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.


Christie Andersen AsifExecutive Director: Career Initiatives

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, rock star, 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, and I've spent the past six years at Columbia supporting students' career development through one on one meetings and events. 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.

As Executive Director, I oversee the Portfolio Center and Student Employment offices, where we are focused on supporting students' career development and facilitating Columbia's connections to the creative industries.

Rob FunderburkCreative Industry Liaison

Rob Funderburk

Rob Funderburk is a visual artist and designer whose work ranges from intimate ink studies to large-scale painting, installation and performance projects. He has over two decades of experience in communication, publication and product design, including cross-disciplinary project management and facilitation. He earned his BA in Studio Art at the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts at Indiana University.

At Columbia, Rob helps students and recent alumni explore career paths, develop effective portfolios and professional platforms, and network in creative communities. He is available by appointment at the Portfolio Center and as a classroom guest throughout the year.

Rob's work has been featured in venues and publications such as the DePaul University Art Museum, Galerie F, Constellation, Elastic Arts, Open-End Gallery, AV-Aerie, Believe Inn, Poetry Magazine, Featherproof Books, Curbside Splendor, Stop Smiling Magazine, THE2NDHAND, Proximity Magazine, Another Chicago Magazine (ACM), Kartemquin Films, National Pastime Theater, and Redmoon Theater, among others.


Michael GoodeCareer Development Coordinator

Michael Goode

After five post-undergraduate years of document filing, towel folding, graduate school studies, and other jobs that I need more than three paragraphs to explain, my journey as a late-blooming Millennial wanderer brought me to the Portfolio Center in March of 2014.
As Career Development Coordinator, I've been honored with the responsibility of educating, preparing, and supporting our extraordinarily talented student body. Through utilizing a generalist approach to career development, I'm able to reach an exciting range of creative and artistic individuals with variety of skills, passions, and stories to tell. My experiences connecting with and assisting Columbia students have been rewarding beyond words, and I excitedly look forward to years of watching them thrive.

I received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2009 and a Master of Education in Counseling in 2013, both from DePaul University. Currently, I live in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago and am the proud owner of nearly 200 sports-themed bobblehead figurines.

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 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 advertising, photography, dance & fashion communities and enjoy working with students to help them prepare for and understand what's ahead in their future careers.

Poonam JoshiStudent Employment Coordinator

Poonam Joshi

I never thought I would be working in Higher Education, but by fate I ended up in the field. Before I began my current role as Coordinator of Student Employment, I worked as an Enrollment Specialist and International Student Advisor at Oakton Community College. That’s where my passion for assisting students in achieving their dreams developed. While I was there, I also noticed the immense impact that Student Employees can have on a department. Their hard work and luminosity truly made working at a college enjoyable. That’s what led me to my current role at Columbia College Chicago.

As the Coordinator of Student Employment, I provide support to current students that are seeking on-campus employment as well as part-time employment. I am excited to be a part of the Career Initiatives team where I am able to contribute to student success at Columbia College.

I graduated from Loyola University Chicago, where I earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. When I am not working, I am either taking pictures of my food at a vegetarian friendly restaurant or planning my next vacation, there are still so many places left to visit!

Jennifer MaderalCommunications and Events Associate

Jennifer Maderal

Jenny graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications. Following graduation, she moved to New York to pursue a career in publicity. She gained valuable PR experience in various industries—including off-Broadway production at Origlio/Miramontez Co., book publishing at Henry Holt and Company, and commercial production at Furlined. She transitioned away from publicity to take on a marketing and development role at Public Prep, a network of charter schools in New York. Through that job Jenny realized her passion for supporting students’ educational pursuits.

As the Communications and Events Associate, Jenny handles marketing and event promotion at the Career Center, in addition to assisting with event planning and logistics. Her role at the Career Center allows her to blend her own career goals with the overarching goal of providing meaningful events that connect students with industry professionals who have found a way to be successful while pursuing their art.

Dirk MatthewsAssociate 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.  You can view my work on my website.

Weston MorrisCareer Resource Coordinator

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 on preparing their web portfolio for the web publishing system while educating them 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.

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.”

Jamie ShawAssistant Director

Jamie Shaw

I began working in student services shortly after receiving my bachelor’s degree and I have remained assisting students with the career development process ever since. Prior to joining the Portfolio Center department, I worked at Elgin Community College in the Workforce Transitions Department where I planned and implemented programming designed to assist students with career exploration and preparation.

 As the Assistant Director of Career Development in the Portfolio Center, I advise students in one-on-one appointments and assist them as they begin to consider their development as professionals. In addition, I work closely with staff in order to provide large-scale events and services designed to encourage career development. I am particularly interested in assisting those students who are in the initial stages of this process.

 I hold an associate’s degree from Elgin Community College, and a bachelor’s degree in the history of art and architecture from DePaul University. I also hold an M.S. in higher education and policy from Northwestern University. 

Angela SheridonEmployment Coordinator

Angela Sheridon

Originally from the Motor City, in the year 2000, I began my career at a worldwide ad agency and caught a glimpse of how creativity can generate a profit. I was recruited into the broadcast production department working closely with producers and in a position where I saw some of the most influential work accomplished by some of the world’s best filmmakers.

Three years later I decided to further my education, moved to Chicago, and entered Columbia’s film production program. At the same time, I was fortunate enough to lineup a job representing visual media artists for commercials including creative digital agency Digital Kitchen, and directors such as Michel Gondry, Traktor, Jesse Dylan, Chris Applebaum, and Antoine Bardout-Jacquet. It was a very dynamic time in my career, but I still wanted to pursue more involvement in production. So almost two years later I moved to LA working with companies such as Hungry Man, Radical Media, and Tool.

Achieving my goal on the West Coast, while sustaining strong, working relationships, I made my way back to the Windy City. I was then introduced to the business of public relations and had a chance to round out my background in advertising and commercial production by writing press releases and publicizing commercials created by production companies including Backyard, Supply&Demand Integrated, and Harpoon Pictures.

Thru my work at the Portfolio Center, I’m mostly excited about forging connections with the visual and performing arts communities and continuing to collaborate with the widespread contacts I’ve built in the broadcast media, commercial, film and production industries. Finding opportunities and helping to matchup employers with Columbia College has by far been my most gratifying work.

Sarah ValentinoAdministrative Assistant

Sarah Valentino

Sarah began her career path in Higher Ed while earning a BFA from Pratt Institute in her home city of New York. While tutoring students in Art History, she got a taste of academic administration, and then worked her way through the cable broadcast industry, kimono sales and library science. After venturing west – mid west – she found a new home in Chicago and proudly joined Columbia College in February of 2016.

Here at the Career Center, Sarah keeps the place, and its people, organized. In addition, she oversees front desk operations. Sarah is pleased to work with Columbia’s talented students and is delighted to have an impact on their success.

Eric WordlowAssistant Director - Student Employment

Eric WordlowI began my career in Student Employment while actually working as a student employee during graduate school. I have had an incredible start to my career by being exposed to many different facets of student employment. Before joining Columbia in 2015, I worked for a higher education system school which allowed me the opportunity to oversee student employment efforts at four schools in seven cites. I consider myself a student employee activist as I stand firmly in the belief that student employment in a solid career development opportunity for students to enhance their personal, professional and creative growth!  I remain connected and actively engaged in the Student Employment community. I am a Student Employment Essential (SEE) Trainer and serve on the Board of Directors for the Midwest Association of Student Employment Administrators (MASEA).

As the Assistant Director of Student Employment, I oversee student employment programs, advocate for the role of student employment, and develop policies and procedures for students and supervisors.
I hold a Bachelor of Arts from Fisk University and a Masters of Arts from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.