Industry Days

SPA provides students the opportunity to meet alumni and employers through Industry Days. These events will feature panels of industry experts and networking receptions here on campus.

Join us for Industry Days sponsored by the School of Public Affairs and the AU Career Center. Industry Days provide students the opportunity to hear from and meet alumni and employers currently working in that industry. It provides employers the opportunity to meet students and discuss job and internship opportunities during our networking portion of the event. Whether you are seeking new talent, or hoping to strengthen your professional network, you won't want to miss Industry Days. Industry Days are free to participate in for all AU students, graduate and undergraduate

Spring 2021 Industry Day Format:

Due to covid-19, we have altered the format for our Industry Day events from a single event to an event that spans multiple days. These virtual events will follow the same format of a moderated panel of alums and employers to discuss the featured industry, trends and issues to be aware of, and advice for those interested in learning more followed by a two week period for individual meetings between students and alums and employers.

Some things to be aware of:

  • The system we are using for the student meeting portion uses the term “coach” to refer to alums and employers.
  • Alums and or Employers willing to speak with students in one on one settings can log in through the “coach” link noted for each event. They will be able to set their own availability during the noted time frame. Each meeting is slated for 20 minutes. The system will allow for communication with the student including reminders, sending preferred methods of communication, and rescheduling if need be.
  • Students register through Handshake, the Career Center’s online platform. Registered students will be provided the student link to create a profile and schedule meetings with the alums and employers the day of the panel.

Questions can be directed to Mr. Justin Williams, Associate Director of Undergraduate Recruitment & Retention, at

Spring 2021 Industry Day Events:

Working for Justice Industry Day

Panel: Wednesday April 7th 7-8pm EST

Virtual Networking Time Period: April 8th - April 22nd

Join the Career Center and AU's School of Public Affairs at our Working for Justice Industry Day Virtual Panel Wednesday April 7th from 7-8pm EST. The panel will be moderated by Department of Justice, Law, & Criminology Assistant Professor TaLisa J. Carter, PhD. This panel provides students the opportunity to gain insights, advice, and continue building their professional networks by hearing directly from people working in this industry. This industry includes areas like loss prevention, re-entry, working in non-profits, policing, private security, and more. Panelists will offer first hand experiences and tips to participants. Panelists will also take questions from participants. This panel will not be recorded. Students register through Handshake.

Alums and Employers willing to participate as a "coach" for Working for Justice, please log in and create your profile here:

Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Chief of Police for the Fairfax County Police Department, Retired
Edwin C. Roessler Jr. with dog. Mr. Edwin C. Roessler Jr. recently retired as the Chief of Police for the Fairfax County Police Department after more than 32 years in the law enforcement profession. During Mr. Roessler’s career with the Fairfax County Police Department he served in all ranks from Patrol Officer to Chief of Police.

Mr. Roessler was appointed Chief of Police in 2013 and during his tenure he led strategic transformational reform initiatives that were co-produced by the organization and community. Through engagement with all stakeholders, the co-production model for law enforcement reforms has become the gold standard for creating real change for use of force, responding to mental health calls for service, transparency, accountability, diversity recruitment, and constantly meeting the needs for the delivery of essential police services.

Mr. Roessler is a graduate of Arizona State University, the George Washington University, and the American University’s Key Executive Graduate Program. Mr. Roessler has attended the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Executive Institute and National Academy. Mr. Roessler continues to serve on many committees and boards to transform the law enforcement profession. Additionally, Mr. Roessler is an advocate for mental health wellness programs for public safety employees and community members.

Lori James-Townes, President & CEO of Expand-Now, LLC. & Assistant Training Director for the National Association of Public Defense
Lori James-Townes.Lori James-Townes is President & CEO of Expand-Now, LLC. She also serves as an Assistant Training Director for the National Association of Public Defense. Lori’s passion is adding value to others through speaking, training, development activities, coaching, and consulting. Lori has over 25 years of teaching, clinical social work, leadership, and management experience in juvenile justice, mental health, and public defender settings. She is an adjunct clinical instructor at Towson University, Department of Family Studies and Community Development. 

Her most recent public defender position was Director Social Work, Leadership and Program Development, with Maryland Office of Public Defender. With over more than 800 employees, she served as one of the first Directors of Leadership in a public defender setting. While in this position, she demonstrated her ability to help others grow in the areas of teamwork, leadership, and management. She also led the agency’s social work staff, consultants, and interns. Lori is a certified John Maxwell Trainer, Coach, and Speaker. She has developed programs that are now national models for other agencies. In 2015, The Daily Record Newspaper named her as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women. As a speaker, she is requested both nationally and internationally. She resides in Maryland with her daughter, Maya.

Ashley Nellis, Ph.D. Senior Research Analyst, The Sentencing Project
Ashley Nellis.Ashley Nellis, Ph.D. has an academic and professional background in analyzing criminal justice policies and practices, racial disparities, juvenile justice systems, and long-term imprisonment. Her documentation of the prevalence of life imprisonment has served as a national resource for academics, advocates, policymakers, reporters, and incarcerated persons. She is the coauthor with Marc Mauer of The Meaning of Life: The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences (The New Press, 2018) which has received praise from the Los Angeles Review of Books, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly, and has been featured on National Public Radio. Dr. Nellis is also the author of A Return to Justice: Rethinking our Approach to Juveniles in the System (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) which chronicles America’s historical treatment of youth in the justice system and the need to reorient juvenile justice practices toward the original vision. She has presented her work at a wide range of academic and policy convenings, and is frequently interviewed by a range of news media. Dr. Nellis received her Ph.D. in Justice, Law and Society from American University’s School of Public Affairs.

Campaigns, Congress, & Lobbies Industry Day

Campaigns and Lobbying-- have you heard about these industries but aren’t entirely sure what they entail? Do you know you want to pursue opportunities in either or both of these fields? Do you just want to get more information about these industries to help you make more informed decisions? If so, please join us for these virtual panels featuring alums and employers who have worked or currently work in them. Students can attend one or both panels. After the second panel, registered students will have the opportunity to set up one on one virtual meetings with alums and employers to learn more and ask questions.

Monday, March 15th Virtual Campaign Panel moderated by Department of Government Professor Candice Nelson. Students register through your Handshake account.

Tuesday, March 16th Virtual Lobbying Panel moderated by Department of Government Distinguished Professor James Thurber. Students register through your Handshake account.

Wednesday March 17th - Wednesday March 31st One on One Networking time frame. 

Campaign Panelists:
Christian Curto, Senior Account Executive and Political Director, Campaign Solutions
Tom Bonier, CEO, TargetSmart
Anne Caprara, Chief of Staff, Governor J.B. Pritzker
Quentin Fulks, Executive Director, Think Big Illinois

Lobbying Panelists:
Laura Uttley, Principle and Lobbyist, Lewis-Burke Associates 
Awesta Sarkash, Government Affairs Manager, Small Business Majority
Scott Goodstein, Founder and CEO of Catalyst Campaigns
Mike Panetta, Partner, Beekeeper Group

Intelligence Community

National Security, Cyber Security, Counterterrorism, and Intelligence work-- do you work in any of these fields or have an interest in learning more about them? Please join American University's School of Public Affairs and Career Center for a virtual networking event. Employers, AU students, and alumni will have the opportunity to network, provide helpful tips for entering the field, and discuss available opportunities.

Monday, November 9th Intelligence Community & National Security Panel. Students register through your Handshake account here.

Tuesday, November 10th - Wednesday November 25th One on One Networking time frame. Alums and Employers register here. Students register through Handshake


Non-Profits: Making a Difference

Education, Housing, Food, Environment & Sustainability, and or Social Advocacy & Equity Nonprofits. If you work for an organization focused on any of these areas, or if you’re interested in working in these fields, please join American University's School of Public Affairs and Career Center for a virtual networking event. Employers, AU students, and alumni will have the opportunity to network, provide helpful tips for entering the field, and discuss available opportunities.

Tuesday, October 6th Nonprofits: Making a Difference Panel. Students need to register, through Handshake, in order to get instructions and links for both parts of the industry day. Please register by noon EST October 6th.

Wednesday, October 7th - Wednesday October 21st One on One Networking time frame. Alums and Employers register here. Students register through Handshake.

George Garcia, Director of Education & Workforce for Latin American Youth Center (LAYC)
Jaleesa Hall, Founder & CEO of Raising a Village
Kristin Scott Kennedy, Chief of Staff at Council on Foundations
Lizzie Martinez, Director of Development at Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon
Marley Rave, Director, Individual Relations and Philanthropy for Autism Speaks

Working for Justice

Monday February 10, 2020, 6-8pm
Constitution Hall

6-6:15pm: Registration & Check-in
6:15-7pm: Panels

  • U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) Panel
  • Law Enforcement & the Courts Panel

7-8pm: Networking Reception

Intelligence Community (IC) Panel will have representatives from Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), FBI, and US Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS).

Law Enforcement & Courts Panel will have representatives from FBI, Fairfax county Police Department, and Prince George’s County Police Department.


Monday October 21, 2019, 9-11AM
Constitution Hall

9-9:15am Alum/Employer/Student Check in & Networking
9:15-10am Panel “Working for a Non-Profit”
10-11am Networking Reception

Samantha Paige Davis
Jaleesa Hall
Kristen Scott Kennedy


Campaigns, Congress and Lobbies

Tuesday September 24, 2019, 6-8PM
Constitution Hall

6-6:15PM - Alum/Employer/Student Check in & Networking
6:15-7PM - Panels on campaigning and lobbying running simultaneously
7-8PM - Networking Reception

Campaign Panelists:
Tom Bonier, CEO, TargetSmart
Christian Curto, Campaign Solutions
Alicia Kolar Prevost, Director of the Voter Study Group, Democracy Fund
William R. Sweeney Jr., Distinguished Practitioner, Department of Government, School of Public Affairs

Lobbying Panelists:
Laura Uttley, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
Awesta Sarkash, Director of Advocacy & Communications, Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED)

More Events

There are several other industry-specific networking receptions hosted by the Alumni Office and Career Center throughout the year. Students can find these events through Handshake.

Learn More