Office of Development

Members of the 2012-2013 COE Alumni Board and the Office of Development Staff

The Office of Development and College of Education Alumni Board fosters connections between COE alumni and the College.  Alumni of all degree programs at the College of Education are invited to use the resources on this page and participate in programing offered throughout the year at the College of Education. Check this page regularly for upcoming events!


Please feel free to contact the Office of Development at (312) 996-8032, or email

COE Alumni Board

Welcome to the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education Alumni Board website!

Believe it or not, the class of 2013 added 289 to our ranks and we are now 10,200 UIC-COE strong.

I would like to thank our out-going president, Jerry Henderson, for his guidance and stewardship over the last four years.  Jerry's steady hand and eye to the future were essential in positioning our board to Do Good Work in the years to come.  As well, I would like to thank the new and continuing officers (Marelet Kirda, vice-president, Michele Lenz, secretary, and Nelida Delifini, treasurer), our out-going treasurer (Cynthia Valenciano), and our board members for their time, commitment, and vision to this organization.   Most of all, I would like to thank our retiring dean, Vick Chou, for not just her service, but for her inspiration to us all.  Vicki, you will be missed.

The 2012-13 academic year was a relatively active one for the Alumni Board!  In addition to the various university service activities that we routinely participate in, we also hosted several social events for our membership.  Perhaps you were able to join us at one of our "meet and greet" events at Jak's Tap or Fat Pour, or maybe you won a fabulous raffle or silent auction item at our end of the year fundraiser/celebration of Dean Chou at La Taberna.  The Alumni Board raised $4,000 in scholarship funds at our end of the year event alone.  These monies will support the endowed Make an Impact Scholarship in perpetuity.

As president of the UIC-COE Alumni Board, I encourage you to reconnect with the UIC College of Education through this website.  There are numerous ways to be involved in our Association and our institution, and I hope that an exploration of our pages will inspire you toward that end.  If you are interested in becoming a part of the Alumni Board leadership team, please contact me, and let's begin the conversation.  In the meantime, I hope to see you all at our 2013-14 events.  Details are forthcoming!




Mission Statement

The purpose of the COE Alumni Board shall be to maximize involvement of COE alumni and students in the affairs of the College by developing programs and activities that provide opportunities for professional and social interaction, build lifelong relationships, and support the College’s mission of ensuring that all children and youth in America’s urban schools receive a quality education.

  • To recognize contributions of distinguished alumni, students and faculty of the College
  • To stimulate interest in education as a career among outstanding students
  • To maintain a direct line of communication and involvement between the College and its alumni


President:  Pamela J. Konkol, ’96
M.Ed., Instructional Leadership; ’10, PhD, Policy Studies in Urban Education

Pamela is an associate professor of educational foundations and social policy and the director of the Center for Policy Studies and Social Justice at Concordia University Chicago. Her research interests center on the philosophical and practical dimensions of ethos, identity, and community for educators. She previously taught journalism and cultural studies to high school students on Chicago's South Side; her work with youth media continues in that context today.


Vice President:  Marelet Kirda, ’96,
M.Ed., Instructional Leadership

Marelet is the Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research at UIC. Marelet’s experience in higher education ranges from serving various roles in student affairs and administration at UIC. Marelet has served as a member of the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Asian-Americans, and is a 2002 recipient of the UIC Award of Merit. Due to her involvement and experience on either staffing or serving on search committees, Marelet was selected to serve as the Academic Professional Representative for the University of Illinois Presidential Search Committee.


Secretary:  Michele Lenz, ’02,
Ph.D, Curriculum and Instruction

Michele’s interests include gender equality, autobiographical writing, science education, and curriculum that encourages both females and males to enter and excel in the science fields. Michele's hobbies center on cars. She loves racing, especially NASCAR racing. She attends many car shows and is a master judge for 60's, 70's era muscle cars.


Treasurer:  Nelida Delfini,
’94, M.Ed., Instructional Leadership

Nelida is currently retired. She serves as a substitute teacher at an elementary school and teaches ESL classes at Daley College in Chicago. In her free time, she loves to travel abroad (Italy, Spain, France, Mexico, a few to name) and her hobbies include bike riding and dancing.


Dr. Bonita Berryman-Gilliam '82, BA Elementary Education
Dr. Cathy Busch '95, Ph.D Curriculum and Instruction
Dr. Andrea Evans '04, Ph.D Policy and Administration
Dr. Jerald Henderson '91, Ph.D Curriculum and Instruction
Dr. Cynthia Valenciano '99 Ph.D Curriculum and Instruction
Dr. Judith Yturriago '96, Ph.D Curriculum and Instruction


UIC Alumni Association

The UIC Alumni Association, part of the University of Illinois Alumni Association, connects you with the University alumni community.  Stay in touch by signing up to receive the University's alumni newsletter and alumni magazine, join an alumni group to network, and take advantage of the UIAA career resources, including their online job board.

UIC Alumni Association Website

Career Resources

Job Seekers

The University of Illinois Alumni Association Alumni Career Center offers resources to job seekers and those advancing in their careers.  The Center edits resumes and cover letters, prepares candidates for interviews, and actively maintains a job board of employers looking specifically to hire University of Illinois graduates.  We encourage you to take advantage of these free resources.

Help us build the COE network

The College is currently building out its own job board, specifically devoted to our alumni seeking professions as teachers, educators, school leaders, early childhood managers and more.  Help us strengthen the COE network by sending in job opportunities at your place of work. Send job openings to

Alumni News

Alumna Studys Immigrant Literacy Needs


April 10, 2014 -- Alumna Alexis Cullerton investigated how the literacy needs of undocumented unaccompanied youth in detention are being met in the U.S.  Her research offers several recommendations for improving literacy access for this vulnerable population.  Read the story

December Alumni E-Newsletter

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December 17, 2014 -- Check out our December alumni e-newsletter, with a focus on how College faculty, staff, students and alumni are ensuring Black and Latino students across CPS have equal access to STEM study and career paths.  Read the e-newsletter

Making Math Meaningful

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December 10, 2014 -- Alumna Jasmine Juarez is countering the notion that Latina/o students are not interested in math as a field of study or career by showing that teachers can stimulate passion for the subject and other STEM fields by connecting to life experiences.  Read the story

Check out the November Alumni E-Newsletter

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December 3, 2014 -- We're a tad late in posting here, but here is the November alumni e-newsletter, with a complete look at how the College of Education's students, alumni, faculty and research centers are advocating for inclusion for students with special education needs.  Read the e-newsletter


Alumni News Archive

Alumni News Archive

Alumna Studies Dialect Development

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November 19, 2014 -- Alumna Nicole Koonce, PhD Special Education, is investigating how the use of dialect in student speech is leading to misdiagnoses of literacy and language development problems and over-representation in special education services.  Read more


Alumni Profile:  Anwar Smith

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November 5, 2014 -- Anwar Smith, MEd Youth Development, believes building an active link between school, home, church and community is essential for the sustained success and creation of life opportunities for students living in Chicago’s most under-resources neighborhoods.  Read more

Alumna Insists Disabilities Will Not Be Life-Defining

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October 30, 2014 -- Kim Meares, MEd Youth Development, is a program director at Opportunity Knocks, a non-profit organization in River Forest dedicated to providing social, recreational and life-skills programming for young adults living with developmental disabilities.  Read more

October Alumni E-Newsletter:  Focus on Early Childhood Education

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October 22, 2014 -- Check out the October edition of our alumni e-newsletter, with a focus on early childhood education, ranging from alumna Meredith Chambers' second language classroom to the legacy of the College's alternative certification grads to faculty analysis of early childhood spending.  E-newsletter | Subscribe

Alumni Bolster Early Childhood Workforce

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October 15, 2014 -- Graduates of the College of Education's alternative certification in early childhood education program are meeting a crucial need for culturally and linguistically diverse early childhood certified educators throughout Chicago Public Schools and schools in the exurbs.  Read more

Alumni Profile:  Educating the Homeless

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October 8, 2014 -- At Morton Elementary on Chicago's west side, more than 30 percent of students are homeless.  COE alumna and Morton principal Peggie Burnett, EdD Urban Education '13, is charged with ensuring their education is a constant despite instability in housing.  Watch a video

Alumni Profile: Valerie Jones

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October 1, 2014 -- Chicago is in need of new special educators, and alumna Valerie Jones, PhD Special Education '13 is working to prepare new special education teachers with small group intervention skills to build literacy and higher order thinking skills in students with special education needs.  Read more

Leading the Second Second Language Battle

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September 18, 2014 -- Alumna Meredith Chambers, alternative certification in early childhood education, faces a monumental task:  preparing Chinese-American early childhood learners who speak Mandarin, Cantonese, and Taiwanese to be fluent English speakers upon entering kindergarten.  Read the story

Alumna Featured by CBS 2 Chicago

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September 9, 2014 -- Carlitta Tucker-Powell, MEd Special Education, was featured by CBS 2 Chicago as part of a story on what it takes to succeed as a special educator in Chicago Public Schools.  Tucker-Powell has worked as both a special educator and a case manager for the district.  Read the story

July Alumni E-Newsletter Is Out

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July 17, 2014 -- Check out our June alumni e-newsletter, with the latest news on alumni and student achievements, faculty research, alumni events and professional development/job opportunities.  Catch up on what your fellow alumni are up to and submit your latest news.  E-Newsletter | Sign up to receive the e-newsletter

Alumnus Brings Research to Michigan State University

July 10, 2014 -- Chezare Warren spent his time at the College of Education investigating how teacher empathy boosts Black male students.  Now at Michigan State University, he is continuing his research on high school strategies for success for Black male learners.  Read more

Alumna to Lead Teacher Licensure Organization

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July 3, 2014 -- Aisha El-Amin, PhD Policy Studies in Urban Education '11, has been named the new director of the Council on Teacher Education at UIC.  The Council works to ensure all UIC teacher candidates meet state licensure requirements on the way towards realizing their career goals.

Alumni Profile:  Michael Manderino

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June 27, 2014 -- Michael Manderino thought he wanted to be a social studies teacher.  Then he discovered the power of literacy in his high school classroom.  Check out how he transformed his career into a leading research position on how students comprehend multiple texts.  Read more

June Alumni E-Newsletter Is Out

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June 20, 2014 -- Check out our June alumni e-newsletter, with the latest news on alumni and student achievements, faculty research, alumni events and professional development/job opportunities.  Catch up on what your fellow alumni are up to and submit your latest news.  E-Newsletter | Sign up to receive the e-newsletter

Alumna Wins Research Award


June 13, 2014 -- Gholnecsar Muhammad, PhD Curriculum and Instruction: Literacy, Language and Culture '13, was named one of two national recipients of the 2014 Promising Researcher in English Education award from the National Council of Teachers of English.  Read more

Alumna Earns Golden Apple Award!

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June 2, 2014 -- Melissa Talaber Matwyshyn, MEd Instructional Leadership '08, 7th grade teacher at St. Nicholas Cathedral School in Ukranian Village, was named a 2014 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching winner!  Congrats, Melissa!  Melissa is one of two COE alumni Golden Apple winners in 2014.  Read more

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