Cory Tilson, '10, Laureen Tilson, '11 and Alex Rodger, '09
Family Pasta Night Sparks Fun Book Idea
Cory Tilson, 2010, Bachelor of Science in Advertising
Laureen Tilson, 2011, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Alex Rodger, 2009, Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication Design
City: South Euclid, Ohio
Cory - Project Coordinator, Key Bank
Laureen - In-house Attorney
Alex - Humor Card Team Member, American Greetings
Cory, Laureen and Alex always knew they wanted to write a children’s book. One night they decided to have a pasta night and thanks to not having one full box of noodles, the trio came up with the clever idea of writing a book about it. “Throughout dinner that night we started to brainstorm ideas for the characters, their personalities, the town they live in etc.,” Cory says. “From there we spent a couple weeks outlining all the details of the book, found a publisher and artist and were off to the races.”
They recently released, The Pasta Family Goes to Marinara Beach. The married couple graduated from Kent State and co-wrote the book with fellow graduate, Alex Rodgers. They all still enjoy visiting Kent in their free time and are proud KSU alumni!
How has your time at Kent State helped with current successes?
CT/LT: The environment and experiences Kent State provided us gave us room to learn and develop professionally. If it wasn’t for the structure of our programs and engaging faculty, we would not have had the opportunity to grow into the individuals we are today.
AR: It’s paved the way for everything. Visual Communication Design at Kent is a well-respected program, so if you make it through then you’re set up for a great career in the field. The best part though I’d say are all of the friendships I made with other Kent VCD students and faculty. Everyone who has gone through the program is doing amazing things and it pushes me to create and improve what I do in my own career.
Favorite Kent State memory?
CT: Nights when my friends and I went to Kent State Hockey games, then for drinks at Ray's are one's I would not trade for anything.
LT: Being part of the WPNI (Washington Program in National Issues) program and living and working in Washington D.C. with fellow Golden Flashes like a big family are memories I will always celebrate.
AR: My wife and I reconnected there. We knew each other as little kids and randomly saw each other on campus one day and the rest is history. We’ve been married now for 4 years and have our own little boy, Parker. So that’s a pretty good memory, I’d say!
How do you stay connected to Kent State today?
CT/LT: We frequently visit campus to walk around and visit old haunts, and also attend alumni events.
AR: I’m back in Kent all the time to visit family and friends. It’s one of my favorite towns and will always hold a special place in my heart for both reasons.
What advice do you have for current Kent State students?
CT/LT: Take advantage of all the programs and opportunities on and off campus. Don't be afraid to take risks while you can.
AR: For current students in VCD: Keep creating. Be prolific. It takes time to find your niche and create the type of work that you want to make. It took me a while to figure out my style. I now work at American Greetings on the humor card team and have created a children’s clothing company Lil’ Burritos, and a children’s book The Pasta Family Goes To Marinara Beach. So just keep creating and you’ll find your niche!
What do you enjoy most about your career?
CT: I personally enjoy using my natural skills and abilities that I practiced and mastered during my time at Kent, and applying it to real world situations on a daily basis. It has lead me to truly enjoy my job and profession on a daily basis.
LT: As in-house counsel for a local Cleveland company, I get to experience and practice a wide variety of topics that many other attorneys miss out on. It's insightful to see multiple angles and processes and leads to improved problem-solving skills.
AR: I get to do what I love! It‘s a lot of work, but so worth it. Beyond that it’s the variety. The field is filled with lots of options so it’s fun to work on so many different types of projects.