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2015-2016 Board of Directors

President: Rachel Goldman Alper, AB'05, graduated from the college with a degree in law, letters and society. Rachel's first job was as a writer for order essay service, where she gained a lot of experience and improved her knowledge, which helped her further develop as a person and a professional. Rachel is proud of her connection to Flint House and Blackstone Hall and served as President of Inter-House Council in ’03 - ’04, where she considers one of her biggest accomplishments helping to save Shake Day.  Rachel started out as DC's first Career Chair, and has also previously served as Affinity Group Liaison and Vice President. As President, Rachel looks forward to finding more ways for alumni to be an incredible support network for each other professionally and socially. If you have questions about how to get involved or whom to contact on a particular issues, please contact Rachel at .

Vice President: Ngiste Abebe, AB '09, studied public policy at the College. She lived in the Shoreland for the first two years, before downsizing to a closet in Pierce Tower as the RA for Thompson House. She rowed for Crew Club all four years. please reach her at .

Programming Chair: Laura Onken, AB' 09, graduated from the College with a degree in economics.  In the past, Laura has cochaired Phoenixphest and Participate Chicago in DC, coordinated a number of outdoors events for the DC Alumni Club, and volunteered with the Alumni Schools Committee to interview prospective students.  Laura could not be more thrilled to be joining the board here in DC as programming chair.  She is excited to give back to the alumni community by putting together events that everyone can enjoy!  You can reach her at  to suggest ideas, volunteer to run an event, or even just to say hi.

Career Chair: Jenny Menna received her AB in Russian Civilization ('93) and AM from the Committee on International Relations ('94). She spent her first year in the Shoreland and Broadview, before moving to a series of glamorous Hyde Park apartments.  She's been living and working in DC ever since. Jenny is looking forward to using her experience and connections in government and private sector to help alumni new to the area, or interested in changing or growing their careers, navigate our unique job market. To learn more about how to take advantage of the Chicago alumni community in your career development, email Jenny at or find her on

Affinity Group Liaison: Jamie Huang, MPP/MA-CMES'13, earned her joint Master’s degrees from the Harris School of Public Policy studies and Center for Middle Eastern Studies. In her three years at UChicago, Jamie served on the staff of Middle Eastern Studies Students’ Association, (Harris School) Committee on International Affairs in Public Policy, (Harris School) Minorities in Public Policy Studies. She then represented the broader graduate student community as a member of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs Advisory Council and Student Government (as the Social Science Liaison). Jamie is excited to continue her duties serving the DC alumni community for the second year. If you have questions about any current Affinity Group or ideas for new groups, you can reach Jamie at .  

Communications Chair: Mark Swartz, AM '93, studied art history at the University of Chicago. After 11 years in New York City, during which time he worked at The Museum of Modern Art and the Robin Hood Foundation, he moved with his family to Takoma Park, MD. The father of two daughters and the author of two novels, Mark consults with local and national nonprofits on storytelling and other forms of communication. More at You can reach him at . 

Finance Chair: Soren Dayton graduated from The College in 1999 in Anthropology and Mathematics, living in Shoreland and then the Qumbya Co-op. Soren grew up in Chicago and stayed in Hyde Park for several years after college to start a software company. He has been in Washington, DC since 2003, working on Capitol Hill, on a presidential campaign, and now in strategic communications and public affairs, currently at Hill+Knowlton Strategies. In addition, Soren and his wife, also a U of C alum, worked for International Justice Mission -- founded by a U of C alum! -- on human trafficking in India, where they were also involved in the alumni clubs in Bangalore and Delhi. Soren can be reached at .