2017 Alumni Honors Gala

Thank you to all our alumni, faculty, staff, students, donors and friends who made our Fourth Annual Alumni Honors Gala a great success!

Honorees Video Presentation

Gala Photos

Ernesto Matias accepts his alumni award from Dean Alfred Tatum.

Alumni celebrate at the craps table during the Night at the Casino portion of the event.

Two alumni pose for a photo at the gala.

A group photo of alumni dancing during the gala.

Alumna Cheryl Watkins mans the DJ booth.

Alumna Aisha El-Amin shares a laugh at the Night at the Casino event.

Alumni and faculty at the blackjack table during the Night at the Casino event.

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

Alumni in the News

WCIU Feature: Alumna Chala Holland

Chala Holland.

WCIU's morning news program, You and Me, profiled EdD Urban Education Leadership alumna Chala Holland on her journey from growing up in Philadelphia to a teaching career in the Chicago suburbs to the principalship at Lake Forest High School.
Watch the video

Classroom Instant Replay

Latino student working on a math problem.

Alumna Kathryn Chval strapped cameras to English language learners' heads to uncover how teachers affect students' academic, communicative and social competencies in math, finding teacher actions that call out ELL students can lead to unintended consequences.  Read the story

The Atlantic Cites COE Research

Ebony McGee 200.jpg

The Atlantic magazine highlighted research by professor David Stovall and alumna Ebony McGee in an article about how acts of racism exact mental costs on Black college students, citing their evidence on how Black students display resiliency overcoming these acts.  Read the story

A Teacher as a Father

Taylor 200.jpg

Evan Taylor, BA Urban Education: Elementary Education '14, reflects on his third-grade students at Roosevelt Elementary School describing him as a father and the class as a family, and how these moments have changed his perceptions about his role as a teacher and community leader.  Read the story


Read more alumni and student stories at The Recess Blog.

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

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