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FTL Curriculum


  • Webinar Series. This program seeks to distill the most critical information needed to help our fellows stand out to company recruiters and be stellar candidates for C-suite tracked positions. Modules will cover the following topics: self-assessment and management, business economics & strategy, influence and agents of change, team development, operations management, innovation management, business communications, and risk assessment
    • Webinars occur on Monday 2-3:30pm CST
    • Semester I: September 12th - Dec. 5th, 2023
    • Semester II: Feb 6th  – April 24th, 2023
  • Personal Portfolio. The Personal Portfolio will support students in their personal and professional development. It will contain several completed worksheets and assessments including the results of the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, a peer leadership assessment, and a 5-year individual development plan. The portfolio will be the final deliverable of the program and support students in continuing to improve their leadership skills and entering the job market.
  • Perfect Pitch. Fellows will give a 90 second pitch at the POETS annual meeting and compete to represent POETS at the NSF ERC Biennial Perfect Pitch Competition..
  • White Paper. Propose your research project to your hypothetical manager.
  • Job Shadowing. Students who participate the whole program will travel to one of the program sponsor’s facilities for an onsite job shadowing experience


September 20th, 2021

Marcus Kelley

Assistant Director, Illinois Leadership Center

Marcus began his career in student affairs as a traveling consultant for his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, after earning his bachelor’s degree. After traveling across the United States visiting over 60 different higher education institutions, Marcus decided to pursue a master’s degree in student affairs administration. He later returned to work for his fraternity after receiving his master’s degree to spearhead the organization’s educational program.

Marcus joined the Illinois Leadership Center (ILC) as an Assistant Director in 2018 where he currently coordinates the marketing and outreach efforts for the ILC and facilitates the CliftonStrengths training. In addition, he coordinates the Imprint i-Program each year and assists with alumni relation for the office.

Outside of the ILC, Marcus is currently pursuing another degree in Human Resource Development. He enjoys spending his time working out, cooking, and spending time with his bossy (yet adorable) cat, Witten.

September 27th & October 4th, 2021

Marina Damiano

Scientific Communications Consultant

Marina Damiano, Ph.D., is the owner of Damiano Group Scientific Communications, a consultancy that helps scientific and medical innovators from academia, industry, and government create impact through communication. Marina completed ComSciCon training through Harvard/MIT and was an RSG Research Communication Fellow at Northwestern University, where she won the Top Speaker Award for a TED-style talk about her nanotechnology research. She was an adjunct lecturer in technical communication at Northwestern University and worked as a scientific communications specialist at a marketing and communications agency for life science, biotech, medical device, and healthcare companies. She has designed and delivered training on the application of public relations, marketing, and journalism principles to research communication at universities across the country including at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and Emory University. Marina earned a B.S. in Chemistry and B.A. in German from DePaul University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Bionanotechnology from Northwestern University.

jed headshot


October 11th, 2021

Jed Taylor

Executive Director of the Technology Entrepreneur Center

Jed Taylor is the Executive Director of TEC. In addition to his work at TEC he also works with startup companies as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Enterprise Works in the Research Park. Before joining TEC, Jed was the first employee and the Director of Sales at Pattern Insight--a startup out of the Computer Science Department. Jed has a B.S. in Computer Science from Utah State University, an M.S. in Computer Science and an MBA from the University of Illinois.

October 25th, 2021

Alex Tang

Vice President, IPD Capital

Before joining IPDC, Alex was the Licensing and Commercialization Manager of the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), a contract research organization for the natural gas industry. At GTI, Alex worked on, negotiated and executed over 25 license agreements and worked to commercialize GTI Intellectual Property through spin-off and joint-venture companies. Prior to GTI, Alex co-founded Invention Bridge, LLC, a technology commercialization company. Invention Bridge managed a Department of Energy Entrepreneur-In-Residence Grant at Argonne National Laboratory and launched the Clean Energy Trust, a non-profit cleantech accelerator. Prior to business school, Alex was a Manager at Stax, Inc. where he led market due diligence and growth strategy engagements for private equity and venture capital clients. Alex started his career at Open Prairie Ventures (OPV), an early stage venture firm focusing on start-ups from Midwest Laboratories and Universities. Alex holds an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and B.S. & M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a member of The Association of Asian American Investment Managers.

November 1st, 2021

Eric Walters

President at PC Krause and Associates

Eric Walters received his BSEE., MSEE., and PhD from Purdue University in Electrical Engineering in 1994, 1995, and 1999, respectively, with a focus on modeling and simulation of electromechanical systems. He is President of PC Krause and Associates where he leads a team of 60 researchers in the design, analysis, development, and testing of integrated power and thermal systems for aerospace applications. Dr. Walters is a co-inventor on three patented technologies, has authored or co-authored 19-journal and 75-conference publications, and serves as an officer for the SAE AE-7M Aerospace Systems Model-Based Engineering Committee.

November 1st, 2021

Tim Deppen

Senior Lead Engineer at PC Krause and Associates

Timothy Deppen joined PC Krause and Associates in 2015 as a Senior Lead Engineer where he has worked in the areas of system modeling and identification, architecture optimization, and design and application of thermal management control.  Prior to joining PCKA, Dr. Deppen has had several years of experience in the field of designing controls for optimal energy management.  During his post-doc with Dr. Andrew Alleyne, Dr. Deppen conducted research into applying model predictive control to thermal management of aircraft systems.  His graduate research focused on developing energy management strategies for hybrid vehicles and refrigerated transport systems.  During his graduate studies, he received the MechSE Outstanding Scholar Fellowship in 2008.  His research interests include, modeling and simulation of multi-domain energy systems, model predictive control, optimization, and hardware implementation of energy optimizing controllers.



November 29th, 2021

Jose Manuel (Manny) Otero

Chief Technology Officer, Turnstone Biologics