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Undergraduate College Staff & Faculty



UNDERGRADUATE STAFF

 

 If you are interested in joining National Louis University, learn more at https://www.nl.edu/about/employment/.

Leadership Team

undergraduate college dean

Aarti Dhupelia is vice president for undergraduate education and dean of the undergraduate college at National Louis University.  There she oversees NLU’s efforts to drive equity in bachelor’s degree attainment and employment by offering students affordability, a personalized and professionally-focused curriculum, and holistic support.

Prior to joining NLU, Aarti served in several senior leadership roles at Chicago Public Schools, most recently as CPS' chief officer for the office of college and career success, where she drove strategies around attendance and truancy, drop-out re-engagement, out-of-school time, social and emotional learning, college and career planning and partnerships, and early college and career coursework. Before joining CPS, Aarti worked as a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies at Marakon Associates. Currently, Aarti serves on the boards of Distinctive Schools and iMentor Chicago as well as on the leadership council of Thrive Chicago. Previously, she participated in the US Department of Education’s employability skills expert working group, and as a judge in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Career App Challenge.

Aarti holds a master of business administration from Harvard Business School and a bachelor of arts from Northwestern University, and she is an alumna of the Broad Residency in Urban Education and Leadership Greater Chicago as well as a member of Northwestern University’s Council of 100.  In 2017, the Center for Digital Education named Aarti to its Top 30 Technologists, Transformers, and Trailblazers nationwide.

 

 

Stephanie Poczos, associate dean of general education is one of the principal designers of NLU's signature undergraduate program, which is an affordable and adaptive undergraduate model that provides comprehensive, personalized support for non-traditional students through a signature instructional and coaching model. Stephanie has worked at NLU for ten years in many areas of the University, most notably designing and implementing the B.A. in applied communications program launched in 2013 and then designing and implementing the Pathways program. She has taught in NLU’s applied behavioral sciences, secondary education, and applied communications programs.

Prior to coming to NLU, Stephanie taught English at the high school level and served as the director of online learning in District 204, often serving populations of high-need and minority students. Before teaching, Stephanie was a senior broadcast producer at Ogilvy and Mather in Chicago and worked with clients around the world. Stephanie holds an Ed.S. in educational leadership and a master of arts in teaching from National Louis University, and a bachelor of arts in communications from the University of Iowa.  

When not at work, Stephanie can be found chasing after her two boys, enjoying time with friends and family, gardening and reading.

 

Margaret Stemler, associate dean of the undergraduate college—professional studies, has 20 years of higher-education experience in teaching and administration. She has worked at National Louis University for over 10 years where she served in many roles and taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In her current position, she has oversight for the undergraduate majors including teaching and learning, curriculum development, and faculty. Margaret holds a bachelor of science in business administration degree from Roosevelt University and her master's of education in human resource development from University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.  She also holds an Ed.D. in higher educational leadership.

Pauline is the director of undergraduate programming for the Wheeling campus. In this role, Pauline is responsible for supporting the rapid expansion of daytime students in the undergraduate college at the Wheeling campus. She leads efforts to ensure the growth of the outreach, enrollment, retention and student life of these students.

Pauline has worked at NLU for over nine years in many areas of the university, including as an undergraduate academic advisor and assistant director in student finance. Prior to NLU, Pauline worked in the corporate world including owning and managing her own staffing business for four years.

Pauline holds a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Marquette University and a master of science in training and development from the University of St. Francis.

 

Jennifer Robin, director of undergraduate student success, has spent over 15 years supporting students in a variety of educational settings. In this role, Jennifer oversees a team of coaches on two campuses in Illinois, serving predominantly first-generation and underrepresented first-time college students. Through her direct support of the inaugural group of Pathways students at NLU, Jennifer built the undergraduate coaching model now adopted by the undergraduate college at NLU.  With the support of the coaching team, this model has been revised and strengthened to maximize college persistence, degree attainment, and maximize the career outcomes for undergrads at NLU. Jennifer’s team also oversees the wraparound support umbrella including key initiatives such as the cohort identity model to create community within a commuter campus, a coach-led student group to support and empower young men of color, and an emergency fund.

Jennifer holds a bachelor's of arts in communications/advertising from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. After working in the corporate world for a couple of years, Jen realized her passion was in working with and empowering young adults. After earning a master of arts in teaching from NLU, she spent ten years teaching English and college-readiness courses such as AVID and OneGoal at a Chicago public high school in the Uptown neighborhood, where she also resides with her family. Her favorite thing about being a coach is helping students realize their potential for success at the college level and what this can mean for the trajectory of their lives.

 

Smret Smith, executive director of Career Bridge, has 20 years of experience in corporate recruiting, human resources, and career development initiatives. She has helped organizations draw and retain top talent through strategic planning and branding, as well as led career development and programming initiatives within higher education. Her expertise includes relationship management, consulting, and establishing community partnerships. Smret completed her master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago in communication studies with a concentration in intercultural communication and business and her bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in speech communication with an emphasis in law. She loves teaching and has taught college courses for over eight years. Smret is thrilled to build partnerships and strategies that catapult students towards wonderful career opportunities.

 

Tracy Templin, executive director of strategy and operations, oversees the undergraduate college’s data analytics team, as well as grant development, budgeting and strategic initiatives for the college. Tracy began her career teaching middle school in Baltimore, Maryland. As a result of this experience, she went on to study social and economic development within the context of social justice in order to gain a deeper understanding of the social, economic, and political factors contributing to the communities and educational system in urban communities. Prior to NLU, Tracy worked at Chicago Public Schools, where she held various roles in data analysis, strategic planning, and program management. Tracy has also worked in higher education, serving as the assistant director for admissions and recruitment for the Brown School at Washington University.

She holds a master of arts in teaching from Johns Hopkins University and master of social work from Washington University in St. Louis, and a bachelor of arts from DePaul University, where she majored in sociology and English.

 

 

 

Administrative Staff

Melanie Flores is the Director of HSI STEM Programs at National Louis University and works to promote and support the advancement of underrepresented students. Melanie has worked in Education for over 10 years and believes in providing equitable resources to help students succeed. She has held several leadership roles in the not for profit sector and sits on the Mujeres de HACE Alumnae Board as Secretary. Ms. Flores holds a Bachelor of Arts from Northeastern Illinois University and Master of Science from DePaul University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership. When Melanie is not volunteering for diverse organizations, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three boys.

Nate is a manager of analytics in the undergraduate college. In this position, he focuses on providing practical, useful analyses and tools to support the everyday practice of all kinds of educators: instructors, counselors, coaches, and administrators. He manages the data and analytic needs of projects ranging from major learning outcomes assessment to completion of career readiness milestones, and at all points in the project life cycle from defining needs to automating reports.

Nate holds a master of arts in teaching history from the University of Illinois—Chicago and a bachelor of arts in history from the College of William and Mary. Previous positions include project manager and data strategist at the University of Chicago’s Network for College Success, an implementation specialist at LiveText, Inc., and director of operations at The Princeton Review, Inc.

In his free time, Nate is a musician. His band, Mad Bread, has performed regularly in Chicago and surrounding areas since 2007 and has independently recorded, produced, and published three albums.

 

 

 

Jenna recently joined the Undergraduate Analytics team at NLU as a Data Analyst. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI), and an M.A. in Industrial & Organizational Psychology from Wayne State University (Detroit). Prior to NLU, Jenna worked as an Institutional Research Analyst at Wayne County Community College in Detroit. Through this position, she discovered an interest in analytics and visualization – which allows her to work with data while utilizing her interest in design. She is passionate about making data actionable and insights clear. Jenna was drawn to NLU because of its clear commitment to data-driven improvement and its students-first focus. Outside of work, you can find Jenna exploring new neighborhoods, working on a data visualization project, or curling up with her Siberian cat, Nikolai.

Taylor is one of the undergraduate operations coordinators in the undergraduate college. In this position she supports the dean and associate deans, coordinates the college operations, and works on additional projects for the college. In addition, she is also a social science adjunct. Before coming to National Louis University, she was a member of the global engagement team at DePaul University. Having been a lifelong student herself, Taylor is committed to working with students to provide them the best educational experience as possible and working towards making higher education accessible to all.

Taylor received her master of arts in international studies from DePaul University. She also has a bachelor of arts from Bradley University, where she studied political science, religious studies, and economics. Her research interests include intersectional and transnational feminism, post-structural and postcolonial theory, and international political theory.

Outside of work, Taylor can be found curling up with a good book with her rescue greyhound, Jet. She also loves travelling, going to the movies, playing tabletop games, and going to concerts and live theater performances.

 

 

 

 

Megan is one of the operations coordinator for the undergraduate college. As the undergraduate operations coordinator, she supports the dean and associate dean, and helps with the operation for the undergraduate college. Before joining National Louis, Megan was actively involved with Chicago Public School. Having grew up in Chicago and enrolled in the Chicago Public Schools herself, she also has experience teaching in CPS schools for four years. With her passion for supporting students, Megan is committed to being a part of National Louis’s goal of reaching all students and providing an accessible and quality education for all.

Megan received her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Additionally, she has also worked with a non-profit organization that assisted international students in recognizing their foreign credentials at US institutions in order to pursue further education.

Outside of work, Megan enjoys a good book with a warm cup of tea. She loves to travel, visit local farmer’s markets, and is always looking to try new cooking recipes.

Academic Staff

Chrissy Hart serves as the director of general education for the undergraduate college. In this role, she oversees the courses and curriculum for all general education courses ensuring that all NLU students have an equitable learning experience that builds the core foundational knowledge and skills required to thrive in college. In addition, Chrissy supports the department chairs and instructors for these courses in their efforts to provide and engaging and supporting environment for both first-time and returning students.

Before joining NLU, Chrissy was a secondary math and science teacher, high school principal, and school founder. She has spent 20 years, working to ensure that all students have the opportunity, knowledge, and skills to thrive in college and pursue the life they want to live. Chrissy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in secondary education. Chrissy enjoys running, travelling, live music, and spending time with her family.

 

Natasha Kohl currently serves as manager of career development for the undergraduate college, where she pursues her passion to increase educational equity and professional opportunities for NLU students.  In this role, she designs a strengths-based career curriculum, supervises career instructors, and collaborates with the Career Bridge team to implement and assess the undergraduate college’s 4-year arc of career milestones. In addition, Natasha manages NLU’s partnership with Braven, a national nonprofit, delivering a rigorous career development program for sophomore students.

Natasha came to NLU as a member of the English faculty and holds a Ph.D. in English from Fordham University with a focus on critical race theory, education history, and 19th century African-American literature. She also holds an M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with an emphasis on Chicana literature and a B.A. in English from the University of New Mexico’s Honors College with a minor in religious studies. Before coming to NLU, Natasha was an assistant professor of English at Centenary University in New Jersey and has taught in the K-12 space and in higher education for over 15 years. When not at work, Natasha enjoys camping, running, and reading to her kids.

 

Lydia Mantis works as an instructional support leader for faculty of National Louis University’s undergraduate college. In this role, she focuses on providing coaching, professional development, and support for instructors in an effort to create effective, relevant, and meaningful learning experiences for all students. Prior to joining the team at National Louis, Lydia was a teacher, consulted on education research, and served as a high school social science chair. Her most recent role was working in the Back of the Yards neighborhood and leading the development and implementation of the social science curriculum of a new CPS high school.

Lydia holds a master of science in teaching and a bachelor of arts in history, and communication & media studies from Fordham University. She has also earned certificates in peace and justice studies and teaching English language learners. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in education with a focus on curriculum, advocacy, and policy.

Lydia is a born and bred New Yorker and enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and volunteering her time with Armenian-American community and church groups.

 

 

 

 

Phuong Thai-Garcia joined the undergraduate college team at National Louis in 2018 as an instructional support leader and loves partnering with educators in growing their capacity to use heart and strengths to help students unleash their potential. At Kendall College from 2009-2018, she designed and taught face-to-face and online general education courses (Spanish and interdisciplinary courses that brought together traditional topics in integrative ways), worked closely with adjunct faculty, and was an active collaborator in reimagining Kendall's gen. ed. model.

Phuong has served as assistant program director of general education since 2017, overseeing the curriculum and day-to-day operations of the department. She also spent a year in the Center for Teaching and Learning at Kendall, focusing on faculty professional development. Before Kendall, she was a faculty member at Lake Forest Academy, a private boarding high school, where she taught Spanish and also worked with students on the tennis court, on stage, in the dorms, and in her family’s home. She appreciates a holistic approach to education and believes in the ability of every individual to own their learning and use their experience, values, and connection to others to drive their academic, professional and personal growth. Her degrees are in Spanish, from Pomona College (B.A.) and the University of California, Los Angeles (M.A.).

 

Faculty: Applied Communications

Elizabeth serves as assistant chair and assistant professor of the B.A. in applied communications program as well as the M.S. in written communication program. Elizabeth earned her M.A. in organizational psychology and her M.S. in written communication. Currently, Elizabeth is pursuing a doctorate in higher education leadership at NLU.

Prior to working at NLU, Elizabeth worked more than 15 years as a communications director and marketing manager across non-profit and for-profit industries. At her most recent corporate role, she helped economically-challenged high school seniors transition to college and career. She also worked for two years as a business English instructor at a variety of companies in Paris and prior to that, studied and tutored at Albert Ludwigs Universitaet in Freiburg, Germany. Elizabeth is a writer and editor, and she owns and operates a small, independent publishing company.

 

Faculty: Business

John Frech is the outgoing program director of Kendall College's business program. Before accepting this role in February, 2017, John was an assistant professor in the business program where he specialized in teaching accounting, finance, economics, entrepreneurship and strategy courses. John began teaching full-time at Kendall in 2010.

Before Kendall, John worked in the banking industry in finance and accounting for over 30 years. His many roles included external auditing (he is a CPA) and internal auditing. He has been a CFO and a controller. He was a federal banking regulator, where he worked for the office of thrift supervision in the aftermath of the Savings & Loan crisis. And he worked in the division of bank supervision and regulation at the board of governors of the Federal Reserve, where he directed the development of accounting and auditing policy for U.S. banks. He has also worked for small banks and large international banks. John looks forward to his next assignment: program chair of the undergraduate business program within the undergraduate college at National Louis University.

Duncan serves as assistant professor of business and business content lead in the undergraduate college. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from North Park University, where he also played baseball, and a MBA, with a focus on financial analysis, from DePaul University.

Prior to coming to NLU, Duncan spent 15 years in the investment and insurance industry as an advisor, trainer and manager. He enjoys sharing his stories of the business world with his students and likes to hear their experiences as well. He also has a passion for helping other business professors achieve their potential in the classroom.

Duncan has a wide variety of interests outside of work, including cooking, brewing beer and working on his motorcycle. He also enjoys spending time in nature with his wife and daughter.

 

 

 

Faculty: Computer Sciences and Information Systems

Robyn Moncrief is the department chair and founding faculty member of the computer science and information systems (CSIS) department at National Louis University. She believes that computer science should be an option for everyone and that we must work to increase the number of underrepresented students participating in the field. The CSIS department is supported by a Department of Education Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI) STEM grant. Robyn and the HSI STEM team are working together to develop engaging relevant curriculum, state-of-the-art lab computing resources, and support structures for our undergraduate students.

Her Ph.D. research in computer science (DePaul University) is in developing systems for automating the translation between English to American Sign Language. Robyn brings to NLU a very interdisciplinary background, having studied, designed curriculum, and taught in the fields of computer science, engineering, computational biology, and design.

Robyn has presented at several international conferences including Human-Computer Interaction International, the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference, SIGGRAPH, and Gordon Research Conferences. She is a member of the America’s Urban Campus and serves as a reviewer for the Association Computer Machinery’s Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education.

 

Faculty: Criminal Justice

Neal Jack is a full-time faculty member in the criminal justice program. He began his career at NLU as an adjunct instructor in the criminal justice program.

Prior to beginning his career at NLU, Neal was a Chicago police officer for over 37 years. Almost all of his last 26 years were spent conducting or supervising investigations in forensics, narcotics, or the detective division.

Neal and his wife Joann have three grown children and three young grandchildren, all of whom currently live in the area.

Neal is a graduate of Weber High School in Chicago (now closed), University of Illinois Chicago Circle (before they dropped the second C) with a B.S. in physical education, and Lewis University with an M.S. in social and criminal justice.

Neal’s teaching experiences include: substitute teacher for CPS, guest instructor at the Chicago Police Academy, instructor for Harold Washington City College, and instructor for Truman City College. His most interesting experience was working as an instructor of Albanian police officers for a program under the Department of Justice.

He regards the opportunity to be a small part of educational staff at NLU to be a distinct honor which carries immense responsibilities.

 

Faculty: Education/Teacher Preparation

Lisa Downey currently works as the director of the undergraduate teacher preparation department, supporting the early childhood practice, early childhood and elementary education majors as well as the special education, ESL/bilingual education and early care and education administration minors.

Lisa has worked at NLU since 2011, first as a field supervisor and adjunct professor and then, in 2014, came on as an assistant professor. Lisa has spent over 30 years working in the field of education, primarily in early childhood. Lisa obtained a B.A. in child development from Roosevelt University, an M.Ed. from NLU in early childhood leadership and advocacy, and completed her doctoral program in educational leadership at NLU in the winter of 2019. Her areas of expertise are infant/toddler development, teacher preparation and her dissertation topic was “Exploring The Development Of Academic Writing With Multilingual College Students.”  

Over the years, Lisa has been lucky enough to work in various settings and capacities supporting the growth and development of teachers working with children in some of our most vulnerable communities. A lifelong learner herself, Lisa finds joy in working with students in reaching their educational goals, no matter how big or small. When not working, Lisa can be found spending time with her teenage twins, wife of over two decades and houseful of pets on the South Side of Chicago.

 

 

 

Eileen currently works as the undergraduate field placement manager, working with students in the teacher preparation department securing field experience placement sites for field observation, practicums and student teaching. Eileen has been with NLU since 2008 as an adjunct instructor teaching early childhood education courses both at the undergraduate and graduate level. She has also supervised students in the field during practicum and student teaching. Eileen came on board full-time with the university in July 2018.

Eileen has over 23 years working in the field of early childhood education. Eileen obtained her B.S. in child development from Iowa State University (ISU) and her M.S. in early childhood education from the Erikson Institute in 2001. Throughout her over 23 years of experience, Eileen has been a 3’s and 4’s classroom teacher in child care, a preschool teacher, an early childhood consultant and trainer, a NAEYC accreditation mentor, an early intervention developmental therapist, an adjunct faculty member of Oakton Community College and Kendall College as well as the director of a for-profit toddler program in Chicago and an assistant director & director of a part-time nursery school program.  

Eileen is married with two children—and soon to be an empty nester. Her son is attending college her alma mater ISU. Her daughter is a junior in high school and very active in softball. If you are ever looking for Eileen, you can find her on the bleachers watching her daughter play. Eileen strives to connect each day with students and colleagues, alike, to share ideas, experiences and learn from one another as we go through our learning journey together.

 

Mindy Fiala-Leaven currently serves as an academic advisor for the online early childhood education (ECE) program where she supports the population of students who transferred to NLU from Kendall College’s ECE program. She also serves as the licensure officer for all undergraduate licensure programs, working with program directors and advisors to streamline processes and information regarding teacher preparation at NLU.

Prior to joining the staff at NLU in 2018, Mindy served as lecturer and licensure officer at Kendall College where she advised students on licensure requirements, facilitated licensure data collection for state and federal reporting, and taught an introductory course that helped students become acquainted with and accustomed to the online learning environment. She also served as an academic advisor and the student teaching placement coordinator during her 7-year tenure at Kendall College. Prior to her work in higher education, Mindy worked in the high school environment where she helped to develop drop-out prevention and online learning programs. Mindy holds a bachelor’s degree in technical theatre and studio art from Cornell College and a master’s degree in academic advising and student affairs from Kansas State University.  

As a proponent of online and adult learning programs, she finds her work with students in online programs to be incredibly fulfilling and is continually impressed by her students as they juggle the responsibilities of home and work, while earning their degree. Her work in online course development, instruction in the online environment, and her experience in completing her master’s degree in the online setting, allows her to both understand the difficulties and appreciate the benefits of online learning.

When Mindy is not in her office, she and her husband are busy watching their 9-year-old son play soccer or are running after their 1-year-old daughter as she chases their two cats.  

Dr. Neal Green is an assistant professor and early childhood education online coordinator. Previously, he served as interim program director for the school of early childhood education at Kendall College and held various roles throughout his tenure. Specifically, his titles included assistant professor for the school of early childhood education, edTPA coordinator (for the “bar exam for teachers”), and member of the center for teaching and learning at Kendall. In 2010, he started at Kendall College as a face-to-face instructor and now exclusively teaches online courses as the program phased out on-campus classes. His student-centered approach to teaching creates a synergistic experience for online students that promotes transformational learning. His steadfast belief that everyone deserves a right to higher education is the driving-force behind his attempt to reduce barriers for students and develop individualized pathways to success.

 

Other accomplishments:

  • (2017) David A. Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
  • (2015) Ph.D. in Education, with dissertation "Finish the Game: A Study of Adult Student Persistence in Bachelor’s Programs"
  • (2015) Kendall College award for excellence in teaching

 

Christie Easley currently works as an assistant professor of education in the undergraduate college at NLU’s Chicago campus, where she teaches special education and elementary education courses as well as serving as a field supervisor for practicum and student teaching. She has worked at NLU since 2017. She is a current member of the student support committee and the student conduct hearing board.

Christie currently holds an all-but-dissertation (ABD) in educational leadership with a focus in early childhood education from Concordia University. Her doctoral topic is about finding ways to develop the necessary teacher dispositions in early childhood education pre-service teachers for immediate success in the classroom. She also has a master's degree in education from St. Xavier University. She also works as an adjunct at Joliet Junior College teaching child development courses.

Before working at NLU, Christie worked in the public school system as a special education teacher for 15 years. She has worked in preschool thru high school settings with students from diverse backgrounds and developed a passion for finding student’s strengths and using them to overcome obstacles. She is a current member of the ESL/bilingual gateways credential committee and has a strong belief that multilingualism is a permanent fixture in classrooms and should be embraced by schools.

Outside of the classroom, you will most likely find Christie at some type of sporting event supporting her three sons. Her oldest is a senior in high school and looking to play lacrosse and football at Benedictine University. She has been married for 20 years and has three dogs, two ferrets and a bunny, as her middle son loves animals. Her youngest loves to read and follow his two big brothers around.

 

Jolene Martin currently works as the assistant professor of early childhood practice and education in the undergraduate college at NLU’s Chicago campus, teaching courses in the early childhood education and early childhood practice majors. Jolene obtained her M.S. in early childhood administration from NLU in 2009, her B.S. in information systems from DePaul University in 2005 and infant-toddler credential in 2013.

Jolene has been immersed in the field of early childhood education for over 10 years and her passion and commitment to the field grows stronger every year. Jolene has had the opportunity to serve in a variety of roles in the field which include; college advisor, early childhood mentor/coach, assessor, professional development advisor/specialist, state-wide trainer, program director, infant-toddler teacher, and infant-toddler specialist. Jolene has worked with multiple community colleges as an adjunct faculty member teaching early childhood education courses. Jolene developed a deep love, focus and niche for one of the most vulnerable age groups in the field, infants and toddlers. She believes in providing infants and toddlers with a quality environment and experience with teachers.

She takes great joy in collaborating and engaging with students in the higher-ed community and providing them with an environment that is conducive to their success.

Jolene is a South Side of Chicago native and enjoys all things craft, movement through ministry, movies, reading, traveling, concerts, journaling, empowering others, mentoring young adults, and spending time with friends and family.

 

Anne Pradzinski joined NLU in 2019 and is currently working with undergraduate teacher education students in both the early childhood and elementary education licensure programs. Currently pursuing her Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Anne graduated from North Central College with a master's degree in curriculum and instruction and completed her undergraduate degree in elementary education here at National Louis University.

As an educator with a focus on STEM learning, she has taught at multiple levels from toddlers to teenagers. Prior to teaching at the college level, Anne taught middle school science and US history in a large, suburban public school district. Anne is very interested in supporting both new and experienced teachers in teaching science in their classrooms. Her research focuses on how early childhood educators approach science teaching and learning in pre-K classrooms. Additionally, she had presented locally and nationally on the topics of early math teaching/learning and early childhood professional development.

As an advocate for increasing quality and equity in Chicago preschools, Anne helped to develop and coordinate an alternative licensure pathway for current early childhood educators in conjunction with Chicago Early Learning. Anne continues to support efforts to establish more equitable pathways to teacher licensure in Illinois.

Anne has two grown children and enjoys spending time learning about new cultures and history through travel.

Faculty: English

Margeaux Temeltas is the English department chair and assistant professor of English in the undergraduate college at NLU. Margeaux has been teaching for more than 15 years, both in the United States and abroad. She grew up in Northern California and has lived in Istanbul and Berlin. She remains a California girl at heart, despite more than a decade spent living in Chicago.

Before her work in higher education, Margeaux taught English at a public high school on Chicago’s West Side, where she coached her school’s Louder Than A Bomb slam poetry team. Margeaux also has extensive experience teaching English as a second language, having taught for several years at Berlitz Sprachschule in Berlin, Germany, where her students ranged from preschool-aged children to mid-career adults.

Margeaux is a lifelong writer and loves cultivating the writing life in her students. In addition to writing poetry and creative nonfiction, she also acts and improvises. Margeaux loves the thriving storytelling or "live lit" scene in Chicago, and has performed her own solo work at a variety of Chicago theaters, including the Public House Theatre, Stage 773, the Second City, the Playground Theater, and the Green Mill. She appears regularly at the women's storytelling show "Loose Chicks" and on the live storytelling podcast, "The Nerdologues: Your Stories."

Margeaux has a bachelor of arts in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a master of arts in the humanities (with a focus on comparative literature and poetics) from the University of Chicago, and a master of arts in teaching (English language arts) from National Louis University. Margeaux also enjoys swing dancing, yoga, and playing the blues harmonica.

 

Alexandra Gunnells currently works as an assistant professor of English in the undergraduate college at NLU’s Chicago campus, where she teaches beginning/intermediate composition and public speaking to first year students. Alexandra began her teaching career as an adjunct instructor in the English department at Chattahoochee Technical College; she then worked as an adjunct at NLU for a year before transitioning to full-time faculty. In addition to teaching, Alexandra focuses on assisting tutoring students at weekly study tables, as well as supporting NLU Pride, the student-run LGBTQ club on campus.

Alexandra received her master of arts in the humanities, with a focus on English literature, from the University of Chicago. She also holds a bachelor of arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied English, women’s & gender studies, and social and economic justice. Her research interests include late 19th century American literature, queer theory, feminist theory, and biopolitics.

Outside of work, Alexandra is actively involved in the Chicago music scene. She is a saxophonist in several musical groups, including Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band and Clamor & Lace Noise Brigade. She also enjoys reading, and leads a monthly queer book club. In her free time, Alexandra enjoys curling up with her rescue cat, Busy.

Elizabeth Teahan is an assistant professor of English in the undergraduate college at National Louis University where she teaches freshmen communications courses and additionally leads weekly student success collaboration (SSC) and course content meetings. She is also the faculty sponsor of NLU’s student-led book club. She holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing from DePaul University, and she was the first to graduate from DePaul’s M.A. in writing and publishing program. She is also an alum of DePaul’s honors society. Before coming to NLU, Elizabeth taught at various City Colleges of Chicago. Her experience reflects her current interest of creating a more socially conscious and equitable educational experience for all. She is also interested in dance and teaches contemporary and ballet part-time.

 

Rachel Waymel currently serves as an assistant professor of English with the undergraduate college and is primarily based at the Wheeling campus. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from St. Norbert College, a master’s degree in English literature from Ohio University, and did additional graduate work in English literature at The Ohio State University. Her teaching and research interests include teaching writing and composition to multilingual/multidialectal students, teaching first-generation college students, and teaching business/professional writing. When not teaching, she enjoys gardening, reading, board games, and spending time with her husband and cat.  

 

Dr. Ebony Wilkins is an assistant professor of English in the undergraduate college, where she teaches composition, effective speaking, and children’s literature for educators on the Chicago campus. Prior to joining NLU, Ebony taught English at City Colleges of Chicago and at an early childhood center in New York City. She has worked with students in preschool thru high school settings throughout her teaching career, and has previous experience as an education and police reporter for a daily newspaper, and is an author of several fiction and nonfiction books for children. Her education research centers on the intersection of race, African American children’s literature, and writing. Her writing focuses on highlighting historically marginalized voices.

She holds a Ph.D. in literacy, language, and culture from University of Illinois at Chicago, an M.S. in elementary education from Indiana-Purdue University at Indianapolis, an M.F.A. in creative writing from The New School and a B.A. in journalistic communications from Purdue University. When she’s not in the classroom, Ebony can be found reading a good book by Lake Michigan or writing one. She is a member of KidLit Authors of Color and Binders Mentoring Program for writers. She also enjoys traveling, playing tennis, practicing yoga, and spending time with family and friends.

Faculty: Humanities and Social Science

Erin Neubert currently serves as an assistant professor of humanities and the humanities department chair within the undergraduate college. Erin began her career in education as a middle-school teacher at a dual-language school in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. She transitioned to various administrative roles where she took a lead developing assessment and data analysis systems, evaluation and professional development structures, and approaches to instruction and curriculum. She was also the founding academic director for a K-8th grade elementary school on the far West Side of Chicago that serves over 550 students.

Most recently, Erin has taught multiple humanities, art, and career development college courses in the Chicagoland area. Erin is passionate about providing all students with access to a high-quality educational experience and loves working with students. She is committed to the importance of humanities instruction and believes it is critical to developing one’s values and identity.

Erin holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and Spanish from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in humanities from the University of Chicago.  She enjoys running and reading when she is not spending time with her husband and three children.

 

Valerie Vistain currently serves as an assistant professor of history and social science department chair with the undergraduate college. Valerie earned her master's degree in history at the University of Iowa and specialized in African-American history and women's history. In the summer of 2016, Valerie completed a second master's degree in education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There, she focused on urban education and became very involved in creating social justice based and culturally relevant curriculum. Valerie is continuing on in her academic endeavors and is currently working on a doctorate in education with a focus on higher-education leadership.

Valerie teaches a variety of classes, including history, political science, and sociology. She serves as a co-chair of the undergraduate college as well as the faculty sponsor for the social justice club at NLU.

Outside of the classroom, Valerie continues to advance her history knowledge by traveling to historical locations, attending reenactments, and immersing herself in museums. Her life is not solely dedicated to education and history, however. She is involved in activism in Chicago and participates in protest and actions all over the city.  She has also been known to frequent live shows, plays, and the occasional roller derby. Valerie is a huge fan of the outdoors and has camped and backpacked in many national parks. She also has a dog, Lucy, that fills her time with walks, dog beaches, and playing fetch.

 

Martin Caver currently serves as an assistant professor in the humanities and social sciences departments within the undergraduate college. He has worked in various teaching and instructional capacities at the secondary and post-secondary level for 15 years. He first came to Chicago in 2008 after receiving an M.A. in philosophy at Queen’s University as a Fulbright scholar. In Chicago he pursued an M.A. in social sciences at the University of Chicago and taught high school French in Chicago Public Schools for two years before moving to North Carolina to pursue his Ph.D. in political science at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill. At Chapel Hill, his research and teaching focused on contemporary issues within political theory, particularly intersectional feminist political thought and the work of Hannah Arendt. A chapter of his dissertation, “Finding a Home in the World: Hannah Arendt and the Principles of Political Love,” recently was published as an article in the political science journal Polity. 

At National Louis, Martin strives to work in solidarity with students and colleagues, serving on the faculty senate and spearheading an inquiry group of anti-racist faculty. When not on campus you can find him on the tennis court trying in vain to hit like Venus and Serena, in the kitchen improvising recipes, or on the couch curled up with a good book and his dog, Prince.

 

 

 

Bethany Harding currently serves as assistant professor of history with the undergraduate college, and is based at the Chicago campus. She holds a Ph.D. in American history from Marquette University, an M.A. in history from the University of Toledo, and a B.A. from Loyola University Chicago. Her doctoral work focused on the early national United States as a postcolonial society, and analyzed connections between the formation of American identity and the War of 1812. Bethany teaches political science and world history at NLU, and serves as the chair of the undergraduate curriculum and instruction committee. When not in the classroom, she enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her two small children.

Douglas McCoy serves as an assistant professor of social sciences and is the sociology content lead in the undergraduate college.  Doug completed his undergraduate and graduate work in sociology at Illinois State University (ISU). Doug completed his doctorate degree in higher education leadership at Northern Illinois University. The focus of his doctoral research was instructional technologies, distance learning and virtual universities.  

Doug began his career in higher education working in residence life and student affairs at Illinois State University. He then spent four years as the assistant dean of students at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois before moving to Waubonsee Community College (WCC) in Sugar Grove, Illinois. At WCC he worked in a number of administrative roles including the associate dean of social & behavior sciences and the dean of enrollment management.  

More recently, Doug was a core faculty member and residency lead for the school of education at Capella University. In this role, Doug managed the Ph.D. residency & research faculty for all of the Ph.D. programs within the school of education.

Over the course of the past twenty years, Doug has taught sociology part-time at a number of different institutions including: the College of DuPage, Illinois State University, Waubonsee Community College, and DeVry University. Doug lives in the western suburbs with his wife Trish and their three boys. Doug is an avid scuba diver and enjoys diving in warm waters around the world with his boys. Doug enjoys restoring classic cars and recently completed a frame off restoration of a 1985 Jeep CJ-7. Doug is active in his community and has been active on a number of boards including Two Rivers Head Start Community Action Agency. Doug served as the board chair for Two Rivers for over a decade. Finally, Doug loves baseball! He is the board president for the Fox Valley Freedom Travel Baseball Association which is one of the largest independent travel baseball organizations in Illinois. Doug loves fitness, running and is addicted to hot yoga.

Karin Steinbrueck, Ph.D. (she/her) is assistant professor in the humanities and social science departments in the undergraduate college. She primarily teaches first- and second-year history and sociology courses on the Chicago campus. Karin holds a Ph.D. in modern European history from Northwestern University, with a specialization in Eastern and Central Communist Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Ottoman studies. Her research interests include totalitarian systems, dictatorships, and the secret police in Communist regimes.  Her dissertation examines the Romanian Communist government’s response to natural disasters.

She has worked as a program evaluator, photojournalist, teacher, and a Peace Corps volunteer and Fulbright scholar. She speaks Romanian fluently with a Moldovan accent. Karin serves as the undergraduate college representative on the steering committee for NLU’s Civic Engagement Center and has a strong interest in community and political engagement. Outside of NLU you can find her knitting, visiting museums, playing games with her kids, or sitting on a Lake Michigan beach.

Sarah Syed currently serves as assistant professor of humanities in the undergraduate college at National Louis University. She holds both a B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), with a research focus in philosophical atomism.

Sarah teaches philosophy and general studies courses at NLU and is also serving as faculty senator.

Prior to coming to National Louis, Sarah taught in the First Year Experience program within UTSA’s undergraduate college, and worked as a graduate research assistant for the philosophy department.

Sarah is passionate about teaching philosophy and the humanities to those with little to no prior exposure. She believes that all students should be afforded the opportunity to study the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence. She has taken up research around ways to make philosophical texts more accessible to non-majors, and is always looking for new and innovative ways to teach core ideas. She works to ensure students understand the meaning, importance, and applicability of humanities studies not only to other classes, but to their lives in general.

Her personal research interests include studying the relationship between philosophical argumentation and career preparedness, and comparative studies in Islamic metaphysics.

Outside of work, Sarah is active in building interfaith relationships within her community, and is currently taking classes to learn the Arabic language and linguistic history. She enjoys going to concerts and trying out new restaurants around Chicago with her husband, and when the weather is nice, taking her two dogs to the park.

Faculty: Mathematics

Joe is an assistant professor of mathematics in the undergraduate college. In addition to teaching math at National Louis University, he is also course owner of the two general-education track math courses in the undergraduate college: Math 101 and 102. Joe is an empathetic leader who structures his classroom to maximize student engagement. He strongly believes that all students have the ability to succeed in math, and refuses to accept the “I’m just not a math person” excuse. Joe has also been a tutor and an adjunct math professor at Truman College in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago for the last 5 years. Before becoming a teacher, he clerked on the trading floor at the Chicago Board of Trade for a little more than 11 years.

Joe, a lifelong Chicagoan, returned to school as an adult to pursue his passion of helping people build the confidence necessary to succeed in a math classroom. He holds a master of arts in mathematics education, with focus on education and society, and a bachelor of arts in liberal arts, both from DePaul University in Chicago. Joe prefers being in the classroom teaching rather than conducting research at this point in his career.

When he’s not teaching, Joe, his wife Andrea, and their baby boy Miles enjoy trying new restaurants, binge watching shows on Netflix, exploring the neighborhood, and catching up on sleep whenever possible.

 

Kelly Yousif is an assistant professor of mathematics at National Louis University within the undergraduate college where she currently serves as the course owner of the math for educators classes. Alongside teaching, Kelly also serves on the faculty promotion and recognition committee. She holds a B.S. in finance with a minor in management from Northeastern Illinois University and an M.A. in mathematics education from DePaul University.

Kelly began her career as a banker for JPMorgan Chase where she worked as a personal banker and later transitioned into becoming a business banker. Upon leaving her banking career, Kelly began her teaching career at Solex College, teaching ESL where she worked with students from all over the world. Prior to joining NLU, Kelly taught mathematics at Truman Community College where her main focus was working with the developmental education courses to build up the basic skills in mathematics of academically unprepared students so that they are successful in college-level work. During her time at Truman, she also helped write curriculum for a new program, Launch, which was designed to provide an innovative developmental bridge for high school graduates or GED recipients who wish to attend college but test below the minimum college entry levels.

When she is not in the classroom, Kelly can be found enjoying outdoor events and traveling.

 

Faculty: Psychology

Jon Oelke currently serves as an assistant professor of psychology in the undergraduate college at National Louis University. Since 2015, Jon has been educating students in the fields of psychology, college readiness, and career readiness at NLU. His passion for educating first-generation college students translates to high-energy, active classrooms.

As an academic lead at the Wheeling Campus, Jon focused on guiding other faculty in their technology-based, pedagogical approaches. To assist with the establishment of the undergraduate college on NLU’s Wheeling campus, Jon leads professional development and offers just-in-time support for faculty.

In addition to his work at NLU, Jon has also been teaching at the graduate level since 2014 with The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in the industrial/organizational psychology department. Prior to that, Jon founded his consulting practice, The Improvising Professional. This practice applies his professional experience, formal education, business best practices, and deep theoretical understanding of improvisation to improving group dynamics in the workplace.

Outside of work, Jon enjoys table-top games and going to the movies, a pastime he has always shared with his grandparents.

 

Faculty: Science

Orinna currently serves as the science department chair for the undergraduate college at National Louis University. Her academic background includes designing and implementing action research for her Ed.D. program in higher education that focused on teaching science to non-science majors. She also holds two master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina: one in biology with a marine science focus, and an M.A.T. in teaching biology.

Orinna developed her love for marine science during her marine biology bachelor’s program at Long Island University, Southampton. She would spend as much time as she could on their oceanographic vessel doing fieldwork. But, it wouldn’t be until she started teaching in South Carolina that she really knew what she wanted to devote her life to. She has been teaching at the college level ever since then, for over 20 years.

Orinna’s greatest passion in the world is teaching science to new and diverse audiences. She has a strong STEM/STEAM background and has designed science courses and programs that cater to the specific needs of non-science majors. She has also edited/written specialized science textbooks. She believes in collaborating with her students and prides herself on creating a classroom space that is engaging, open-minded, fun, productive, and dedicated to active learning.

When she is not teaching or improving her craft, Orinna is working on her book entitled The Evolution of Science Instruction in Higher Education. She also tutors students in the Chicago area, is the sponsor of the NLU science club, is an active member of NSTA, and enjoys volunteering at neighborhood shelters. In her spare time, Orinna also enjoys nature photography, scuba diving, traveling, cooking, and watching classic science fiction films.

 

Roy Kaelin is currently a member of full-time faculty at National Louis University (NLU) in its undergraduate college. At present, he teaches courses in career development and science for undergraduate students, and, science courses for adult-transfer students. At NLU and other institutions, he has also presented courses in geology, ecology, physical science, and astronomy. Prior to joining the adjunct faculty at NLU, Roy served as manager of astronomy education at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and held science seminars at Case Western Reserve University.

He graduated from the University at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor of science in geology and from Iowa State University with a master’s degree in business administrative science (viz., logistics). He also received additional credentialing in integrative sciences from the American College of Education.

At NLU, he serves currently as chair of the faculty development committee for the faculty senate, and, has served previously as a senator for the adjunct council. He is a peer reviewer for quality matters, a current member of the Adult Higher Education Alliance, and a long-time member of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers.

In his spare time, Roy is an avid reader, photographs wildlife, draws portraits in pencil, and has crafted several astronomical telescopes for viewing the night sky; his most recently built telescope affords a comfortable night-sky view for those observers confined to wheelchairs. Over the years, he has written science articles, a book of science-fiction short stories, and a book on unique telescope designs. Also, he spends time baking a variety of goods, particularly artisan breads and specialty desserts.

 

Dr. Ian Moncrief is an assistant professor of science in the undergraduate college at National Louis University. More importantly, he is a passionate educator with a goal to bring science to the masses. He hold a bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology, a master’s degree in entomology and plant pathology, and a Ph.D. in plant pathology, all from Oklahoma State University.

At NLU, he teaches physical science, biology, and student success seminar, and serves a faculty advisor to the NLU science club. Aside from teaching, his other interests includes, eating delicious food, travelling, watching movies, and taking his dog to the Montrose dog beach.

 

Dr. Andrew Scarpelli currently serves as an assistant professor of science with the undergraduate college and is primarily based at the Chicago campus. He holds bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Northwestern University. His teaching and research interests include synthetic biology, microbiology, biochemistry, bioart, science communication, and DIY biology. When not teaching, he enjoys biking, volunteering around chicago, artistic pursuits, and exploring Chicago. He is the co-founder and president of the local nonprofit ChiTownBio, a organization trying to open Chicagoland’s first public biolab within city limits.

 

Student Success Coaches

As a Latina immigrant from Nicaragua, Aurora’s experiences as a student in the U.S. fueled her belief that education is a cornerstone of society, yet how students experience this system is often inequitable. Her desire to increase access and persistence for underrepresented college students led to her current role as manager of student success for the undergraduate college at National Louis University. There, she leads a team with an innovative student coaching model that is beating national persistence odds.

Prior to this, she served as the postsecondary coach for Kelly High School in Chicago, where she relentlessly helped thousands of students realize their postsecondary goals and spearheaded initiatives that resulted in record-breaking achievements for the school. Aurora is a proud graduate of Chicago Public Schools and was awarded the prestigious Posse Foundation scholarship for both her undergraduate career at DePauw University and her graduate career at the University of Washington. In 2017, Aurora was also selected to be a Surge Fellowship participant. On weekends you can find her hanging out with her nieces and nephews, or in search for the best taco spots in the city!

 

Latania Franklin is the new Licensed Clinical Social Worker at NLU. Latania provides therapy services to undergraduate students on both Chicago and Wheeling Campuses, focusing on our daytime populations. Latania supports students who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, life transitions, adjusting to college and more. She works with students both individually and in groups. Latania’s main goal is be a support for students. Latania believes that taking care of mental health is for everyone. In certain spaces, it is believed that one is crazy or weak if they care for their mental health. It is even said that one cannot be spiritual and care for your mental health. Latania is here to let students know it is all wrong!!! Taking care of one’s mental health is just as important as caring for one’s physical health. Latania is here to dispel stigmas about seeking mental health support so students can get the resources they need.

While this is a new role for NLU, social work is not new to Latania. Latania obtained her master’s degree in social work from Loyola University Chicago in 2014. After graduating from Loyola, Latania worked as a school social worker for 5 years in a public charter high school. Latania not only supported students, but also supported staff and other social workers in the school’s network. Latania spent most of her time creating and writing IEPs, supporting students individually and in groups, managing whole school interventions, and consulting with varies school teams. After obtaining her LCSW license, Latania entered the world of private practice. Latania specializes in anxiety, depression, and trauma recovery. Latania has mainly worked with minority and underrepresented populations.

Outside of social work, Latania loves to read, listen to music, and care for her own mental wellness. You may see her reading her book club bestseller, listening to Kanye West, or getting some self-care tips from Auntie O (Oprah). Latania loves to create and be a part of spaces where she and the people around her can be vulnerable and authentic. 

Before joining NLU in 2016, Marlee worked for ten years at Umoja Student Development Corporation, a non-profit organization partnering with CPS high schools throughout the city to provide college readiness, advising, and restorative practice supports to students and teachers. Through this work, Marlee strengthened her passion to support students as they attempt to make their college dreams a reality.

Marlee was director of Upward Bound, a college readiness program serving Manley High School students. She worked closely with teachers and parents to provide students with academic and college readiness supports. Marlee believes that students have the ability to succeed, if provided with consistent and relevant supports that provide them with the tools and strategies to develop their academic, professional and personal skills to achieve their goals. She is passionate about preparing and guiding first generation students to realize and achieve their dream to graduate from college, which is why she decided this move to NLU – it was a logical next step in her career. She hopes that as a student success coach, she will be able to provide effective support so that her freshmen cohort will find success this school year and until they graduate as the Class of 2020.

Marlee graduated from a CPS school, Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center High School. Through her community involvement, Marlee was awarded the Monsignor Egan Hope Scholarship through DePaul University, where she attended and earned both a bachelor’s degree in media communications and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.

 

Lady Gil is the lead student success coach for the undergraduate college at the Wheeling campus. In this role, she provides on campus leadership of student success coaches, ensures execution of the NLU coaching model and supports the growing student experience initiative on campus. Prior to joining NLU, Lady served as the chair of the bilingual parent advisory committee at CCSD 15. She worked closely with teachers and parents to provide students with academic and college awareness supports. She planned and delivered a variety of parent involvement workshops to help families learn about child development and how to support student academic learning. Lady believes that all students have the ability to succeed when provided with the academic and social emotional support they need. She is passionate about helping all students, especially those who are first generation in this country and first generation to college.

Lady obtained her undergraduate degree in early childhood education in her home country of Colombia. After discovering her passion for counseling students, Lady earned her master’s degree in school and community counseling from DePaul University in 2012. Lady is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Illinois.

 

Art Gonzalez is a student success coach for the undergraduate college at National Louis University in Wheeling. In his current role, he supports students through academic advising, personal development, career exploration, and student life. Prior to this role, Art worked as a financial aid advisor for five years helping students and parents understand the college process.

His experience as a first-generation college student fuels his passion to provide outstanding service to every student and family he encounters. Art holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Western Illinois University. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in counseling, with an emphasis in clinical mental health. When he’s not at work, Art enjoys playing with his two daughters, living an active lifestyle, and rooting for the White Sox.

 

Since 2009, Erika has dedicated herself to servicing underrepresented populations with closing the achievement gap within the mental health and educational fields. In the last six years, she worked in a Chicago Charter School Network where she has had the opportunity to teach, advise, and stand in as a summer school interim principal. Before her departure, she provided college readiness, advising, and restorative practice supports to alumni from her campus.  With the personal experience of being a first generation student and through this work, Erika reinforced her passion in supporting students to and through college.

Erika believes in all students and their ability to succeed. She understands that when students are provided with consistent and effective supports, positive relationships, and shown accountability, their academic investment and professional development will flourish. With her passion, she believes that Pathways was the next best move to be able to put her skills and desires to use.  Erika hopes that as a Student Success Coach, she will be able to provide tailored support so that her freshmen will be invested in their success as they begin their individual journeys. She looks forward to watching them walk across the stage as the Class of 2022.

Erika graduated from a south suburban school, Crete-Monee High School. She then was the first in her immediate family to graduate with her bachelors from the University of Illinois-Chicago in Psychology, and also her Master’s degree from National Louis University which is also in Psychology.

Josiel Marrufo joined the Student Success Coaching Team at National Louis University this June and will serve as the Coach for the HSI STEM Program. Josiel is a first generation college student who received his bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a minor in kinesiology and a Master’s degree of Science in Counseling, Adult and Higher Education both from Northern Illinois University. Josiel takes pride in assuring that students make the most of every experience during their time in college.

 Josiel comes to us from the University of Illinois at Chicago where he served Finance and Information and Decision Sciences students as their academic advisor. Josiel has a passion for social justice work which motivates his work as an educator. He is excited to develop relationships with our students and looks forward to being a part of the NLU community.

 

 

Larry is Chicago native who was born on the North Side but currently resides in Hyde Park. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, majoring in English and history. Additionally, he completed his master of arts in teaching degree (secondary education) at NLU in 2007.

Larry has taught in Chicago and spent several years teaching middle and high school English/social studies in Los Angeles. Outside of his current professional career as an academic advisor and instructor, he loves exercising, hiking, biking, and is an avid sports fan. His allegiances are to the Chicago Bears, Bulls, White Sox, Blackhawks, and his alma mater–Wisconsin Badgers!

Larry loves cooking, traveling, engaging in deep conversation, listening to 90’s hip-hop music, and watching classic 80’s movies. The virtues of honesty, empathy, presence and kindness are what he holds in the highest regard of personal being.

 

Mariana Saucedo is a Chicago native and passionate about providing access to education through equitable policy building. She currently serves as a Senior Student Success Coach with the Undergraduate College at National Louis University. The success coach role is an integral component of the undergrad student experience, serving as a guide and mentor to first-generation college students. The SSC is responsible for providing intensive undergraduate student support for academic, career, and personal success. 

 

Previously, Saucedo served as a College & Career Coach specializing in College Match at Chicago Public Schools. She worked assisting high school students with plans for post-secondary education emphasizing college match and overall fit. Saucedo also served as a College Match advisor and research assistant working in two high schools through a partnership with MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, social policy research organization. She is also trained in Motivational Interviewing, Leading Equity-Based Professional Learning Communities and Restorative Justice Practices from the Network for College Success at the University of Chicago. 

 

Saucedo graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications and a minor in Sociology. She recently completed her Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Public Policy and Nonprofit Leadership. Saucedo’s other leadership roles include Co-Chair for the UGC Governance Board, Co-Facilitator of the Student Advisory Council and consulting for Education and Human Services majors at NLU. 

Dominque Thomas- Green has joined National Louis as a Student Success Coach. She is a first generation college graduate with a B.S in Business from Eastern Illinois University, and a Master’s in Education, Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University in Boston. Dominque came to NLU with years of experience that includes working with high school and college students on strategies for success. Her most recent position was Academic Advisor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She also serves on the Region 5 Steering Committee for the National Academic Advising Association.

Dominque has lived her entire life, outside of attending college, on the south side of Chicago and in the south suburbs. She has dedicated her entire career, and virtually her life to diversifying and improving equity efforts within higher education and society.

When Dominque is not working, she enjoys shopping, spending time with family and friends, and traveling. She absolutely loves to laugh and just have fun!

Advising and Career Coaches

Courtney Bondi is the executive director of advising and learning support and has worked at National Louis University in various advising roles for the past 12 years and has over 15 years of higher-education experience. She is responsible for the day-to-day management of these departments while also working collaboratively with other student service units, faculty and the academic programs to build embedded advising and learning support throughout the student experience. This position plays a critical role in improving student retention by aligning support to focus on proactive outreach in and out of the classroom to students. Previously, Courtney was an international student advisor at Kendall College for two years and a registration coordinator at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Courtney holds a bachelor of arts in English from Boston College and a master’s in higher education from Loyola University of Chicago. In her spare time, Courtney is an avid reader and volunteers with the countless activities her two daughters participate in.

 

 

 

Rachael Persin is an academic advisor and career coach for undergraduate students at the Chicago campus and online. She currently advises early childhood education students. She started working at NLU as an adjunct instructor in the ESL/bilingual education program and became a full time advisor and career coach in fall 2018. Prior to coming to National Louis University, Rachael taught English as a second language to adults in Indiana, Chicago and Quito, Ecuador. Rachael enjoys reading, cooking, bike riding and all things Chicago—Go CUBS!

Jodi Goode is an advisor and career coach at the Chicago Loop campus. She has worked at NLU since fall 2015, starting in graduate advising and then moving to undergraduate advising and career coaching. She currently advises undergraduate transfer students majoring in elementary education, special education, and applied behavioral science. Her current role includes guiding students through degree evaluation and planning, course registration, academic and personal challenges, and career preparation. Jodi believes that her students are secretly superheroes—how else could so many work full-time, attend school full-time, and be a parent to school-aged children?

Before working at National Louis University, Jodi worked in higher-education recruiting, taught high school, tutored, and practiced law. She earned her bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin, and she earned her master’s in secondary education from the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Jodi enjoys dancing, karaoke, watching her husband play music in his band, and cuddling with her nutty but sweet dog.

Karina is an academic advisor and career coach for transfer students in the undergraduate college. She mainly advises/coaches students near the Lisle location. Karina first completed a B.S. in mathematical sciences, she then earned a M.S. in adult and higher education in spring of 2018 at Northern Illinois University. She gained experience in the higher-education field early on through her undergraduate time as a community advisor. While earning her master’s, she was able to gain teaching and advising experience.

Since then, she has joined the advising team at NLU and looks forward to being able to provide excellent advising/coaching services to students. She believes that student always comes first and encourages all students to persist, earn their degrees, and find jobs related to their careers! On her off time she enjoys running with the Grayslake Running Club and spending time with family.

John Janso is an advisor and career coach for undergraduate students at the Chicago and Wheeling campuses. He has worked in the academic advising office since February 2014, with over a decade of advising and learning support in higher education. As an advisor and career coach, John assists students with course and schedule registration, and guides students towards degree completion by providing individualized degree plans and offering university learning resources.

As a career coach, John reviews student resumes and cover letters, instructs students on networking opportunities and career preparation tools. John holds a bachelor of arts in English, and is set to complete his master of science in written communication in spring 2019. He has published both nonfiction and fiction pieces, as well as a performed play in the Chicago area.

 

Enrollment and Outreach Staff

Alison joins the NLU team as the undergraduate enrollment and partnerships manager after 11 years with the Chicago Public Schools. During her tenure at CPS, Alison was part of the team that launched the city's first regional vocational center, directed the CTE High School application process that brought in over 56,000 applications last year, created and distributed program reports, and managed the department’s student-focused website.

Alison lives on the southwest side of the city with her husband, Alan and their two dogs. She spends her free time hanging out with her nieces, playing volleyball, practicing yoga, boxing and cooking.

 

Shae'Von is a former California native turned local Chicagoan (who does enjoy winter but loves the fall). She is part of the Undergraduate college team as an outreach and enrollment specialist. She has her B.A. in liberal studies and has worked at the collegiate level in financial aid prior to joining NLU.  Her background in corporate recruitment has helped to build her up for success. Constantly looking to help engage with students and help them understand that the choices they make now, shape the future they’re hoping to attain. In her free time she is a freelance photographer, coffee cono sur and nature enthusiast.

 

David joined the undergraduate college at National Louis University as an outreach and enrollment specialist in 2018 at the Wheeling campus. Prior to this, David worked at Township High School District 214, where he served as a Latino outreach facilitator, working with Latinx students and their families at Elk Grove High School. During this time, David was able to work in different initiatives creating programming to increase parent engagement and promoting higher education among Latinx students. He is very passionate about working with minority students, especially LGBTQ+ communities, and has run an LGBTQ+ youth group and presented on several occasions to school staff and community events on how to better support LGBTQ+ youth and best practices in school settings.

David attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he studied abroad for two years in Florence, Italy. He graduated with a B.A. in psychology and double minor in Spanish and Italian and Italian-American Studies. He is currently working on his master’s degree in school counseling with the hope of continuing working with young students, providing mental health services and promoting higher education, especially among minority students. During his free time, David enjoys learning about different cultures, doing jigsaw puzzles, listening to all kinds of music and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix.

 

 

 

Rebecca is part of the the undergraduate college outreach and enrollment team for NLU Chicago campus. She graduated from Bradley University with two B.A. degrees in public relations, theatre arts, and Spanish. Her background in admissions, social media, and communications has prepared her for success as an outreach and enrollment specialist, working primarily with students in north and northwest Chicago neighborhoods. She spent six months living in Granada, Spain and is comfortable speaking and presenting in English or Spanish. Rebecca has also joined NLU as a student to complete her master's in written communication. 

 

Jeannette is  a Chicago native from the South Side. She attended Roosevelt University and graduated with a B.A. in sociology and media studies where she worked as a student ambassador in the office of admissions and conducted one of the first bilingual tours and parent-student panels. She is joining the team after coming from non-profit working with homeless and low-income families and individuals in various Chicago area communities. In addition to establishing partnerships within the community she was able to co-head the housing resource pavilion at the annual “Fiesta Del Sol” and sit on the committee to plan Erie House’s “Back to School Fair” in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago.

 

Rachel has joined our team as the outreach development specialist for the Wheeling campus. Rachel comes to NLU from Cristo Rey St. Martin in Waukegan, a school committed to providing a rigorous, college preparatory education to students of limited economic means. There, she was a college and guidance counselor and provided comprehensive post-high school planning services. She supported students throughout the college application process, resulting in 100% of her senior students enrolling in higher education. She was very supportive of the Pathways program as a counselor and is excited to join the Wheeling team to continue and expand our outreach efforts.

Rachel received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Illinois State University. She then went to the University of Illinois at Chicago where she received her master’s degree in social work with a school concentration. Rachel feels that working in higher education allows her to focus solely on what she enjoys most–helping students find a place where they can reach their full potential.

 

Michelle Petersen serves as enrollment specialist for the undergraduate college at National Louis University Chicago campus. There, she assists with university enrollment efforts and helps oversee internal operations for the undergraduate college outreach & enrollment team. This includes directly hiring, training, and supervising a team of student ambassadors who assist with first-year student recruitment initiatives.

Prior to this, Michelle spent several years working in different facets of the higher-education arena, including as a student success coach for graduate & undergraduate students both domestically and abroad. Michelle graduated from Elmhurst College with a B.A. in Spanish and English education (licensed to teach grades K–12) and from Loyola University Chicago with an M.Ed in international higher education.

Michelle is a former U.S. Fulbright Scholar, one of the most prestigious and competitive fellowship programs in the world. As a U.S. Fulbright fellowship recipient, Michelle taught both Spanish and English courses at the collegiate level in Brazil, serving as an academic leader and cultural & linguistic ambassador within Brazilian federal universities. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and in her free time she enjoys teaching language classes and checking out different live music venues around Chicago.

 

Angela Orokoh is an Outreach and Enrollment Specialist with the Undergraduate College Team. Angela is a Chicago native born on the South Side. Angela received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her Masters of Arts in African American Studies-Community Empowerment from Georgia State University.

Angela has worked in youth development services for ten years and working in post-secondary planning and workforce development for six years. Prior to joining National Louis University, Angela worked in varying capacities of College and Career counseling for High School students for Chicago Public Schools, New York City Department of Education, Atlanta Public Schools, and Milwaukee Public Schools.  Angela has a passion for working with students from underrepresented communities and ensuring all students have access to post-secondary resources and planning.

In her free time, Angela enjoys the arts including but not limited to: theatre, visual art galleries, jazz and blues music, poetry and spoken word.

As the Operations and Enrollment Coordinator, I will be working with the HSI STEM Program Director and the Director of Undergraduate Programming at the Wheeling campus.

Before joining NLU, I worked at a Law Firm as a Paralegal/Legal Assistant for a year and a half performing a variety of tasks to support attorneys.

I attended National Louis University and graduated with a B.A. in Forensic Social Justice. During my first three years at National Louis University, I had the opportunity to work as a Student Ambassador. Working as a Student Ambassador at NLU, I helped plan and participate in a variety of events and projects to promote and help students who are in the college process. Having this experience helped me find my passion for helping students during the college process.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, experiencing new places and watching the latest movie in theaters.

 

Career Bridge

 

In his 14 years in higher education, Richard has helped first-generation students achieve academic and career success by serving as Post-College Success Coordinator for DePaul University’s Office of Multicultural Student Success, adjunct faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at DePaul University, Director of Career Planning and Placement at Kennedy-King College, Associate Dean of College to Careers at Truman College, and Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Adult Education. He is an accomplished author and presenter on identity-conscious strategies focused on retention and career success. His latest publication is a chapter contribution titled “Career Discernment and Career Capital Development for Students of Color and First-Generation College Students” in the book “Closing the Opportunity Gap: Identity-Conscious Strategies for Retention and Student Success.” He enjoys being proud husband and father of two boys and believes strong communities and access to a diverse education is key to their success.

Deborah Bosco is the Career Bridge career advisor for the culinary arts and hospitality management programs. Deborah has been at Kendall College since 2007, where she taught a variety of culinary and hospitality management courses.  She has over 25 years of hospitality industry experience in downtown Chicago hotels, including The Drake, Marriott, Sheraton and Radisson Hotels. Deborah has earned degrees in culinary arts and hospitality management from Kendall College and a master's of business administration from Argosy University. Deborah is a certified hospitality educator through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.

Preeti Deshpande is a career advisor at the Chicago and Lisle campuses, specializing in résumé and cover letter building, networking, job search strategies, and interview preparation. Preeti is a certified professional résumé writer from the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches. Prior to National Louis University, she was a student advisor and career advisor for two years. Preeti has a bachelor of science in psychology from Northern Illinois University and a master of science in developmental psychology from University of Kent.

Casey Platt, career advisor, has expertise in helping students with resume and cover letter reviews, interviewing, professionalism, networking and LinkedIn. Before coming to National Louis University, Casey spent two years as an academic advisor. He earned a bachelor degree in secondary education and is currently pursuing his master of arts in education.

 

Aimee Galban is one of the employer relations managers in Career Bridge, with a focus on early childhood education and elementary education and criminal justice. She is an organized and motivated professional with 15 years of experience in managerial, teaching, and project and event management. She is dedicated to developing and maintaining employer relationships and expanding the range of employer recruitment activities on campus and online. Her focus is on the development of relationships with companies and organizations that match the interests of the National Louis University students and alumni. As an NLU alumnus, she understands the value of utilizing the Career Bridge services, both early on and frequently, to best support students in their growth and preparation for their future career after graduation.

Jennifer Ginsberg is the employer relations manager for social & behavioral sciences and the health & human services programs. Her goal is to create rewarding and lasting partnerships with employers that students want to work for. She has a bachelor's of science in psychology from Illinois State University and has been in the higher-education field for over 11 years. She is very passionate about helping students with their career aspirations and making connections with companies that students feel passionate about. She is especially excited to grow National Louis University’s network of employer partners.

Daniel Munroe, employer relations manager for culinary arts and hospitality management, has worked at Kendall College since 2014 and was previously in employer relations for CCI Greenheart and Sanford Brown. He started his career as a recruiter for Xelerate, a recruitment process outsourcing company based in Philadelphia. He graduated from Dominican University with a degree in organizational leadership.

Claribel Quintana is an ERM in the Career Bridge for Business, Communications, and Management programs. She has a Bachelor’s of Art in Sociology from DePaul University and has been working in higher education for 11 years. Claribel’s tenure includes working in both Academic Advising and Career Services, supporting students and alumni in Business and Information Technology programs. Over the past 6 years her Career Services experiences have included career counseling, and building university partnerships nationwide for students and alumni.

Luisa Rodriguez is the HSI STEM Employer Outreach Specialist for the Computer Science and Information Systems program. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelors in Psychology and is currently pursuing a Masters in Counseling. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, exercising, traveling, and being a fur mom!

Bushra Sarkar believes that every student deserves an equal chance at success. Currently, she is a Career Advisor at the Wheeling campus, assisting students in resumes and cover letters, as well as developing networking, job search, and interviewing strategies. Prior to National Louis University, Bushra was a Career Advisor at Harold Washington College. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Benedictine University and a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Community Health and Urban Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Matt Vicars is a Career Advisor for NLU, specifically working with UGC students with degrees in Business Administration, Applied Communications, and Computer Science. He brings with him over 5 years of career advising and counseling experience, working with both traditional and non-traditional students and job seekers. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Studies from The University of Nebraska, and is Six Sigma Lean Yellow Belt certified.

Career Services/development is an area I am passionate about and while I’ve been teaching in this field for close to 8 years, I’m excited to return to working in the area full-time. Plus, I LOVE the culture of the Career Bridge team, I attended National-Louis and am also a first generation student. I am the Career Bridge Career Advising Manager for the Undergraduate program but I’m also a proud father of two, and husband to an amazing lady I’m proud to call my best friend (one of them, the order depends on the day). I also collect bow ties, love college football and basketball, NBA and to read fiction such as Walter Mosley, James Rollins, Lee Child, and Jonathan Maberry. I have worked in higher education for nearly 8 years and am proud to have full life-cycle experience having worked in Admissions, Advising, Career Development and Faculty including curriculum development which is easily the hardest thing work wise I have ever had to do.

Carter Caldarelli is the internship systems manager at National Louis University, and he brings a data-driven approach to process implementation and execution. His role entails reviewing and approving internship details during the registration process as well as capturing key data to assess internship sites and student and employer satisfaction. Previously, he provided marketing and analytics expertise in the music and tech industries, working with companies such as Universal Music Group, Uber, and Bridge.  Carter is a National Louis University alum, earning his bachelor’s degree in applied behavioral science, and plans to pursue a master’s degree in public administration. He is excited to help his fellow National Louis University students transition into the professional world.

Locations
  • CHICAGO DOWNTOWN CAMPUS

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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  • ELGIN

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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  • NORTH SHORE

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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  • LISLE

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »
  • WHEELING

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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  • FLORIDA (TAMPA)

    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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