Meet Johnnie & Alana: tour guides with a passion for Marquette and the Diederich College of Communication

Known for being genuine and creating one-to-one connections, student tour guides such as Alana Walkush and Johnnie Brooker are Marquette’s — and the Diederich College’s — best ambassadors.

Diedrich College of Communication, Johnnie and Alanna, Tour guides

Photos by Kat Schleicher

Welcome to Marquette

At a typical university, when prospective students and their families arrive to take a tour, often 25 people or more will head off in a herd. But Marquette is different. Before tours depart, guides discuss the prospective students in attendance that day — their hometowns, their academic interests, what they like to do outside of class.

They’re seeking matches, opportunities to connect with prospective students and their families — often one-to-one — around a shared interest, affinity or regional outlook. It’s a human-centered approach that distinguishes Marquette’s approach to campus visits.

Junior Johnnie Brooker and senior Alana Walkush are two of Marquette’s expert guides, specialists in the rich two-way conversations that make no two tours identical. Since both are students in the Diederich College of Communication, they’re a natural match when a prospective student is interested in journalism, advertising, marketing or other majors relating to communication. And neither holds back about why they chose the college, which experiences and resources they’ve found most valuable, or why Johnston Hall feels like home to them.

Johnnie Brooker, journalism major

Johnnie brooker

His hometown:

East Orange, New Jersey

His majors:

Journalism and political science

What he remembers about his own tour:

“I remember walking into Johnston Hall and loving spaces like the student media room. I show those spaces off during tours now, because seeing them for yourself makes a big difference. I saw where the Marquette Wire and where other student media outlets set up shop. And it’s impressive. It makes you feel like you’re getting a first-class experience in journalism.”

How he got his nickname, “Mr. Marquette”:

From the start, he’s been very involved: the Marquette Wire, Urban Scholars, the University Honors Program, The Les Aspin Center, his fraternity and the list goes on. “I love having a positive impact on people. As my dad says: We’re blessed to bless others. That’s why I get called ‘Mr. Marquette.’”

His favorite aspect of studying journalism:

“Our college has amazing professors. The staff, the dean, my adviser — I’ve built genuine relationships with all of them. A close-knit community makes us family. I show off the college that I call home and where I strive to make a difference.”

Something surprising he likes to share on tours:

“I say we’re two campuses in one. We’re a city campus in downtown Milwaukee, but behind the library, you’re in our green space — the best of both worlds.”

Why he loves Marquette:

“We have a little bit of everything here. We have a great alumni network. Marquette can prepare you to be the professional you want to be. For me — I wanted to go into journalism and political science, and Marquette is very good in those two fields. You’re able to meet people from all over the country and around the world, they come from all over — that’s just Marquette. It also doesn’t hurt that we’re a Division 1 school!”

A meaningful reflection he likes to share:

“Families ask me why a Jersey kid would come out here for school, and I always answer: ‘Marquette is truly the school for me. It has everything I could possibly want, except a football team.’”

True to his nickname, you can read more about Mr. Marquette’s involvement on campus — such as Brooker’s time collaborating on the inclusive, student-run Diederich College of Communication event Friendsgiving, as well as his internship as a digital intern with WITI, Fox 6 News in Milwaukee through the Emma Bowen Foundation fellowship.

Alana Walkush, advertising and marketing major

Alana Walkush tour guide

Her hometown:

Seattle, Washington

Her major:

Advertising with a minor in marketing

About her:

She has lived in the Sigma Kappa sorority house, is a member of the Native American Student Association (NASA), and is a marketing intern for the Career Services Center.

How she learned about Marquette:

“My sister was studying at Marquette, and I felt really welcomed during a visit. I didn’t take an official tour, but I did meet with someone in the College of Communication. She gave me a hug right away, and that was kind and very welcoming. She laid out all the classes I would take for the four years I’d be here — and I wasn’t initially planning on the College of Communication — I was admitted into the College of Business originally. She was so willing to meet with me and try to learn what I wanted to do. And I thought that was awesome. When I toured another university, I didn’t get that same experience.”

How she describes learning in the college:

“When we talk about class size, Marquette’s pretty unique. You have smaller class sizes and lectures. But a good part of our work in Communication is in group projects. It’s great because you get hands-on experience collaborating. There have been projects where we take a brand or product and get to create a whole ad campaign. From writing creative briefs to designing the ads, it’s been a great learning experience.”

A favorite feature of Marquette:

“You’ll find your community here. For me, it’s in my marketing classes, NASA, my sorority and my core friend group. It’s many communities, but we’re all connected through Marquette.”

A fact people are surprised to learn about Marquette:

“It is very easy to talk to your professors and they will learn your name!”

Her tour guide style:

Genuine and relatable: “I feel like the biggest asset we have as tour guides is being very real with students.”

Something fun she does on a Saturday:

“One of the things we do for fun is head downtown. It might be a little unknown by prospective students, or underappreciated, that we have this great access to downtown Milwaukee and enjoy exploring.”