumni Group," Mittleman said. "It is easy to see how devoted they are to the program and how much they care about the student experience before, during, and after program completion." 

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