School of Education and Social Policy undergraduates gathered to hear alumni tell about their career paths at a special event over Reunion Weekend. The event gave students ideas about potential careers and forged connections with alumni.
Alumni participants were Maryam Ahranjani (BS98), Mitch Glazier (BS88), Erin Hopmann (BS03), Todd Lukens (BS03), Debbie Merovitz (BS98), Jen Milnes (BS03), Elizabeth Partoyan (BS93), Ross Peterson (BS88), Fred Tye (BS13) and Jane Wong (BS10). The alumni, whose careers range from psychologist to youth advocate to business entrepreneur, talked with small groups of students in locations throughout Annenberg Hall.
“We had fantastic SESP alumni leaders join us to share the stories of their professional journeys in education, counseling, consulting, business and non-profit management,” says Megan Redfearn (MS12), a SESP adviser who organized the event. The event was intended to help students think about careers — by getting ideas, finding advice and starting to build a network through alumni of SESP.
Maryam Ahranjani, a social policy graduate who wrote her senior thesis on single-sex K-12 education, is currently an adjunct professor of law and associate director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project at American University Washington College of Law. She directs the national and international expansion of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project and oversees the program’s efforts in D.C. public high schools. A founder of the National Youth Justice Alliance, Ahranjani has appeared on C-SPAN and has authored numerous articles and lesson plans about students’ rights and civic literacy.
Mitch Glazier is senior executive vice president of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the music trade association of companies that create, manufacture or distribute approximately 85 percent of all legitimate music sold in the United States. Before joining RIAA, Glazier served as chief counsel for intellectual property to the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he helped draft and steer into law a series of copyright reforms. A graduate of Vanderbilt Law School in addition to SESP, Glazier served as law clerk in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and practiced law at the Chicago firm Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg.
Erin Hopmann, a graduate of the human development and psychological services program from St. Louis, Missouri, started her career by working in advertising at Leo Burnett. Then three years ago, she left advertising to satisfy an entrepreneurial urge and started Dabble, an online marketplace for adult hobbyists.
Todd Lukens, who now lives in San Francisco, describes himself as a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology, a Lyft driver, a psychotherapist, and an occasional deejay. After graduating with a double major in learning and organization change and psychology, he joined Teach for America and coached middle school basketball in the Bronx. Since then, he has done neurocognitive research with monkeys as well as brain stimulation. He received his MS in elementary education from Pace University and his MA in clinical psychology from Columbia University. He says that being a school psychologist at a continuation high school and being a psychotherapist at a Virginia hospital and community mental health clinic both impacted his life greatly.
Debbie Merovitz from St. Louis, Missouri, graduated from the Kellogg School of Management in 2005 after completing her undergraduate work in learning and organizational change. She is a manager at Deloitte Consulting in the human capital service area. While at Northwestern, Merovitz was the president of NU Special Olympics, and she has continued with service work, especially by working with the Gus Foundation/Young Associates Board to raise money for research and family services for children battling brain tumors at Lurie Children’s Hospital. She says working as a waitress taught her respect and kept her grounded and an internship with United Way helped her realize that she wanted a career as a consultant.
Jen Milnes, who majored in learning and organizational change, currently lives in San Francisco, where she works as a manager of store planning and allocation at Sephora. Her previous jobs include a human resources internship with Merrill Lynch, a supply chain internship at Phillip Morris and a Northwestern internship at a human resources consulting firm. Milnes began her time at Northwestern as an industrial engineering major, and switched to learning and organizational change her sophomore year.
Elizabeth Partoyan from McLean, Virginia, majored in human development and psychological services and now is a senior fellow at the Forum for Youth Investment, where she works on research, practice, and policy issues that impact children and youth. Previously, she was a vice president with Collaborative Communications Group, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm focused on improving outcomes for children and youth and before that was on the leadership team of the Council of Chief State School Officers as strategic initiative director for Next Generation Learners. Earlier, she served as director of research, training, and member services at the National School Boards Association. Partoyan has also served as a program officer in the Center for Youth Development and Policy Research at the Academy for Educational Development, and a trainer and information specialist with Educational Research Service. She serves on several local, state, and national advisory committees and presents around the country on a range of education, youth, and social policy issues.
Ross Peterson, an education and political science major from Motevideo, Minnesota, taught government and U.S history at Maine East High School. He also worked on Capitol Hill and lived in D.C. for 17 years. In 2005, he moved to New Hampshire, where he currently works as a federal contractor operating Job Corps programs for the U.S. Department of Labor. He oversees the Job Corps operations in New England and works with federal, state, and local officials to ensure their programs are connected to local communities.
Fred Tye from Glenview, Illinois, is a new graduate of the learning and organizational change program. He currently works as an advisory associate in the People and Change practice at KPMG. He says his most impactful work experiences include his practicum internship at Sibson Consulting as a human capital consulting intern and working as a program director for Alternative Student Breaks. His interests include organization change, cognitive science, service learning and global engagement.
Jane Wong, who is from Chicago, graduated from the learning and organizational change program in 2010. At Northwestern, she was involved with Project Soar mentoring program at the McGaw YMCA and continues to serve as an associate board member. She is currently a senior associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).
Above photo: Maryam Ahranjani discusses her career in legal education with Rebecca Rego, a social policy major, and other undergraduates.