In a time when future success depends so heavily on early learning outcomes, the education industry and its supporting fields demand a unique blend of talented professionals. With new research insights in teaching and learning, the growth of education technology, and high demand for critical thinkers in non-profit, public, and private roles, the education sector is rapidly evolving. From a career perspective, the sector needs policy analysts, researchers, software programmers, consultants, and of course, great educators for diverse settings. Our education panelists and roundtable discussion leaders will discuss this changing landscape and address it from multiple perspectives reflecting their varied roles. These include researching national education concerns, directing urban education reform initiatives, and teaching and leading schools across Chicago and beyond. Our alumni will demonstrate how the education industry offers a vast number of highly fulfilling careers and will shed practical light on career navigation.
Eliza Bryant, AB'05, MAT'06
Educator , Big Shoulders Fund
Ms. Bryant grew up in the suburbs of New York City. In 2002, she transferred from Emerson College to the University of Chicago, where she completed her undergraduate degree in history with a focus on religion and race relations in early America. She continued her education and received a master's in teaching from the Urban Teacher Education Program (UChicago UTEP). After this, she taught first and second grade in Chicago Public Schools for five years before becoming an instructional coach with UChicago STEM Education (formerly CEMSE). From 2008-2013, she was a founding design team member of Be the Change Collaborative (formerly Be the Change Charter School) and continues to sit on their board. Today, she is Director of Academic Programs and Enrichment with Big Shoulders Fund, an independent charitable organization that supports Chicago's Catholic schools serving low-income student populations.
Karlyn Gorski, AB'14
Former teacher, current PhD student
Ms. Gorski graduated from the College in 2014 with a degree in Public Policy and International Studies. While in the College, she completed a Metcalf Internship with Chapin Hall to conduct research in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). After graduating, she taught math in CPS as a member of Match Corps: Chicago. The following year, she moved to Pune, India to teach English and math at Matoshri English Medium School. Ms. Gorski has now returned to the University of Chicago to pursue her Ph.D. in Sociology as an Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Training Fellow.
Marc Hernandez, AB'00, AM'02, PhD'09
Senior Research Scientist, NORC at the University of Chicago
Dr. Hernandez is a senior research scientist and Director of the Early Childhood Research and Practice Collaborative, NORC at the University of Chicago. He graduated from the University with an AB in biology and psychology, AM in social sciences, and PhD in developmental psychology. His expertise and research background is in cognitive development and education, as well as experimental design, mixed-methods research, assessment, and evaluation. He focuses on identifying, developing, and evaluating programs and tools designed to improve educational outcomes among disadvantaged children, early in life. He is currently leading development of a web-based formative assessment tool to measure parent engagement (PFCE) in partnership with the National Head Start Association. He is Co-PI of a utilization-focused evaluation of ACF's Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System. He is also leading a collaboration with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation to improve academic and social-emotional outcomes for vulnerable children in Oakland, California.
Barbara Hoff, AB'95, MAT'97, MLIS 2012, University of Illinois
English Teacher, Niles North High School
In 1995, Ms. Hoff graduated from the College with a degree in English. After a very short-lived stint as an editorial assistant for a real estate textbook publishing company, she returned to UChicago, graduating with an MAT in English in 1997. She taught eighth grade at a Catholic school in Ohio for one year. Since then, Ms. Hoff has been teaching English at Niles North High School in Skokie, a diverse immigrant community north of Chicago. In 2012, she received her MLIS from the University of Illinois. She is married to a social studies teacher at Niles North, has two children, and lives in Evanston.
Matt Knoepke, AB'00
Teacher, Homewood-Flossmoor High School
Mr. Knoepke graduated in 2000 with a degree in biological sciences. After graduation, he spent six months in Madagascar studying lemur behavior. After returning to Chicago, and earning his MAT at National-Louis University, he began teaching at Hyde Park Academy in 2002 where, before leaving in 2006, he served as Science Department Chair. While at HPA, he secured over $40K in grant funding and was named an inaugural Fund for Teachers and Neil Campbell Fellow. He now teaches AP Biology and IB Theory of Knowledge at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, where he is also the IB Diploma Coordinator. While at HF, he has written teacher edition material for a biology textbook, researched ovarian cancer which has led to a publication in the journal FEBS Letters, served as an Oncofertility Summer Research Fellow and earned his second Masters in Educational Leadership from Saint Xavier University.
Monica Luna, AB'13
Assistant Director, Neighborhood Schools Program, University of Chicago, Office of Civic Engagement
Ms. Luna graduated from the College in 2013 with a degree in public policy and economics. While in the College, she was involved with the Organization of Latin American Students, the Neighborhood Schools Program (NSP), and her house council. After graduation, Ms. Luna worked at the City of Chicago's 20th Ward, taking on roles of increasing responsibility at the Alderman's Office. She was first the Director of Community Outreach and Special Events, where she was responsible for developing partnerships with various community members and neighborhood groups. She was later promoted to Director of Office Management and External Affairs, where she directly oversaw day-to-day operations. Ms. Luna rejoined the University community in November of 2016 when she assumed the role of Assistant Director of NSP. In this role, her work centers around recruitment, orientation, site placement, ongoing coaching/support, and management of the training & professional development series.
Sara Ray Stoelinga, AB'95, AM'01, PhD'04
Sara Liston Spurlark Director/Clinical Professor, Urban Education Institute
Ms. Stoelinga oversees all aspects of the Urban Education Institute, including operations, development of teachers, rigorous applied research, operation of schools, and the distribution of models to improve schools nationally. UEI has 500 employees and a $50m operating budget. She is also a professor at the University of Chicago, teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students. She teaches in the Urban Teacher Education Program, the College, and the Sociology department. She joined UEI as an intern in 1995. Across more than two decades at the Institute, she has served in a variety of roles. She became senior director of UEI in 2010 and was appointed the Sara Liston Spurlark Director in 2015. In 2015, she was awarded the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award, the University of Chicago's most prestigious teaching award. She received her BA, MA, and PhD from the University of Chicago.
Christina Ricordati, AB'09, MPA'11 (DePaul)
Policy Analyst, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
Christina Ricordati graduated from the College in 2009 with a degree in public policy and sociology. She also obtained Master's in public administration from DePaul University in 2011, after which she began working for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA). In her position as policy analyst, she works with legislatures across the country to better their charter school laws. She is married to a fellow UChicago graduate and they live with their toddler in the Chicago area. She is a proud Delta Gamma alumna.
Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics and the College, The University of Chicago
Allen Sanderson is a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics and the College. He teaches Economics 19800 and 19900, an introductory survey sequence. He also teaches and researches the economics of sports. Recent publications and research include journal articles on competitive balance in sports, sports labor markets, the economic impact of universities on their communities, and the case for paying college athletes. He is a regular columnist for Chicago Life. Mr. Sanderson won a Quantrell Award in 1998 and has run the Chicago marathon three times. Recent alumni speaking engagements have taken him to cities such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico City, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, and New York City.
Catherine Tarsney, AB'14
Project Manager, 270 Strategies
Ms. Tarsney graduated from the College in 2014 with a degree with Public Policy Studies, specializing in education policy. While in the College, she worked as the Assistant for Debate and Forensic Activities at the Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, and was an instructor and director at debate institutes around the country, including co-founding and directing the Counterpoint Debate Institute in Chicago. After graduating, she joined 270 Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in grassroots engagement. Her work there as a Project Manager has included helping schools and school networks build engaged student and parent communities, and working with teacher advocacy groups to organize and empower teachers to lead the charge for education reform. She recently returned to 270 Strategies after taking a leave to work on the Clinton campaign analytics team in Brooklyn, NY during the 2016 election cycle.