2014 IlliniComeback Guests


Suheily Natal Davis

Suheily Natal Davis uses her journalistic and legal skills to increase the number of women of color in the profession of law. Her ability to communicate across racial, gender and socioeconomic lines has resulted in improving the community of Chicago, where she has been recognized twice as a “Rising Star” in the legal profession by Super Lawyers Magazine, an honor reserved for less than 3 percent of all lawyers in the state of Illinois. Davis has served on the board of directors for both the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago and the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois, where she implemented several initiatives aimed at recruiting and retaining women of color in law school, law firms, corporations and the judiciary. A member of the associate board of CARPLS, an innovative legal-aid provider for low-income residents of Cook County, Illinois, she also writes and edits the Illinois Employment Law letter, a monthly publication highlighting recent developments in employment law. Having previously worked for nearly seven years in the Chicago office of Ford Harrison LLP, a private law firm focusing on national labor and employment law, in 2014 Davis joined the global labor and employment team at McDonalds Corp. She earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the College of Media in 2004.

James E. Schlueter

James E. Schlueter currently serves as the director of technology communications at Boeing’s Commercial Airplane Group in Chicago, but he hasn’t forgotten the education he received at the University of Illinois College of Media that launched his media career. As such, Schlueter and his wife, Amy, have created the Schlueter Family Endowed Fund for Internships in Journalism, believing that “gaining as much real-life experience as possible can make a big difference for our students when they enter our challenging media and communications job market.” An Illini fan since childhood, Schlueter became a sports writer at The Daily Illini student newspaper as a UI sophomore, and after graduating, he worked at the Daily Leader in Pontiac, Ill.; the Danville (Ill.) Commercial News; and at a newspaper in Collinsville, Ill. Moving on to McDonnell Douglas, Schlueter wrote for its employee newspaper, and after the company merged with Boeing, he moved into communications, working with international communications, commercial airplanes and technology. In addition to his financial support of the College of Media, Schlueter serves on the college’s new volunteer leadership board and Leadership Council, as well as guiding students interested in careers in journalism. He earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism in 1980 from the College of Media.

Der-Tsai Lee

Dr. Der-Tsai Lee is an accomplished computer scientist and president of National Chung Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan. His research interests include the design and analysis of algorithms, software security, digital libraries and bioinformatics. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from National Taiwan University in 1971, he spent 25 years in the U.S.—first studying computer science at the University of Illinois, then teaching in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at Northwestern University. In 1998, Lee became a distinguished research fellow with the Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, back in Taiwan, and was also its director through 2008. He has led numerous research enterprises, including roles as president of the Institute of Information and Computing Machinery, executive director of the Taiwan Information Security Center and deputy program director of the Taiwan e-Learning and Digital Archives Program. In addition to holding a research chair at National Taiwan University, he has a joint appointment with the Research Center for Information Technology Innovation, Academia Sinica. Among many honors, he has received the Humboldt Research Award, the Science Profession Medal from Taiwan’s National Science Council, and the German-Taiwanese Friendship Medal. He earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in computer science from the UI College of Engineering in 1976 and 1978, respectively.