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2016 - 2017 University of Chicago Alumni Club of Chicago Board

(Click on name for brief biography)

 

Name     

Degree/Year 

Role 

Oscar Anderson

AB´70

Programming Co-Chair

Tyler Blackwell

AM´11

 
Ronald Blumenberg

AM´74

 
Chastidy Burns

AB´08

Secretary 
David Burrus

MBA´92

Vice President 
George Cahill

AB´92

Governance Chair, Nominations

Charles Chuman  AB'03   
Jasmine Davila

AB´98

Communication Chair 
Ashlee B. Gabrysch AB'07, MPP'13 
 
Eric Gorman

AB´92, AM´92

Governance Chair, Bylaws

Kathleen Graham

MBA´02

 
Helen Gregg

AB´09

 
John Kane
MBA'91
 
Douglas Kuzniar

AM´08

 
NaYoung Lee
AB'02
 
Ramani Natarajan

AM´02

 
Chamaine Owens

MLA´98

Programming Co-Chair

Jeremy Page
MBA'91
 
Kariyushi Rao

MBA´12

 
David Simmons

LAB´71, AB´75, AM´76  

President

John Smetanka

AB´71

Career Chair     

Hart Weichselbaum

AB´71

 

Peter Wilson AB'10
 
Marcus Wolfe

AM´13

Hospitality Chair     

Narni Ilagan Yoder

AB´98

President Emerita

  

 

Oscar Anderson, AB´70 - After graduating with a degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago, Oscar continued his graduate studies at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

His first major job as a graphic designer was at Chicago's Field Museum where he was involved with the original King Tut design/marketing team. After leaving the museum, he was a partner for many years in a Chicago-based graphic design firm, Weingart/Anderson. They were one of the first design offices in the nation to embrace computer-based graphics technology and he has lectured and consulted on the implications at major universities and institutions across the country. He later joined Chicago's LaSalle Bank (now Bank of America), where he became their first internal graphic designer and later became part of the Brand Management Group. In 2008, he formed the company "OscarPlus" and is providing communication design to Chicago corporations and non-profit organizations.

He is past president and former board member of the Society of Typographic Arts. As current and previous board member of the University of Chicago Alumni Club of Chicago, Oscar has organized several Alumni programs and has been involved in the Volunteer, Nomination, By-Laws, Hospitality and Programming committees.

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Tyler Blackwell, AM’11 - Tyler is lucky enough to work with and for the UChicago alumni community as a Board member as well as an employee of the University. He works in the Office of the Provost as a Special Consultant to Chicago Harris. Prior to returning to UChicago, he was the founding Executive Director of the Center for Arabic Language & Culture (CALC), housed at Lindblom Math & Science Academy in the West Englewood neighborhood of Chicago.

Tyler lived and worked in Washington, D.C. prior to founding CALC where he was a Presidential Management Fellow and a Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. Department of State. There, he worked on one of the easiest issues of our time: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tyler worked directly for Ambassador David Hale, now the Ambassador to Pakistan, and their team led U.S. efforts on the conflict. He wrote policy papers and briefed both Secretary Clinton and Kerry. He was even lucky enough to work at the G8 at Camp David where he witnessed first-hand some rather odd Cold War-type of behavior from the Russians.

Tyler received an AM from UChicago's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and his BA from Sewanee in Asian History, graduating Magna Cum Laude with Honors.

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Ron Blumenberg, AM´74 – Graduated from the School of Social Service Administration in 1974 with an AM. He also holds a BA from Loyola University of Chicago, granted in 1971. He is Chief Deputy Clerk - Circuit Court of Cook County - District 5, Bridgeview, Illinois and President, Cosmopolitan Detective Services. In his first year serving on the Chicago Alumni Club Board, he chairs the Nominating Committee, tasked with attracting and recommending new board members. He also volunteers as Chaplain with the Glenwood Illinois Police Department and at Cook County Jail.

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Chastidy Burns, AB´08 - Chastidy received her AB with Honors from the College in Political Science with a minor in English Language and Literature and Creative Writing. During her undergraduate career, she was Vice-President of Chapter Development of Alpha Omicron Pi’s Phi Chi Chapter and a member of the UChicago Cheer Team. In addition to being a new member of the Alumni Club of Chicago Board, Chastidy remains active in the UChicago community by volunteering with the Chicagoland Alumni Schools Committee.

Chastidy earned a Juris Doctor at DePaul University in 2012, with a focus on Public Interest Law. She is licensed to practice law in both the State of Illinois and the United States District Court Northern District of Illinois, and is currently an Assistant Public Defender with the Cook County Public Defender.

In her free time, Chastidy is very involved in the legal community, serving as the Corresponding Secretary of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago, a Special Project Coordinator of the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, and a member of the Just the Beginning Foundation Associate Board. She also regularly volunteers with DePaul’s Neighborhood Legal Assistance Program where she assists homeless individuals with expunging and sealing their criminal records.

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David Burrus, MBA´92 - Received an MBA from the Chicago GSB (now Booth) in 1992. In addition to his current stint on the Alumni Club of Chicago Board, he has served on the Booth Alumni Club Board, acting as Secretary, Assistant Treasurer, and President, and also contributed to the school's Task Force on Alumni Engagement. His professional background spans a variety of functions, including corporate international finance, acquisitions, distribution and planning, industrial product development and product line management. David has worked for nearly the past thirty years in both start-ups and established organizations, spanning industries from pharmaceuticals to aircraft parts to manufacturing. He travels internationally throughout Europe and Asia and recently applied to patent a new product.

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George P. Cahill, AB´92 – Is serving in his second year as a Board member for the Chicago Alumni Club. He received his JD from Northwestern University in 1995, and is a practicing attorney, focusing on real estate. George resides with his beautiful wife, Moira, on the Northwest Side of Chicago, six blocks from his boyhood home.

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Charles Chuman, AB'92 - Charles was active in the alumni community in the Middle East throughout the 2000s, hosted myriad events for the University of Chicago alumni club of Washington, DC throughout President Obama's first term and half of the second, and is currently serving on the UChicago Alumni Club of Chicago. He has worked in media and politics, and currently leads the oncology team at ContextMedia:Health.

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Jasmine Davila, Social Media Coordinator, AB´98 - Jasmine studied film in the College, from which she graduated in 1998 with a degree in General Studies in the Humanities. Professionally, she has worked in IT in the financial technology and marketing services industries. She joined the Board in 2014. In her free time, she participates in Chicago’s live lit scene as a writer and performer, blogs (occasionally), and tweets (prolifically) at @jasmined.

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Ashlee B. Gabrysch, AB´07, MPP´13 - Ashlee graduated with Honors from the College with a degree in Interdisciplinary Slavic Studies and then moved to New York to teach high school math. Her work for the NYC Department of Education sparked a passion for the civic sector, and from there she transitioned to working with school districts and state governments as a public sector consultant. In 2011, she returned to the University to pursue an MPP at the Harris School of Public Policy. While at Harris, she concentrated in public finance and social welfare policy and currently serves as a Financial Research Analyst for the Chief Financial Officer of Cook County. In her free time, she enjoys returning to the Seminary Co-op, throwing elaborate dinner parties and practicing hot yoga.


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Eric Gorman, AB´92, AM´92

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Kathleen A. Graham, MBA´02 – Her MBA concentrated in the areas of Analytic Finance, and Econometrics/Statistics.  Kathy’s received her BA in Business Administration and Marketing from North Central College.  She owns four companies that focus on retained executive search and career development for professionals.

This is Kathy’s second year on the Alumni Club of Chicago Board, where she chairs the By-Laws Committee.  Other UChicago and non-UChicago volunteer activities include: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Money Smart Week At the Workplace Initiative Chair (2011–present) and Member (2008–present); CFA Society Chicago Annual Dinner Advisory Group Co-Chair (2013-present), Career Management Advisory Group Chair (2006-2008); and member (2006 – present); Booth/GSB Alumni Finance Roundtable Chair (2000-2005); Booth/GSB Professionals’ Finance Club Co-Founder & Chair (1996-1999).

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Helen Gregg, AB´09 - Helen graduated with a bachelor's in English in 2009. Since then she has been working in publishing and editing. She has been on the board for three years, and focuses on young alumni activities. In her free time she enjoys seeing live music, practicing yoga, and volunteering. 

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John Kane, MBA'91 - John Kane is a graduate of University of Chicago Business School 1991 with an MBA in Finance.  John has worked in the financial industry for over 29 years. Currently, He is working at J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank.  John resides in Kenilworth with his wife Michele and their 4 children.

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Douglas Kuzniar, AM´08 - Doug graduated from Northwestern University in 2007 with a degree in Political Science and International Studies. He then joined U of C’s Committee on International Relations program, receiving an AM in 2008. For the last four years, Doug has worked for the British government’s commercial section, which is responsible for fostering transatlantic trade and investment flows. This isDoug'sfirst year as a Board member of the Chicago Alumni Club. In his free time, he enjoys running, walking his two dogs, and playing the saxophone.

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NaYoung Lee, AB’02 – NaYoung graduated from the College with a degree in history with honors. She also earned MSt in Oriental Studies from Oxford and MPH with a focus on healthcare management and health policy from Dartmouth. In the fall of 2008, she joined the Alumni Schools Committee in Northern New England and continued her journey to Chicago. She became more active with the Alumni Club of Chicago and was elected to the Board in May 2016.

NaYoung supports the Alumni Careers Committee in creating career networking opportunities for the UChicago alumni and friends in the Chicago area. She enjoys theatre, travels and swimming with a strong interest in helping alumni in career transitions.    

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Ramani Natarajan, AM´02 - Ramani is proud that for the rest of his life, he will be colored Maroon. After graduating with an SM in ComputerScience, he found himself in the throes of the globalized BPO driven world. After spending three plus years in Bangalore where he helped startupan outsourced operations center catering to clients in the US and Western Europe, he returned home to Chicago to work for IRI. After leaving the US shores again for another short stint in the startup world, he is now finally back re-watering his roots in Chicago.

Before attending Chicago, he got his BA in Physics and minored in English Literature from Illinois Wesleyan University. Admittedly, he had more fun reading and criticizing the English Romantics in the English House. His Physics classes consisted largely of research projects focused on theory. After his undergrad, he spent time in store management in the retail worlds of Marshall Field and Carson Pirie Scott.

Currently, he is with West Monroe Partners as a Principal Consultant working to grow their Analytics & Data Science practice. In his spare time, Ramani kayaks, swims, plays chess, explores history and philosophy, and practices Muay Thai. His sports world begins with the Bears, Cubs, Bulls, Blackhawks, and Fire. He is a vegetarian except for Chicago style hot dogs and an infrequent Mcdonalds cheeseburger!

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Charmaine P. Owens, MLA´98 - Professionally, Charmaine is a Project Manager at XO Communications.  She graduated from the Graham School with a Master of Liberal Arts degree. Charmaine joined the Alumni Club Board in 2009, serving until 2015, and holding the positions of Volunteer Committee Chair & Programming Co-Chair.  Rejoining in 2016 as Programming Co-Chair, Charmaine will continue to organize programs and help others in our continual quest to keep alumni, family & friends engaged.  She is extremely passionate about volunteerism, especially youth based organizations. Charmaine is looking forward to continuing to work with University and other resources to build new partnerships across other University Alumni Club Boards and mentorship programs with the University Charter & neighboring CPS schools. If you have an interest in being a mentor or want to share volunteer ideas, you can reach Charmaine at charowens1101@gmail.com.

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Jeremy Page, MBA, '91 – Serving his first two-year term on the Board, Jeremy is an attorney in private practice, concentrating his work in the field of international trade law.   A Political Science major destined for a legal career, Jeremy realized at an early point that knowing more about "business" was essential to his success in his chosen career path.  The University of Chicago and its evening MBA program beckoned and Jeremy has repeatedly put those many lessons learned to great use in supporting his clients in their global compliance needs.

Illinois born (well, essentially) and bred, Jeremy is also a graduate of the University of Illinois's Urbana Campus (BA in Political Science, 1983) and the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (JD, cum laude, 1986).  In addition to spending time with his family, traveling, buying (not so much reading unfortunately) books, discovering new music and supporting his favorite teams (Go Cubs, Hawks and Bears!) are his passions.

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Kariyushi Rao, MBA´12 - Kariyushi has recently returned to the University of Chicago as a graduate student in the Masters Program in Computer Science.  She serves as a Teaching Assistant for Professor Greg Bunch and Professor John Burrows at the Booth School, and as a Lab Assistant for Professor Howard Nusbaum in the Department of Psychology.  Kariyushi completed her MBA in 2012 and received the Dean's Award of Distinction for her service to the Booth School. She previously worked for Google, Inc. Kariyushi supports the Alumni Club of Chicago's Careers and Programming committees. Originally from Arizona, Kariyushi received her B.A. from Bowdoin College in Maine and her SCPM through the Stanford University Advanced Project Management program.

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David Simmons, Vice President, LAB´71, AB´75, AM´76 – Earned his bachelors’ in political science, and his masters’ in urban studies. He also has a master's in city planning from Harvard. He has spent his professional career in public transportation planning and capital budgeting, including twenty-five years at Chicago Transit Authority. His last ten years there he was capital budget director. He now manages capital grants at Metra, the Northeastern Illinois region’s commuter rail agency. After spending many years away from the University (except for annual giving), he became reacquainted through helping plan his thirty-fifth college reunion. That led to serving on the Alumni Club of Chicago Board, where he is currently in his fifth year.

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John A. Smetanka, AB´71 – Received his AB in Psychology with Honors. He also earned an MA´74, and PhD´77 in Social Psychology and Organizations from Harvard University.  This is his second year as a Board member of the Chicago Alumni Club and chairs the Careers Committee.  Previously, he has been active in the alumni club in Hong Kong, and worked with Stephanie Veit (International Alumni Relations) and local alumni in setting up a College alumni club in Singapore.  He has participated in alumni events in London (International Day), traveled with University Alumni Travel to Japan with Professor James Ketelaar, and attended local events (e.g., Pritzker Military Library tour, reunion events).

John pursued an international banking career for more than 20 years and lived and worked in several countries in Asia and the Middle East including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Egypt and Dubai.  Prior to moving to Asia, he held banking positions in the U.S. and was a university professor before embarking on his banking career.  He is currently “retired.”

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Hart Weichselbaum, Hospitality Coordinator, AB´71 – Says that he went to the College in the bad old days but had a pretty good time and learned a lot. After graduation, he left for grad school, picked up a PhD in Social Psychology, and stumbled into a career in advertising. He returned to Chicago in 2000 and decided that he’d like to live in Hyde Park as an adult.  It was a wonderful decision.  

 For the past 15 years, he’s had a consulting practice focused on consumer insight and brand strategy. Hart’s in his second stint on the Board of the Chicago Alumni Club, has worked with Development on communications for the Odyssey scholarships and Booth, facilitated various meetings of the College Visiting Committee, and has been a first round reviewer for the New Venture Challenge. His wife is a member of the University’s Women Board and his children are proud graduates of the Lab School.

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Peter Wilson, AB’10.  Peter received his AB from the College in Biology with a specialization in Endocrinology and has recently begun Booth’s part time MBA program. He has chaired the past six years of class councils and reunion committees and has been a member of the Interfraternity Sing Council. Since graduation, Peter has worked for the Admissions Office as the Deputy Dean of Admissions and Chief of Staff.

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Marcus Wolfe, AM´13 - This is Marcus' second term as a board member. He graduated from SSA in 2013 an is currently working, toward his PhD, in Gerontology. He is working on research projects, with The University of Chicago Medical Center, University of Michigan, Rush Hospital/University and The University of Connecticut - Hartford. 

Marcus serves a the hospitality chair, because of his extensive networks throughout the city, state and country.

He endeavors to help increase volunteering and giving among minority alumni.

Narni Ilagan Yoder, AB '98 – While a student at UChicago, Narni spent hours deep in research and immersed in books at the Reg & Harper.  At one point, she checked out all the books related to a final paper. She had classmates queued outside her second floor apartment waiting to grab books as she was done with them.

As President Emerita of the Alumni Club of Chicago, Narni has learned to share as she enthusiastically shares all the great University activities, news and resources with the 60,000+ area alumni.  

For Narni, it all began when she was wrangling events as programming chair for the Alumni Club of Washington, DC.  One of her first events was the inaugural Phoenixphest, which required tracking down a venue that satisfied both sides of the hill. (They settled on margaritas.) Chicago’s events are almost as contentious when having to plan events in the city vs. suburbs, The Federal Reserve vs. the CBOT, Argonne vs. Fermi, etc.

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