About the Portfolio Center

The Portfolio Center is a collection of creative industry professionals, educators, and facilitators dedicated to assisting students create pathways to good work. We offer an evolving set of programs designed to help students make well-informed career choices, complete smart and relevant portfolios, and to be savvy about how they put themselves into play as they pursue professional lives. We work with students at all stages of their education and career readiness. We're ready to help you.

Staff

Christie Andersen AsifInterim Director

Christie Andersen Asif

I like to joke that deciding on my own career path was too difficult, so instead I devote my time to helping others find theirs. Early aspirations ranged from journalist, to lawyer, researcher, and teacher until I realized that helping others was what made work feel meaningful. Before I joined Columbia in 2008, I worked as Internship Coordinator/Career Counselor at Lake Forest College. I have a master’s degree in Career Counseling from the University of Missouri where I also worked as a Career Specialist with students and the community. All of this has focused on knowing how people make satisfying decisions about their career, what companies look for when hiring, and how to help students articulate their strengths.

My interest is in the journey—identifying what you like and what you do well, exploring possible options, and taking steps to succeed. Starting your career is exciting, but also overwhelming and sometimes outright terrifying. It’s my job to make it feel a little more manageable.

Colin DeKuiperCreative Industry Liaison

Colin DeKuiper

I came to Columbia in 2011 with a very intentional purpose of working with students that share a similar interest and enthusiasm for the the arts. My background is in music and I still actively write, record, and perform.

After having spent the better parts of 2004 – 2007 constantly playing shows and touring, I returned to Chicago with greater permanence and worked at a number of venues including Schubas and the Empty Bottle.

In 2008, I went back to DePaul University where I had received my Bachelor's in Communications to begin a Master's program in Student Affairs.

At the Portfolio Center, I provide portfolio review, assistance, and programming for the following majors: AEMM, Audio Arts & Acoustics, Music, Dance, Theatre (performance focus), Early Childhood Education, Art Education, Elementary Education, Cultural Studies, and Music Composition for the Screen.

Maxine EvansDirector of Student Employment

Maxine Evans

I’ve been an administrator in higher education for over thirty years. After college I worked in the financial industry until I was offered a job in the financial aid office at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I enjoyed helping students and their parents navigate their way through the complex process of applying for various sources of federal, state, and institutional financial aid. I left that position as Assistant Director of Financial Aid Operations at UIC to come to Columbia College in 1980.

I came to Columbia because I believed in the college’s mission and the vision of Mike Alexandroff, President of the college at that time, of growing this small arts college into a world-class college of arts and media. I became the Director of the newly created Student Employment Office in 2001. Although not as profitable, I’m reminded that I made the right decision to leave the world of Finance for a more rewarding career in higher education when I hear from students that I mentored throughout the years. I have a BA degree in American Studies from the University of Iowa and a MS degree in Non-Profit Management from Spertus College.

Julie FordCreative Industry Liaison

Julie Ford

For over a decade I have been immersed in the Chicago Film, Television and Advertising industry. I have worked on major features, reality programming and music videos. I have also produced independent and short films, and worked as a commercial director’s representative. Additionally, I’m an adjunct faculty member in the Producing Concentration of the Film & Video department at Columbia.

I thrive working with students to review work and mentor them with their career goals. I emphasize the importance of networking, best practice and engaging with their industry. I organize programming that relates to media portfolios, events and industry trends.

I hold a B.A. in Film & Video with a concentration in Film Producing from Columbia College Chicago and a M.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Roosevelt University. I also am the Career Development Chair for Women In Film Chicago.

Rob FunderburkCreative Industry Liaison

Rob Funderburk

I work to connect our academic community with professional creative industries in several ways: mentoring students who are building portfolios and networking, hosting outside interests on campus, and creating programs to facilitate opportunities for Columbia talent.

I earned my BA in Studio Art from Indiana University and worked as a visual communicator providing design, art direction, illustration, and visual facilitation to groups ranging from the independent arts and non-profits to major international corporations. I’ve been a supportive fixture in Chicago's literary, theater, and music communities for over a decade. I pop up regularly in support of initiatives.

Jose GomezOffice Administrator

Jose Gomez

I tackle the day-to-day duties and provide administrative support. I also bring my organizational skills and six years of experience from the Center for Community Arts Partnerships to the Portfolio Center. 

My pursuits outside of work include cooking, gardening, graphics design, and cultivating my alter-ego persona Louie Gomez: Electronic Music Producer/ DJ /Remixer.  As DJ/Producer Louie Gomez, I can be heard around Chicago DJing at various underground music venues, or in my studio working on my new album for OpenHouse Recordings.  I’m becoming an in-demand remixer after having several of my productions land in the top-10 electronic dance music charts.

I received my Webmaster Certification and AAS in Computer Information Systems from Kaplan University/School of Technology and Design.

Vickie HayesOffice Coordinator - Student Employment

Vickie Hayes

I started working at Columbia College Chicago December 1, 1986 as a Receptionist/Secretary in the Placement department.  As Columbia student body grew and changes occurred within the Placement office, I was promoted to administrative assistant, and later to Student Employment Coordinator. I marketed on campus employment opportunities to students and processed students for payroll.  The goal has always been to try filling every department open positions with as many great student workers as possible. This includes me working very closely with any student, which has an interest in working on campus or off campus in a FWS community services position while attending school.  In helping students find work, I have worked with them one-on-one, as needed.  This also includes collaborating with the departments, supervisors, and financial aid and payroll offices.

I am a member of the Midwest and National Associations of Student Employment Administrators.  Currently, I am finishing up my degree in Fashion Business/Management. My hobbies are sewing, crocheting, knitting, baking homemade pound cakes and reading.  I sing in the choir, works with the building fund ministry and the Administrative Assistant part time.

I have a wonderful daughter Kendra, born during my employment here at Columbia.  She attends Columbia, majoring in American Sign Language/Education.

Melissa HennessyCreative Industry Liaison

Melissa Hennessy

Before joining The Portfolio Center, I worked as an artist's agent representing still & motion photographers in all genres for editorial & commercial advertising.  I took that love for branding, marketing, advertising, promotion, estimating, producing, and more and began working with Columbia College Chicago as an adjunct to teach a combination business & portfolio development class. I enjoy working with the students to help them prepare for and understand what's ahead, so they advance in their careers armed with as much knowledge as possible.

I graduated with a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology, and have over twenty years in the business as a photographer, agent, and account executive.   I am very active in the Chicago creative community and feel lucky to work in an industry that allows me to look at pictures EVERYDAY.

Dirk MatthewsInterim Director

Dirk Matthews

Since graduating from Columbia College Chicago's Film & Video Department, I've worked in and out of the film industry as anything from a DP, producer/director, and editor.  After spending several years living in the Northwest and Southwest, I had an opportunity to explore my fascination with the human condition.  After studying psychology for several years, I eventually received my counseling certification in the State of Arizona.

I'm currently Associate Director of Columbia College Chicago's Portfolio Center and an adjunct faculty member in the school's Film & Video Department.  As an instructor I enjoy assisting students in developing a professional presentation of their work and encourage students to view film as art and apply psychological theories to the interpretation of cinema.  In the Portfolio Center I co-developed and manage two online portfolio systems for students and alumni.

When not at work, I take pictures, lots of pictures, usually with an architectural focus, particularly of historic or dilapidated buildings. Recently I was able to photograph historic murals found hidden in the ceiling of a landmark building.  I'm also a filmmaker of documentary and experimental films where I focus on impermanence and transitory space.  My films have been screened at the Tucson International Film Festival, in Chicago, and at Columbia College Chicago.  My work is available at The Daily Lomograph and my website.

Rev Weston MorrisProduction Coordinator: Web Publishing

Rev Weston Morris

Here at the Portfolio Center Weston oversees the web publishing system for student portfolios and the portfolio production assistance, which includes the Portfolio Lab. He also instructs students onpreparing their web portfolio for the web publishing system while educatingthem on best practice when expanding their web presence. He provides web portfolio reviews and also an advisor to recipients of the Weisman Award here at Columbia.

Weston received his degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is an adjunct faculty member in the Interactive Arts and Media department here at Columbia. Outside of work and teaching, Weston is a practicing visual artist and musician.

Fun fact: Weston is an Ordained Minister with the Universal Life Church and digitizes OOP obscure vinyl.

Valerie RobbinsColumbiaWorks Administrator

Valerie Robbins

I’m a talented creative professional with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Columbia College Chicago. My main responsibilities with ColumbiaWorks, include communicating with employees, administrators and the public for the purpose of providing employment information to current students and alumni.

Outside of work, my interest including being a foodie, watching anime, being around and involved with artistic people & being the best human being I can be. I end with a great quote by Booker T. Washington: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”