A Data Manager at CareerVillage.com, Reyes uses the skills he gained at Harris to democratize access to career information and advice for underrepresented youth.
Headshot of Eric Reyes
Eric Reyes

Eric Reyes, ‘AM20, was in eighth grade when he noticed a difference between the students in his gifted program class and those in other classes. “Most of the students in my class were white and given privileges not afforded to other students. I could look across the hall and see a different class,” Reyes said. “If I were in that classroom, I wouldn’t be able to learn.”

The school system Reyes was in had been sued in the 1990s and ordered to desegregate. “ More than a decade after that order, I was still seeing many minority students in my own school getting a worse education than white students and that the school system still had historic flaws,” he said. "I thought it could be better.”

Reyes’s path to becoming a changemaker began in earnest when he attended the University of Chicago as an undergraduate, earning his BA in economics and public policy. He also joined clubs focused on education policy and interned at education organizations along the way.

After graduation, Reyes taught at Chicago Bulls College Prep in Chicago for four years. “It was life-changing. The students inspired me, challenged me, and taught me to see the world in a different way. It made me grow up a lot quicker than I would have otherwise,” he said. “I think about those students all the time.”

Reyes left teaching in 2019 and joined the Chicago Public School (CPS) system as a data strategist in the Department of Student Assessment. There, he worked to improve CPS’s data systems and implemented a new process to define CPS’s assessment plans for the next school year.

“I learned a lot in that role, but the experience was very challenging. Essentially, I recognized I didn’t have the data skills I needed to succeed.” Reyes began researching graduate programs as the path to strengthen his toolkit. Having earned his undergraduate degree from UChicago, the Harris Evening Master's Program (EMP) was at the top of his list. “I wanted to continue working while earning my master's, and the structure of the EMP allowed me to comfortably do that."

Reyes said Data Analytics I and II were among his favorite courses. “Those courses also gave me the skills I needed when I eventually transitioned into my role as a Data Manager at CareerVillage.org.”

At CareerVillage.com, which Reyes joined in late 2021, he is responsible for overseeing, organizing, managing, and analyzing the organization's data. “The organization’s mission—to provide young, underrepresented students with information about careers and, by extension, improve their career readiness—aligns with the notion I first had back in eighth grade about educational equity,” he said. “It’s been extremely rewarding.”

For those considering Harris, Reyes said, “Think about what you want from a program and the people you will be around. Attend admission events and do not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. While there is no ‘right’ path to any given career, my Harris experience definitely helped open up new possibilities that led me to my current career.”