Humanities and Social Sciences

Discover the value of a degree in the humanities and social sciences, through which you can study something you enjoy while developing skills that can transfer to various professions. Our panel participants hold humanities and social sciences undergraduate degrees and they all continued on to obtain PhDs. Hear from three current professors as well as the CEO of Research Pros, Inc about how they earned PhDs and what they are doing within careers in Academia/Research. Attend the roundtable discussions to hear how a diverse group of alumni have leveraged their undergraduate experiences and professional networks to advance into a variety of successful careers, including: PhD candidacy, social work, law, consulting, community development, education, and more! Learn how you can do the same.

Roundtable Participants

Amima Diagne, AB'09, MA'16 (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Assistant Director for Student Services, University of Chicago

Ms. Diagne attended the College from 2005-2009, where she earned a degree in Psychology with a minor in African & African-American studies. While in the College, she was involved with Rhythmic Bodies in Motion (RBIM), the African & Caribbean Students Association (ACSA), the MARK (Marketing & Advertising Interest Group), Delta Gamma, the Organization of Black Students (OBS), and community service planning for Thompson House. After graduating from UChicago in 2009, she pursued a career in advertising, working with companies such as The Chicago Tribune and Leo Burnett. In 2014, she decided to change career paths to focus on an area she was more passionate about - facilitating the professional and educational growth and opportunities of others. She returned to her Alma Mater as an International Student Adviser, where she continues to provide holistic support and advocacy for UChicago's international student community. (Table 65)

Savannah Felix, AB'09, AM'16

Mental Health Specialist, The Isaac Ray Center @ The JTDC

Ms. Felix graduated from the College in 2009 with a degree in Economics. Between her undergraduate and graduate degrees, Ms. Felix worked for The Choice Program in Baltimore, MD, a program that provides community-based services to young people involved in the juvenile justice system. In 2016, she graduated from SSA with a degree in Social Work. Ms. Felix is currently a Mental Health Specialist with the Isaac Ray Center where she serves young people at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL. (Table 66)

Roger Fierro, AB'07

Activist and Writer, AIDS Foundation Chicago

Mr. Fierro graduated from the College in 2007 with a degree in International Studies. While in the College he was chair of the Prospective Students Advisory Committee, Festival of the Arts Fashion Show designer, and Organization of Latin American Students Cultural Show enfant terrible. Mr. Fierro is a local performer, a writer for OpenTV, and research associate with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Recently, he advised the National Mexican Museum of Art and Chicago Public Schools on STEM-integrated arts programs. He has received support from the Propeller Fund, 3Arts and 2nd Floor Rear Festival for his work in queer digital production and HIV prevention as performance. He remains active in the University community with Alumni Association LGBTQ and Latino affinity groups. (Table 68)

Andrew Green, AB'13

Video Producer, Encyclopaedia Britannica

Mr. Green graduated from the College in 2013 with a degree in English Literature and Law, Letters, and Society. While in the College, he was a designer and writer for the Chicago Maroon, Director of Post Production for Maroon TV, Design Editor of the Undergraduate Law Review and a member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Mr. Green joined the editorial team at Encyclopaedia Britannica in 2015 as a video producer, where he works to implement a social-first video strategy and produce short, informative videos for a global audience. Since August, he has also been pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Fiction Writing at the University of South Carolina alongside his work for Encyclopaedia Britannica. (Table 67)

Ghenwa Hayek, Brown, PhD

Assistant Professor of Modern Arabic Literature, University of Chicago

Professor Hayek is Assistant Professor of Modern Arabic Literature in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the College. She is a scholar of modern Lebanon, with an interest in the relationship between cultural forms and space, place, and identity. She is also a translator, and her work has appeared in literary and general interest publications, including The New York Times. (Table 68)

Kei Hotoda, AB'06, MA, Philosophy 2012 (UIC)

PhD Candidate, Department of Philosophy, University of Illinois-Chicago

Ms. Hotoda graduated from the College in 2006 with a degree in Philosophy. While in the College, she was involved in Japanese Club and worked at the Joseph Regenstein Library in the Bookstacks Department. After graduating, she continued to work at the Regenstein full-time for a year, assisting with the Joe & Rika Mansueto storage project. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is writing a dissertation on trauma, recovery and the self. (Table 69)

Anna Kolak, AB'99, MA Architecture'03 (UIC)

Consultant and Coach, Self Employed

Ms. Kolak has nearly twenty years of experience consulting on strategy and innovation for products, services, systems, organizations, and environments. She coaches high performers in fortune 100 companies, not-for-profits, and startups in industries such as healthcare, business intelligence, big data, biotechnology, and education. Her approach incorporates methods from architecture, behavioral psychology, non-violent communication, lean manufacturing, and design thinking to identify challenges, derive insights, unlock opportunities, rapidly test and learn, and create results. Ms. Kolak received a master of architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the College. She is completing an advanced coaching certification in integral coaching with New Ventures West. She also has urban and wilderness EMT certifications, just in case. (Table 64)

Annalee Letchinger, AB'69, MA'70 University of Sussex

Executive Director, Evanston In-School Music Association (EISMA)

Ms. Letchinger has an extensive background in the non-profit, education, and arts fields, having worked as an organizer and program director for the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago, managed a community orchestra and a summer music festival, and taught high school and college students in a variety of settings. Ms. Letchinger was the Assistant Director for Student Employment at UChicago from 1985-1988, and then returned to Career Advancement as a career counselor from 1997-2013. She has five children, ages 25-39. She has a degree in General Studies in the Humanities (now IS Hum) from the College and a master's degree in English Literature from the University of Sussex (Great Britain). She played cello in the U of C Orchestra and was an RA at Breckinridge. She is now Executive Director of Evanston In-School Music Association (EISMA), bringing world music ensembles to Evanston public schools. (Table 65)

Howard Males, PhD'81, AM'77

Chief Executive Officer, Research Pros, Inc.

Mr. Males graduated from the College with a degree and a PhD in Social and Organizational Psychology. In 1985, Mr. Males founded Research Pros, Inc., a B2B research firm that serves the knowledge needs of private equity and hedge funds, strategy firms and Fortune 500 companies. He is Chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) for Cook County (under President Toni Preckwinkle, a Commissioner on Social Innovation Commission (for Chuy Garcia), a board member of Chicago Innovation and a member of the Council of Economic Advisers for Cook County. He was also Chairman of the Hyde Park TIF for over 10 years, where he helped transform Hyde Park's 53rd Street business district. He received the South East Chicago Commission's 2012 Don Randel Community Service Award Special Service Award. He is married with two kids and lives in Hyde Park. (Table 69)

David Navarro, AB'90, JD'93 University of Iowa

Circuit Court Judge, Cook County Circuit Court

Mr. Navarro graduated from the College in 1990, with a degree in English. He is currently an Cook County Circuit Court Judge. He is presides in the PreTrial Justice Division. Prior to that he was Assistant Attorney General at the Illinois Attorney General's Office where he served as Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau. He also worked as assistant state's attorney with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office for over 15 years. He has worked on many corruption investigations and in 2007 was appointed as a special assistant U.S. attorney to work on an investigation involving the Chicago Police Department Special Operations Section. He is an adjunct faculty member of the John Marshall Law School and the Loyola School of Law and is a graduate of the University of Iowa-College of Law. (Table 66)

Allen Sanderson

Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics and the College, The University of Chicago

Mr. Sanderson is a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics and the College. He teaches Economics 19800 and 19900, an introductory survey sequence. He also teaches and researches the economics of sports. Recent publications and research include journal articles on competitive balance in sports, sports labor markets, the economic impact of universities on their communities, and the case for paying college athletes. He is a regular columnist for Chicago Life. Mr. Sanderson won a Quantrell Award in 1998 and has run the Chicago marathon three times. Recent alumni speaking engagements have taken him to cities such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico City, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, and New York City. (Table 67)