Ron Brashear '01 | Founder, Youth of Honor
Age: 50 | Degree: B.A. Applied Behavioral Sciences
According to the Department of Justice, juveniles incarcerated in state delinquent centers face a 55 percent chance of re-arrest, and 1 in 3 juvenile offenders will end up back in incarceration. NLU alumnus Ron Brashear is looking to reverse those statistics. The Youth of Honor Foundation, founded by Ron in July of 2006, is focusing on ensuring troubled kids find direction, drawing on Ron's own life experiences. His foundation is racking up success stories among at-risk youth in the Atlanta, Ga. area.
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Bob Tuohy '93 | Homeland Security Advisor
Age: 59 | Degree: B.A. Applied Behavioral Sciences
Bob Tuohy has had a front-row seat for the evolution of the nation's domestic security efforts. As deputy director of the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute, Bob advises the Department of Homeland Security on crucial budget decisions being made in the wake of debt ceiling and fiscal cliff negotiations. He's uniquely suited to be advising the department as one of the first private sector advisors to work with the nascent Department of Homeland Security in 2002.
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Don Akery ’98 | Vice President at Arrow Electronics
Age: 53 | Degree: B.A. Applied Behavioral Sciences
Don Akery is a vice president with Arrow Electronics, headquartered in Englewood, Co., which provides design assistance, products and services to more than 120,000 global customers. Don leads the marketing and asset for a group including passive, electromechanical and connector electronic component products. In 2013, he will continue to spur growth of Arrow's market share in his product group while expanding it to support the growing mobility/portable power market. "We are involved with new technologies, new materials, new ideas and new electronics that will make life not only different, but better in the future," Don said.
Barbara Oilschlager ’86 | Illinois Community College Leader
Age: 64 | Degree: B.A. Applied Behavioral Sciences
Barbara Oilschlager has been a voting member on the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) board of representatives for15 years. She has held many positions in the past with the ICCTA, including president. Barb said there are challenges facing Illinois community colleges in 2013, particularly in funding and pension reform. The ICCTA is looking to drive an increase in graduation rates, and that's the ultimate payoff for her. "When I hand students their diploma as they walk across the stage on graduation day, it brings great joy to them, their families and those of us who have played a small part in their success,” Barb said.
Geraldine Palmer ’12 | Executive Director, North Side Housing & Support
Age: 58 | Degree: Ph.D. Community Psychology
Geraldine Palmer leads an organization dedicated to provide permanent housing and support services for the homeless. Geraldine said the 30-year-old organization is looking to expand its veterans services and launch a program to bridge the gap between homeless or formerly homeless fathers and their children. Geraldine has also been nominated for a fellowship to enroll in Harvard non-profit leadership courses at no cost. "I totally enjoy working to develop and build programs designed to empower rather than enable the participants, mentor future leaders and contribute to the overall efforts to achieve social justice," she said.
Julie Zaura ’08 | Program Manager, American Hospital Association
Age: 34 | Degree: M.A. Psychology
Julie Zaura is working on the Partnership for Patients campaign at the American Hospital Association Health Research and Education Trust, a project chartered through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The project’s goal is to reduce inpatient harm by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent by the end of 2013. Julie calls the project the largest improvement campaign in history. “I am proud to be working in an area that aims to improve health care, not just for myself and my family but for all Americans,” Julie said. “I have learned that I feel the most satisfied when I am engaged in work that helps others.”
Michael Clatch ’00 | Founder, Courage to Connect Therapeutic Center
Age: 36 | Degree: M.A. Psychology
Michael Clatch, Psy.D. runs a private practice in Glenview, IL providing a strength-based therapy approach for a range of mental health and developmental issues. In 2013 he'll be introducing three new therapeutic groups, including ADHD, Asperger’s, and grief and loss, and has added staff to streamline the center's billing and insurance process. Michael loves that all of his clients are so different — they range in age from 3 to 55 — and feels great satisfaction when he can help them work through the challenges they face. "Seeing clients walk out the door with smiles when they came in upset or down is the best perk I get," he said.
Susan Neustrom ’04 | Executive Director, JUST of DuPage
Age: 62 | Degree: B.S. Management
Susan Neustrom leads an organization dedicated to providing educational, enrichment and creative opportunities for inmates at the DuPage County Jail outside of Chicago, Ill. with the goal of empowering inmates to make a positive re-entry into their community. In 2013, JUST is developing a 60-day education track for inmates to address anger issues, substance abuse and social skills. “Incarceration is a symptom of much larger societal problems,” Susan said. “I am convinced that change does happen and will continue to happen as we work in partnership with organizations that provide support, resources and guidance.”
Wytress Richardson ’99 | Founder and President, Girls of Grace
Age: 46 | Degree: B.A. Applied Behavioral Sciences
Wytress Richardson, Ph.D., associate professor in CAS, believes in the power of community. At Girls of Grace, volunteers are dedicated to holistically improving the lives of at-risk girls and young women. With programs such as peer mentoring, etiquette lessons, and leadership development, Girls of Grace works to prepare youth to become tomorrow’s leaders. “I realize that my life is of service and requires me to give away all that I have. I am so encouraged when I can support individuals to think outside the box, to contribute to their growth and development, to help elevate others to be the best that they can be,” Wytress said.