11th Annual Northwestern SPS Symposium for Graduate Programs

This annual SPS Symposium is an optional but exciting part of a students' program. The three-day student event and academic conference provides an opportunity for students to interact and learn from fellow students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The 11th annual SPS Symposium corresponds with Northwestern Reunion Weekend (October 6, 2022 through October 8, 2022). 

Stay tuned to this page as additional information is added.

Previous Year's Schedule

Below is the full program from the 10th Annual SPS Symposium – 2021.


Day One

Welcome Reception (Outdoor Event)

Location: SPS Mansion on the Evanston Campus (405 Church Street, Evanston, IL 60201)

The Symposium Welcome reception is the kick-off event for the three days of events. The Dean of the School of Professional Studies will welcome students, and SPS alumni will provide some remarks. Light food and drinks will be served.

Day Two

Symposium Conference (Indoor Event)

Location: Wieboldt Hall, Chicago Campus (330 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611)

The students-only Symposium conference academic presentations and discussions are an opportunity for students to interact with their instructors face-to-face and engage in topics not covered in a typical course for further learning and professional development. The conference begins with a welcome breakfast, followed by panels and speakers from online programs and industry leaders.



Developing Your Own Leadership Stories

Russell Roberson

Russell Roberson is the Vice President of Quality, Regulatory, Patient Safety, and Data Governance for Elsevier. Elsevier provides evidence-based content to improve clinical outcomes.  Prior to Elsevier, Roberson was the Vice President, Quality & Regulatory for General Electric Healthcare in the areas of Health Information Technology, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Life Care Solutions, and Healthcare Partners. Dr. Roberson has served on or chaired numerous industry and university committees.  He also is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, where he has taught classes in the areas of Leadership, Data Analytics, and Predictive Analytics.  Dr. Roberson is a licensed Professional Engineer and holds advanced degrees in both Business and Engineering along with numerous professional certifications. Dr. Roberson is a two-time cancer survivor, having had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1991 and 2006.  


Data Doesn't Have to be Daunting: A Look at Sponsorship

Alex Kerr

Born and raised outside of Chicago, Alex has been a data and marketing fanatic for as long as he can remember. Currently, he is the CEO of Trajektory, an organization aimed at helping the world's largest brands evaluate their sponsorship impact. Alex has a B.A. in Economics from Kenyon College, and MBA from Duke University's, The Fuqua School of Business.


Sharon Fish

From outside of Chicago, Sharon has deep roots in the sports industry, having held several leadership and executive positions that range from DirecTV, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, rEvolution Sports Marketing, and Head of Brand at Shop Your Way. Sharon is currently the COO of Trajektory, an organization aimed at helping the world's largest brands evaluate their sponsorship impact. Sharon has a B.S. in Sports Management from Rutgers University.



Tina Lakinger

Tina Lakinger received her bachelor's degree from Excelsior College and then earned her M.S in Data Science from the School of Professional Studies in 2015. Tina is the technical product leader for Mobility across Amazon Robotics. The AR system is a non-deterministic, massively parallel processor of "stuff"; the many robots on a floor are only the most visible portion of everything that goes on to orchestrate the dance. She owns the full stack that prioritizes, allocates, and executes any time they need to move something from A to B in the A.R. system, from the physical hardware on the floor, to the on-device firmware, to the on-prem and cloud software. Her blue and orange 'bots operate 24/7/365 across four continents.


Career Panel

• Erik Swanson, Senior Vice President at Kaufman Hall
• Ivana Donevska, Executive Director of Enterprise AML Data and Analytics at USAA
• Michael Voss, Assistant Vice President at Kaufman Hall
• Steve Erlebacher, Analytics Solution Manager at McKinsey & Company
• Tom Romanowski, Director of Analytics at United Airlines


Closing Remarks

Seth Meisel, Associate Dean of Academic Programs



Day Three

Homecoming Breakfast and Football Game (Outdoor Event)

Location: SPS Mansion on the Evanston Campus (405 Church Street, Evanston, IL 60201) 

The final day of the SPS Symposium will take place on the Evanston campus, during the spirited festivities of Reunion Weekend ("Homecoming"). All are invited to attend a breakfast with fellow SPS students, faculty, alumni, and staff in Evanston. Following breakfast, attendees have the option to cheer on the Wildcats at the Northwestern vs. Rutgers homecoming football game. Clear bags will be provided.

You can purchase football tickets here by using the promotion code: SPS2021 (limited quantities available on a first-come, first-served basis; $53 each).



A Uber event code will be shared with guests who attend Symposium to accommodate for travel between Chicago and Evanston during the scheduled events. More information and instructions will be shared with you by email the week before the event.

Travel and Accommodations

Please refer to the Northwestern University Reunion Weekend's webpage on travel and accommodations. These are suggestions and accommodations made by the University to make booking your stay easier. You are not obligated to stay in these recommended hotels to attend the SPS Symposium. Guests are responsible for their own travel arrangements. The North Shore Convention and Visitor's Bureau and Choose Chicago maintain complete lists of hotels in Evanston and the Chicago area.



Parking on the Evanston Campus

Parking is free on the Evanston campus throughout Symposium. University parking restrictions will be waived from Thursday, October 14 at 4 p.m. through Sunday, October 17, excluding emergency lanes and reserved spots. See the Evanston campus parking map.


Parking on the Chicago Campus

A discounted daily and evening rate of $9.00 is available for parking at the Erie Ontario Garage and the Huron Superior Garage from 4:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. or daily from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. You must park and exit within the specified time to receive the discounted rate. If you enter before the rate takes effect, or exit after the specified end time on the date of entry you will be charged the full public rate for the entire time you are parked. If parked for 12 hours or more, regular garage rates will apply. See the Chicago campus parking map.

How to obtain a discount:

  1. Park in the eligible garage and obtain a parking ticket at entry.
  2. While at Symposium in Wieboldt Hall, obtain a QR code from the check-in desk, the Symposium Guidebook app, or the Erie Ontario or Huron Superior Customer Service Offices.
  3. When ready to exit, go to a garage pay station on the ground level and insert your parking ticket.
  4. Once the pay station has stated parking fee, scan the QR code on the pay station scanner. Once scanned correctly, the pay station will reduce the parking fee.
  5. Pay the fee with payment card or cash following the machine instructions.
  6. Collect the parking ticket back from the machine after your transaction is complete.
  7. Insert the parking ticket at the exit gate as you leave the garage with your vehicle.
^ Back to top ^