There was considerable post show debate as to if Marz still has some of Mark's comic books. Marz is a long time vetran of the Chicago stand-up and improv comedy scene. He is also a founding member of the improv troupe Pimprov. Marz can also be found as the in-stadium host for the Chicago Bulls at The United Center.
A product of Columbia College's playwriting program Jake came to Chicago from Houston Texas with aspirations of a career writing for the stage. However, as he found his interest in writing fading he became absorbed in the art of pie. This creator of e-learning programs by day has recently relocated to Seattle were he is in preparation to follow his dreams by opening his own pie shop Mrs. Lovett's.
Michi Trota is the Senior Features Editor for Consumer Content at the Encyclopedia Brittanica, on the board of the Chicago Nerd Social Club, a fire performer at Raks Geek and the managing editor of Uncanny Magazine, a science fiction and fantasy publication. In other words, she’s a very busy and impressive woman. Michi’s career aspirations started with Marine Biology, but she quickly fell in love with writing and has made her career as an editor in and out of traditional publication industries. With the position of Managing Editor at Uncanny Magazine, she’s had the opportunity to read and edit some of science fiction’s up and coming authors, and is an avid fan of the genre.
Michi was on our panel for Professional Geek: How to Turn Your Profession Into A Career at C2E2, and has been speaking at C2E2 and other entertainment expos and comic cons since 2012.
Becky is the President of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association, a national award winning blogger, and columnist as well as an English professor at Northeastern Illinois University. Becky recently concluded teaching her first semester of her course "Making your Liberal Arts Degree Work: Writing for the Professional World and Internships."
Becky has seen her writing work published in such publications as RootSpeak magazine, NewCity, StreetWise, PoliticusUSA, Make It Better and the Edge Media Network. She has also had her work featured at Wrigleyville Nation and writes a weekly political/cultural column for Contemptor.
Majdi is a video game professional, currently the team lead for Global Assault, the mobile game created by Synapse Games. But Majdi got his start as a Writer and Designer for indie video game darling Octodad and its sequel Octodad: Dadliest Catch, a Young Horses Production.
Sean Fewster is a crime reporter in Adelaide, South Australia. He is currently serving as the Chief Court Reporter for The Advertise and The Sunday Mail newspapers in Adelaide. In addition to Sean’s work as a reporter, he is also the author of “City of Evil: The Truth About Adelaide’s Strange and Violent Underbelly.” His crime reporting focuses on the real voices and experiences of victims and perpetrators alike. Although his job can be very upsetting, it was his love for V for Vendetta, Batman, and Superman at a young age that helped him realize that he could be a true crime story-telling vigilante that gave a voice to those being judged in the court of public opinion. Additionally, Sean sits on the board of the Carly Ryan Foundation for Internet Safety and has lectured on the subjects of Victimology and Psychology.
Paul Alexander Clark
Paul Alexander Clark is the Director of Healthcare Research at Digital Reasoning Systems and the CEO of his own company Curate Health. At Digital Reasoning Systems, Paul helps develop artificial intelligence technology that helps identify health problems, such as cancer, that health professionals might miss when focusing on more immediate issues, such as a concussion. Paul’s work as a healthcare professional was originally inspired by his own experience as a childhood patient recovering from a traumatic accident to work in health research and application to improve patient experience. But his career started because of his passion for Sim City and an ability to code
Wesley Sun is a writer and the Communications Director at Sun Bros Studios, a creative comic book publication company that he founded with his brother Brad Sun. At Sun Bros Studios, Wesley has co-written the indie darling comics "Chinatown", "Monkeyfist", and "Apocalypse Man", and has had his comic book works featured in "Killer Queen" and "Then It Was Dark". Wesley speaks at comic book conventions and entertainment expos around the midwest about inclusion in geek culture, how to self publish and be successful doing it, and how to reach your goals on crowdfunding campaigns--which Sun Bros Studios has accomplished numerous times. In addition to his comic book life, Wesley is the Director of Field Education and Community Engagement at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, where he teaches and manages internships, as well as being a volunteer chaplain at Cook County Jail.
Indiana "Froskurinn" Black
Indiana Black, better known by her online handle “Froskurinn”, is an e-sports shoutcaster, or color commentator, for the Tencent League of Legends Pro League for the LPL region of professional competitive LoL. A native of Portland, Oregon, Indiana turned her geeky passion for video games into a career as a player, coach and shoutcaster for one of the world’s most popular video games after developing a strong viewership on Twitch. She took a big risk and moved to Sydney, Australia in order to provide English commentary for China’s top competitive division. In addition to her gig at Riot Games in Syndey, she has also provided her analysis for a number of international tournaments such as the Intel Extreme Masters and The International Wildcard Tournament. Indiana has also served as a coach at both the University and Professional level for teams in China, Europe and the US, including a stint at Chicago’s Robert Morris University.
Carlyn Hill is the Writer and Content Manager at Threadless.com, an online apparel company that prints designs which are submitted and voted on by their artist community. In this role, Carlyn manages the site’s blog contributors and writes original and branded content. She also writes for HelloGiggles, The Mary Sue, and Black Girl Nerds. There’s no doubt Carlyn is an accomplished writer, but she didn’t plan on a writing career, she initially graduated Indiana University with a B.A in Psychology and minor in Telecommunications, because she was torn between a career in psychology or television. As she likes to put it, she's currently using her Psych degree as a coffee coaster. Carlyn has been a panelist for our live events at C2E2, Wizard World Chicago, and Indy PopCon. When she’s not writing, you can find her doing freelance illustration, praising the Oxford comma, or spending time with her boyfriend, Netflix.
Chris-Rachael Oseland, better known by her online blogger name “The Kitchen Overlord”, is a full-time geeky cookbook author and culinary historian. Her books “Dining with The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook”, “Wood for Sheep: The Unauthorized Settlers of Catan Cookbook”, and “The Illustrated Geek Cookbook” have all seen viral success, and she has had many recipes featured in io9 and Nerdist(including the famed Dune Bread recipe from the 2015 holiday season). In addition to her cookbooks, she has been the host of numerous local television shows in Austin, TX where she currently resides, and is beginning to dip her toes into the podcasting world where she will tell geeky stories and review geeky products
Keisha Howard is a multi-faceted entrepreneur who has taken her passion for technology and video games and translated that into the Sugar Gamers online community, and other creative projects. Sugar Gamers, under Keisha’s leadership and dedication, strives to break down many of the barriers that people of color, women and LGBTQIA* individuals may experience in gaming and tech industries. Sugar Gamers facilitates after school programs, networking events, gaming get togethers, and geek events, and gives Keisha the opportunity to be a frequent speaker at comic book conventions and entertainment expos. Keisha’s work with Sugar Gamers has offered her some minor celebrity, affording her national television appearances on shows like SyFy Channel’s Robot Combat League, and allowing her to interface with pop culture creators such as George Lucas and Stan Lee. Keisha recently broke past the chains of the 9-5 to start a second company as the chief architect behind The BlazeBreakers, a digital marketing agency. At BlazeBreakers, Keisha helps brands market themselves to customers that don’t necessarily want to be marketed to.
Ralph "Rafael" Corona
Ralph Corona is an award winning tattoo and graphic artist who specializes in comic-book style art. As one of the owners and artists of Code of Conduct tattoo parlor in Chicago, Ralph is sought out by individuals looking for comic book and cartoon characters to be tattooed on their bodies, as well as original tattoo art concepts. Ralph’s childhood love of superheroes and cartoons, as well as his father’s own surreal painting, inspired him to become a visual artist. He took over ownership of Code of Conduct with his friends, where they are able to display their own artwork as well as create tattoo works for customers.
Paul & Storm
Paul & Storm are a musical act who are known internationally and across the Internet for their musical comedy, which is often considered to have a “nerd-ish” bent. In addition to their own live performances, Paul Sabourin & Storm DiCostanzo are co-founders of the geek-oriented variety show w00tstock along with Wil Wheaton of Star Trek and Adam Savage of Mythbusters, which takes place at San Diego Comic Con. Their song “Another Irish Drinking Song” was featured in the hit movie Despicable Me 2, and the duo have had their guitar smashed on stage by George R. R. Martin.
Paul & Storm co-produce the annual JoCo Cruise with Jonathan Coulton, which will be taking off for its seventh year this Spring. JoCo Cruise has over 2,000 participants and is still taking bookings for the 7-day event, which takes place from March 4th - 11th, 2017 and departs from San Diego.
Cory Coken is a Sound Designer whose career has touched the soundscape of many worlds: film, television, video games, radio shows, and more. Along with his extensive background and work on broadcast commercials and other commercial work, Cory’s credits include Hoop Dreams, Goodfellas, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Shaq Vs and Apollo 13 (for which he has an Oscar), and those are just a few of the notable names that jump out from his IMDB credits list, which includes over 120 titles. In addition to his production credits, Cory also teaches the next generation of audio and sound designers as an instructor at his Alma Mater, Chicago’s own Columbia College. Cory is also one of the owners at NoiseFloor, Professional Geek Podcast’s home recording studio in downtown Chicago.
Jessie Link joins hosts Blaire Knight-Graves and Mark Beers to discuss her experience as a software engineer. Although she is currently serving as a Director of Engineering at Twitter, Jessie’s career did not start in coding--she originally pursued an Air Force fighter pilot career before moving into software engineering. She previously lent her talents to brands such as Living Social and Looking Glass Cyber Solutions before ultimately finding an international career at Twitter’s United Kingdom offices.
In this very special episode of Professional Geek Podcast, host Blaire Knight-Graves interviews co-host Mark Beers to discuss the history of their friendship, Mark’s professional life and career track, his other podcast Across the Nerdaverse, his trivia night in Chicago called Riddle Me That, and his geeky obsessions which include pop culture trivia, DC Comics, video games, and the theatre.
Max is a designer for political campaigns and games. Max, along with 7 of his grade school friends, are the creative minds behind the hit party game Cards Against Humanity. Max has lent his design talents to such clients as Obama for America, Hillary for America, Jonathan Coulton and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In addition to Cards Against Humanity, Max’s designs can also be seen through his contributions to the creation of games such as Secret Hitler, Slap .45, Humans vs. Zombies and “Table Flip”. He also serves on the board of The Chicago Design Museum as well as Friends of the Bloomington Trail and sits on the National Advisory committee for DonorsChoose. Most recently he is one of the co-founders of Black Box, a new independent shipping company.
Instead of following Max online, he encourages our listeners to visit https://5calls.org/ to learn how you can help change the political climate for the better.