An Assistant Director of Research at Malcolm X College, Charity Coleman uses her MPP skills analyzing data to better serve students.
Headshot of Charity Coleman
Charity Coleman

Charity Coleman grew up in the Chicago south side communities of West Woodlawn and Auburn Gresham. “That gave me a perspective on inequalities that exist at the intersection of health, social, and education policy,” she said. “I’ve always been good with numbers and finding patterns in information, so coupling that with my passion for addressing the social issues I see in Chicago led me to study how I could use data analysis to inform policy at Harris.”

Coleman received her bachelor’s in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018. She completed several internships as an undergraduate student, including as a Student Assistant at the Weston Career Center and a Business Administration Intern for Health Literacy Media. She also served as Interim Accounting Manager for Kindred Healthcare after earning her bachelor's degree.

Before joining Harris in Autumn 2019, Coleman volunteered in Vietnam. “My sister had been teaching English throughout Asia, and when she landed in Vietnam she invited me to participate in work she was involved in. I worked with children in small schools and community organizations, basically helping wherever I could.”

After her volunteer experience, Coleman returned to her hometown with an eye on degrees that would open up opportunities to get involved in policy work. “I studied economics in undergrad, but predominantly business economics. The positions I was being offered were mostly business-oriented, but I wanted to look at economics through a policy lens,” she said. Since Coleman was already familiar with UChicago (her mother was a patient care coordinator for more than 20 years at University hospital), she said Harris was a clear choice for her.

“One thing Harris does really well is provide students with the flexibility to explore all of their interests,” said Coleman. “For someone like me—interested in health, social, and education policy—I could satisfy all of those interests through classes at Harris or elsewhere in the University.”

Coleman was also active in extracurricular aspects of the Harris and University community. “I was involved with the Black Action and Public Policy Studies (BAPPS) student organization—first as a member and then as Alumni Relations member on the Executive Committee.” Later, Coleman tutored for Economics and Analytical Politics for the Harris Evening Master's Program. “I was even a cheerleading coach for the University cheer team.”

After completing her MPP, Coleman began working as a Data Strategist at Malcolm X College (one of the seven City Colleges of Chicago) before quickly being promoted to Assistant Director of Research. “My data efforts are focused on devising ways for us to better serve our students. I am now more confident in my ability to tell stories with data to people who may not have as much technical expertise.”

Coleman recently began a collaboration with Marvin Slaughter, MPP ’21, a Portfolio Manager at UChicago’s Inclusive Economy Lab. “Marvin is helping us with our equity plan at the college, assisting us in ensuring that all departments are fulfilling their proposed equity goals. Marvin and I served together on the BAPPS Executive Committee, so being able to work with him in a professional setting has been great. There are so many Harris people all over Chicago doing great policy work. It’s such an expansive network.”