Your Major, Your Career

Curious how your selection of an academic major will impact your career? Join us for a panel discussion highlighting alumni with backgrounds from a variety of different fields, including law, education, theatre, development, and public policy in a non-profit setting. We will talk about how to pick a major, how to build your skills through both coursework and experiential education, and how to chart a career path based on your strengths, interests, and values. This panel is perfect for students who have yet to declare a major or who have declared a major but still want to explore other options.

Panel Participants

Eliza Bryant, AB'05, MAT'06

Educator , Big Shoulders Fund
Table: 26

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 slavery 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 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. Ms. Bryant is a 2018 Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellow at Erikson Institute.

David Navarro, AB'90, JD'93 University of Iowa

Circuit Court Judge, Cook County Circuit Court
Table: 82

Mr. Navarro graduated from the College in 1990 with a degree in English. He is currently a Cook County Circuit Court Judge. He presides in the PreTrial Justice Division. Prior to that he was Assistant Attorney General at the Illinois Attorney General's Office where he served as Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau. He also worked as assistant state's attorney with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office for over 15 years. He has worked on many corruption investigations and in 2007 was appointed as a special assistant U.S. attorney to work on an investigation involving the Chicago Police Department Special Operations Section. He is an adjunct faculty member of the John Marshall Law School and the Loyola School of Law and is a graduate of the University of Iowa-College of Law.

Maria-Alicia Serrano, AB'00, MPA, Indiana University Bloomington

Senior Director of Research, Analytics and Insight, YMCA of the USA
Table: 88

Ms. Serrano graduated from the College in 2000 with a degree in Law, Letters & Society. At the College, she joined Alpha Omicron Pi and served as chair of the philanthropy and chapter relations committees. She also holds a Master of Public Affairs Degree from the School of Public & Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. From there, she began her career at the Chicago Housing Authority leading the development of strategic plans. She then joined AREA, Inc., a national research and public policy consulting firm where she became Vice President and led evaluations of programs for marginalized populations. In 2014, Ms. Serrano returned to the nonprofit sector joining YMCA of the USA. She is the Senior Director of the Research, Analytics and Insights Department, directing the team responsible for identification, collection, interpretation and reporting of data required to operationalize the YMCA's National Research and Learning Agenda.

Kate Welham, AB'08

Senior Director of Institutional Giving and Development Operations, Goodman Theatre
Table: 34

Ms. Welham graduated from the College in 2008 with a degree in history and a wealth of experience from University Theatre. During her time at the University and immediately after graduation, she held a series of internships before being hired by Goodman Theatre in early 2009. There, she has built a career as a grant writer and now runs supervises a $3 million fundraising line, helping to support productions, new play development,education programs the general operations of the theater. She also oversees technology implementation across fundraising platforms and serves as an active member of the Tessitura Network. Additionally, Ms. Welham worked for several years in Chicago's 'storefront' theater community as a freelance production manager and co-founded The Whiskey Rebellion Theatre with two other University of Chicago alumnae.