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Career Development Staff


Derek Attig

Assistant Dean for Career & Professional Development

Derek is Assistant Dean for Career & Professional Development in the Graduate College. In this role, Derek oversees Graduate College Career Development services, develops new strategies to support graduate students’ and postdocs’ professional and career development, and builds relationships on and off campus to help students succeed at Illinois and beyond. Before joining the Graduate College in 2015, Derek taught at the University of Illinois, worked in nonprofit marketing, and advised graduate students at the university’s Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning. Derek holds a B.A. in History and Women’s Studies from Beloit College and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Mike Firmand

Associate Director for Career & Professional Development

As the Associate Director for Career & Professional Development in the Graduate College, Mike supports graduate students by advising students, coordinating major events and workshops, and collaborating with career services units across campus. Mike also works with employers to connect University of Illinois graduate students to new opportunities and promote the value of graduate education. He previously worked for the College of Business at Illinois State University and has held positions in insurance, marketing, banking, and retail and event management. Mike holds a B.S. in Recreation, Sport and Tourism from the University of Illinois and an M.S. in Communication from Illinois State University.

Graduate Career Consortium

Graduate College Career Development staff are active in the Graduate Career Consortium (GCC) whose members provide career services to graduate students at research institutions nationwide. Graduate College staff were involved in the development and launch of ImaginePhD, GCC's free digital career exploration tool designed for the humanities and social sciences. The 25th Annual meeting of the GCC occurred in June 2013, with leadership from the University of Illinois, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Notre Dame. In March 2009, the University of Illinois hosted the first Midwestern regional meeting of the GCC.