SESP Announces Convocation Speakers Nichole Pinkard, Arnaldo Rivera

SESP Announces Convocation Speakers Nichole Pinkard, Arnaldo Rivera

Nichole PinkardFor the first time, SESP will hold two separate Convocation ceremonies for undergraduates and graduate degree candidates. Nichole Pinkard (PhD98), founder of Digital Youth Network, is the keynote speaker for the master's and PhD ceremony at 2 p.m. on June 17. Arnaldo Rivera (MS07), chief policy officer for Chicago Public Schools, is the speaker for the undergraduate ceremony at 4:30 p.m. the same day.

Both speakers are graduates of Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy who are leaders in the field of education, and student representatives were involved in their selection. SESP is holding two Convocation ceremonies to better accommodate guests and allow graduates sufficient tickets. The number of graduate students participating in the June ceremony has increased because the Master of Science in Education program discontinued its August ceremony.

Nichole Pinkard
Nichole Pinkard is an associate professor in DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media. She is the founder of Digital Youth Network, a groundbreaking after-school and in-school program that helps Chicago youth learn digital media skills. In addition, she co-founded Inquirium LLC and Remix Learning, home of iRemix, a social learning platform that connects youth’s learning in school and outside. With the Chicago Public Library, Pinkard helped found YOUmedia, a public learning space that inspires high school students to create new media pieces including music, videos and games.

Pinkard is the recipient of a 2014 Northwestern Alumni Award, a 2010 Common Sense Media Award for Outstanding Commitment to Creativity and Youth, the 2004 Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies, a National Science Foundation Early CAREER Fellowship, and a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for research on how digital media affect literacy. She holds a BS in computer science from Stanford University and an MS in computer science and a PhD in learning sciences from Northwestern University.

Arnaldo RiveraArnaldo Rivera
Arnaldo (Arnie) Rivera, the chief policy officer for Chicago Public Schools, has extensive experience in public education. Most recently, he was the deputy chief of staff for education for the City of Chicago, appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in August 2014. In that role, he coordinated the administration’s education policy agenda for the Chicago from early childhood through community college.

Prior to becoming deputy chief of staff, Rivera was named chief operating officer of The Chicago Public Education Fund in 2013. His educational experience also includes working at Chicago Public Schools in a range of capacities, starting as a first-grade teacher at Walt Disney Magnet School. He continued to work in the Office of Specialized Services, serving as the acting budget Director in the Office of Management and Budget, and most recently in the CEO’s Office. Rivera holds a master’s degree in elementary education and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University.

Find out more about SESP’s Convocation 2016.


By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 4/27/16