Click here to go back to the home page Click on this link to view the screenreader friendly and text only version of this website

Undergraduate College Staff & Faculty


 If you are interested in joining National Louis University, learn more at

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 transfer strategy, 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.


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.




Urvi is Associate Director of Data-Driven Practices in the Undergraduate College. In this position, she works to ensure that all stakeholders in the UGC have the access to the data they need and can bring it to application to see continuously improved results. She also works with the student support structures to see that qualitative and quantitative data collected, analyzed, and used appropriately for interventions and student success and is an adjunct faculty member within the education department in the undergraduate college.  

Prior to NLU she has worked as a high school math teacher and as a strategic consultant at Chicago Public Schools. Urvi received bachelor of science degree from The George Washington University in economics and math, a master of arts in teaching (MAT) from NLU, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in teaching and learning with an emphasis on curriculum, advocacy and policy. In her free time, Urvi enjoys cooking for friends and family, playing board games and trivia, spending time with her adopted cat, and traveling as much as she can.

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.


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.




Rob holds a B.S. (Management) as well as an MBA (Marketing) from Florida A&M University (School of Business and Industry) and has over seven years’ experience as both Professor and Director of the School of Business at Kendall College. Working for entertainment music publishing firms as well as the worlds largest medical technology company (Medtronic) Rob has over 9 years’ experience in marketing and product management. Rob’s true passion is entrepreneurship as he has helped several students start businesses and is also part of a family-owned enterprise (Marysville Toyota and Lexus of Mishawaka). A member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s Upsilon Psi chapter (Florida A&M University) Rob is very active in community service and youth education around Chicago. Rob also regularly volunteers with 100 Black Men of America (Chicago and South Bend Chapters) whenever possible. From completely new products to the next generation of an existing product Rob has learned to leverage the psychology of marketing and fundamentals of product launch.

Faculty: Career

Tatiana Roberts is a proud graduate of Howard University and holds a Master of Science in Public Service Management from DePaul University. With over 10 years experience managing, facilitating, and implementing various nonprofit youth development and mentoring programs, as well as providing consulting services, Tatiana is committed to continuing her passion for helping young people succeed despite various challenges they may face. Tatiana believes in the importance of keeping students active, involved and exposed to opportunities that will put them at a competitive edge, and help them to become leaders within the global community. She began her journey at National Louis University as a Career Development Adjunct Instructor, and is now the Assistant Professor of Career Development. She also serves as a board member of You Are Worthy, Inc, a nonprofit organization dedicated to and improving the safety of youth of color who self-identify as LGBTQIA. Tatiana loves to travel, spend time with her daughter, Brooklyn, and is always on the hunt for her next DIY project.

Uzoma F. Obidike is an assistant professor for career development at National Louis University. Prior to NLU, she served in both student affairs leadership and adjunct faculty roles. She is a Certified Career Advisor and founder of She Leads Beautifully where she helps women in stalled careers land their dream jobs. Uzoma is a contributing author of the book: No Ways Tired: The Journey for Professionals of Color in Student Affairs, the vice president of public relations for her local Toastmasters International club, and she was named the 2019 Up and Coming Woman in Education for the Influential Women of Northwest Indiana Awards.

Uzoma attended Indiana University Bloomington where she attained both a Bachelor's degree in Telecommunications and a Master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education Leadership program at Indiana State University.

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.


Dr. Tovar is  the assistant professor of computer sciences and information systems at National Louis University. Dr. Tovar is also an information technology strategist with substantial experience in corporate information solutions and methodologies. He has been involved in all aspects of systems administration, management and maintenance, network/server operations, network engineering/design, network administration, and management in the field of data and voice networks for over 25 years. He also has an extensive academic background in management, leadership, and information technology. He has been involved in instruction of management and technology subjects for over 15 years at different institutions.

Dr. Tovar has been heavily involved in the business world as an executive of various organizations throughout his career including global non-for-profit, service, manufacturing, and healthcare organizations.

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: Developmental Education

Lauren Anderson is the Assistant Professor of Developmental Education for the Undergraduate College. In her role at National Louis, she will help students gain the academic language needed to thrive in college. She is excited to join a team that is focused on offering access and equity in higher education.

Lauren recently returned from a year in Riga, Latvia where she served as the English Language Fellow for the U.S. State Department. Previously, she taught ABE English and Spanish at Fox Valley Technical College in Wisconsin and trained teachers at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Her career began in K-12 teaching as a classroom teacher in Spanish immersion classroom and has also included working as an instructional coach. She earned her Master’s in Education in Second Language Acquisition from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Outside of work, Lauren spends time with her family which includes her husband and three kids. She spends as much time outdoors as possible. As a fan of the arts, she welcomes and takes into serious consideration all recommendations for books, movies, shows, music, food and art. 

Faculty: Education/Teacher Preparation

Dr. Lisa Downey is an Associate Professor at National Louis University and holds the role of Director of Undergraduate Educator Preparation, supporting all of the Undergraduate Majors, Minors and Concentrations in the Department. Dr. Downey's area of expertise is Early Childhood Education but she is passionate about all aspects of teaching and learning as they pertain to access, equity and quality in the field of education.

Lisa has worked at NLU since 2011, first as a field supervisor and adjunct professor and then, in 2014, she came on as an Assistant Professor. She attained the rank of Associate Professor in 2020. Lisa has spent over 30 years working in the field of education, having obtained a B.A. in Child Development from Roosevelt University, an M.Ed. from NLU in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy, and then she completed her doctoral program in Educational Leadership at NLU in the winter of 2019. Her dissertation topic was “Exploring The Development Of Academic Writing With Multilingual College Students.”  She has worked as a child care center Teacher, Director, Child Care Resource and Referral Resource Developer, Training Coordinator and Director of a county-wide Provider Services program, where she oversaw all of the training and professional development for Early Childhood practitioners across Cook County. Over the years, Lisa has sought out meaningful and impactful opportunities to serve children, families and teachers in our most under-resourced communities.

Dr. Downey has received the following awards and recognitions: 

  • Excellence in Service and Engagement, NLU
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, NLU
  • Illinois Action for Children Bridge Builder Award
  • Kohl McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award Nominee




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 the associate director of undergraduate educator prep and 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 online coordinator for undergraduate educator preparation. 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


Kristin currently works as an undergraduate field experience specialist, working with students in the teacher preparation program securing school placements for observation, field experience, and student teaching. She also works as a field coach, mentoring students through their student teaching. She appreciates being able to build relationships with schools and students, as well as helping future teachers gain experiences in the field. Kristin has been at NLU since October of 2019.

Kristin has several years of experience teaching kindergarten and has spent time at home with her two children. She appreciates the experiences gained as a parent and educator through time spent volunteering in her children’s’ classrooms.  Kristin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from North Park University in Chicago and a Master of Arts in Reading Education from Concordia University Chicago.

When not at work, Kristin is going on adventures (real and imaginary) with her children, enjoying her neighborhood, exploring the city, being with friends, and reading.

Megan McCarthy started at NLU as the undergraduate field experience specialist. She appreciates the opportunity to build relationships with schools and students, supporting students studying to be our next teachers. As a lifelong learner, Megan looks forward to sharing her love of learning and teaching with others.

Before working at NLU, Megan worked in the public school system in Chicago as a social studies teacher for 20 years and in the Corporate Work Study Program at Christ the King Jesuit College Prep School for 5 years. Education equity has always been a motivator to her. Megan holds a B.A. in Political Science and a Secondary Teaching Certificate from the University of Michigan, an M.S. is Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University and an M.S. in Education from Loyola University.

When not working, Megan enjoys the culture and events of the city with the lakefront being her favorite spot. She travels the world with a good book every chance she gets.  

Christie Easley currently works as an assistant professor of special 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.


Joao has worked in the education field since 2006. His background includes working with Adult Education teaching English as a Second Language in a public school in Brazil (K-12), as well as teaching ESL in an English Language Center. Here, in the U.S., he acquired experience working in the Early Childhood field, primarily teaching preschoolers. After a few years of teaching children, he became his school’s Education Coordinator, where his responsibilities included administering the school’s Program and Curriculum, training and mentoring other teachers and Education Coordinators.


Joao is a proud NLU Alumni and has joined the University as a Professional Adjunct Lecturer/ESL and Early Childhood Education Instructor in 2018. Since then, he has supported other instructors redesigning NLU’s CIL courses and has taught several of the CIL courses as well. Now, as an Assistant Professor, he is excited to be part of the Undergraduate Teacher Preparation Department and collaborate with a talented team of professionals.


Joao holds a Master’s in Education in Curriculum and Instruction / ESL / Bilingual Education from National Louis University and his currently pursuing a Master’s in Education in Early Childhood Education and Teaching at the Arizona State University. He also has a Bachelor’s in Arts in English and Portuguese Languages and Literature from the University of the State of Minas Gerais in Brazil, and an Associate’s in Early Childhood Education from the College of Lake County.


When Joao is not teaching or studying, he enjoys going to the movies, relaxing at home, and traveling. Every other year, he likes to plan a trip to go explore one of the Seven Wonders of the World. He has visited The Great Wall of China, Christ the Redeemer Statue (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Machu Picchu (Peru), The Roman Colosseum (Rome), Golden Gate Bridge (CA), Grand Canyon (AZ), Niagara Falls (NY), and many other wonders in the U.S. 


Jolene Taylor currently works as the assistant professor of infant todddler studies and education in the undergraduate college at NLU’s Chicago campus, teaching courses in the early childhood education and early childhood practice majors. She is also serving as the undergraduate infant-toddler studies coordinator. 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. She is also serving as the undergraduate ECE/ELE coordinator. 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.

Keisha Rembert is the assistant professor and undergraduate foundations coordinator in the undergraduate college. She earned her M.A. from Chicago State University in elementary education and her B.A. from Boston College in English. 

Prior to joining the NLU faculty, Keisha worked as a middle school English and History Teacher in a large suburban district.  During her tenure, she was awarded Illinois History Teacher of the Year and received the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Outstanding Middle Level Educator in the English Language Arts award.  

Her commitment to equity and culturally responsive pedagogy are reflected in her service to the Illinois Holocaust Museum, her membership in ISBE’s Diverse Learner and Teacher Ready Network who is crafting culturally responsive & senstive teaching standards and her work with NCTE’s Committee Against Racism and Bias. 

When she is not working, Keisha is usually contemplating her next meal or next destination and meal with her husband and three children in tow. She’s almost an empty nester who is excited to cheer on her son as he plays his last year of high school varsity volleyball.


Kimberlee Hendricks is the Assistant Professor of Undergraduate Early Childhood Education. Kimberlee is an early childhood educator with over 25 years of combined experience in various sectors of the early childhood industry, including children’s book publishing. In addition to having taught both Preschool and Kindergarten, Kimberlee has worked as an early childhood consultant for numerous educational specialty companies and with school districts across the country. Kimberlee has served as an Adjunct Professor at National Louis University and also at six of the seven City Colleges of Chicago. For over 18 years she has owned and operated an early learning center for children 6 weeks through 6 years old in Chicago’s South Loop Community. To date, her school has created a safe, happy place to grow and learn for over 870 amazing children! 

Wendy Mendez is the Assistant Professor of Undergraduate Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Before transitioning to post-secondary education, Wendy worked at the high school and elementary school level for over ten years in various capacities. Most recently, she held the position of Assistant Principal. In this role, Wendy led several initiatives, created systems of discipline, planned and implemented Professional Learning Communities, and worked closely with teachers on curriculum and data analysis. She has also held the role of Instructional Coach and worked closely with teachers to develop and model differentiated lesson plans and units. Earlier in her career, she taught Reading and Language Arts.

Wendy graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B.A. in Secondary Education in English with a Middle School Endorsement. In 2009 she joined a small teacher cohort to complete her graduate degree. She earned her M.A. in Reading from Northeastern Illinois University. In 2015, she once again joined a group of colleagues to obtain her ESL and Bilingual Endorsement from National Louis University.

In her spare time, Wendy enjoys listening to audio-books, binge-watching shows on Netflix or Hulu, browsing through Amazon, and watching Instagram stories. However, her all-time favorite thing to do is to spend time with her family sightseeing, visiting new states, and collecting postcards from places she has visited.

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.  


Zainab Karim 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. Zainab began her teaching career as a teaching intern at College of Lake County in Children’s Literature. She then worked as an in-class tutor and English adjunct at Harold Washington College for four years before coming to NLU. In addition to teaching, Zainab serves as a faculty advisor for the NLU sisterhood group Exuberance.

Zainab received her Master of Science in Written Communication, with a focus on Journalism, from National Louis. She also holds a Master of Art in Psychology also from National Louis. Her research interests include African- American feminist and sexuality theories and African American matrilineal societies within fiction.

Outside of work, Zainab is a freelance writer with work that has been featured on,, and other online platforms.

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.




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.

Ebony Bradford is a full time Assistant Professor in Human Services at National Louis University.  She also lends her time as an adjunct instructor at National Louis University in the department Psychology.  She has taught courses such as Life Span Development, Crisis Intervention, Intro to Psychology, Culture and Self, Family Systems, Multicultural Issues, etc.  She is also a Subject Matter Expert in courses through the Human Services Department and Psychology Department.   

She also gives her time being accessible and available to the students that she teaches.  She is willing to help in any way that is needed within the Human Services Department. 

Ebony pursued her Doctorate degree in Community Psychology at National Louis University. Her topic was on Ethnic Identity and Awareness of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.  In addition, she holds a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from National Louis University.  She has over 10 years of experience working within the Social Services sector.  Some of her work has been contracted through Department of Children and Family Services, Chicago Public Schools, as well as, other social service agencies.  She has been in roles as Psychotherapist, Assistant Director, Treatment Services Manager and Crisis Therapist to name a few.

Her passion is to assist in psycho education within communities in order to fuel advocacy and community change. 

Ebony Bradford-Thomas has always had a passion for advocacy and work as it relates to African American families.  She has researched and presented on the topics of Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder, as well as, Engaging African American Families.  She has presented her work to the Chicago Children Advocacy Center, Adler University, and many different school-based audiences on behalf of nonprofit organizations.  Any chance she gets to be a voice on these topics she is open and willing to speak to many different audiences on topics related to human relation. 

Faculty: Mathematics

Natalie Johnson, Ph.D., is Department Chair and Professor of Mathematics at National Louis University. A recent retiree of IL District 204, she served as a CollegeBoard AP Advocate for students and a mentor to new teachers. She has served as a NOYCE Scholar Mentor Leader, Education Advisory Board member of Lewis University, and Division Technology Manager for the MidWest Region of McDonald’s Corporation. She proudly lives out her life motto, Learn, Earn, and Return, through her company (READit, LLC) and presented at the World Congress on Education in Dublin, Ireland.

Dr. Johnson holds a Ph.D. in I/O Psychology (Grand Canyon University), a M.S. in Applied Mathematics (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), a M.A. in Secondary Education (Lewis University), and a B.A. in Pure Mathematics (Talladega College). For her outstanding service, Metea Valley High presented her with its Mustang Achievement Award. She received the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

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.


Hadea Hummeid is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at NLU. She is the course owner for Math 105 and 115. Hadea has a Master’s Degree in Science in Mathematics Education and a Bachelors Degree in Science in Pure Mathematics along with a Chemistry Minor.

Hadea is passionate about the subject of mathematics and she loves teaching mathematics. She has over nine years of teaching experience. She has taught different array of mathematics ranging from Pre-Algebra to Pre-Calculus. In addition, she also has experience with business calculus as well as elementary statistics. 

Outside of work, Hadea enjoys traveling and exploring new things with her family. They love to hike, camp, and explore new countries and experience new cultures.


Faculty: Psychology

 Gary DeLeonardis is an assistant professor and department chair of psychology in the undergraduate college. Gary received his Master of Arts in clinical psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePaul University where he studied communication, applied psychology, and community service studies.


Prior to working at NLU, Gary has held various administrative roles at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Gary’s clinical background is in college student mental where he provided psychotherapy to students at Governors State University and Lewis University. He also focused on providing alcohol and other drug prevention education to the campus community and at-risk populations at Lewis. Currently as a private practice clinician, Gary specializes in the treatment of family of origin issues, trauma, grief and loss, anxiety, depression, and life transitions. Through a psychodynamic approach, Gary supports the healing and growth of emerging adults, college students, working professionals, people of color, and the LGBT community.


Gary is enthusiastic about supporting the education and professional development of future mental health professionals through mentorship and supervision.


Outside of work, Gary tends to self-care through playing guitar, gaming, exercise, mindfulness practice, a good Netflix binge, and spending time with friends, family, his wife, and two cats.

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.


Faculty: Social Work

Valerie Walker, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, is the Assistant Professor and Director of Social Work at the Undergraduate College. Valerie brings considerable experience in academia, non-profit leadership, clinical supervision, and community organizing to her present role. In her counseling, advocacy, and administrative roles, she has worked with people impacted by poverty, trauma, identity issues, and holistic health challenges.  With 30 years of direct service, teaching, and leadership experience, she is a valuable resource for student, staff, and organizational development.  Valerie is recognized for her consultation and training skills throughout organizations and colleges in the Midwest. She is a frequent facilitator and presenter for professional development, including trauma informed practice, racial and social justice, inclusive leadership, and strategic planning. Dedicated to her community, she offers her skills, experience, and leadership as a diversity dialogues facilitator, ‘safe church’ consultant, Mundelein-based special needs soccer program director, Board Officer for Mundelein STAND UP, and Advisory member for Camp Kupugani multicultural summer camp. Her most important work is parenting four spirited youth and adult children. 

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 associate director 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.


David is a native of Brooklyn, New York, that currently resides in the Beverly neighborhood on the South side of Chicago.

He completed his undergraduate studies at Illinois State University majoring in Political Science, with minors in Biology and Chemistry.  Additionally, he completed his Masters of Teaching Arts as well as Special Education from National Louis University.

David started his career in the adverting and entertainment industries starting his journey in Education in 2008 as an AUSL resident.  He has taught Economics, Entrepreneurship, History, Biology, Chemistry, Senior Seminar as well as coached basketball for Chicago Public Schools. 

Beyond his passion for helping others, the New York Knicks, Yankees, and Jets, he enjoys playing pick-up basketball, drawing, photography, traveling, all things sneakers, biking and spending time with his family. 

Lady Gil is the associate director of undergraduate student success 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 senior 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.



Samantha Rivera is a Student Success Coach with the Undergraduate College at National Louis University’s Wheeling campus. In her current role, she assists students through academic advising, career exploration, and identity development. As an immigrant from Mexico and first-generation college graduate, Samantha is passionate about supporting underrepresented students as they navigate the American higher education system.

Previously, Samantha worked at various high schools in the Chicagoland area and in South America. She firmly believes in the transformative power of purpose-driven, values-based education and mentorship in the lives of young people, which is what brought her to NLU.

Samantha holds a bachelor’s degree in advocacy and social change from Loyola University Chicago and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in counseling at NLU. Outside of work, Samantha enjoys exercising, salsa dancing and traveling.

Mariana Saucedo is a Chicago native and passionate about providing access to education through equitable policy building. She currently serves as a Manager of Student Success 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.


Torrence Sorrell is the Student Success Coach who works with our Computer Science and Information Systems and Business Administration students on the Chicago campus. He earned his bachelors degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in broadcast journalism. He had early aspirations of becoming a sports reporter on ESPN. After taking a gap year he later earned his masters degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education at Indiana State University. At ISU he was a graduate advisor for the Brotherhood of Successful Scholars (B.O.S.S.), which is a black male initiative organization. There he realized the importance of representation and being a role model for underrepresented youth. 

Torrence’s previous role was a Student Success Coach for Purdue Promise at Purdue University. There he served low-income students in the state of Indiana. After eight years, he finally returns to his hometown in Chicago, working at NLU. He’s ecstatic to coach many students who attended the CPS school system like himself. On social media he often uses the hashtag #JustAKidFromChicago as a way to never forget where he came from. 

Outside of coaching and mentoring, Torrence loves to travel, watch the NBA, eat Chicago food, and hang out with friends.

Jeanette Rudder is the Senior Student Success Coach who works with our Criminal Justice, Human Services, Communications and Business Administration students. Jeanette graduated from UIC’s College of Business where she served as an Academic Advisor. She brings 7+ years of advising experience both at UIC and DePaul University, advising the African American Student Network, as well as the College of Business and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences so she knows and understands the landscape of higher education in Chicago very well. She has also led efforts for peer mentoring and retention programs for Black and Latinx students. She has a Masters degree in Social Work and Bachelors in Sociology from the University of Illinois in Chicago. 

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.


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.


Laura Beaupre is a new Outreach and Enrollment Specialist for the undergraduate college at National Louis University in Wheeling.  She graduated from Augustana College with a B.A. in elementary education and a minor in science.

Laura has several years’ experience in teaching and administration at the elementary and middle school levels.  Over the past 9 years, Laura has worked at in higher education for Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and most recently, for a community college in McHenry, IL. Here she oversaw the college and career readiness programs, developed partnerships with area high schools and helped with the college’s dual credit program.  Laura successfully created and built a state-of-the- art S.T.E.M. and career focused readiness program serving over 1,000 (1st-12th grade) students in the community. The program introduced students to 21st century skills, careers, and educational pathways to attain these careers.

Laura is excited to join NLU where there is an opportunity for students of all backgrounds to have access to higher education and will prepare them with knowledge and skills to reach their fullest potential. When not serving students, you can find Laura enjoying time with her family, reading, and yoga.

Citlalli González was born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago. She is the Outreach and Enrollment Specialist for the undergraduate college at National Louis University for the Wheeling campus. Before NLU, she was an ISACorps representative in the Morton College District with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Her passion is working with first-generation students, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, and helping them develop a college-going identity.

She attended Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) and graduated in 2018 with a B.A. in International Studies - Asian Studies concentration and a minor in Political Science. She also studied abroad in Hong Kong and Seoul, South Korea while at IWU. She is currently pursuing her master’s in Educational Leadership - Higher Education with the ENLACE program at Northeastern Illinois University.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching Korean dramas/variety shows, playing video games, and relaxing with her dog, Oso.

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.


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

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!

Carter Caldarelli is the associate director of analytics and strategy of Career Bridge 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.

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.

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.

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.


    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
    Info » | Directions »

    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
    Info » | Directions »

    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
    Info » | Directions »

    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 »

    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
    Info » | Directions »

    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
    Info » | Directions »