The Career Development Office is committed to helping students and alumni prepare and position themselves to act upon a wide range of exciting professional opportunities.

The Career Development Office team is here to help you identify your objectives and the resources necessary for achieving them.

Meet our Career Readiness Coaches, who are here to support your search from exploring options to negotiating offers.

Nick Fahnders
Associate Director, Career Readiness

Nick brings more than seven years of higher education experience to UChicago, primarily with career development, college housing/residence life, and classroom instruction. He earned his Master's degree in Higher Education & Student Affairs from the University of Connecticut, and holds a B.S. in Psychology with a Leadership Studies minor from Bradley University. In his spare time, Nick enjoys reading, traveling, eating Portillo’s hot dogs and teaching Zumba classes at the West Cook YMCA. He strives to build smarter, engaging communication and assessment strategies at Harris to enhance your career opportunities.

Contact Nick to discuss policy careers, consulting interview preparation, and how to make the most of your job search.

Email | LinkedIn

Leslie Andersen
Assistant Director, Career Readiness

Leslie is a transplanted Easterner proud to call Chicago home for several years who joined Harris Public Policy in April 2011 after working in Career Services at 5 other colleges and universities, including Mount Holyoke College, The University of Iowa, and Illinois Institute of Technology. She started her career after graduating from Smith College, with the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Welfare and also worked for the American Bar Association and the Illinois CPA Society.  Leslie earned a Master’s in Education, Counseling from University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She faithfully supports activities involving hunger and food insecurity and volunteers annually as the Logistics chair for the South DuPage CROP Walk Against Hunger. When not enthusiastically assisting Harris students and alumni with their career goals and job search, particularly in the public sector, Leslie enjoys gardening, baking, and multicultural literature and arts.

Contact Leslie to discuss policy careers and how to make the most of your job search.

Email | LinkedIn

Ethan Rucker
Assistant Director, Career Readiness

Through his experiences as a licensed professional counselor, advisor, and educator, Ethan established his passion for cultivating student career readiness. He received a BS in Psychology from the University of Florida and taught in Indianapolis through Teach for America. Ethan moved to Chicago in 2014 and earned an Ed.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Loyola University Chicago. He advised students in career engagement and planning at Loyola as both a graduate career advisor and academic advisor.

Contact Ethan to discuss policy careers and how to make the most of your job search.

Email | LinkedIn 

Courtney Thompson
Assistant Director, Career Readiness

Courtney brings her dedication to advocating for student needs and experience serving students holistically to Harris. She has spent her career supporting students in their academic and professional development. She received a BA in Spanish and Pre-Professional Education from James Madison University and served two years in Chicago Public Schools through City Year Chicago. Courtney returned to James Madison University to earn a Master’s in Education, College Student Personnel Administration. When you don’t see Courtney around Harris, she is creating pieces for her custom art venture, practicing yoga, and trying new foods. Through career advising, she strives to create an environment and a community where individuals can be their authentic selves at Harris and beyond.

Contact Courtney to discuss policy careers and how to make the most of your job search.


Alejandro Monroy
Assistant Director, Career Readiness

Since 2011, Alejandro has been working with students from high school to graduate school in variety of roles.  Whether in admissions, academic advising, or career readiness, at his core, he is enthusiastic about partnering with students to guide them through their academic and career goals.  Most recently, Alejandro coached Master’s candidates in their career exploration and readiness at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA).  He holds a B.A. in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University, and a A.M. degree in Social Service Administration from SSA.  Outside of Harris, Alejandro is a freelance photographer and volunteers with organizations working to advance inclusive policies and communities at the intersection of education and immigration.

Contact Alejandro to discuss policy careers and how to make the most of your job search.

Email | LinkedIn

Our Employer Partnership Team is building relationships with organizations that align with the vision and values of Harris.

Click here to learn more about the team


CDO Leadership


Adam McGriffin
Director of Career Development and External Partnerships

Throughout his varied career, making a difference has always been central in Adam's life. Whether planning initiatives, directing strategies, or executing programs, his emphasis is always on improving the status quo and has led to measurable results. 

Adam leads the Career Development Office for the University of Chicago, Harris Public Policy. Prior to joining the University of Chicago he served as the Global Partnership and Government Relations Manager for Lions Club International, the world's largest service club organization. His primary focus was on building connections with organizations around the world, including the U.S. Congress, international corporations, governments, and NGO's. 

In 2014, McGriffin was appointed by the Illinois governor as a Commissioner on the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. He also serves on the Illinois Advisory Committee of the United States Global Leadership Coalition. Adam hold a BA from Purdue University and a MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Prospective employers should connect with Adam to discuss building full-time and internship hiring pipelines for their organizations.

Email | LinkedIn

Additional Career Resource: UCHICAGOGRAD

Along with the Career Readiness Team for Harris, there are additional tools and resources to help you explore your options, connect with professionals, and develop professional skills at UChicagoGRAD. For more information, click here.