PROFILE – Morgan Waller Discusses How Northern Helped Lead Her To Her Future Career


Photo courtesy of Morgan Waller

PROFILE — Morgan Waller was elected Vice President of Cook County Public Schools, which she described as a “full circle moment” in relation to her time at Northern. Waller graduated Northern with a Bachelor’s in Public Relations in 2016 and again with a Master’s in Public Administration in 2018.

Harry Stine

If there is anyone you could truly call a jack of all trades, it might just be NMU alum Morgan Waller.

Morgan Waller graduated from Northern twice, once in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in political science, and again in 2018 with a master’s in public administration, with a concentration in business. Now, she’s vice president of Cook County Public Schools, director of communications and public affairs for Cook County, and is a member of the board of directors for the NMU Alumni Association.

“I feel like Northern was the best choice for me, because I just felt like I understood what was going on in the campus,” Waller said. “I was just involved in a lot. It got me out of my shell, I opened up a lot. I learned a lot about myself.”

Waller came to Northern from her hometown of Chicago, which she described as “a culture shock,” but quickly adapted, getting as involved on campus as possible. Over her time at Northern, she interned in the sports department, worked as box office manager for the Forest Roberts Theater, worked the desk in Magers Hall, and worked for the anthropology department and the sociology department. She even played on the volleyball team for a semester.

“I literally did every job on campus,” Waller said. “Except working in the dining hall.”

Initially, Waller came to Northern to study sports management, but had to change after the major got suspended. After speaking with her advisor, public relations came up, and she said she never changed majors again. It was a perfect fit.

For her minor, she tried out a few different fields. She started with dance, then moved to pre-law, and then decided on political science, something she said made a lot more sense after graduation.

“I went home one summer and started interning for the local city, which was Calumet City,” Waller said. “I started doing PR (public relations) for them. And I was like, ‘I can do this.’”

Waller mentioned that after graduating, it only took her a little over three months to work at a job in her position. A year after that, she ran for office, securing a seat on the school board of her high school, a precursor to her current position as vice president of Cook County Public Schools where the political science minor finally came back.

However, Waller is quick to note that the months after graduation are not the same for everybody, and it is not uncommon for it to take up to a year to find a job in your field.

“Just take your time. Don’t be in a rush to jump into anything … it’s gonna be trial and error. So, take that time to do that,” Waller said.

She said networking is an important part of diving into your career, a topic she actually returned to Northern to deliver a TedTalk on back in 2019. Any nearby career events, according to Waller, are worth coming by and passing a few business cards out at.

“Take your time and don’t get depressed, because depression is real after you graduate. That is very much real. But take the time to travel the world,” Waller said. “And yes, the money will come.”