By Kaitlin Peffer, Staff Writer

Last weekend, 18 people gazed in awe of the Armstrong Student Center for the first time, had looks of puzzlement when the student cashier at Garden Commons told them to “tap their card” and chatted over dinner with President Crawford as they reminisced about their days at Miami.

Last weekend, Miami held its annual “18 of the Last 9” event to acknowledge the accomplishments of 18 young Miami alumni who have graduated within the last nine years. Following the same concept as Forbes’ “30 Under 30,” Miami’s Alumni Association created this award to encourage alumni to keep in contact with their alma mater, as well as network with current students striving for a career in the same field.

From Harvard graduates to surgical residents to executive leaders in top-notch Fortune 500 companies, this year’s “18 of the Last 9” are making great strides in the adult world. Even after relocating out of state or across the country for the next chapter of their journeys, these Miami alumni have not forgotten their roots in Ohio.

“Coming back to Miami is always great because it gives me the opportunity to engage with current students, and it helps me to remember where I come from,” said Marni Goldberg.

Goldberg ’07 looks fondly around The Miami Student newsroom thinking on her own days as Editor-in-Chief of the campus paper. She left her hometown of Buffalo Grove, Ill. to come to Miami in 2003, before the Farmer School of Business was even built.

Having obtained degrees in journalism and political science, she now works on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as the Director of Public Affairs in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Her résumé includes working with three U.S. senators, a member of Congress and the Obama Administration.

“Miami will always be a happy place full of warm, welcoming, kind people,” said Goldberg. “It doesn’t matter where you go, Oxford will always be a place I call home.”

While on campus, the Miami alumni took the opportunity to network with each other and with the current students. Kristen Stoehr ’10 is a member of the Cleveland chapter for Miami alumni. She was quick to offer advice to students on the brink of their post-graduate careers.

“You have to learn basic work etiquette, especially Microsoft Outlook,” said Stoehr. “I work 45 to 60 hours per week, and it is open on my computer for 45 to 60 hours per week. There is no more humbling experience than asking your boss how to do a simple task like setting up a meeting.”

Stoehr dreams of pasta every night and eats it every day as part of her job as Associate Brand Manager at Nestlé in Solon, Ohio.

Using her degree in nutrition and dietetics, Stoehr creates healthier eating options for busy families in the product innovation division of Buitoni pasta.

The ambition of a Miami student does not go away after graduation. Already seven years into her career, Taylor Robinson ’09 is hungry for more.

“Basically, I want to be second in command to Michelle Obama,” said Robinson.

Robinson majored in American studies with a thematic sequence in entrepreneurship. After obtaining her Master’s degree in strategic public administration at the University of Southern California, Robinson moved to San Francisco where she became a public relations representative doing advertisements and visual effects editing for Lucasfilm and Industrial Light Magic. She even got to work on visual effects and sound editing for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Robinson currently works as a PR Manager at Heat in San Francisco where she creates advertisements for video games, such as Madden, and companies, such as Hotwire.

“I was in the fortunate situation where I could take an untraditional major like American studies and customize it to my interests,” said Robinson. “My film professors’ passion for the subject matter inspired me to learn while reassuring me that I was on the right career path.”

One of the 2015 honorees, Ryan Snyder ’07, was also present this weekend. After graduating with a degree in political science, Snyder moved to South Bend, Ind. to attend law school at the University of Notre Dame where he graduated first in his class.

After working for several senators, appeals court judges and Supreme Court justices in four states, Snyder and his wife moved back to Ohio where he started his new job as an attorney for Jones Day in Columbus.

Snyder agrees that the people at Miami are what make the university so great. He and his wife still reunite with their college friends and old roommates by planning trips to Oxford. Snyder also keeps in touch with his favorite political science professor, John Forren, by setting up a summer legal internship program for current political science students at Miami.

“When students start to view their education as a career rather than a piece of paper, they will get so much more out of their degree,” said Snyder. “Learning is a choice, and you have to make the decision of getting the most out of all of your classes every day.”