Illinois Institute of Technology
McCormick Tribune Campus Center, Room 106
3201 South State Street
Chicago, IL 60616
Phone: COVID-19 Hours: 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m
Associate Vice Provost for Student Engagement and Career Services
Thy Nguyen is the associate vice provost for student engagement and career services. Thy's primary focus is on engaging and building external and internal relationships with key stakeholders, to create meaningful career opportunities for Illinois Tech students. Thy has been working in the field of career services for nearly 19 years at several Chicago-area universities. Outside of work, Thy enjoys spending time with his three children and playing the occasional round of golf.
What brings you joy? Seeing students find career success in ways that are meaningful to them.
What motivates you to come to work every day? I want Career Services at Illinois Tech to be the best at what we do in an effort to give all students what they need to succeed.
What is your favorite book? I tend to read more non-fiction and biographies, but I still find the Lord of the Rings compelling.
If you weren't in Career Services, what would you be doing? I'd probably be working at a not-for-profit organization that speaks to my values.
Student and Alumni Career Development
BJ serves as senior director of operations for Career Services. He has worked at Illinois Tech for 12 years in both enrollment management/recruiting roles and Career Services. In his current role, BJ manages the day-to-day activities of Career Services and assists in determining the strategic direction for the office to most effectively engage students, employers, and alumni to ensure that our students are successful in the first step of their career journey. BJ is a proud alumnus of the Illinois Tech’sStuart School of Business, receiving his Master of Science in Marketing Analytics and Communication in 2014.
What is important to you? It is very important to me that students feel like their college education is worthwhile and will help them be successful for the remainder of their life. I want them to really have the opportunity to reflect on the skills and knowledge they are gaining and know how that can translate into a successful individualized career path.
If you weren't in Career Services, what would you be doing? I am a HUGE macro economics geek—I listen to econ podcasts daily and devour books/articles about econ (yes, reading an edition of The Economist cover-to-cover is thrilling for me). So, if I wasn’t in Career Services, I would want to either be an economics professor or work at a think tank focused on economic issues.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? I have, since completing my bachelor’s degree, had a side career as a singer/actor. I’ve been in approximately 15 plays or musicals in Chicago, and have sung in a handful of choirs professionally. I am also an avid rower and am a proud member of the Chicago Rowing Union.
What is your favorite book? Anything by Bill Bryson. I love his unending curiosity about the world and how things came to be. If I had to choose one of his books to be a favorite, I’d probably say Home.
Assistant Director, Career and Professional Development For International Students
Steven Szmurlo is the assistant director, career and professional development for international students, and he has worked at Illinois Tech since 2010 in various positions, all related to helping international students succeed. Along with an extensive background in communications, media, and teaching English as a second language, Steven brings personal experience as both an international student and an international faculty member to his position. Steven’s current role focuses on international student outreach and providing services and resources to meet the unique career needs of international students.
What inspires you? Professionally, my students through the years have inspired me to work harder to help them succeed with the goals they are focusing on for their future. Personally, the kindness, goodness, and ethical behavior of others inspires me to be a better person.
If you weren't in Career Services, what would you be doing? Teaching English as a Second Language to international students so they can succeed with their future ambitions.
What else should we know about you? I returned to teach at Jagiellonian University 17 years after I was an international student there. I understand what it’s like to be an international student, and to do an internship and work outside of the country I was born in.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Spending time with family and friends. Volunteer work. Gardening.
Tell us something we don't know about you. I am a native of Chicago—I was born, raised, and still live near the Humboldt Park area, on the city’s near Northwest side, where my parents were also born and raised.
What is your absolute favorite quote? “Nobility is not the family you are born into, but what you do for others without even expecting a ‘Thank You!’ or anyone knowing.” —My Grandmother, who was born a noblewoman in 1888.
Assistant Director for Career and Professional Education
Tiara DeGuzman is invested in helping students to clarify their vision and “follow their bliss.” Tiara pursues this mission by facilitating workshops on campus, spearheading career-based access and equity initiatives, and coaching students 1:1 (usually over bubble tea). Outside of work, Tiara has a passion for writing and speaking on topics like career development, creativity, and social justice.
How did you become a career development coach? I got a degree in English at Rutgers University-Camden and then I went to Ohio State University to get my masters in higher education and student affairs. In grad school, I worked in residence life, but I fell in love with career services work after working as a résumé and cover letter practicum coach in the career services office at Ohio State. There, I realized I have a passion for giving students the tools they need to advance in their career journeys.
Who or what inspires you? Oprah Winfrey, books and reading—Elizabeth Gilbert, Amy Tan, Toni Morrison, and Octavia Butler are some of my favorite authors—James Campbell and his concept of “following your bliss” (look it up!!), traveling and being exposed to different ways of living and seeing the world, seeing others thrive and discover their full potential, writing and journaling, a good bowl of ramen, social justice, theater, and sketch comedy.
What can students expect from an appointment with you? Job and internship search advice. Résumé and cover letter edits. Life mapping prompts. Questions about how they are going to practice self-care while they search for jobs and internships. Words of affirmation. Book and article recommendations. An acknowledgment of the identities that are most important to them. Continuous affirmation and celebration as they advance in their career journey!
If you weren’t in Career Services, what would you be doing? I’d be a talk show host! I’d want to interview inspiring people and talk to them about career development, success, and creativity (maybe there would even be Oprah-esque giveaways for the audience?). I also love to read and write, so I would want to write fiction books and books of essays full time!
Peer Career Coaches
Career Services is proud to have several outstanding student workers who provide reviews of résumé, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles, as well as a host of other services. Please visit the Peer Career Coach Page to learn more.
Employer Relations and Alumni Networks
Lisa L. Montgomery
Director, Elevate Experiential Partnerships
Lisa L. Montgomery is the director for Elevate Experiential Partnerships. In this role, she strategically works to pair students with robust internship opportunities at companies that are university partners. Outside of work, Lisa has a nonprofit organization, Dreams & Beyond, that supports girls and women serving organizations through research, training, and coaching. She also advocates for literacy through her program, The Wild Formula Learning Network, by providing free books to youth and promoting sensory learning. Additionally, her Cultural Kitchen Club program has revealed the secrets of kitchens around the world!
What brings you joy? It is my heart's passion to help young people find their passion and fulfill their dreams.
What is important to you? Spirituality is the key to all of my everything! It is my North Star.
What else should we know about you? I love house music, nature, and peach cobbler with ice cream.
What is your favorite book? Devil in a White City by Erik Larson
What is your favorite movie? Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and Crash—two amazing films that address the deep layers of human diversity
What is your absolute favorite quote? "Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." —Albert Einstein
Where is your favorite place to vacation? Alabama—soothing laid-back, great food, and an abundance of nature and hospitality!
Assistant Director of Employer Relations
Celestine McGee develops relationships with employers to generate employment opportunities for students. Celestine is passionate about helping others and bringing them together through collaboration and synergy! Outside of work, Celestine is passionate about running races, writing beauty blogs, and helping others find their inner calm through mindfulness. She is also a passionate entrepreneur for marketing, fashion, beauty, and holistic approaches to healthy living concepts.
Where is your favorite place to vacation? Rome is so beautiful! It is like being in a walking museum of fine art and intricate detail for the beauty of all things.
If you weren't in Career Services, what would you be doing? I would definitely be in the fitness industry, guiding others and helping them achieve their fitness goals through diet, exercise, meditation, and holistic living.
What is important to you? Respect and fairness toward others. Treating people that we come in contact with how we in turn would want to be treated—setting an exemplary standard to all beings that we come in contact with.