Brandon Allen, Booth School of Business

Data analyst. Strategic initiatives at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Akila Ally, University of Chicago, AB'16

Recent college graduate working in public health. Future plan includes working towards an MD or MPH degree incorporating a gender studies and social equity lens. Akila is interested in health disparities, social determinants of health, and behavioral and medical health integration in the local and global sector. She grew up in Bangladesh and is interested in critically examining South Asian civic engagement and advocacy. She has been working as a grant writer and project coordinator in Chicago for 2 years and also has 3+ years of clinical research experience. Experienced in motivational interviewing, focus group moderation, implementation of outcome-based culturally tailored interventions, and designing programs to service people impacted adversely by the criminal justice system. Akila enjoys mentoring students and assisting with fellowship/jobs/grants application.

Shannon Bartlett, Dean of Students, Law School

College and law school graduate. Current higher education administrator.  Practiced law in the public and private sectors.

Joe Bernstein, Senior Director, Financial & Grant Services

Dr. Joseph P. Bernstein is concurrently pursuing his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and working as the Senior Director, Financial & Grant Services, in the University of Chicago Division of the Humanities. Joe was the first in his family to graduate from college in 1996, when he earned his University of Chicago AB in Physics. He then earned an MS in Physics from the University of Kentucky in 1998 and a PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics from the University of Michigan in 2008 (MS 2002). Joe then worked as a postdoctoral researcher and communications professional at Argonne National Laboratory until 2013. Subsequently, he managed a graduate career advising team at the University of Chicago and then co-founded H-CORE, LLC, in 2014. Joe went on to work as a Financial Representative and Associate Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual before returning to the University of Chicago in 2016 as a Financial Administrator in the Physical Sciences Division Local Business Center. Joe served as the Graduate Employees Organization Grievance Committee Chair and a Student Conflict Resolution Panelist at the University of Michigan. He founded the Talk to Joe the Astronomer education and public outreach program in 2008 and served as the 2011 Outreach Committee Chair for the National Postdoctoral Association. Joe has also been a public outreach volunteer at the Adler Planetarium and volunteer advocate with Rape Victim Advocates in Chicago. In addition to serving on the University of Chicago Sexual Misconduct Advisory Board, he has coached teams in the Hyde Park Kenwood Legends youth baseball organization. Joe is originally from the Texas Hill Country and now makes his home on the South Side of Chicago.

Luis Bettencourt, Director, Mansueto Institute for Urban Studies

Luis Bettencourt is the Director of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation and Professor in Ecology and Evolution.

TyReese Britt-Foreman, Talent Acquisition Consultant

TyReese Foreman is a Talent Acquisition Consultant at the university. A product of an inner-city community himself, TyReese attended Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School Nottingham High School, both in the city of Trenton, New Jersey. TyReese attended college at Brown University, where he majored in Urban Studies and attended graduate school at Northwestern University, where he studied law, focusing on legal issues affecting juveniles, ex-offenders, and other hard-to-serve members of society. TyReese is passionate about issues of justice and equal opportunity, and his professional experiences prior to joining the University of Chicago team include teaching in rural Mississippi with Teach For America and working in recruitment and talent development for the national nonprofit.

Kate Britton, Assistant Athletic Director

UChicago Athletics, October 18, 2017, at Ratner Athl;etic Center. (Photo by Jean Lachat)

Katie Britton is a first gen, low income graduate who hails from Indiana. She comes to UChicago from her alma mater, Valparaiso University, where she was the recipient of a life-changing scholarship. Outside of her development work, Katie plays volleyball, dabbles in cooking and baking, and is doing things outdoors every chance she gets.

Adrienne Brown, Associate Professor, Department of English

I specialize in American and African American cultural production in the twentieth century, with an emphasis on the history of perception as shaped by the built environment. My teaching and research interests include critical race studies, architecture and urban studies, American studies, Modernism, postmodernism, the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances, popular culture, visual culture, and sound studies. I’ve also taught in the Chicago studies program here at UChicago.

Christopher Bryan, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science and FMC

Austin Carson, Assistant Professor, Department of Political<br /> Science

I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago where I currently specialize in secrecy and intelligence and their relationship to International Relations theory, international security, and global governance.  At the core of all my projects is an interest in understanding how governments selectively reveal and conceal what they do and the disjuncture this creates between the “front stage” and “back stage” of international politics. My first book, forthcoming at Princeton University Press, analyzes covert forms of military intervention and their role in states’ pursuit of limited war. Other work assesses the way states signal via covert action, the politics of “open secrets,” the impact of publicity on international rules, sensitive information in international organizations, and theories of limited war. My research has been published in International Organization, Security Studies, and Journal of Conflict Resolution. I graduated with a Ph.D. in Political Science from Ohio State University in 2013 and have held research fellowships at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University, the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at George Washington University, and the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

Christian Castro, University of Chicago, AB’ 18

Recent UChicago grad (Class of 2018). Majored in Psychology and Theater & Performance. Working as an educator in the Bay Area. Native Spanish speaker and immigrant from Bogotá, Colombia.

Cristina Corrigan, Regulatory Affairs Manager, Department of Medicine

I am a staff member in the Department of Medicine, transitioning my career into Public Health. I want to support students in whichever area they need, whether that is career support, a home-cooked meal, or mentorship.

Elise Covic, Deputy Dean of the College for Academic Programs

Elise Covic is the Deputy Dean of the College for Academic Programs. In this capacity, Elise works jointly with the Dean, the five Collegiate Masters, and the College faculty and staff on the daily management of the academic and para-curricular programs of the College. She formerly served as the Dean of Students for the University of Chicago Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), the MD-PhD program. She received a PhD in Computational Neuroscience from the University of Chicago (2010), where she studied the synaptic properties of sensory corticocortical connections. Elise continued at Chicago as a Lecturer, Postdoctoral Scholar, and Director of the NIH Computational Neuroscience Undergraduate Summer Research Program. She was Co-Founder, Managing Director, and Science Policy and Outreach Director for the University of Chicago Biotechnology Association. She has been heavily involved in science education, outreach and advocacy initiatives, both locally, as a regular visiting scientist at various local and inner-city schools. Elise co-hosts and produces the GROKS Science Show, a science and technology radio show broadcast on over 30 stations on 3 continents. She is an active member of the Society for Neuroscience’s Advocacy, Government and Public Policy network and the Coalition for Life Sciences.  Through this service, she has been invited on several occasions to speak with members of Congress about science education, research and research funding. Elise is a 1st generation student and US citizen.

Lynda Daher, Assistant Dean of Students

Lynda Daher, MS, MScTRM, is the Assistant Dean of Students in the University and Associate Director of Student Emergency Response Systems. I am a proud alumna of the University of Chicago and earned my master’s degree here. As a second generation American, and first-generation college student, my interests are working with first generation, low-income, and immigrant students.

Shannon Lee Dawdy, Professor of Anthropology

Shannon Lee Dawdy is an anthropologist, archaeologist, and historian whose work explores human-material relationships, from the history of capitalism (and anti-capitalism) to the place of human remains in the American imaginary. She grew up in a precarious rural Northern California home with a family background of Southern tenant farmers and Northern miners and factory workers.

Daisy Delogu, Professor of French Literature

I work on late medieval French literature, and I am particularly interested in questions of gender and sexuality, identity formation (poetic, political, gendered), and performance.

Regine Desruisseaux, Associate Dean of Students in the College

Anne Dodge, Executive Director, Mansueto Institute for Urban<br /> Innovation

Anne Dodge is the Executive Director of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation. As Executive Director, she oversees the daily operations of the institute and manages the staff and programs. As the former director of UChicago Urban, she worked to make the university’s urban research more transparent and accessible, while serving as a guide to the university’s wide array of civic programs and nonprofit partnerships. Anne has a Master’s in City Planning from MIT, where her master’s thesis won the 2006 Ralph Adams Cram Award for the best thesis in the School of Architecture and Planning. She received her BA from Harvard, with a joint concentration in Visual and Environmental Studies and History.

Greg Dwyer, Associate Professor, Department of Ecology and<br /> Evolution

I am one of 9 children in an Irish-Catholic-American family, raised on my father’s civil servant salary. I staggered through an Ivy League undergrad institution by working 15-25 hours per week. As a grad student, I spent weeks living in my office, and as a postdoc, I was saved from homelessness between jobs when my then-girlfriend, now wife, took me in. As a full professor in BSD, I am now financially stable, but compared to my colleagues, the experience of making it by the skin of my teeth has given me a different perspective on life. I much prefer being around students and faculty with similar socio-economic class backgrounds, irrespective of their ethnic heritage.

Josh Feigelson, Dean of Students, Divinity School

Josh Feigelson is Dean of Students at the University of Chicago Divinity School. An ordained rabbi with a PhD in religious studies from Northwestern University, Feigelson served as campus rabbi at Northwestern Hillel from 2005-2011. For six years he was a social entrepreneur, founding the award-winning Ask Big Questions project to help bring together over 300,000 people for civic conversations.

Brodie Fischer, Professor of Latin American History

I am a professor in the history department; my teaching and research focus on issues of cities, poverty, inequality, law and race in Latin America and Brazil. I grew up in a poor, single parent home, and that experience has informed both my worldview and my work. I believe that elite institutions like UChicago can open up a world of freedoms and possibilities, but I also know how alienating an elite university can feel, and how hard it can be to balance one’s university reality with a very different family and life trajectory. I have joined this network because I think it is important for all of us who have known what it is to be economic outsiders to have a visible presence on this campus, and to provide ongoing support for one another.

Ian Foster, Professor, Department of Computer Science

Born and educated in New Zealand. Postgraduate in the United Kingdom. Computer scientist at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory since 1989. Two children raised in Hyde Park. Frequent traveler to Europe and Asia, and occasionally to Africa and South America.

Joanie Friedman, Executive Director of Civic Leadership

As Executive Director of Civic Leadership, Joanie is responsible for advancing the knowledge, teaching, and practice of civic leadership locally, nationally, and globally to increase civic trust and strengthen cities. Working across the University, she raises the visibility of programs and partnerships that strengthen the civic sector via civic leadership. In 2015, Joanie launched and continues to support the Civic Leadership Academy, an interdisciplinary leadership development program for nonprofit and government leaders who study with practitioners and faculty from Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, Chicago Booth School of Business, University of Chicago Law School, the School of Social Service Administration, and the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. Prior to working with the Office of Civic Engagement, Joanie led the Southside Arts & Humanities Network of the Civic Knowledge Project, which connected the cultural resources of the surrounding community with the resources of the University. Joanie holds a B.A. in History from Brown University and a M.A. in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education from DePaul University.

Rachel Galvin, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Rachel Galvin specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry and poetics in English, Spanish, and French. Her primary research interests include comparative poetics, U.S. Latinx poetry, poetry of the Americas, Hemispheric Studies, poetics and politics, literature and war, comparative modernism, multilingual poetics, Oulipo and formal constraint, and translation. Her first monograph is titled News of War: Civilian Poetry 1936-1945 (Oxford UP, 2018) and her book manuscript in progress is provisionally titled The Hemispheric Poetics of Latinx Poetry. She is also an actively publishing poet and literary translator.

Edgar Garcia, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Edgar Garcia is a poet and scholar of the hemispheric cultures of the Americas. Born in California to families from Central America, he earned degrees at Chaffey Community College and UC Berkeley, before earning his PhD at Yale. Recipient of the 2018 Fence Modern Poets Series Award, he will publish his Skins of Columbus—a book of poetry, essays, and visual art—with Fence Books in 2019. Signs of the Americas, a forthcoming scholarly monograph, studies the contemporary aesthetic, philosophical, legal, and psychological innervations of such seemingly antiquated sign-systems as pictographs, hieroglyphs, and khipu. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Antioch Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, Big Bridge, Chicago Review, Damn the Caesars, Jacket2, LARB, Mandorla, Make, PMLA, Sous les Pavés, Those That This, and Tzak. A chapbook of his poetry, Boundary Loot, was published by Punch Press in 2012. Editorial projects include: he co-edited an anthology of American literature, American Literature in the World (Columbia UP); co-edited a blog on the native and anthropological poetics of the Americas, (with Jose-Luis Moctezuma); is guest-editing a special issue of Chicago Review on “Jaime de Angulo and West Coast Modernism”; and is co-editing a special issue of denkbilder on the philosopher Walter Benjamin for the UK-based New Writing (Taylor & Francis/Routledge). He teaches in the departments of English and Creative Writing.

Adom Getachew, Assistant Professor, Department of Political<br /> Science

Adom Getachew is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and the College. She holds a joint PhD in Political Science and African-American Studies from Yale University. Her research and teaching interests include modern political thought with a focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the history of international law, theories of empire and race, black political thought and post-colonial political theory.

Anastasia Giannakidou, Professor of Linguistics

Professor of Linguistics; Co-director of the Center for Gesture, Sign, and Language

Alice Goff, Assistant Professor, Department of History

I am a historian of modern Germany, and teach courses focused on the cultural history of politics, the arts, museums, and material culture in the broader European context.

Courtney Guerra, Senior Writer, Grants and Fellowships, Humanities<br /> Division

Courtney C.W. Guerra is Senior Writer, Grants & Fellowships for the Division of the Humanities and the author of the fulfillment-focused career guide “Is This Working?” (Adams Media/Simon & Schuster 2017). Her online advice column, “Dear Businesslady,” began on The Toast in 2014 and is currently on The Billfold. Starting out with experience in food service, retail, and data entry, she built her resume through a series of administrative positions, including a stint at an HR consulting firm. An alumna of the College and the Graham School, she has a joint bachelor’s degree in English and Visual Arts and a Certificate in Editing.  She’s available to help with cover letters, resumes, applications for graduate programs and fellowships, or anything else that can be proofread—and is always happy to give advice on career development (including academic jobs) and navigating the professional world.

Ramon Gutierrez, Professor, Department of History

Susan Gzesh, Executive Director, Pozen Family Center for Human Rights

A graduate of the Chicago Public Schools and native of the Southeast Side and an alumna of the College (Class of 1972), I worked as an immigration and civil rights lawyer for over two decades before coming to teach at U of C in 2001.  Since then, I have directed the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights and its programs (events, internships, etc) and taught courses on human rights to students from across the University. I am active in social justice networks on issues related to migration policy and immigrants’ rights at the national and international level. I am a frequent speaker at conferences and in the media on migration and immigrants’ rights issues in the US and Mexico. I am fluent in Spanish.

Shawn Hawk, Adviser in the College

As a Chicago native who grew up within a 6-mile radius of the University of Chicago, I came to the College as an undergraduate in the days before formal support for low income students. While not a true first-generation college student, I did not have access to people who knew the particular challenges of operating in this type of academic environment.  I am delighted to be able to provide support to our current FLI students.  I am African American male and an alumnus of the Chicago Public Schools.

Ghenwa Hayek, Professor of Modern Arabic Literature, Department of<br /> Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

Modern Arabic literature/modern Middle East. Urban studies. Migration Studies. Nationalism and belonging.

Don Hedeker, Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences

I am an alumnus of both the College (Econ, 1980) and Graduate School (Behavioral Sciences, 1989), and since 2014 I am now faculty in the Department of Public Health Sciences. I am primarily a biostatistician working on methods for longitudinal data analysis.

Jason Heltzer, Adjunct Professor, Booth School of Business

I am a venture capital investor. I work with startup technology companies to help them grow and prosper. I am also a former software engineer. I can help with students who are interested in working in technology, for startups, in venture capital, or as a software engineer. Also, I am happy to discuss those interested in attending MBA programs. In addition to teaching at Booth, I am also an MBA grad from Booth.

Americia Huckabee, Assistant to the Dean of Student, Divinity School

I come from a single parent household living on the south side of Chicago in a deprived neighborhood (Englewood), and the only one of five siblings to achieve a college education and navigating the difficult course of funding my education.

Jennifer Iverson, Professor, Department of Music

I grew up in rural southern MN to blue collar parents with some education beyond high school but no college degrees. Education and achievement were encouraged in my home but my educational opportunities were impoverished at the small school I attended from K thru 12.

Neeti Jain, University of Chicago, BS ‘16

Neeti is a 2016 graduate of the College from Los Angeles, CA. She received her degree in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Ecology and Evolution, and is looking to enter the field of wildlife conservation and advocacy. As a student, she was a member of the International House and was involved in various dance groups on campus.

Safiya Johnson, Senior Assistant Director, Undergraduate<br /> Admissions

Safiya graduated from the University of Chicago in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Her senior thesis explored how high-achieving Chicago students from low-income backgrounds adjust to the setting of an elite, private high school. Johnson currently works for the University of Chicago Office of College Admissions as a Director of Community Initiatives and Senior Assistant Director of Admissions. She is a proud native Chicagoan as well as a former UChicago Promise Metcalf intern, a UChicago Careers in Education Professions student, and a Summer Links intern.

Mischa Kasperan, International Student Adviser, The Office of International<br /> Affairs

As mentioned previously, I was adopted from Honduras when I was 2 years old and raised in Goshen, Indiana by a single mother. Growing up with limited resources was very stressful at times but I believe this experience made me stronger, smarter and more independent. With FLI, I would be interested in supporting your initiatives to support low-income, first-generation and immigrant students in any way possible.

Kate Kelly, Guest Services and Operations Manager, Smart Museum of<br /> Art

As the Guest Services and Operations Manager for the Smart Museum of Art, I am dedicated to making sure that the museum is a hospitable and welcoming place for all. I want to make sure that members of the FLI Network are aware of all the resources and opportunities that the Smart Museum has to offer.

Jen Kennedy, Director of the Reynolds Club

Jen, a native Chicagoan, graduated from the University of Chicago in 2002 with a degree in Sociology and began her career on campus in that same year. Jen is currently at the Center for Leadership & Involvement as the Director of the Reynolds Club. In her free time, Jen enjoys going to the theater, trying new restaurants all over the city, and traveling.

Garrett Kiely, Director of the University of Chicago Press

I am the Director of the University of Chicago Press. My entire career has been involved with scholarly and academic publishing. I believe publishing is an exciting, important, and rewarding business and I would like to help introduce this business to a wider range of individuals.

Anya Kleymenova, Assistant Professor, Booth School of Business

Anya Kleymenova is an Assistant Professor of Accounting at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She specializes in financial institutions, disclosure regulation and liquidity; real effects of disclosure, and real effects of regulatory changes on banks’ behavior. She was a researcher at the Bank of England Prudential Policy Division, Monetary Policy Committee External Research Unit and International Banking Division, where she worked on a number of research projects concerning the effects of regulatory changes on banks’ risk-taking and contracting behavior. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as a competition and financial economist at Charles River Associates (CRA) in London and Washington, DC. During her time at CRA, she worked on matters involving antitrust, mergers and acquisitions, international arbitration, dispute resolution, and financial regulation.  Kleymenova received her PhD degree from London Business School, where she was a recipient of the ESRC scholarship. In addition, she received her undergraduate degree in Finance (magna cum laude) from Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business, MSc in Economics (with merit) from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and MSc in Finance and MRes in Accounting from London Business School.

Anne Knafl, Bibliographer, Regenstein Library


I am a Chicago native and graduate of the Divinity School (A.M. ’00, PhD. ’11). I have worked in the Regenstein Library since 2012. I am the Bibliographer in Religion, Philosophy, and Jewish Studies. My father-in-law is an immigrant from Japan.

Hannah Kohut, Director of Marketing, Booth School of Business

I am the associate director of marketing for the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Programs at Chicago Booth. Before transitioning into marketing, I worked in news, both in T.V. news production and print/online news reporting for CLTV, Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Herald-News (Joliet, IL). I am passionate about data, audience trends, marketing strategy and research, and the sharing of information. I come from rural, swamp-and-woods Louisiana, where “getting out,” going to college, and living in a big city were only pipe dreams and ones that were not taken seriously. We had very few resources available to us. I knew that to get where I wanted, I had to go where the opportunities were. While my peers in college (New Orleans) were going out, taking spring break trips, and shopping, I was working full-time waiting tables and paying my own rent, bills, etc. at ages 18-21. It was tough, but with hustle, tunnel-vision, a support system, and faith, you can absolutely “escape” to a better place, personally and professionally.

Dmitry Kondrashov, Lecturer, Biological Sciences Divison

I am an applied mathematician with interests in using mathematical modeling to address biological questions, particularly protein structures and sequence evolution. I grew up in what was then USSR and moved to the US as a teenager. I studied chemistry and mathematics at Simon’s Rock College of Bard, before working for a year as an industrial chemist. I got my Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at the University of Arizona where I worked with a biochemist and a mathematician as co-advisors. I then worked as a postdoc at UW-Madison before starting to teach at UChicago in 2007.

Wei Wei Lee, Assistant Dean of Student and Assistant Professor,<br /> School of Medicine

Dr. Lee is the Assistant Dean of Students at the Pritzker School of Medicine and an Assistant Professor of Medicine. She earned her medical degree from New York University School of Medicine and a Masters of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell, where she served as an ambulatory chief resident. At the Pritzker School of Medicine, she directs the wellness initiative and free clinic experiences and serves as a career advisor. Dr. Lee’s academic interests focus on developing curricula to improve the quality of patient-doctor communication and patient-centered outcomes.

Ana Lima, Senior Lecturer, Department of Romance Languages and<br /> Literature

I teach Portuguese language and culture. I am interested in language pedagogy, Brazilian literature, and everything related to the Lusophone world.

Jen Lombardo, Assistant Director for Student Affairs, Harris<br /> School of Public Policy

My name is Jen Lombardo, and I am currently an Assistant Director for Student Affairs in the Harris School of Public Policy. I grew up in Annapolis, Maryland, went to college in Washington DC, joined Teach for America after college (where I taught in Houston), attended graduate school at Northwestern, worked in College Counseling and Alumni Support at a charter school in Chicago prior to coming to the Harris School. I am passionate about educational equity at all levels of the educational process. I also like cooking, baking, yoga, and traveling (when I can afford it).

Samantha Loo, Senior Associate Director, Center for Health and the<br /> Social Sciences

Samantha Loo is the Senior Associate Director at the Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS) at The University of Chicago. In this capacity, she collaborates with academic health economists and university administrators to advance foundational research and improve health care delivery. Previously, she worked as the Project Manager at Office of the Chicago City Clerk, where she managed the complete overhaul of the outdated 100+ year old policy of seasonal sales of the City Vehicle Sticker (Chicago Wheel Tax) to year-round sales through policy and program development and implementation, documentation, and training. She is a highly efficient and emotionally intelligent leader, with a passion for public health and social justice, which is exemplified in her volunteer work with local nonprofits. In 2017, Samantha served as the Associate Board President of EverThrive Illinois and launched a public speaker series for emerging women leaders, for which she continues to lead the event planning committee. She possesses a master of science with distinction in leadership and public policy from DePaul University, where she focused her research on how access to comprehensive sexual health education could decrease a woman’s likelihood to depend on welfare programs. Additionally, she is a 2018 New Leaders Council Fellow and aspires to run for office or pursue a public health leadership position one day.

Claudia Macias-Retson, Assistant Director, Career Advancement

I completed both my undergraduate studies and law school at the University of California, Berkeley. After law school, I worked at a nonprofit for three years providing direct legal services to the diverse communities of the San Francisco Bay Area in areas related to housing. In 2014, I returned to Berkeley Law as a Student Services Advisor and provided personal and academic counseling to individuals and student groups. Last year, my husband and I moved to Chicago, his hometown. Knowing I wanted to continue working in higher education, I took a job at Northwestern Law in their entrepreneurship law center. However, I missed working directly with students, which is what led me to the University of Chicago’s Career Advancement office.

Martin Madera, University of Chicago, AM ‘08

My name is Martin Madera, AM 08 from the School of Social Sciences. I received my degree from the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) with my thesis on Mexican Immigration.   Currently I am the Senior Manager of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) where I am fortunate to work with the leading oncologist in the world to produce the Cancer Staging system used throughout the world in the treatment of cancer.

Marvin Makinen, Professor, Department of Biochemistry &<br /> Molecular Biology

Marvin Makinen works on molecular biophysics, enzyme action, cancer detection, and human rights.

Anne McCall, Associate Professor, Radiation and Cellular Oncology

I am an Associate Professor in Radiation and Cellular Oncology at the U of C.  I am a mentor for the Minority Student Summer Research Fellowship through ASTRO, and an active participant in the Center for Identity and Inclusion at the U of C. I have facilitated at the Hearing One workshop, and the Resilience Week small group discussions.

Christine Mehring, Professor, Department of Art History

I teach and research modern and contemporary art. I am interested in abstraction, particularly the ways in which non-mimetic forms, colors, and non-traditional materials come to signify in relation to specific historical contexts; postwar European art, especially the impact of World War II and the transformation from an international art world to a global one; the cross-overs between art and design, including interior and furniture design, wall-painting, the traditionally feminine applied arts like weaving and embroidery, and public art; and photography and the relations between old and new media, including their convergences with histories and practices of abstract art. See

Salikoko S. Mufwene, Professor, Department of Linguistics

The Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and the College; Professor, Committee on Evolutionary Biology; Professor, Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science; Affiliate, Department of Comparative Human Development and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. I’m a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo. I earned my PhD from the University of Chicago. I work on language evolution, including: the emergence of language in mankind, the emergence of creoles and African American English, the fate of European colonial languages in the colonies, the vitality of indigenous languages in contact with European colonial languages, language and globalization, and linguistics and economics.

Simon Nascimento, Director of International Admissions

Simon Nascimento, AB’10, currently serves as the director of international admissions at the Office of College Admissions at UChicago. In his admissions role, Simon oversees the International Student Advisory Committee and the International Student Ambassadors program. Born in Catalao, a small town a few hours south of Brazil’s capital city, Simon visited the US for the first time in 2005 after being selected by the US Embassy in Brazil for their Youth Ambassadors program. At UChicago, Simon coordinated the International Pre-Orientation program, was an active member of the Brazilian Students Association, and sang with the Ransom Notes, a co-ed a cappella group. Simon attended the College on a full scholarship, and was the first person in his family to earn a university degree.

Jennifer Oh, Associate Program Director, Center for Asian Heath<br /> Equity

Currently, I work at the Center for Asian Health Equity at the University of Chicago Medicine. As the Associate Program Director, I oversee two areas of programming for CAHE: student education and mental health. For education, I administer career exploration and training programs that promote multiculturalism and social justice, connecting students to the Center’s efforts in advancing health equity through research, civic engagement, and leadership development. Additionally, I direct the Center’s mental health programs, focusing on wellness, stigma, and substance abuse.

Julie Orlemanski, Professor, Department of English Language and<br /> Literature

I am a scholar of English literature, specializing in medieval literature and literary and critical theory. On and off campus, I seek to support anti-racist and progressive activism.

Michael O’Toole, GRADTalk Coordinator, UChicagoGrad

I coordinate the GRADTalk program at UChicagoGRAD, the advising office for graduate students and postdocs. I help students improve their public speaking skills, prepare presentations for classes and conferences, and practice their interview skills. My goal is to help students find their strengths as communicators and to build on these strengths to gain confidence in public speaking and interviewing.

Ryan Priester, Director of Community Programs, Civic Engagement

Ryan leads the work of Community Programs through coordinating collaborations between UChicago faculty, students, and staff and local nonprofits. He manages the Community Programs Accelerator, which supports the success of nonprofits whose work benefits mid-South Side neighborhoods. A native of Chicago’s South Side, Ryan began his career working with youth and families in the Woodlawn neighborhood.  Previously, Ryan served in several leadership roles in community-based nonprofits, including as the Associate Director for the Woodlawn Public Safety Alliance. He holds a BA from the University of Chicago and attended the Divinity School for graduate studies.

Steven Quispe, Development and Communications Coordinator, UChicago Consortium


Steven Quispe is the Development and Communications Coordinator at the UChicago Consortium. In this role, he is responsible for assisting with development activities associated with the Consortium Investor Council, drafting funding proposals, and supporting the UChicago Consortium’s outreach efforts. Prior to joining the UChicago Consortium, Steven interned at Embarc and in the education department of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. He earned his BA in international studies from the University of Chicago. Steven grew up in poverty and as the son of undocumented immigrants from Ecuador. He also was a first-generation college student. He is always looking to venture out throughout Chicago.

Kristen Robinson, Associate Director of Undergraduate Initiatives, Booth School of Business

Kristen Robinson works as an Associate Director of Undergraduate Initiatives at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where she works in a hybrid role as an admissions director, academic advisor and organizer of programming for students in the College and outside of UChicago interested in taking business courses at Booth. Kristen has also worked on Booth’s Full-Time MBA admissions team, and, prior to moving to Chicago, she worked in Georgetown University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Office of MBA Admissions. Kristen graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in French and a minor in Spanish, and, outside of work, she enjoys running along the Lake Shore trail, talking about politics and listening to political podcasts, baking, hiking, traveling, reading, and spending time with her husband, family and friends.

Leslie Rogers, Assistant Professor, Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Dr. Leslie Rogers is an assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Rogers’ research focusses on theoretical and numerical studies of exoplanets (planets outside the Solar System) that are Neptune-size and smaller. She has developed models for low-mass planet interiors and has applied them to constrain planet bulk compositions, to evaluate planet formation scenarios, to explore the possibilities for surface liquid water oceans, and to constrain the fraction of planets that are rocky as a function of planet size. Dr. Rogers has been awarded both a NASA Hubble Fellowship and a NASA Sagan Fellowship. She has served on the Hubble Space Telescope Exoplanet Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) Science and Technology Definition Team. Rogers earned an Honors BSc in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Ottawa in 2006, and a PhD in Physics from MIT in 2012.

Lisa Rosen, Executive Director, Science of Learning Center

Lisa Rosen is the Executive Director of the UChicago Science of Learning Center and the Research Program Director for its initiative, Successful Pathways from School to Work. In collaboration with the faculty director, she provides overall direction for the Center, including managing its long-term strategy, creating strategic partnerships, and developing new, collaborative initiatives to translate research on learning into interventions that can improve learning in both home and school settings. She holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of California at San Diego. She recently completed a co-authored book about the University of Chicago charter school: The Ambitious Elementary School: Its Conception, Design, and Contribution to Educational Equality (University of Chicago Press, 2017).

Sara Roser-Jones, Assistant Director of Admission, Pritzker School<br /> of Medicine

Sara Roser-Jones, M.S. is a higher education professional with an interested in an interest in access and inclusion for underrepresented students in professional school. She currently works in admissions for the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and is a strong advocate for recruiting and admitting as medical school class that includes first generation, low-income, and immigrant students. Her career in higher education has involved roles in STEM education, science and career advising, and medical school admissions. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking, running slowly, and engagement with her faith community.

Mercedes Sahagun Zavala, HR, Globus

Mercedes Sahagun Zavala manages HR and office management operations for Globus, a department in the Research, Innovations and National Laboratories at The University of Chicago. At Globus, she is responsible for overseeing the accounts receivable and payable, contract negotiations, and all HR operations for the office. She also manages the logistics for and provides marketing support for Globus conferences and customer relations. Previous to this role, Sahagun Zavala served as Deputy Director of Arts and Public Life Initiative managing the Arts Incubator and managing the revitalization of the Arts Block at the University of Chicago.  She also worked in the Dean’s office at the Divinity School providing executive-level administrative assistance to the dean, including management of the annual reporting and submission process of the school’s accreditation, managed the Dean’s office operations, conducted library research for the Dean and managed Divinity School events. Sahagun Zavala helped create and establish the Rebuild Foundation, and served as the organization’s finance director. She is also a former managing deputy director of the city of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications and was previously a deputy commissioner in the Chicago Department of Environment. She has held various Board of Director seats at various not-for-profits including the Rebuild Foundation, Space Fund NFP, and she currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Vic Sahagun Scholarship Fund. Sahagun Zavala holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Illinois, and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago.

Alicia Sams, Director of the Pritzker Fellows Program, Institute of Politics

Alicia Sams comes to the IOP with over 20 years of experience producing and directing award-winning documentaries and feature films for television and theatrical release. She has worked on films covering politics and public affairs, the arts, and cultural history for distributors including HBO, IFC, PBS, AMC, Sony Pictures Classics, Sundance Channel, Koch-Lorber, and BBC. From 2006 to 2008, she chronicled the presidential campaign of then-Senator Barack Obama for HBO, a journey depicted in the Emmy Award-winning film “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama.” A frequent panelist and lecturer at festivals, colleges and universities around the country, Alicia is a native of Washington, D.C. and holds a BA in English from Harvard University.

Jennifer Scappetone, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature

I work on modern and contemporary literature, with particular interest in the intersection of literature, architecture, and the visual arts; translation, multilingualism, and the literature of displacement; literature and the environmental humanities, particularly issues in environmental justice. I am also a poet and translator with longstanding commitments to performance, activism and social practice.

R. Erika Schafer, Assistant Director of HR Talent Analytics, Human Resources

I am a mother, wife, and HR professional. I have worked in HR at UChicago for 7 years, and also worked in the Chicago non-profit community for 5 years, and at Caterpillar in Peoria for 8 years. I am from Peoria and my degree is in Business Administration from the University of Illinois (Urbana). I advocate for environmental causes, social justice, racial equality, and non-violence. I am an optimist and believe people respond as you treat them.

Bart Schultz, Director of the Civic Knowledge Project

Bart Schultz is Director of the Civic Knowledge Project and Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Chicago, where he has taught for the last 31 years.

Mark Sheffield, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurobiology

I am in the Neurobiology department, and head a research lab that focusses on trying to understand the neural mechanisms of memory formation, consolidation and recall. I am a first-generation college student from a very low-income background and poor neighborhood. If you feel a little disconnected from your peers because of your background, I am here to talk, about anything; just reach out.

Sadia Sindhu, Executive Director of the UChicago Center for Effective Government

Sadia Sindhu is the Executive Director of the UChicago Center for Effective Government. She has served in a variety of strategic roles in the public and private sectors. Most recently, Sadia was the Director of the UChicago Civic Leadership Academy. In this role, she served as the lead strategist on all matters related to the execution, enhancement, and growth of the Civic Leadership Academy at Harris and across the University. Sadia has also worked at Rothschild Global Advisory, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Human Capital Research Corporation.

Sadia is a first-gen college graduate and the proud daughter of immigrants. She is an active member of the Chicago chapter of the Georgetown Alumni Association and is an interviewer of the Georgetown Alumni Admissions Program (AAP). In addition to her volunteer work for her alma mater, Sadia serves as a mentor for Evanston Scholars and on the national executive board of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

She holds an MS in higher education policy from Northwestern University and a BSFS in international politics from Georgetown University.


Lori Smedley, Executive Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations

I’ve spent almost twenty years in non-profit fundraising, focusing on issues as wide-ranging as child vaccination, adult literacy, public broadcasting, and now, research university. I know a lot about non-profits big and small and would love to share my experience to encourage others to move into nonprofit career tracks.

Lori Smedley, Executive Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations

I’ve spent almost twenty years in non-profit fundraising, focusing on issues as wide-ranging as child vaccination, adult literacy, public broadcasting, and now, research university. I know a lot about non-profits big and small and would love to share my experience to encourage others to move into nonprofit career tracks.

Kimberley Smith, Senior Research Manager, Crime Lab

Kim Smith is a Senior Research Manager at the University of Chicago Crime Lab, where she manages the multi-city gun markets project, work done in partnership with affiliates in six major U.S. cities – Chicago, LA, Boston, NY, Baltimore, and New Orleans. Kim also provides implementation support to a Chicago Police Department initiative that brings together police officers and analysts from the Crime Lab to integrate crime intelligence, data analysis, and technology. Prior to joining the Crime Lab, Kim was a Senior Research Associate at Innovations for Poverty Action in New Haven, CT where she managed three randomized controlled trials testing the effectiveness of financial products designed for low-income households in the United States. Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from McGill University.

Rebecca Starkey, Librarian for College Instruction and Outreach

Rebecca Starkey (AB ’95) is the Librarian for College Instruction and Outreach at the University of Chicago Library, where she develops programs and services for undergraduate students in the College. Rebecca has worked on programming with the Center for College Student Success and Center for Identity + Inclusion, and UChicagoGRAD. She also serves as the subject librarian for library science, gender studies, and environmental studies. Rebecca grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago, where her father was a steel worker at the now shuttered South Works plant in South Chicago, and her mother worked in the garment industry. She was a first-generation college student at UChicago, and returned to work at the University to raise awareness of the many resources available at the Library to support students in their coursework and research. Rebecca is happy to connect with undergraduate and graduate students from similar backgrounds.

Mauricio Tenorio, Professor, Department of History

I am a historian of Mexico and the Iberian World. I am a legal resident, grew up in Mexico City, was born in the state of Michoacan, and have been helping informally young Chicago Mexican students in their attempts to get to college.

Vu Tran, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Department of English Language and Literature

I am a fiction writer whose work is preoccupied with the legacy of the Vietnam War: for the Vietnamese who remained in the homeland, the Vietnamese who immigrated to America, and the Americans whose lives have intersected with both. I write with an awareness of American postcolonial narratives, particularly in the context of cultural identity. My first novel, Dragonfish, was a NY Times Notable Book, and my short fiction has appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories, the Best American Mystery Stories, and other publications. I am the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, and have also been a fellow at Bread Loaf, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the MacDowell Colony. Born in Vietnam and raised in Oklahoma, I received my MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and my PhD from the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I am currently a criticism columnist for the Virginia Quarterly Review, and also an Assistant Professor of Practice in English & Creative Writing at the University of Chicago.

Laura Trejo, Assistant Director, Civic Engagement

I was born in Mexico and grew up on the border of Tijuana and San Diego. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and in Studio Art from the University of California, Irvine and a Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I have a background in the arts, nonprofit work, and youth development.

Oleg Urminsky, Professor of Marketing, Booth School of Business

I am a Professor of Marketing at the Booth School. I used to work in marketing and advertising. I study decision-making and behavioral science.

Belinda Vazquez, Associate Dean of Students in the University for Student Affairs and Director of StudentEmergency Response Systems

I am student affairs professional of 22 years. I am a first-gen college graduate who grew up in the Little Village neighborhood in the Westside of Chicago. My parents both are from El Salvador, having fled the civil war.  I have an M.Ed. in higher education. I am the mother of two children, one child living with Down syndrome.  I consider myself an ally of the marginalized. As my son is non-verbal, I also advocate for the voiceless. Here at the University, I work with the Deans-on-call, Sexual Assault Deans-on-call, and the Bias Education & Support Team.

Jessica Velazquez, Administrative Manager, Stevanovich Institute on<br /> the Formation of Knowledge (SIFK)

Jessica Velazquez, Administrative Manager, joined the SIFK team in August 2017. Working closely with Macol Cerda and Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, Jessica manages SIFK’s communications, events, administration, budget, building operations, and other special projects.  Prior to joining SIFK, Jessica served as Client Engagement and Diversity Coordinator for Grenzebach Glier and Associates, a global philanthropic management consulting firm based in Chicago. With GG+A, Jessica managed the firm’s marketing presence and assisted the business development team.  Jessica’s previous experience includes Student Temporary Services (STS) Assistant Manager at DePaul University’s Office of Student Employment, as well as literary researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she investigated the psychological effects of the prison experience on language in Latino males. Jessica briefly worked at the University of Chicago NORC in 2013 as a telephone interviewer for the National Immunization Survey. She graduated from DePaul University with a B.A. in English, Literary Studies in 2016.

Yau Wah, Professor, Department of Physics

Professor of Physics, University of Chicago. Interested in education K-12, and college. Specialized in elementary particle physics and science instrumentation.

Christian Wedemeyer, Professor of the History of Religions, Divinity School

Christian Wedemeyer is an historian of religions with broad, comparative interests in ritual, semiology, and historical analysis, who works primarily on the South Asian traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism. He also plays guitar in a South Side blues band and roasts his own coffee.

Lindsey Weglarz, Program Coordinator, UChicagoGRAD

I am alumna of the University (AB’07, AM’10, PhD’17), specializing in Egyptian Archaeology (Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations), and I now work at UChicagoGRAD on the Graduate Admissions team. I grew up in a low-income community in rural Michigan, and was the first person in my family to attend college. I am excited to serve as a resource for other individuals from similar backgrounds.

Erin Williams, Administrator/Staff for Court Theatre

Erin Marie Williams moved to Chicago in June 2017 after splitting her time between NYC and Minneapolis. In May 2016, Erin fulfilled a lifelong dream when she earned an MA in Performing Arts Administration from New York University, a degree that would help her to leverage her business experience with her background in theatre, dance, and jazz. She also holds a BFA in Theatre from Sam Houston State University. In her spare time, Erin enjoys entertaining, reading, researching topics that interest her, watching documentaries, traveling with her husband, volunteering at community events, and salsa dancing. She’s also never met a dog she did not like.

Shelby Williford, Senior Assistant Director, Booth School of Business


I grew up outside of Youngstown, Ohio in the Rust Belt. I spent three semesters at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana before transferring to the University of Akron in Ohio. My husband and I lived in Baltimore for 5 years, where I worked at Johns Hopkins University, while also a part-time student there earning my masters. I currently work in fundraising at the UChicago Booth School of Business and reside in Hyde Park with my husband and cat, Miss Molly. I enjoy traveling, photography, baking, diy projects, and learning new things.

James Wilson, Assistant Professor, Political Science

James Lindley Wilson received his PhD in Politics from Princeton University in 2011, and his JD from Yale Law School in 2007. Jim’s research interests span political philosophy, ethics, and law. Most of his work has focused on normative democratic theory, including the moral evaluation of democracy and questions of what democratic ideals require of citizens and institutions. His manuscript, “Democratic Equality,” attempts to articulate the moral force of the democratic idea that all citizens are equal political authorities, and to explain how that abstract idea ought to regulate the design and operation of political institutions. He is working on related problems on the nature and value of equality. Jim also researches election law and the history of political thought, including the work of Aristotle, Hobbes, Kant, and the Federalists. He has taught courses on democracy and equality, the ethics of war, racial justice and injustice, and global justice and empire.

Sally Wolcott, Business Manager, Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility

I work as the business manager for the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility and am responsible for the business operations of the facility. As a longtime resident of Hyde Park, I love to share my enthusiasm for our neighborhood and the south side of Chicago.

Amanda Woodward, Dean, Division of the Social Sciences

I grew up on Long Island. Went to a big public high school. College at Swarthmore and grad school at Stanford.  I’ve been a faculty member at Chicago since 1993. I also taught at the university of Maryland.   My husbands’s and my families are diverse in terms of life paths. Two nephews are in the military. Among our relations we have construction workers, farmers, small business owners, as well as professors.

Marcus Wordlaw, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions, Booth School of Business

Born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago, I work as a senior assistant director of admissions for Chicago Booth. I have previously worked at other undergraduate institutions with a focus on diversity inclusion. Graduate of Eastern Illinois MS, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign BS.  I enjoy learning the things that make us unique and also bring us together, to find common-ground and learn through communication the needs and values of those who feel their voice is silenced or for those who may need guidance to achieve their goals.

Lawerence Zbikowski, Professor, Department of Music

I’m in the first generation of my family who went to college. My parents were not able to support my education (and, quite frankly, I did not expect them to, given their financial situation) and so I put myself through college and graduate school (with tuition support in my PhD studies). My path into academia was also somewhat indirect – I worked for a number of years as a musician before undertaking PhD study – and the perspective I gained through this experience may be helpful to FLI students.

Laurie Zoloth, Professor, Divinity School

I am a faculty member and the Dean of the Divinity School and my research is in the field of bioethics and justice theory.

Jesse Liu, Postdoctoral Researcher, Physics department

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the physics department. I study the fundamental laws of nature using the ATLAS high energy physics experiment located at CERN in Switzerland. I was born and raised in London, England to immigrant parents. I was a first-generation student at the University of Oxford where I recently graduated with a PhD in particle physics. I see how elite universities can be powerful enablers of social mobility but are also challenging to navigate by the FLI community and a strong support network is important for a sense of belonging and success at all stages of education and career.

Michelle Skinner, Administrator, Booth School of Business

I work at the Booth School of Business managing Booth’s innovative 65-person research staff. I support researchers just beginning their academic careers as well a tenure-track and tenured faculty. I’m a proud first-generation college graduate of both UIC and UChicago where I studied early-American literature.

Aleisha Johnson, Postdoctoral Fellow, Physical Sciences Division

My name is Aleisha Johnson. I recently graduated with my PhD in Geochemistry from Arizona State University, and will be starting this fall as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at UChicago. My primary research interests are developing new chemical tools to learn about Earth’s history. Outside of my research, I like to camp, travel, read, swing dance, and watch nerdy tv shows.

Cassidy Wade, Health Educator, Health Promotion and Wellness

My name is Cassidy Wade. I am a Health Educator in Health Promotion & Wellness. I attended Purdue University, where I was a first generation, low-income student. Because of the 21st Century Scholars program and the Emerging Leaders Scholarship program, I was able to attend college debt-free. If it were not for this financial assistance, I am not sure where I would be. Going to Purdue changed my life, and I would love to give back and be a support system for students with similar backgrounds.

Brittany McGhee, Alum, Social Sciences Division


Brittany McGhee serves as the Assistant Director of Next Generation at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Brittany joined the Council in 2016 and currently oversees the organization’s Young Professionals Network. Prior to joining the Council, she managed an international young adult volunteer program through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Previously, she conducted quantitative and qualitative research at the University of Chicago on varying topics including gender, urbanism, and customary law in colonial West and Central Africa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in global studies from Loyola University Maryland and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago.