There’s nothing I enjoy more at work than helping Denison students or alumni answer the questions “What do I want to be when I grow up…and how can I get there?” Maybe that’s because my own career journey has been a classic liberal arts college graduate story and far from linear!
I majored in history, dabbled in courses in French, political science, and education, and studied abroad in France. I thought I was going to be a lawyer until a summer job as a paralegal ended that idea. Since college, I have enjoyed four distinct careers. I taught history, math, and theater at a couple of boarding schools for 6 years, then served as an admission officer (undergrad and MBA) for 8 years, worked in various Human Resources roles at General Mills for 20 years, and now am in my fifth year at Denison as Executive Director for the Knowlton Center at Denison. Every day I use my liberal arts skills of critical thinking, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and verbal and written communication. I have never been bored professionally and I am still learning every day!
Along the way, I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to live in a variety of states and countries: New York, Virginia, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Minnesota, France, Holland, England , Canada, and now Ohio. So when people ask “where are you from?”, I’m never quite sure how to answer because although I was born in New York (and lived there three times), I’ve spent more years in Minnesota than in any other location (18 winters to be precise).
I’m fortunate to have been happily married for 31 years to a fellow liberal arts graduate and both our grown sons are liberal arts graduates too (Denison and Hamilton). And yes, I edit their resumes, when asked!
Director, Career Communities and Coaching
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, I came to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University. As a first-generation college student and graduate, I felt incredibly uncertain and confused about how to turn my major into a career after college (yet here I am as a Career Coach!). I found my way into the central Ohio Non-profit sector due to my love of service and volunteerism. The skills I gained while working for a variety of nonprofit organizations, including The Childhood League Center and The United Way of Central Ohio, led me to The Hill in 2016.
Empowering people to build confidence, skills, and the courage to design the lives they want to lead has been a core part of my life and career. As the Director of Career Communities and Coaching, I have the privilege of working with a team of really smart and talented people, developing innovative approaches to career exploration and preparation that meets the needs of today’s college student and the ever-changing landscape of today’s workforce. While I’m a generalist, coaching students on all career-related topics, I have a great interest in helping students discover and identify their strengths and build their career confidence.
When not at Denison, you can find me leading my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop, cheering on all Cleveland Teams and the Ohio State Buckeyes, doing anything and everything creative (I can do amazing things with a glue gun), reading mystery books, decorating cookies, and listening to 90’s grunge music.
Career CommunitiesTechnology, Data and Science
Senior Associate Director, Career Exploration
I am a first-generation student and proud graduate of THE Ohio State University, where I received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. My career began in consumer product marketing before opening and operating my own business. I stepped away from the workforce to spend time with my three children before transitioning to the non-profit sector and, finally, higher education.
In my role as a career coach, I love getting to see students’ career journeys evolve over their four years at Denison. Not sure where you want to land after Denison; I welcome those conversations! In my free time, I enjoy biking, hiking, kayaking, and reading. Fun fact: You will NEVER hear me complain about summer heat!
Career CommunitiesExploration Community
Senior Associate Director
As a graduate of a small liberal arts college, I remember so clearly feeling like I had a world of opportunity ahead of me, but feeling equally unsure of what I wanted to do or how to take advantage of those opportunities. In my role in the Knowlton Center, I get to support students and alumni in navigating their career choices during their time at Denison and beyond, and strive to be the guide and sounding board I wish I’d had when I was an undergraduate student. I love helping students work through decisions and execute a plan–even if that plan changes ten times over the course of their college career! As the Nonprofit, Education, & Government community lead, I am excited to use my previous experience as a K-12 educator and knowledge of the nonprofit space to help students explore and prepare for careers in these fields!
I live in Columbus, and love taking advantage of all the great things living there has to offer (I recommend you get off the hill and explore Columbus if you can!). When I’m not on campus helping students, you’ll find me gardening, reading sci-fi and fantasy novels, playing board games that nobody’s ever heard of, and talking to my cats like they’re real people.
Career CommunitiesNonprofit, Education and Government
My career began in Human Resources supporting employees of large healthcare systems. In my time in HR, I wore many hats in recruitment and compensation. While I loved this work, in 2012 I was looking for a change in direction and thought that my recruiting experience would be a great fit supporting college students starting their careers. Thankfully, I was right! Supporting college students as they navigate their future career paths and discover their potential is a true dream job. I love helping students see what could be possible when thinking of post college life. I value building connections with students and serving as a voice of support as they work toward achieving their goals. As the leader of the Financial Services, Consulting, and Business career community I’m excited to make students aware of all the amazing opportunities available and encourage them to aim high!
Specialties and InterestsFinancial Services, Consulting, and Business Career Community Lead
Career CommunitiesFinancial Services, Consulting and Business
Heather Johnston Welliver
Born in Canada, I grew up in Akron, Ohio, and attended the University of Dayton (Go Flyers!). I spent my twenty-somethings finding myself working as a high ropes instructor and middle school teacher in Connecticut, Colorado, and Australia. I returned to Ohio to earn my Master’s degree in Higher Education in 2009 and have been here at Denison ever since. I spent my first decade at Denison working in the Academic Resource Center, helping students learn to balance their academics with their life outside the classroom.
In 2019, I transitioned to the Knowlton Center as a part-time Career Coach. While I focus on students interested in the many pathways in healthcare, I remember my exploratory days so fondly (so many possibilities!) and also love to coach students still figuring it out.
I spend my time outside of Denison chasing after my kids, playing soccer, swimming, skiing, visiting my family’s cottage on Lake Huron, and volunteering for stillbirth prevention.
Specialties and InterestsPre-health
Career CommunitiesHealthcare and Clinical Research
As a first gen student, I graduated summa cum laude from Franklin University in 2016 after spending 12 years in finance. This journey revealed my love of learning and shaped my transition into higher ed. I joined Denison University in 2015 as an Assistant to the Dean. In my current role as Program Manager, I manage the Denison Internship Program, Career Communities, and provide program support for our coaches. I am currently studying instructional design and am excited to use what I learn in my role. When I am not at work or studying, you will find me outside finding anything to do to keep me there. Porch time is my favorite and I spend most evenings there reflecting on the day.
Senior Associate Director
I earned a BA in Political Science from Marietta College in 2012. As a first generation college student, I really didn’t know how to figure this whole “college life and careers” thing out. In the process of learning for myself, I grew a love for helping others navigate the many choices involved in college life and successful post-graduation launch. This drew me to obtaining a M.Ed. from Ohio University in 2014. I began my career in higher education as an academic advisor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (Go Vols!). I transitioned to Denison and the Knowlton Center in 2016. At Denison, I focus on coaching students interested in healthcare, clinical research and graduate school in order to best assist students in pursuing meaningful and successful futures. Outside of work you can find me traveling, reading, cuddling my cat Chunk, or geeking out over video games with my husband Matt.
Career CommunitiesHealthcare and Clinical Research
Assistant Director - Marketing, Sales, & Communication Career Community
While not new to the Knowlton Center, I am new to the role of Assistant Director – Marketing, Sales, & Communication Career Community, and I’m excited to serve the Denison community in a new capacity after spending the last three years on the Employer & Alumni Relations team.
My background is in recruiting, coaching, and athletics communication. I look forward to utilizing the skillset that I’ve developed from those experiences and helping students that want to enter into careers that prioritize relationship management, selling a product, telling a compelling story, or one of the many other transferrable skills developed at Denison.
I earned my B.A. in Political Science & History from Muskingum University in 2011. When I’m not at work, you can usually find me on the golf course, in the gym, cheering on the Browns, or trying restaurants with my wife, Kayley.
Specialties and InterestsMarketing, Sales, Communication, Sports Management, Higher Education, Recruiting
Career CommunitiesMarketing, Sales and Communication
Assistant Director for International Student Career Exploration
Career CommunitiesTechnology, Data and Science
Career Coach and Community Lead, Visual, Written and Performing Arts
Alexis Wilson was born in The Netherlands to Dutch ballerina Sonja Van Beers and African-American ballet star and Broadway choreographer Billy Wilson. Raised and educated in the U.S., Alexis has enjoyed an exciting background in the theater as a professional dancer, actress, and casting director. Later she continued on as a published author (NOT SO BLACK AND WHITE), speaker, and writing mentor.
Since living in Columbus, Alexis has worked as a conceptualizer, producer, director & writer for
two special big events with her husband (Artistic Dir. of The Columbus Jazz Orchestra) Byron
Stripling: A CONCERT FOR COLUMBUS at The Southern Theater and A CONCERT TO END
HOMELESSNESS at The Riffe. Alexis has worked as a guest artist with The Wexner’s PAGES
project; an interactive arts initiative created for high school students to tackle challenging social
content. In 2018, she wrote an original musical called RENAISSANCE MAGIC! created
exclusively for The Lincoln Theatre.
She is currently at work on her second memoir, was hired in 2020 to direct a brand new addition to the Olentangy Orange Drama Department called the Out-Loud BIPOC Theatre Collective, as well as works as a private writing coach to help other writers.
Alexis is very excited to continue supporting and guiding young people here at Denison and looks forward to being a part of the already very welcoming community of The Knowlton Center. At the top of Alexis’s list is being a mom to two daughters and living with Byron in Westerville.
Career CommunitiesVisual, Written and Performing Arts
I graduated in 2001 from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and concentration in Spanish. I obtained my master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Miami University in 2005 and began my career as an Academic Advisor at OSU. Much of my time advising was spent helping students explore majors and careers of interest and helping students gain internship experience to test out different career fields. This eventually led me to career development work, where I have spent the last 12 years of my career. I consider it a privilege to support students in their career journey. As a part-time Career Coach, I work primarily with students who are in the exploration phase of their career development; however, I’m happy to coach students on any career-related topic.
I reside in nearby Johnstown with my husband, three young daughters and our dog. I love coffee, plants, reading, traveling, running, baking and spending time outdoors.