Events Archive


April 19, 2012 - Education, Child and Family Policy Networking Event
Leaders in Child and Family Policy Student Group sponsored a networking event at the Chicago Firehouse. The event offered students a chance to mingle with education, child, and family policy professionals. Jean-Claude Brizard, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the keynote speaker,spoke about the challenges facing CPS, including principal accountability and how to replicate successful school models. This event was co-sponsored by the Education Policy Student Association Student Group, the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy, the Chicago Harris Office of Development and Alumni Relations, the Office of Career Development, the Office of Communications, Harris Student Life Office, and Public Policy Student Association.

April 2, 2012 - "Lunch and Learn" with Kate Mahar Ritter (MPP, '03)
Kate Mahar Ritter, Senior Policy Associate at Illinois Action For Children, offered an overview of the roles Illinois Action For Children plays in allowing facilitating affordable child care in Illinois.  Ms. Ritter gave riveting descriptions of the ups and downs of her own work advocating in Springfield for early childhood policies that would benefit the Illinois’ youngest residents.  She shed light on some of the political dynamics that can prevent mutually beneficial policies from becoming law. Illinois Action For Children is a state and national leader in the early childhood education community.  The organization focuses on increasing access to quality early childhood education to the most fragile families through public policy and advocacy, early learning programs, and community resource and referral programs.  As a Senior Policy Associate at IAFC, Kate Ritter works on child care budget, human services and child care policy, infant and toddler quality, and DCFS licensing.

February 29, 2012 - Elizabeth Swanson presents on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s education plan for Chicago
Elizabeth Swanson, MPP ’02 and Deputy Chief of Staff for Education at the Office of the Mayor, will present and take student questions regarding Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan for public education in Chicago. Currently at the Office of the Mayor, Elizabeth Swanson was formally the Executive Director of The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, which invests in people and programs that enrich the life experiences of Chicago’s children. Prior to joining the Foundation, Swanson led the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Office of Management and Budget under CEO Arne Duncan. Swanson has also served as director of the CPS Office of Extended Learning Opportunities. Swanson has devoted her career to youth development and education reform, working for both local and federal government, as well as a number of non-profit organizations. She holds a Bachelor’s from Amherst College and Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. Swanson’s two school-aged children attend CPS schools.

January 18, 2012 - Social Policy Internship Panel and Networking Reception
ESPA and LCFP co-sponsored a Social Policy Internship Panel and Networking Reception for 1st year Harris MPP students to learn about a variety of 2nd year summer internship experiences in social policy work. The 2nd year student panel consisted of students who interned at the American Institutes for Research, Urban Health Initiative, Montessori School (Chicago), Access Community Health Network, and Center for Human Resources Development at Vietnam National University. Following the panel and Q&A session, additional 2nd year students attended the networking reception with interested 1st years students to answer questions regarding the kinds of internships available to Harris students, the application process for each internship and the quality of the internship experience for current 2nd year students.

November 29, 2011 - “Lunch and Learn” with Julian Cristia and Ofer Malamud
Julian Cristia, an Economist for the Research Department at the Inter-American Development Bank, presented his work on “The Impacts of the One Laptop per Child Program: A Randomized Evaluation” at a workshop for the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy. Cristia’s study looked at the effects of giving students personal laptops at 320 primary schools in Peru. Cristia presented findings on the effects at fifteen months after implementation of the program. He looked at the program effects on child laptop use, behavior, academic outcomes, intrinsic motivation and self-esteem. Cristia concludes that there were no program effects on child behavior (i.e. total school enrollment, attendance, read a book last week, etc.), child non-cognitive outcomes (i.e. intrinsic motivation and a self-concept measure) and child academic achievement (although he found some positive effects for 6th graders in math only). Cristia and Malamud joined Harris MPP and doctoral students for a ‘”Lunch and Learn” following the workshop presentation to further discuss their work on the current uses of technology for human capital development and increasing academic achievement.

November 15, 2011 - "Breakfast and Learn" with Genevieve M. Kenney
Genevieve Kenney, Senior Fellow at The Urban Institute, presented her research on current healthcare legislation in the United States at a workshop for the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy together with Chapin Hall. In her presentation, Dr. Kenney described the current health insurance context for children and their families (focusing on gaps with respect to health insurance coverage and access to care), highlighted relevant features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and examined the potential effects of the ACA on children, addressing both the direct effects on children and the indirect effects that will operate through their parents. Dr. Kenney participated in a “Breakfast and Learn” with LCFP members the morning of her presentation to answer student questions and discuss the challenges surrounding the ACA legislation and its continued implementation. Dr. Kenney was a lead researcher on two major evaluations of SCHIP: a congressionally-mandated evaluation for the United States Department of Health and Human Services and an evaluation supported by a number of private foundations. She has published over 50 articles and briefs on insurance coverage and access for low-income children, pregnant women, and other adults.

October 19, 2011 - Child and Family Policy Alumni Panel
LCFP hosted an alumni panel and reception event for current students and alumni to discuss their professional experiences and the value of a Harris MPP degree in the field of child and family policy. The panel moderator asked panelists to discuss their background, their professional path since graduating from the Harris school and to share details about their current work and other policy perspectives. The panelists also shared advice with students on how to obtain a job in their field as a Harris graduate. The panelists took questions from the audience during the Q&A session and continued conversations with students at the networking reception following the panel event. This year’s panelists included:
Ben Dieterich, MPP ’08, Program Analyst, US Department of Health and Human Services
Sherri Farris, MPP ’03, Data Acquisition Manager for Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Ann Hanson, MPP ’07, National Projects Manager for the Ounce of Prevention Fund

To see a recording of the panel event, please click here.


Magne Mogstad
In December 2010 LCFP hosted a Lunch & Learn with Dr. Magne Mogstad. Dr. Mogstad was working at the University of Chicago as a visiting researcher and presented two papers during his visit including: “No Child Left Behind: Universal Child Care and Children’s Long-Run Outcomes “and “Pornography and Rape: Theory and Practice? Evidence from a Natural Experiment.” For LCFP’s Lunch & Learn, Dr. Mogstad presented his work on childcare, maternal labor supply, and child development in Norway, and compared his findings with outcomes observed in the United States.

Dr. Mogstad came to U of C from the Research Department of Statistics in Norway where he serves as a Senior Researcher. Mogstad earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oslo and his primary research fields include public economics and labor economics, with secondary concentrations in microeconometrics and family economics.

Rochelle Davis
In February 2011 LCFP hosted a Lunch & Learn with FoPo featuring Rochelle Davis, President and CEO of Healthy Schools Campaign in Chicago. Rochelle spoke about her journey through the nonprofit sector, and how Healthy Schools Campaign became a national nonprofit. She also spoke to students about current nutrition and food policy challenges facing Chicago Public Schools.

Healthy Schools Campaign was founded in 2002. It is an independent not-for-profit organization that acts as the leading authority on healthy school environments and advocates for policies and practices that allow all students, teachers and staff to learn and work in a health school environment. Rochelle started at Healthy Schools after serving as President and Founding Executive Director of Generation Green, a national membership organization that works on children’s environmental health issues. Rochelle also served as Principal Investigator for Healthy Schools Campaign’s NIEHS-funded Partnership to Reduce Disparities in Asthma and Obesity in Latino Schools, and is a member of the EPA’s Committee for the Protection of Children’s Health.



May 4, 2010
Leaders in Child and Family Policy held it’s first ever alumni networking event in conjunction with EPIC. Featuring keynote speaker Mary Ellen Caron, PhD and Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, the event was a great success bringing policy professionals from a diverse set of backgrounds. Current Harris students learned about job opportunities throughout Chicago focusing on areas such as education, health, government services and early childhood policy. Ms. Caron talked to us about best practices, initiatives engaging Chicago’s youth, and gave advice concerning career paths and networking. It was a successful event and we look forward to holding another Alumni Networking Event next year.

February 10, 2010
Leaders in Child and Family Policy hosted Rachel Dunifon, Associate Professor of Human Ecology at Cornell University, whose work focuses on lower income children and how policy influences their development. In her position at Cornell, Professor Dunifon is committed to bridging the gap between research and the real world. Dunifon noted that it is not enough for policy research to be significant within the world of academia; it must be made relevant to policymakers and real world professionals. Dunifon discussed the language differences between academia and mainstream media, stressing the importance of translating research into terms that the general public can understand and use. Furthermore, effectively conducting and communicating research demands objectivity. A researcher must remain impartial to politics and separate from advocates to preserve the credibility of his or her work. Finally, Professor Dunifon discussed the different timetables in research and the real world. Though data takes a significant amount of time for researchers to collect and analyze, policymakers want results immediately. To mitigate this conflict, Dunifon suggested releasing preliminary findings as they become available, rather than delaying the presentation of findings until a formal paper is published.

January 19, 2010
Leaders in Child and Family Policy hosted a Lunch and Learn with Gudelia Lopez, Senior Program Officer at the Chicago Community Trust and a Harris MPP. After graduating from the Harris School, Ms. Lopez pursued a Ph.D. in Education at the University of Chicago, with a focus in post-secondary access for students. Ms. Lopez worked for the Chicago Public Schools from 1998 to 2007 in various capacities, at one point leading an initiative to study student outcomes after graduation. From this work, Lopez confirmed the importance of social capital in post-high school decision-making. Ms. Lopez left CPS to join the Chicago Community Trust as an education officer in 2007. At the Trust, Ms. Lopez works to change the way urban students receive education through collaborating with and funding initiatives at CPS. Collectively, the Trust endeavors to make scalable, sustainable changes within the school system. Ms. Lopez acknowledged the important role after school and outside programs, but also said their services only reach a small percentage of students. She believes meaningful change must come from within the system. Ultimately, Ms. Lopez believes that you must have an in-depth understanding of a subject area to make positive, lasting policy changes in it.

November 30, 2009
Leaders in Child and Family Policy hosted a Lunch & Learn with Deanna Durica, Senior Policy Associate at the Ounce of Prevention Fund. Durica shared her experiences working on early childhood education policy issues, and spoke about recent policy developments in the early learning field, particularly in the state of Illinois. Durica spoke extensively about her work coordinating Illinois’ Early Learning Council, an advisory body tackling birth-to-five policy issues in the state and creating recommendations for policy changes. She explained how early childhood programs are funded by both federal and state grants, and how she works to monitor the IL Early Childhood Block Grant that funds both the Preschool for All and Birth to Three programs. Durica provided background on the benefits of having the Early Childhood Block Grant provide one system of funding for infants/toddlers and pre-school age children, instead of having separate funding streams for each. Students asked questions about the impact of state budget shortfalls on the ability to secure funding for current and future early learning initiatives.

November 3, 2009
Leaders in Child and Family Policy co-sponsored a panel addressing Violence Among Chicago Youth with Education Pioneers, the Education Policy Interest Coalition (EPIC) and The Center for Human Potential and Public Policy (CHPPP). The five panel members included Talmadge D. Betts, Senior Program Office for the Black United Fund, Phillip Jackson, Founder and Executive Director of The Black Star Project, Dr. Jens Ludwig, the McCormick Foundation Professor of Social Service Administration, Law, and Public Policy in the School of Social Service Administration and the Harris School of Public Policy, Ameena Mathews, a violence mediator for Cease Fire, and Dr. David O. Stovall, Assistant Professor of Policy Studies in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Panel members discussed their views on the origins of youth violence in Chicago, how they work to combat it, and the obstacles to their success.

October 28, 2009
Leaders in Child and Family Policy hosted a Lunch & Learn with Aaron Sojourner, Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and an '03 Harris MPP. Sojourner presented his latest research on the impact of peer effects on student achievement. Analyzing data from Project STAR, a large-scale experimental study of class size, Sojourner found that low-achieving students tend to perform better in classes with high-achieving peers. Sojourner believes this data supports mixed achievement classrooms, rather than tracked. Students asked questions about the effects of teachers' unions, principals, and gender on student performance and how they may impact Sojourner's findings.


April 16, 2009
Following her presentation at CHPPP's Workshop on Human Potential, Deborah Gross, Professor of Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing at Johns Hopkins University, met with members of Leaders in Child and Family Policy to discuss her innovative Chicago Parent Program. Gross answered student questions regarding the development of culturally relevant curriculum for parenting programs and discussed her team's success in creating a board of Head Start parents to serve as program consultants. Gross also spoke about challenges she encountered in adapting the program to new cities and translating it into Spanish.

February 24, 2009
Christine Wilson (Harris, MPP '06), Director of Public Policy for Illinois Action for Children, met with the members of Leaders in Child and Family Policy to discuss her experiences as a Harris student and her current position at Action. Students were particularly interested in early childhood education legislation in Illinois, and Wilson spoke about her organization's role in advocating for lower child care co-payments for parents, increased reimbursement rates to child care providers and more professional development for teachers. Wilson also discussed the Action's mission and policy goals, her early professional experiences lobbying, and the challenges she and her colleagues face in their interactions with legislators.

February 13, 2009
Leaders volunteered at the Woodlawn-based Living Room Café, a division of Inspiration Corporation, which serves restaurant-style meals and provides supportive services to adults and families confronting homelessness.