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UChicagoGRAD helps graduate students and postdocs be successful while at UChicago and as professionals in any career they choose. From fellowship advising and writing support, to public speaking training and networking practice, to career advising and internships, UChicagoGRAD aims to build new bridges between UChicago and the marketplace, benefiting students’ professional success and the university’s reputation as the foremost provider of tomorrow’s talented leaders. We help the world recognize the special skills UChicago graduate students and postdocs offer and help graduate students and postdocs provide their skills to the world.


A gift to UChicagoGRAD helps students and postdocs increase the impact of their research in society through innovative initiatives such as internships and career treks that expose graduate students to a variety of professional sectors while applying their research expertise and methodological training in the workplace; facilitated writing groups to encourage progress on dissertations proposals and chapters, master’s theses, and fellowship applications; and GRADTalk public speaking training to help graduate students and postdocs communicate their research effectively to broad audiences.


The University of Chicago is at the forefront of a movement to provide academic and professional support to complement the academic rigor and excellence that are the hallmarks of UChicago graduate education.

UChicagoGRAD offers a range of services and resources to enhance the ability of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to navigate their careers at UChicago and beyond.

UChicagoGRAD is a national model for supporting graduate students and postdocs thanks to pioneering, tailored initiatives ranging from training in writing and public speaking to career exploration treks, internships, employer recruitment fairs, and alumni networking events. With opportunities like these, UChicagoGRAD is building pipelines to help graduate students and postdocs convey the invaluable forms of knowledge that research universities produce to where they are most needed in society.



  • UChicagoGRAD is a one-stop shop of integrated services to help graduate students and postdocs navigate their academic and professional careers.
  • Led by David Nirenberg, Executive Vice Provost, UChicagoGRAD programs provide flexible training that complements support in academic units.
  • UChicagoGRAD staff are committed to serving the graduate and postdoc community, focusing on recruitment; skills and experience; career development; and alumni engagement.

Meet the Team

Picture of David Nirenberg

David Nirenberg

Executive Vice Provost

Beth Niestat

Executive Director, UChicagoGRAD Administration & Policy

Brooke Noonan

Executive Director, UChicagoGRAD Experience

Holly Bland

Director, Graduate Enrollment Initiatives

Celina Chatman Nelson

Director, GRAD Development & Diversity

Martha Jackson

Director, GRAD Operations

Lizanne Phalen

Director, Family Resource Center


Karen Rosenthall

Director, Fellowships

Kalee Schelkopf

Director, Programming and Communications; Graduate Council Advisor

Michael Tessel

Michael Tessel

Director of GRAD Career Development and Employer Relations

Sena Agawu

Assistant Director of Graduate Enrollment Initiatives for Diversity Recruitment

Picture of Tyler Blackwell

Tyler Blackwell

Special Consultant to Chicago Harris

Josephine Cai

Assistant Director, GRAD Career Development

Ruth Gutierrez

Office Manager


Anne Janusch

Coordinator, Fellowships & Writing

Sandra Jackson

Operations Associate


Briana Konnick

Assistant Director, Graduate Career Development


Sara Mehta

Assistant Director of Fellowships


Yazmin Norwood

Assistant Director, Financial Administration


Michael O'Toole

GRADTalk Coordinator


Daniel Spiess

Associate Director, Graduate Career Development


Lindsey Weglarz

Program Coordinator, Graduate Enrollment Initiatives


Courtney Wiersema

Assistant Director, GRAD Career Development

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