Get to Know Blackhawk’s Emily Rankin, Student Engagement Specialist

January 31, 2024


Welcome to our “Get to Know Blackhawk” series, which uses a Q&A format to showcase the diverse and talented individuals within the college community.

What is your name and where did you grow up?

My name is Emily Rankin and I grew up in Johnsburg, Illinois.

What is your role at Blackhawk Technical College?

I am the Student Engagement Specialist.

What was your journey to this role? Where did you go to school? What did you study?

I studied Environmental Science and Media Communication at Taylor University.

Is there something that drew you to this career?

I value the impact of education, and I enjoy creating meaningful experiences. My job is a fun combination of the two.

What is something Blackhawk offers its students that you feel other colleges do not?

Blackhawk seems to care for students as individuals, not just as statistics or numbers. There is a level of dedication I have noticed in my short time here that has impressed me. When I saw the resources and opportunities provided by Blackhawk to help students succeed in multifaceted ways, I was excited to be involved.

What is your life like outside of work? Family? Community involvement? Adorable pets?

I have two dogs, Ace and Lenny, and a husband, Daniel, at home. We spend a lot of time with my family and try to go on trips to visit his family in North Carolina and St. Louis as frequently as possible. We do a lot of cooking, watch movies and play video games most nights.

If you had to pick one season to live in all year round, which season would you choose?


Probably early fall when there is a good balance of warm and cold weather so I can be cozy but still want to be outside.

What was your first job?

I worked at the front desk of my dorm during my freshman year of college.

What's one song that must always be on your playlist?

“Hazy Shade of Winter,” the Gerard Way version. It's a certified banger.

What/who is your favorite book or author?

“Bullet Train” by Kotaro Isaka is an incredibly well-written book. It may not be my absolute favorite, as it is a bit bleak, but it was well done. The movie was pretty good too!

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Mint cookies and cream

What/who is your favorite sports team or pro athlete?

Air Bud—a phenomenal player.

What is your dream vacation destination?

I’d like to go to Norway to see the fjords, but anywhere in Scandinavia/northern Europe would be great!

What is your favorite movie?

“The Prestige” is a fantastic movie; however, I typically go for dumb comedies.

If you could be any animal, which one would you choose and why?

Some kind of weasel. They look like they’re always having a good time.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you pick?

Earth bending would be pretty cool.

If you could learn any language, which one would you choose?

I would like to learn American Sign Language, so I could communicate better with my father-in-law.

Who is your favorite Muppet?

My favorite Muppet duo would be Gonzo and Rizzo, but if I had to go with just one single Muppet, it would be Pepe the King Prawn.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? Tell us the story of how you met.

I helped plan concerts and a few large events at George Williams College and met a few notable people that way. Hillary Clinton is probably the most famous person I have met. She was speaking at an engagement I was working at, and I made her some of my own lemon ginger tea. I also drove the band Air Supply to and from the airport a few years ago. Apart from work-related instances, I have met a few stand-up comedians like Rory Scovel and Ron Funches, and once held direct eye contact with Martin Short as we walked by each other in a hotel lobby.

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