Born and raised in Appalachia, Rev. Eric Doolittle now serves as the college chaplain at North Central College in Napervillle, IL. His path from East Tennessee to Illinois includes detours for schooling at Illinois Wesleyan University and Wesley Theological Seminary, living and ministering at United Methodist churches down home as a pastor and music director, and serving as a chaplain at Hiwassee College and Georgetown University. He is a frequent guest speaker and preacher focusing on the gifts and attributes of young adults. An advocate for interfaith and intersectional justice, Rev. Doolittle promotes inner dialogue and spiritual development alongside engagement and activism to promote healthy minds and souls in the midst of the necessary work towards justice. Using this approach, he leads meditation workshops and designs prayer stations and experiential worship elements for churches and conferences.
Esther Benjamin has been an executive in the public, private, and civil society sectors over 25 years, focusing on global development and social impact. Esther is currently CEO of World Education Services. Previously, she was with Laureate Education, Inc., as CEO for Africa Operations, and as Senior Vice President for Global Public Affairs. Esther served in President Obama’s Administration as Associate Director for Global Operations for the Peace Corps. She held management roles with the International Youth Foundation and the International Partnership for Microbicides. She worked in private sector management consulting with Grant Thornton. She was a United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Officer, and worked on Brookings Institution’s 1997 publication, "The World Bank: Its First Half Century." Esther served as a White House Fellow in President Clinton’s Administration. New York Times best-selling author Wes Moore profiled Esther as “The Globalist” in his book, "The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters."
Born in Rwanda, my earliest memories are of life as a young refugee. I pursued my undergraduate at North Central College on a generous scholarship from the school's board of trustees. During my masters at Yale, I focused on the events that I left behind: mass atrocities and their consequences. For my PhD, I am looking into the experiences of a vastly marginalized group in the African Great Lakes known as the Batwa. I am interested in how colonial and neo-colonial notions of eugenics have turned them into a de-politicized group, one which has no say on its political, economic and social reality. Beyond academics, I continue to be involved in the education space especially in providing quality education for marginalized communities. To this end, I am a co-founder of the Tujenge Scholars Program, a leadership institute, which has sent Burundi students to prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Carleton, Brown, MIT etc. The goal is that this group of young leaders will be responsible for Africa's transformation.
Jennifer K. Shah is an Assistant Professor of Education at North Central College in Naperville, IL. She teaches introductory level education courses and methods courses to undergraduates training to become teachers and also works to supervise them in their clinical experiences in schools. Jennifer is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago's doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction. Her research focuses on critical literacy, design-based research, and social justice initiatives in teacher preparation.
Prior to joining North Central College, Jennifer worked as a 6-8th grade middle school Social Studies teacher in Chicago and also served as adjunct faculty at Loyola University Chicago. She continues to be interested in Social Studies teaching and middle school methods.
Lyndsay Hartman is the founder of Point to Point, a harm reduction program committed to providing people who use drugs the resources they need to make any positive change in their life.
Nancy Guzman is a Student Success Advisor at Triton College, a suburban community college, working to empower students by facilitating a smooth transitions to college, develop academic and career plans to achieve their goals and ensure students are connected to resources they need. She is a member of the Guided Pathways Steering Committee working to reform the institution’s approach to onboarding, advising, supporting students. She shares a passion for student development and an internalized social justice mission of challenging systems that perpetuate inequity. When she is not advising students, she volunteers her time in her hometown Aurora, Illinois through several community-wide organizations and advisory boards.
Tyler Jones is currently a student-athlete and receiving his undergraduate degree in the entrepreneurship program at North Central College. Tyler is a young entrepreneur and has been writing essays and articles on the topics of motivation, inspiration, and self-fulfillment since 2016. Much of Tyler’s work has been published by Thrive Global on Medium, garnering thousands of views and a tremendous amount of positive feedback. His current projects include raising money for the Andrew Bryant Day Scholarship, heading research & business development for Birt Strength Systems, and bringing a new outdoor product to market. His portfolio can be found at https://www.tyleraaronjones.com/.