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Meet the Team

Meet the Team

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation team is paving the way for Chicago’s entrepreneurial spirit. Housed on a collaborative campus, we are a group of committed professionals dedicated to promoting and supporting students, faculty, staff, alumni, researchers and local entrepreneurs as they navigate the complex process of creating and growing a startup. To see a full list of Polsky Council members, click here. For general inquiries, questions, and feedback about the Polsky Center, please contact us at polsky@uchicago.edu.

We are hiring! View the job openings.      

Polsky Executive Leadership

Jay Schrankler

Jay Schrankler

Associate Vice President and Head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Jay Schrankler

Associate Vice President and Head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.0404
E: jay3@uchicago.edu

Executive Assistant:
Camille Andres
O: 773.702.0926
E: candres@uchicago.edu

Jay Schrankler is the associate vice president and head of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, he leads all operations of the Polsky Center and works closely with both University leadership and external partners to advance the University’s innovation and partnership strategy related to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization.

Prior to joining Polsky, Jay was the associate vice president for the Office for Technology Commercialization at the University of Minnesota, where he transformed the organization into a top-rated university technology transfer office. Under his leadership, the office generated more than $560 million in revenue over 10 years, drove steady increases in licensing activity and industry-sponsored research, and supported the creation of 140 research-based spinouts resulting in 9 exits. He also served as the special assistant to the vice president for research where he worked on a variety of projects that drew upon his expertise in moving ideas and technologies to the market.

Before that, Jay served in various senior executive and global leadership positions at Honeywell International Inc., spanning the company’s space systems, aerospace, and environmental controls divisions. During his tenure at the Fortune 100 company, he was named a Honeywell Top 33 Executive, and served as a key member on the corporate strategy team.

Jay earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Wisconsin. He has also attended the Harvard Executive Development Program.

With his deep expertise in technology development, electrical engineering, computer science, aerospace, and semiconductors, Jay has been a featured speaker at a variety of industry conferences and events held across the globe. He has also delivered commercialization training to the US Air Force Research Laboratory, the US State Department, the government in Poland, the government of Saudi Arabia, and several universities in Japan, Spain, US, and Norway.

Jay is an active angel investor and serves as a board member and advisor to several startups in the US. He is an aviation enthusiast, has built his own aircraft, and enjoys flying in his spare time.

Jay Schrankler

Steven N. Kaplan

Neubauer Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance; Kessenich E.P. Faculty Director, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Steven N. Kaplan

Neubauer Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance; Kessenich E.P. Faculty Director, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.4513
E: steven.kaplan@uchicago.edu

Steven Neil Kaplan conducts research on issues in private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate governance and corporate finance. He has published papers in a number of academic and business journals. Kaplan is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Economics.

Full Bio

Jay Schrankler

Starr Marcello, AM '04, MBA '17

Deputy Head; Executive Director; and Adjunct Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship

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Starr Marcello, AM '04, MBA '17

Deputy Head; Executive Director; and Adjunct Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.2838
E: starr.marcello@chicagobooth.edu

Executive Assistant:
Kyla Hill
O: 773.834.1522
E: kyla.hill@chicagobooth.edu

 

Starr Marcello, AM ’04, MBA ’17, oversees the strategic development of the Polsky Center and works with University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff to launch the next generation of high-impact ventures as the Polsky Center’s executive director. She has been with the Center since 2005.

She runs the nationally-ranked Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC), which awards over $1 milion in funding and services to top entrepreneurial companies each year. Since 1996, the NVC has fostered more 330+ startups that are still in operation and growing strong, has created thousands of jobs, and has produced exits of over $7.5 billion, including Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB) and Braintree (acquired by eBay’s PayPal for $800 million). In 2017, Starr testified before the U.S. Congress’ Committee on Small Business on the merits of accelerator programs for job creation and economic development.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Starr launched the Polsky Center I-Corps Program and helped designate the University of Chicago as an official I-Corps site in 2014. Through this interdisciplinary program, Starr teaches elements of the customer development process and human-centered design to researchers and technologists on campus with the goal of helping teams test the commercial viability of their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) projects.

Starr is a board member for United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USABE).

Starr holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and both an M.A. and MBA from the University of Chicago.

Jay Schrankler

Bill Payne, PhD

Executive Director, Science and Technology

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Bill Payne, PhD

Executive Director, Science and Technology

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C 
Chicago, IL 60615 
O: 773.834.7846
E: billpayne@uchicago.edu

Executive Assistant:
Beatriz Gonzalez
O: 773.834.3209
E: gonzalezb@uchicago.edu

Bill Payne is the executive director of science and technology at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. In this role, he leads the technology commercialization, Polsky Science Ventures, and industry relations teams working to bring groundbreaking faculty research to the market.

As a seasoned business and technology executive from the telecommunications industry, Bill most recently served as vice president and chief operating officer of Roberson and Associates’ consulting. The firm’s clients are from various technology industries, and its services include intellectual property assessment and expert witness testimony.

Bill has held leadership roles in product and technology development at Nokia, Motorola, and AT&T. He had business unit chief technology officer (CTO) responsibilities at both Nokia and Motorola, driving innovations into commercial products and services. He led Nokia’s Small Cell Business Line, as well as the development of Motorola’s first commercial 4G/LTE cellular infrastructure products. As CTO of Motorola’s infrastructure business, he incentivized the development of idea disclosures and introduced an innovation gate process to track, promote, and move concepts toward patent filings and/or commercialization. Bill has 9 issued patents.

Bill is also a startup veteran—having founded and built a company that developed a mobile advertising and sponsorship service that was integrated into AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks and approved for use.

Bill received his BSEE from Purdue University, his MSEE from Georgia Tech, and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a lifelong Chicagoan who enjoys boating and sports and is married to a Chicago Booth alumna.

Jay Schrankler

James Licklider

Executive Director of Operations and Chief of Staff

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James Licklider

Executive Director of Operations and Chief of Staff

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.834.5641
E: jlicklider@uchicago.edu

Executive Assistant:
Camille Andres
O: 773.702.0926
E: candres@uchicago.edu

James Licklider serves as the executive director of operations and chief of staff for the Polsky Center. In this role, he oversees finance, human resources, IT, facilities and space needs, and strategic planning.

Prior to Polsky, James spent over seven years at UChicago’s Institute for Mind and Biology as its administrative director. He managed the post-award operation for the Florida State University College of Medicine and guided its faculty practice plan as chief financial officer. James also held roles in central post-award administration at FSU, pre-award and department administration at DePaul University, and executive management in several Chicago nonprofits.

James earned an MS in accountancy, MS in public services management, and a BA in political science at DePaul University. He is a Certified Research Administrator and a former participant in the Executive Program for Emerging Leaders (EPEL) at Chicago Booth.

Jay Schrankler

Margaret Fleetwood, PhD, JD

Intellectual Property Initiatives

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Margaret Fleetwood, PhD, JD

Intellectual Property Initiatives

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3027
E: fleetwood@mbhb.com

Margaret comes to the Polsky Center on a one-year secondment from McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff (MBHB), a Chicago-based intellectual property law firm. She joined MBHB as an Associate following law school.  Prior to law school she spent five years working on technology commercialization at The University of Chicago. The purpose of her secondment is to facilitate the rollout of new strategic contracts for innovation initiatives at The University of Chicago. The position will complement the existing efforts of the Polsky team – in cooperation with the Office of Legal Counsel, University Research Administration (URA), and other offices across campus – as part of a concerted undertaking to define engagement models that will reinforce the Polsky Center’s position as the innovation partner of choice.

Margaret will be handling a balance of legal and non-legal or legal-related matters.  Her legal responsibilities will be coordinated through the Office of Legal Counsel and include work on University of Chicago patent portfolios (including patenting and licensing) as well as the efforts underway with URA to streamline processes by developing best practice, easy-to-use templates for agreements with industry partners. Margaret will also assist educational efforts to collate and increase the visibility of legal resources that are available to entrepreneurs and University-based fledgling companies on and off campus and improving transparency around handling of innovation-related issues, such as conflict of interest avoidance.

Jay Schrankler

Micheline Pergande

Director, Marketing and Communications

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Micheline Pergande

Director, Marketing and Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.7732
E: micheline@uchicago.edu

As director of marketing and communications, Micheline Pergande leads the marketing team and oversees the marketing strategy for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She focuses on defining the brand identity and delivering a consistent experience across all marketing touchpoints.

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Micheline worked in brand management at Unilever Food Solutions supporting category performance in North America for Hellmann’s, Best Foods, Country Crock, Promise, Becel, and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Before that, Micheline was the senior manager of e-commerce strategy and digital marketing for Chicago-based Argo Tea where she initiated the company’s first-ever gift box packaging concept, facilitated industry-wide recognition as Nation’s Restaurant News Top 50 “2013 Breakout Brands”, managed the company’s social media engagement strategy across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Yelp, and completely overhauled the company’s e-commerce website in time for the 2012 holiday shopping season. Before her rewarding stint at Argo Tea, Micheline was named director of product marketing for Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi Nerve Center, the R&D hub responsible for developing next generation advertising solutions during the time when the advertising world embarked upon its digital transformation as social media, programmatic media buying, and audience targeting solutions emerged as new core competencies for agencies. Before becoming a seasoned marketer, Micheline gained technical skills as a web developer in the Bay Area, where she was born and raised. She developed database-driven web applications in PHP and MySQL for her alma mater, Saint Mary’s College of California, before moving out to Chicago in 2006 to attend graduate school.

Micheline earned a B.A. with honors in Communication from Saint Mary’s College of California, an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications with a specialization in Direct, Database and E-Commerce marketing from Northwestern University’s Medill School, and an MBA with concentrations in Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and International Business from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She was awarded the Walter Dill Scott Award from Medill faculty. She also earned a Professional Certificate in Web Design from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001.

As a proud daughter of an entrepreneurial family, Micheline is passionate about the Polsky Center’s role in supporting students, faculty, alumni and community entrepreneurs with their entrepreneurial ambitions.  Micheline and her husband, Shaun, a Chicago Booth ’13 graduate, reside in Chicago with their daughter.

Jay Schrankler

E.J. Reedy

Senior Director, Polsky Exchange

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E.J. Reedy

Senior Director, Polsky Exchange

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.0812
M: 512.294.9547
E: ereedy0@uchicago.edu

E.J. Reedy is the senior director of the Polsky Exchange, the Polsky Center’s 34,000 square foot co-working space on 53rd street in Hyde Park. In addition to his role at the Polsky Exchange, E.J. leads the Polsky Center’s fintech initiatives and the Polsky Accelerator program. He is a global thought leader in entrepreneurship, having spent the last decade working for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest philanthropy devoted to promoting entrepreneurship. E.J.’s research and commentary has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and a host of other global outlets.

Education and Programs

Jay Schrankler

Starr Marcello, AM '04, MBA '17

Deputy Head; Executive Director; and Adjunct Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship

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Starr Marcello, AM '04, MBA '17

Deputy Head; Executive Director; and Adjunct Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.2838
E: starr.marcello@chicagobooth.edu

Executive Assistant:
Kyla Hill
O: 773.834.1522
E: kyla.hill@chicagobooth.edu

 

Starr Marcello, AM ’04, MBA ’17, oversees the strategic development of the Polsky Center and works with University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff to launch the next generation of high-impact ventures as the Polsky Center’s executive director. She has been with the Center since 2005.

She runs the nationally-ranked Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC), which awards over $1 milion in funding and services to top entrepreneurial companies each year. Since 1996, the NVC has fostered more 330+ startups that are still in operation and growing strong, has created thousands of jobs, and has produced exits of over $7.5 billion, including Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB) and Braintree (acquired by eBay’s PayPal for $800 million). In 2017, Starr testified before the U.S. Congress’ Committee on Small Business on the merits of accelerator programs for job creation and economic development.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Starr launched the Polsky Center I-Corps Program and helped designate the University of Chicago as an official I-Corps site in 2014. Through this interdisciplinary program, Starr teaches elements of the customer development process and human-centered design to researchers and technologists on campus with the goal of helping teams test the commercial viability of their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) projects.

Starr is a board member for United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USABE).

Starr holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and both an M.A. and MBA from the University of Chicago.

Jay Schrankler

Melissa Byrn

Director, Innovation Programs

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Melissa Byrn

Director, Innovation Programs

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.9108
E: melissa.byrn@chicagobooth.edu 

Melissa oversees the Polsky Center’s cross-campus entrepreneurship initiatives—including the NSF-funded I-Corps Program and the Collaboratorium—which cater to diverse audiences of graduate students, post-docs, undergraduates, and faculty. Melissa works on aligning Polsky’s current portfolio of educational offerings to scientific and technical audiences and identifying areas for strategic growth.

Melissa spent 10 years working in clinical research operations and regulatory compliance at the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania, most recently as a director in the UChicago Biological Sciences Division’s Office of Clinical Research. In these roles, she was responsible for developing and delivering educational content to faculty and staff, collaborating with clinical departments and the medical center to identify and implement solutions to complex problems, and translating regulatory requirements into local policy and procedure.

In addition to her work in clinical research, Melissa is also the founder and CEO of Foresee Analytica, and participated in the Polsky I-Corps, Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, and George Shultz Innovation Fund. FORESEEaBILL, the company’s initial product, is a platform technology that provides life sciences organizations with decision support to identify the appropriate payer for every test, procedure, and service performed during a clinical trial.

Melissa holds a BA from DePauw University, a Master of Biomedical Ethics and Health Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics from the UChicago Graham School. Her hobbies include running, bicycling, discovering good podcasts, and spending time with her family.

Jay Schrankler

Paul Cavalieri

Associate Director, Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition

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Paul Cavalieri

Associate Director, Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
E: paul.cavalieri@chicagobooth.edu

Paul Cavalieri serves as the Associate director, entrepreneurship through acquisition at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Paul manages and builds the educational and experiential offerings in Polsky’s ETA portfolio, expands the network of ETA alumni and practitioners, and supports students as they plan for careers in ETA.

Prior to joining Polsky, Paul gained expertise managing a medium-size enterprise at Race Pace Bicycles, a chain of seven bicycle shops in Maryland. Along with running the day to day operations, Paul focused on developing the company’s human resources system and bringing customer relationship management approaches to the marketing communications strategy. Before Race Pace, Paul worked as a third grade teacher at a public elementary school in Brooklyn, NY.

Paul earned an MBA from the University of Colorado, a master of science in education from Long Island University, and a bachelor of arts in communications and government from American University. In his spare time, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter and riding mountain bikes (slowly), playing drums (loudly), and learning Italian (parla un poco).

 

Jay Schrankler

Waverly Deutsch

Academic Director for University-Wide Entrepreneurship Content

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Waverly Deutsch

Academic Director for University-Wide Entrepreneurship Content

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.0484
E: wdeutsch@chicagobooth.edu

Waverly Deutsch is responsible for cataloguing and coordinating how entrepreneurship is taught across campus. She looks at for-credit classes, workshops, programs, events and online materials to understand how information and tools are delivered to all University constituents across our entire Innovation Path journey. Additionally, Waverly teaches Building the New Venture. The class won her the 2005 Innovative Pedagogy for Entrepreneurship Education award from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. She also teaches a course on Elements of Entrepreneurship to CPS students over the summer as part of the Collegiate Scholars Program. Deutsch’s advisory board experience includes Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and Chicago Community Ventures.

Jay Schrankler

Megan Fox

Assistant Director

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Megan Fox

Assistant Director

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.5926
E: megan.fox@chicagobooth.edu

Megan manages a suite of programming and events in our private equity and entrepreneurship through acquisition portfolios, including the Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab, the Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge, the Booth Private Equity Case Challenge, and the private equity and entrepreneurship through acquisition conferences.  In addition, Megan supports the management of the New Venture Challenge and various student internship programs.

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Kyla Hill

Office Manager

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Kyla Hill

Office Manager

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.1522
E: kyla.hill@chicagobooth.edu

Kyla Hill is the first point of contact for inquiries about the Polsky Center and its work at is Harper Center location. Kyla works on Polsky Center operations, accounting and budgeting, vendor relationships, and stewardship. Additionally, she provides support to Starr Marcello on scheduling.

Kyla was previously an executive administrative assistant at Village Leadership Academy, where she held a variety of responsibilities, interacting daily with students, parents, teachers, community members, and donors. Previously, while a student at the University of Missouri, she worked in the Department of Residential Life and Career Center. In these roles, she advised students, planned workshops, and presented on career-related topics. Kyla holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Missouri.

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Gorana Kolar

Senior Associate Director

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Gorana Kolar

Senior Associate Director

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.4073
E: gkolar@uchicago.edu

Gorana Kolar serves as the senior associate director at University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She oversees alumni initiatives – including the Alumni New Venture Challenge, the Alumni Entrepreneurs Growth Forum, Polsky Founders’ Fund Fellowship, and Startup Summer. Gorana also works with students to support and enable their venture creation and growth efforts. Gorana is a mentor to teams in the Polsky Accelerator program, as well as the Polsky Center I-Corps Site program. She has served as a business mentor for one national NSF I-Corps team from the University of Chicago.  

Prior to joining Polsky, Gorana was a manager, business development of licensing, at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation (CTTEC). There she worked with faculty and graduate students on intellectual property protection, license negotiation, and startup creation. 

Gorana holds a BA, MS, and MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. 

In addition to spending time with her family, Gorana enjoys traveling, running, hiking, yoga, and book club. 

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Mary Kay Loncar

Associate Director, Operations

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Mary Kay Loncar

Associate Director, Operations

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.4526
E: mloncar@uchicago.edu

Mary Kay Loncar serves as the associate director at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Mary Kay manages the day-to-day operations of the Polsky Center from budget reporting, gift, sponsorship and investment processing, contracts, and logistics. She maintains internal relationships with University of Chicago departments and external partners and considers herself a generalist committed to making sure the students the Center serves and her colleagues have the information and resources they need to do their job. 

Prior to joining Polsky, Mary Kay was an assistant director of marketing at UChicago Medicine, where she did similar work. Having spent time on the other side of the University, she was able to transfer her institutional knowledge to her current role and maintains relationships with former colleagues and contacts across campus. Prior to working the University of Chicago, she worked in advertising, marketing, and corporate communications/production. 

Mary Kay earned a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas.  

Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, in her spare time Mary Kay is interested in travel and spending time with family and friends. She is also working on becoming a much better cook with the support of her ‘foodie’ colleagues. 

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Hannah Mannino

Associate Director

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Hannah Mannino

Associate Director

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.4047
E: hannah.mannino@chicagobooth.edu

Hannah Mannino serves as the associate director of entrepreneurship programs at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is responsible for leading and administering the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, one of the top-ranked accelerator programs in the nation. This includes oversight of all five tracks of the program, including coordination of marketing, fundraising, logistics, and strategic planning.  

Prior to joining Polsky, Hannah was a key contributor in the development of the business model, business plan, advisory board recruitment, and management of a Chicago-based nonprofit startup. 

Hannah earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and entrepreneurship from Miami University. While at Miami, she helped develop the business plan for national scale of EDUN LIVE on campus – the sister brand of Bono’s clothing label Edun Apparel – which supports sustainable socioeconomic development in sub Saharan Africa. 

Hannah is driven by the impact the New Venture Challenge program has on every person involved. In her free time, Hannah enjoys exploring new restaurants in Chicago, completing jigsaw puzzles in record time, creating eclectic musical playlists, and spending time with her family. 

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Nora Mansfield

Assistant Director

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Nora Mansfield

Assistant Director

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.9767
E: nora.mansfield@chicagobooth.edu

Nora Mansfield serves as the assistant director of entrepreneurship programs and the George Shultz Innovation Fund at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is responsible for managing the Polsky Center’s portfolio of venture capital and entrepreneurship through acquisition programs, as well as the Innovation Fund Associates (IFA) program. This work spans a range of programs including VCIC, PE/VC Lab, PE/VC Lab: SFI, ETA Alumni Symposiums, recruitment and training of IFAs, and other strategic efforts for the George Shultz Innovation Fund. 

Prior to joining Polsky, Nora was on the marketing team of a buy-one, give-one brand based out of Los Angeles that provided school supplies to classrooms in need in the U.S. 

Nora earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and studio art from Loyola Marymount University (LMU). While at LMU, Nora was actively involved in service and social justice organizations and worked for various social enterprises in the Los Angeles area. 

Nora is driven by fostering connections to help both students and startups succeed. Nora enjoys all things related to food – exploring new restaurants, testing recipes, and striving to find the perfect balance of salt, fat, acid, and heat. When she’s not thinking about food, you can find her practicing yoga or creating art. 

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Erika Mercer

Director, Entrepreneurship Programs and the Svider Private Equity Program

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Erika Mercer

Director, Entrepreneurship Programs and the Svider Private Equity Program

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.1521
E: emercer@uchicago.edu

Erika Mercer serves as the director of entrepreneurship programs and the Svider Private Equity program at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, she oversees several major areas of educational and experiential programming, including private equity, venture capital, and entrepreneurship through acquisition. She has been with the Polsky Center since 2010 and, over that time, has led the development and growth of numerous Polsky Center offerings for both student and alumni audiences. She manages the Polsky Center’s Private Equity Council, a 50-member advisory group to the Svider Private Equity Program. 

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Erika worked in the international programming offices at the University of Chicago, Harvard University, and Brown University, where she managed, developed, and promoted study abroad programs worldwide, acted as the primary contact for students, faculty, and staff on site, and provided international training and advising to undergraduates. She served as a member of several international education organizations, including The Forum on Education Abroad and NAFSA: Association of International Educators; was published in Abroad View Magazine and the Bulletin of the American Research Center in Egypt; and presented at national conferences on the topic of cultural and citizen diplomacy. She also interned in the Academic Editorial Department at Oxford University Press, where she assisted editors with the review and preparation of manuscripts for production. 

Erika earned a BA, magna cum laude, from Middlebury College and an EdM from Harvard University. She has studied in Spain, Germany, and Egypt. 

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Cerise Miller

Associate Director, Global Engagement

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Cerise Miller

Associate Director, Global Engagement

168 Victoria Road
Mount Davis, Hong Kong
O: +852.2533.9568
E: cerise.miller@chicagobooth.edu

Cerise Miller leads the Polsky Center’s global initiatives and international partnership efforts. She is responsible for designing and implementing entrepreneurial programs in Hong Kong and across the globe. She helps drive the international strategy of the Polsky Center, while also serving as a key strategic relationship-builder, particularly in Asia and Europe. Some programs she manages include the CUPP Entrepreneurship Bootcamp – FinTech and BóLè Tech Investor Forum.

Prior to the Polsky Center, Cerise spent two years with the UK Department for International Trade where she was responsible for managing the commercial relationships with financial services and energy firms. She supported British companies entering the US market and worked closely with US firms to develop their international expansion strategy for the UK. She holds dual BA degrees in economics and international studies from American University.

Cerise is based out of the University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong.

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Lucas Peralta

Associate Director

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Lucas Peralta

Associate Director

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.8310
E: lucas.peralta@chicagobooth.edu
Virtual Office Hours

Lucas Peralta serves as associate director for college and cross-campus programs at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Lucas manages the College New Venture Challenge, the undergraduate track of the Edward L. Kaplan ’71 New Venture Challenge, a nationally-ranked accelerator program. He also manages the operations of the Polsky Center’s NSF-funded I-Corps site program. In addition, he runs the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program, Polsky Center Quick Pitches, and various speaker and pitch events. 

Prior to joining Polsky, while earning his master’s degree, Lucas worked as a program assistant for Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research Strategic Data Project, an initiative that helps connect schools and education agencies to emerging leaders in data science, to improve student outcomes. 

Lucas earned a master’s degree in education from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of New Mexico. 

Lucas is interested in the intersection of economic opportunity and education. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, eating (obviously), and running. 

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Crissy Ritter

Assistant Director, Experiential Entrepreneurship and Venture Support

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Crissy Ritter

Assistant Director, Experiential Entrepreneurship and Venture Support

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3064
E: crissy.ritter@chicagobooth.edu

Crissy Ritter supports the Polsky Accelerator, the Global New Venture Challenge, and additional programs for the Polsky Center. She is a contact and resource for teams, speakers, attendees, and more while managing these events.

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Ellen A. Rudnick

Sr. Advisor for Entrepreneurship, Adjunct Professor

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Ellen A. Rudnick

Sr. Advisor for Entrepreneurship, Adjunct Professor

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3781
E: ellen.rudnick@chicagobooth.edu

Ellen Rudnick teaches the Entrepreneurial Internship Seminar and Developing a New Venture (New Venture Challenge). She is a successful start-up executive, having served as chairman of Pacific Biometrics and CEO of Health Care Knowledge Resources. She has held positions as corporate vice president at Baxter Healthcare and president of Baxter Management Services Division, which she founded. Her current board experience includes: Liberty Mutual Insurance, Patterson Companies (NASDAQ: PDCO), Health Management Systems (NASDAQ: HMSY), and First Midwest Bancorp (NASDAQ: FMBI). She was previously a venture partner for Inroads Capital.

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Ellen Zatkowski

Senior Program Manager

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Ellen Zatkowski

Senior Program Manager

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
E: Ellen.Zatkowski@chicagobooth.edu

Ellen Zatkowski serves as the Senior Program Manager at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She manages the operations for the NSF-funded I-Corps program and the Collaboratorium. Ellen also focuses on developing other programs to support the scientific community.

Prior to joining Polsky, Ellen managed the college success program for a Chicago non-profit serving low-income students. In this capacity, she supervised a team of AmeriCorps members and full-time staff who advised students as they navigated colleges and universities. Ellen got her start in higher education at Babson College where she worked in the undergraduate admissions office.

Ellen earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in history from Boston College.

Ellen is energized to share the power of entrepreneurial thinking with audiences who have not traditionally had access to entrepreneurship and innovation programs. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, exercising, and exploring Chicago’s neighborhood bookstores and restaurants.

Tech Commercialization

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Bill Payne, PhD

Executive Director, Science and Technology

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Bill Payne, PhD

Executive Director, Science and Technology

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C 
Chicago, IL 60615 
O: 773.834.7846
E: billpayne@uchicago.edu

Executive Assistant:
Beatriz Gonzalez
O: 773.834.3209
E: gonzalezb@uchicago.edu

Bill Payne is the executive director of science and technology at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. In this role, he leads the technology commercialization, Polsky Science Ventures, and industry relations teams working to bring groundbreaking faculty research to the market.

As a seasoned business and technology executive from the telecommunications industry, Bill most recently served as vice president and chief operating officer of Roberson and Associates’ consulting. The firm’s clients are from various technology industries, and its services include intellectual property assessment and expert witness testimony.

Bill has held leadership roles in product and technology development at Nokia, Motorola, and AT&T. He had business unit chief technology officer (CTO) responsibilities at both Nokia and Motorola, driving innovations into commercial products and services. He led Nokia’s Small Cell Business Line, as well as the development of Motorola’s first commercial 4G/LTE cellular infrastructure products. As CTO of Motorola’s infrastructure business, he incentivized the development of idea disclosures and introduced an innovation gate process to track, promote, and move concepts toward patent filings and/or commercialization. Bill has 9 issued patents.

Bill is also a startup veteran—having founded and built a company that developed a mobile advertising and sponsorship service that was integrated into AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks and approved for use.

Bill received his BSEE from Purdue University, his MSEE from Georgia Tech, and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a lifelong Chicagoan who enjoys boating and sports and is married to a Chicago Booth alumna.

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Eric Ginsburg, PhD

Director, Market Intelligence and Commercialization Initiatives

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Eric Ginsburg, PhD

Director, Market Intelligence and Commercialization Initiatives

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.0746
E: ginsburg@uchicago.edu

Eric Ginsburg, PhD, serves as the director, market intelligence and commercialization initiatives at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Eric’s responsibilities include leading efforts to find commercial partners for University technologies and researchers. 

Prior to joining Polsky, Eric worked in research and development at Eastman Kodak and Abbott Laboratories, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the IBM Almaden Research Center.  

Eric earned a SB degree from MIT and a PhD from Caltech, both in Chemistry. His graduate work focused on the synthesis and characterization of soluble electrically conducting polymers. Eric is a registered patent agent and a certified licensing professional.  

In his spare time, Eric enjoys being somewhere like this or this as often as possible.

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Heather Bakalyar, PhD, MBA

Director, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

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Heather Bakalyar, PhD, MBA

Director, Intellectual Property and Technology Development

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.8833
E: hbakalyar@uchicago.edu

Heather Bakalyar, PhD, MBA, serves as Director of Intellectual Property & Technology Development at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago.  Heather and her team work with faculty to transition raw discoveries to partnership-readiness by the strategic protection of intellectual property.  She also broadly engages with prospective and current licensees, entrepreneurs, and Polsky Center colleagues to promote the mission of the University and the Polsky Center.  

Prior to joining Polsky, Heather accumulated over twenty years of experience in the technology transfer, intellectual property, and commercialization fields. She headed a licensing team in the Technology Transfer department at Johns Hopkins University, closing hundreds of deals and coordinating several high-level, multi-departmental, R&D collaborations with industry partners. Her background includes focused responsibility in intellectual property, including work as a U.S. patent examiner and a director-level role in intellectual property management at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. Heather has also worked in two clinical-stage biotechnology companies, providing market assessment, business development, and intellectual property support. 

Heather earned both a PhD in molecular biology and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University. She is a registered patent agent and has held a licensing professional certification (CLP). 

Heather is passionate about the transformation of discovery and invention into real world products that directly benefit the public and is proud to be a part of that at Polsky. In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors and feels particularly fortunate to be living next to one of the Great Lakes, which she believes are a true natural wonder of the world. 

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Carla L. Bradshaw-Murry

Project Coordinator, Technology Commercialization

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Carla L. Bradshaw-Murry

Project Coordinator, Technology Commercialization

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3210
E: cbradshaw@uchicago.edu

As Project Coordinator for the Polsky Center’s Technology Commercialization team, Carla supports several Project Managers in the management of their patent portfolios. Specifically, she handles patent docketing and event monitoring, license maintenance, financial review, government and private foundation compliance reporting, grant closeouts, as well as other intellectual property administrative matters. Carla plays a key role in organizing TCL events and has been a member of several teams assembled to implement office-wide initiatives.

Prior to joining the Technology Commercialization team, Carla spent several years in the banking industry and has also worked with the International Association of Assessing Officers (IIAO) in its Property Appraisal and Assessment Administration department, handling high volume inquiries, tracking progress and serving as liaison for different committees.

Carla has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She is currently pursuing her Paralegal Certificate. She is a Chicagoan, born and raised in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side of the city.

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Brittany Butler, PhD

Associate Manager, Technology Commercialization

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Brittany Butler, PhD

Associate Manager, Technology Commercialization

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
E: bbutler6@uchicago.edu

Brittany Butler, PhD, is an Associate Manager on the Polsky Center’s Technology Commercialization team at the University of Chicago. Brittany works directly with University researchers to evaluate, protect, market, and license technologies in the life sciences.

Prior to joining the University of Chicago, Brittany was a Patent Agent at McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP, an intellectual property boutique law firm in downtown Chicago. She received a dual Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and Chemistry from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In 2015 she received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Florida where she published three first-author papers. She later obtained a MS in Patent Law from the University of Notre Dame where she also interned in their Technology Transfer Office. Brittany is a STEM volunteer with iBio Institute’s Stellar Girls program. She enjoys cooking and traveling.

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George Chellapa, PhD

Manager, Technology Commercialization

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George Chellapa, PhD

Manager, Technology Commercialization

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.2893
E: chellapa@uchicago.edu

George D. Chellapa, PhD, is a technology commercialization manager at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. George works with faculty to protect their intellectual property and bring nascent technologies to market. He is also involved in negotiating agreements between the University and commercial partners, and helps faculty with startup initiatives. George is increasingly involved in developing strategies to protect and commercialize computer related innovations emerging across the University.   

George was with Washington University’s technology transfer office in St. Louis before joining the Polsky Center in 2016. Prior to transitioning to technology transfer, George was a post-doctoral fellow in computational biophysics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.  

George earned a bachelor’s degrees in computer science and chemistry, both with first class honours, prior to moving to England to read for his PhD in computational chemistry at the University of Southampton.  

In addition to his primary role, George serves as a mentor with the Polsky’s I-Corps and summer accelerator programs. He is an active member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) where he is co-chair of the Better World Project committee and a member of the TOOLS and membership development committees. George also organizes seminars and webinars of topical interest to the technology transfer community and regularly participates in speaking engagements dealing with computer technologies and emerging trends 

In his spare time, George enjoys playing squash and globetrotting with his wife Anne. 

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Kyle S. Hanna

Data Administrator, Technology Commericialization

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Kyle S. Hanna

Data Administrator, Technology Commericialization

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3205
E: kylehanna@uchicago.edu

Kyle Hanna serves as the data administrator at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He works closely with colleagues from the Tech Commercialization and Operations teams to manage data, complete reports, and monitor compliance related to invention disclosures, patents, and contracts. He will also be responsible for business process development of the aforementioned data, reporting, and compliance activities.

Prior to joining Polsky, Kyle served as the assistant director, data management at UChicago ARD, developing engagement data strategy for Harper Lectures and other special events. Before coming to UChicago, he worked in Washington DC in various levels of government, including the DC Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Obama White House. While working for the White House, he became interested in science and technology policy and the application of data science in public institutions.

Kyle is interested in how technology, innovation, and design thinking can support sustainable development and social impact in international communities. In his spare time, Kyle enjoys video editing, international travel, and reading about how technology, politics, and entrepreneurship influence society and culture.

Kyle earned a BA in international economics from the George Washington University and a certificate in data analytics from the University of Chicago.

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Shakira Jones

Project Coordinator

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Shakira Jones

Project Coordinator

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3048
E: sjones18@uchicago.edu

Shakira Jones is a Project Coordinator at the Polsky Center on the Technology Commercialization Team. She manages invention disclosure, patenting and license agreement data and processes. Shakira brings to the team a strong background in customer relations and administration. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with her church’s food pantry, and has worked with Habitat for Humanity in Louisiana to rehabilitate homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

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Michelle Li

Data and Compliance Analyst, Technology Commercialization

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Michelle Li

Data and Compliance Analyst, Technology Commercialization

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
E: michelleli@uchicago.edu

Michelle serves as a data and compliance analyst at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. She works on database management to ensure compliance in patent and technology commercialization processes.

Prior to joining Polsky, Michelle was a research assistant for the Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP) and analyzed data for climate statistics research projects. Michelle earned an undergraduate degree in statistics and english language and literature from the University of Chicago.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, embroidery, and practicing on aerial silks.

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Sao-Mai Nguyen-Mau, PhD

Invention Strategist, Technology Commercialization

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Sao-Mai Nguyen-Mau, PhD

Invention Strategist, Technology Commercialization

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.1270
E: saomai@uchicago.edu

Sao-Mai Nguyen-Mau, PhD serves as invention strategist at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, focusing on oncology and microbiome-related discoveries. Sao-Mai works with university researchers to seek out inventions, to encourage and support researchers in developing their ideas, and to obtain appropriate intellectual property protection around these discoveries. In addition, she engages with commercial partners to help move university inventions to the marketplace.   

Sao-Mai holds a PhD in microbiology from the University of Chicago and is a registered patent agent before the US Patent and Trademark Office. 

Sao-Mai is a serial hobbyist and enjoys learning new skills. In her spare time, she is either tap dancing, increasing her collection of plants, learning how to vermicompost, or sampling the local doughnut in different cities 

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Han Sun, PhD

Associate Oncology Manager

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Han Sun, PhD

Associate Oncology Manager

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
E: hansun@uchicago.edu

 

Han Sun, PhD, serves as the associate oncology manager at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Han works closely with University of Chicago researchers and cancer research community to evaluate, develop, and market oncology-related discoveries and match new discoveries to unmet needs.

Han earned a PhD in cellular and molecular medicine from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. While at JHU, she started her cancer research career and contributed to the successful development of a therapeutic antibody that was licensed to a company. Han completed her post-doctoral training at City of Hope National Medical Center, gaining more experience in cancer immunotherapy research. 

In her spare time, Han enjoys reading and cooking – really spicy food. 

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Thelma Tennant, PhD

Director, Business Development and Licensing

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Thelma Tennant, PhD

Director, Business Development and Licensing

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.4020
E: trtennant@uchicago.edu

Thelma serves as the director, business development and licensing, at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.   She is responsible for licensing new university technologies to commercial partners, and works with faculty and her Polsky colleagues to find companies or build new companies that will transform scientific discoveries into products.   

Thelma holds a PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Chicago, and received her BA in Biology and English from the University of Virginia. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, she enjoys off-shore sailboat racing and paddleboarding in her spare time. 

Polsky Science Ventures

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Bill Payne, PhD

Executive Director, Science and Technology

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Bill Payne, PhD

Executive Director, Science and Technology

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C 
Chicago, IL 60615 
O: 773.834.7846
E: billpayne@uchicago.edu

Executive Assistant:
Beatriz Gonzalez
O: 773.834.3209
E: gonzalezb@uchicago.edu

Bill Payne is the executive director of science and technology at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. In this role, he leads the technology commercialization, Polsky Science Ventures, and industry relations teams working to bring groundbreaking faculty research to the market.

As a seasoned business and technology executive from the telecommunications industry, Bill most recently served as vice president and chief operating officer of Roberson and Associates’ consulting. The firm’s clients are from various technology industries, and its services include intellectual property assessment and expert witness testimony.

Bill has held leadership roles in product and technology development at Nokia, Motorola, and AT&T. He had business unit chief technology officer (CTO) responsibilities at both Nokia and Motorola, driving innovations into commercial products and services. He led Nokia’s Small Cell Business Line, as well as the development of Motorola’s first commercial 4G/LTE cellular infrastructure products. As CTO of Motorola’s infrastructure business, he incentivized the development of idea disclosures and introduced an innovation gate process to track, promote, and move concepts toward patent filings and/or commercialization. Bill has 9 issued patents.

Bill is also a startup veteran—having founded and built a company that developed a mobile advertising and sponsorship service that was integrated into AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks and approved for use.

Bill received his BSEE from Purdue University, his MSEE from Georgia Tech, and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a lifelong Chicagoan who enjoys boating and sports and is married to a Chicago Booth alumna.

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Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA

Science Ventures Lead

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Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA

Science Ventures Lead

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.8696
E: shyama@uchicago.edu

Shyama Majumdar, PhD, MBA, is part of the Science Ventures group within Polsky Science and Technology where she serves as a science ventures lead. Shyama works with faculty, staff and students to facilitate the creation of science and technology-based ventures developed by innovators at the University. While she has a focus on life sciences due to her scientific background, she is passionate about technology startups in general.

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Shyama was a research assistant professor at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she conducted Prostate cancer research. While at UIC she also worked as program coordinator at IllinoisVENTURES where she oversaw the running of the proof-of-concept fund that funds early stage technologies developed at the university. Prior to this Shyama worked as a consulting program manager at EnterpriseWorks where she helped develop and manage their accelerator program. 

Shyama earned a PhD and an MBA from the University of Delaware and conducted her postdoctoral research cancer biology at Harvard Medical School and University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Originally from New Delhi, India, Shyama now lives in the West Loop with her husband (MBA ’18) and two daughters. In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, and binge watching TV series on Netflix. 

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Matt Smith, PhD

Neuroscience Ventures Lead

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Matt Smith, PhD

Neuroscience Ventures Lead

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.6122
E: smithmc@uchicago.edu

Matthew Smith, PhD serves as the Neuroscience Ventures lead at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Matt works to facilitate the creation of new companies based on innovative science that’s being performed at the University. He has a focus on neuroscience, due to his scientific background, but is also passionate about both digital health and genetic engineering.  

Prior to joining Polsky, Matt served as a member of the founding team for Pear Therapeutics, a digital health company pioneering Prescription Digital Therapies (PDTs). Matt oversaw operations and strategy at Pear through over $100M in venture capital investment, FDA clearance of the first ever therapeutic software product, and a groundbreaking co-commercialization deal with Novartis.

Matt completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neuropathology at Harvard Medical School. He earned a PhD in molecular and cellular pathology from the University of Michigan and holds a BS in psychology from the University of Florida.  

Matt is a member of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), and the American Chemical Society (ACS). 

Matt is interested entrepreneurship in all shapes and sizes, so please reach out!  

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Steve Lehmann

Senior Associate Director, George Shultz Innovation Fund

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Steve Lehmann

Senior Associate Director, George Shultz Innovation Fund

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.834.7086
E: slehmann@uchicago.edu

Steve Lehmann is the Senior Associate Director of the George Shultz Innovation Fund, an early stage fund dedicated to the commercialization of research and technology generated at the University.  He is also active in a variety of strategic initiatives across the Polsky Center.

Steve previously served as an Associate for Ocean Tomo’s Innovation Management practice, where he advised companies on how to invest in, develop, and commercialize technologies and intellectual property.  Prior to Ocean Tomo, he worked on a variety of new ventures in the technology, social enterprise, and international development sectors. His experiences range from leading product development for a Silicon Valley FinTech startup, to launching his own social venture, Threadies, that helps refugee children cope with the trauma of displacement.

Steve holds an MBA from Notre Dame and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Valparaiso University, where he was also a Scholar in the Humanities.

Industry Relations

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Bill Payne, PhD

Executive Director, Science and Technology

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Bill Payne, PhD

Executive Director, Science and Technology

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C 
Chicago, IL 60615 
O: 773.834.7846
E: billpayne@uchicago.edu

Executive Assistant:
Beatriz Gonzalez
O: 773.834.3209
E: gonzalezb@uchicago.edu

Bill Payne is the executive director of science and technology at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. In this role, he leads the technology commercialization, Polsky Science Ventures, and industry relations teams working to bring groundbreaking faculty research to the market.

As a seasoned business and technology executive from the telecommunications industry, Bill most recently served as vice president and chief operating officer of Roberson and Associates’ consulting. The firm’s clients are from various technology industries, and its services include intellectual property assessment and expert witness testimony.

Bill has held leadership roles in product and technology development at Nokia, Motorola, and AT&T. He had business unit chief technology officer (CTO) responsibilities at both Nokia and Motorola, driving innovations into commercial products and services. He led Nokia’s Small Cell Business Line, as well as the development of Motorola’s first commercial 4G/LTE cellular infrastructure products. As CTO of Motorola’s infrastructure business, he incentivized the development of idea disclosures and introduced an innovation gate process to track, promote, and move concepts toward patent filings and/or commercialization. Bill has 9 issued patents.

Bill is also a startup veteran—having founded and built a company that developed a mobile advertising and sponsorship service that was integrated into AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks and approved for use.

Bill received his BSEE from Purdue University, his MSEE from Georgia Tech, and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a lifelong Chicagoan who enjoys boating and sports and is married to a Chicago Booth alumna.

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Omkar Bhave

Manager, Industry Relations

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Omkar Bhave

Manager, Industry Relations

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.6365
E: obhave@uchicago.edu

Omkar Bhave serves as manager of Industry Relations for the Polsky Center, where he works to develop, enable, and grow strategic partnerships with the private sector.

Omkar has a strong background in business development, product commercialization, corporate engagement, and project management. Omkar works with UChicago faculty, students, staff, and entrepreneurs to identify the highest value industry partners and structure mutually-beneficial collaboration models and research partnerships.

Prior to joining the University of Chicago, Omkar managed a significant portion of chemicals revenue for FutureFuel Chemical Company and guided the company to several new business development opportunities. He has experience with negotiating new business agreements and patent licensing agreements, building business cases for new product portfolios, and developing cost estimates. He has worked as a process engineer at Pryor Chemical Company. He has also held research positions at the University of Arkansas where he authored papers in the biotechnology and chemicals space and presented at international scientific conferences.

Omkar holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from The University of Arkansas. His hobbies include fishing, playing guitar, and scuba diving.

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Preeti Chalsani, PhD

Director, Industry Partnerships for Quantum Information Science

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Preeti Chalsani, PhD

Director, Industry Partnerships for Quantum Information Science

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.0911
E: pchalsani@uchicago.edu

Preeti Chalsani, PhD, serves as the director of industry partnerships for quantum information science in a joint position with the Polsky Center and the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE).

In this role, Preeti seeks to build connections between industry and CQE member research institutions with the goal of advancing development of quantum information science and enabling technologies. She interfaces with CQE researchers and manages a portfolio of industry partners ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups to build strategic partnerships for research, knowledge and technology transfer, and workforce and ecosystem development. She engages the Polsky Center’s resources and network and the CQE’s technical expertise and talent to spur the creation and growth of new quantum information science ventures.

Prior to taking on this role, Preeti served in the Polsky Center team as Assistant Director, Technology Commercialization and Associate Director, Innovation Project Program Design. She worked with UChicago faculty in physical sciences and engineering to support commercialization of their research, including through the formation of new ventures. She also worked on collaborative initiatives with institutions such as Argonne National Lab and University of Illinois to help grow the innovation ecosystem around UChicago.

Preeti earned a bachelor’s of science in applied physics from Yale University and a PhD in applied physics from Cornell University where her doctoral research was in the area of spintronics. After finishing her graduate studies, Preeti worked as a nanotechnology consultant and postdoctoral researcher at the National Research Council in Canada and then transitioned to a career outside the lab by teaching physics at Dawson College in Montreal, Canada before eventually moving into the field of intellectual property. Preeti worked as a scientific advisor and Patent Agent at several law firms in Canada for almost a decade developing patent portfolios for clients including from multinational corporations with mature commercial products as well as universities and startups with emerging early-stage technologies. She has experience working on diverse technologies from automotive and consumer products to software and quantum technologies.

In her spare time, she enjoys binge watching TV shows and taking in the architectural and culinary delights of Chicago.

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David Gross

Director of Strategy

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David Gross

Director of Strategy

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.8443
E: davidgross@uchicago.edu

David Gross is the director of strategy for the Polsky Center and has additional responsibilities related to industry relations and strategic alliances. He focuses on building relationships with industry partners on behalf of the Polsky Center and manages a portfolio of strategic projects in the areas of innovation and science.

Prior to moving to Chicago, Dave was the COO of a commercial construction company in Des Moines, Iowa. He has also worked in real estate strategy for Walgreens, and as a business analyst for Target in Minneapolis.

Dave holds an MBA from Duke University and a BA from Northwestern University in economics and geography. 

Polsky Exchange

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E.J. Reedy

Senior Director, Polsky Exchange

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E.J. Reedy

Senior Director, Polsky Exchange

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.0812
M: 512.294.9547
E: ereedy0@uchicago.edu

E.J. Reedy is the senior director of the Polsky Exchange, the Polsky Center’s 34,000 square foot co-working space on 53rd street in Hyde Park. In addition to his role at the Polsky Exchange, E.J. leads the Polsky Center’s fintech initiatives and the Polsky Accelerator program. He is a global thought leader in entrepreneurship, having spent the last decade working for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest philanthropy devoted to promoting entrepreneurship. E.J.’s research and commentary has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and a host of other global outlets.

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Cindy Domecki

Receptionist

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Cindy Domecki

Receptionist

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.795.0075
E: cdomecki@uchicago.edu

Cindy Domecki is responsible for all visitors’ first impressions of the Polsky Exchange both in person and through telephone. Additionally she assists with various administrative tasks.

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Jane Johnson

3D and Fabrication Fellow

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Jane Johnson

3D and Fabrication Fellow

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.702.2952
E: janej@uchicago.edu

Jane Johnson serves as the 3D and Fabrication Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She assists members with prototyping and ensures lab equipment is properly functioning. Prior to joining Polsky, she was in the Metal Fabrication industry as a CNC Machinist where she worked on projects for aerospace and other projects related to the Department of Defense. Jane recently completed the robotics training program at Building Self Determination, and is also certified by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.

Jane joined Technology Manufacturing Aligned in 2013 and the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council in 2017. In her spare time, she serves the homeless in her community and is part of a motorcycle club. She also practices yoga.  

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Elizabeth Koprucki

Assistant Director, Fab Lab and Design

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Elizabeth Koprucki

Assistant Director, Fab Lab and Design

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.795.0558
E: ekoprucki@uchicago.edu

Elizabeth Koprucki serves as the assistant director, Fab Lab and design at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She manages the Polsky Center’s Fab Lab where she mentors entrepreneurs and researchers through the prototyping process. She oversees the Fab Lab’s programming and staffing and connects Polsky Exchange members with resources on campus and across Chicago. 

Prior to joining Polsky, Elizabeth designed and co-taught a maker program at the Ancona School, as well as working as a maker educator at the Art Institute and the Chicago Public Library. She served as CNC area host at Pumping Station:One and has done graphic design for a number of South Side businesses and nonprofits. 

Elizabeth earned a BA in graphic design from Bradley University. 

Elizabeth is passionate about getting people involved in prototyping and making. In her spare time, she continues to be active in the Chicago maker community. She volunteers as a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador and enjoys making jewelry and traveling. 

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Nima Merchant

Senior Associate Director of Strategic Planning and Partnership

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Nima Merchant

Senior Associate Director of Strategic Planning and Partnership

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.834.5625
E: nmerchant@uchicago.edu

Nima Merchant serves as senior associate director of strategic planning and partnerships at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She facilitates collaboration with community, ecosystem and corporate partners, in addition to leading organizational strategic initiatives.  

Prior to joining Polsky, Nima held several roles at Chicago Booth in both full-time admissions and Career Services. Before joining the University of Chicago, Nima spent several years in healthcare working for the Advisory Board Company, Johns Hopkins Medicine and Johns Hopkins Medicine International, and a boutique practice management consulting firm.  

Nima holds an MPH from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and a bachelor of science from Syracuse University in health sciences/management.  

Nima has a diverse set of interests and during her free time enjoys live music, cooking with her family, enjoying Chicago’s many amazing restaurants, and working out.  

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Danielle Moore

Receptionist

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Danielle Moore

Receptionist

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.834.5168
E: daniellem@uchicago.edu

Danielle Moore is responsible for all visitors’ first impressions of the Polsky Exchange both in person and through telephone inquiries regarding membership. Additionally she assists with various administrative task.

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Isra Omar

Program Manager

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Isra Omar

Program Manager

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
E: iomar@uchicago.edu

Isra Omar manages the Polsky Small Business Growth program, which supports small business owners on the south and west side of Chicago to help them grow and scale their businesses through consulting work completed by top student talent.

Isra has a strong passion for helping small businesses and the local Chicago community. She is a volunteer for the Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA) where she manage the oral recording sessions of its storytellers in partnership with StoryCorps. In recognition of her hard work, Isra was named the first recipient of the Emerging Young Leader Award presented during the 2018 Annual MALA Gala. She previously worked for Studio Gang Architects. Isra is a graduate of DePaul University with a degree in accountancy and a minor in Arabic studies. 

 

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Christopher Schneider

IT Support Specialist

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Christopher Schneider

IT Support Specialist

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
E: cschneider1@uchicago.edu

Christopher  Schneider serves as the IT support specialist at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He runs the TechBar at the Polsky Exchange, a walk-up technology support desk providing IT consulting, equipment rentals, and troubleshooting support for Polsky Exchange members and staff. In addition, he works with the Polsky Exchange staff to improve systems and programming to better serve the needs of entrepreneurs at the University and the Mid-South Side.  

Christopher  is interested in how technology and innovation shape ethics and culture in the modern world, and how to promote and support social impact innovation. In his spare time, he enjoys biking, hammocking, and reading about theology, philosophy, and politics. 

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Katie Spoden

Assistant Director

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Katie Spoden

Assistant Director

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.795.0209
E: kspoden@uchicago.edu

As the Assistant Director at the Polsky Exchange, Katie is responsible for coordinating the membership program for the coworking space and planning Polsky Exchange events. She has previously managed events for the Field Museum in Chicago.

Katie holds a Masters in Leadership Studies from North Central College in Naperville with concentrations in Social Entrepreneurship and Professional Management, and a BS in Sociology from Bradley University in Peoria.

Marketing

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Micheline Pergande

Director, Marketing and Communications

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Micheline Pergande

Director, Marketing and Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.7732
E: micheline@uchicago.edu

As director of marketing and communications, Micheline Pergande leads the marketing team and oversees the marketing strategy for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She focuses on defining the brand identity and delivering a consistent experience across all marketing touchpoints.

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Micheline worked in brand management at Unilever Food Solutions supporting category performance in North America for Hellmann’s, Best Foods, Country Crock, Promise, Becel, and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Before that, Micheline was the senior manager of e-commerce strategy and digital marketing for Chicago-based Argo Tea where she initiated the company’s first-ever gift box packaging concept, facilitated industry-wide recognition as Nation’s Restaurant News Top 50 “2013 Breakout Brands”, managed the company’s social media engagement strategy across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Yelp, and completely overhauled the company’s e-commerce website in time for the 2012 holiday shopping season. Before her rewarding stint at Argo Tea, Micheline was named director of product marketing for Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi Nerve Center, the R&D hub responsible for developing next generation advertising solutions during the time when the advertising world embarked upon its digital transformation as social media, programmatic media buying, and audience targeting solutions emerged as new core competencies for agencies. Before becoming a seasoned marketer, Micheline gained technical skills as a web developer in the Bay Area, where she was born and raised. She developed database-driven web applications in PHP and MySQL for her alma mater, Saint Mary’s College of California, before moving out to Chicago in 2006 to attend graduate school.

Micheline earned a B.A. with honors in Communication from Saint Mary’s College of California, an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications with a specialization in Direct, Database and E-Commerce marketing from Northwestern University’s Medill School, and an MBA with concentrations in Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and International Business from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She was awarded the Walter Dill Scott Award from Medill faculty. She also earned a Professional Certificate in Web Design from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001.

As a proud daughter of an entrepreneurial family, Micheline is passionate about the Polsky Center’s role in supporting students, faculty, alumni and community entrepreneurs with their entrepreneurial ambitions.  Micheline and her husband, Shaun, a Chicago Booth ’13 graduate, reside in Chicago with their daughter.

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Melissa Fassbender

Assistant Director, External Relations and Science Communications

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Melissa Fassbender

Assistant Director, External Relations and Science Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.1134
E: melissa.fassbender@chicagobooth.edu

Melissa Fassbender serves as the assistant director, external relations and science communications at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is responsible for planning and managing all logistics for external brand-building opportunities and events, engaging with campus partners, media outlets, and external organizations in the entrepreneurial, science, technology, and business community.

Prior to joining Polsky, Melissa was an editor at Xconomy where she wrote about innovation in the biotech space. Before this, she held the same title at Outsourcing-Pharma, a global publication focused on drug development and clinical trials. She also was the editor of an online and print magazine dedicated to design engineering.

Melissa earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, where she majored in literary studies and minored in communications and journalism.

Melissa is interested in old books, modern art, and coffee in any form.

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Madeline Reto

Assistant Director, Digital Marketing and Communications

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Madeline Reto

Assistant Director, Digital Marketing and Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3695
E: madelinereto@uchicago.edu

Madeline Reto is the assistant director of digital marketing and communications at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is responsible for strategically and creatively promoting events and programs through various digital channels.

Prior to joining Polsky, Madeline spent several years in marketing, public relations, and corporate event planning. She has worked for various organizations, ranging from award-winning, boutique agencies to a Fortune 500 company. Madeline earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and advertising from Central Michigan University.

After spending several years abroad in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, Madeline now resides in Oak Park with her husband and daughter. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the many neighborhoods of Chicago by foot, photography, and cooking with her family.

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Jessy Tapper

Senior Writer and Content Manager, Marketing and Communications

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Jessy Tapper

Senior Writer and Content Manager, Marketing and Communications

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
E: jtapper@uchicago.edu

Jessy Tapper Derleth, AM ’15, serves as the senior writer and content manager at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is primarily responsible for writing the Polsky Weekly 10, a weekly email newsletter that shares the most relevant and exciting news in Polsky’s ecosystem to upwards of 25,000 subscribers from around the world every Friday. 

Prior to joining Polsky, Jessy worked as a copywriter for a comprehensive marketing agency, helping to shape the voice and experiential language for a variety of household brand names, from Sour Patch Kids and Wheat Thins to United Airlines and the U.S. Army.  

Jessy earned her master’s degree in humanities from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University where she graduated cum laude with highest honors in English. 

Outside of her work with the Polsky Center, Jessy spends most of her time writing for other mediums, currently trying her hand at fiction. In her spare time, she loves reading a good (and sometimes bad) book, yoga, learning to cook, NFL RedZone, and her adorable French bulldog pup named Hank. 

Operations and Finance

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James Licklider

Executive Director of Operations and Chief of Staff

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James Licklider

Executive Director of Operations and Chief of Staff

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.834.5641
E: jlicklider@uchicago.edu

Executive Assistant:
Camille Andres
O: 773.702.0926
E: candres@uchicago.edu

James Licklider serves as the executive director of operations and chief of staff for the Polsky Center. In this role, he oversees finance, human resources, IT, facilities and space needs, and strategic planning.

Prior to Polsky, James spent over seven years at UChicago’s Institute for Mind and Biology as its administrative director. He managed the post-award operation for the Florida State University College of Medicine and guided its faculty practice plan as chief financial officer. James also held roles in central post-award administration at FSU, pre-award and department administration at DePaul University, and executive management in several Chicago nonprofits.

James earned an MS in accountancy, MS in public services management, and a BA in political science at DePaul University. He is a Certified Research Administrator and a former participant in the Executive Program for Emerging Leaders (EPEL) at Chicago Booth.

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Carla L. Bradshaw-Murry

Project Coordinator, Technology Commercialization

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Carla L. Bradshaw-Murry

Project Coordinator, Technology Commercialization

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3210
E: cbradshaw@uchicago.edu

As Project Coordinator for the Polsky Center’s Technology Commercialization team, Carla supports several Project Managers in the management of their patent portfolios. Specifically, she handles patent docketing and event monitoring, license maintenance, financial review, government and private foundation compliance reporting, grant closeouts, as well as other intellectual property administrative matters. Carla plays a key role in organizing TCL events and has been a member of several teams assembled to implement office-wide initiatives.

Prior to joining the Technology Commercialization team, Carla spent several years in the banking industry and has also worked with the International Association of Assessing Officers (IIAO) in its Property Appraisal and Assessment Administration department, handling high volume inquiries, tracking progress and serving as liaison for different committees.

Carla has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She is currently pursuing her Paralegal Certificate. She is a Chicagoan, born and raised in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side of the city.

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Kyle S. Hanna

Data Administrator, Technology Commericialization

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Kyle S. Hanna

Data Administrator, Technology Commericialization

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3205
E: kylehanna@uchicago.edu

Kyle Hanna serves as the data administrator at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He works closely with colleagues from the Tech Commercialization and Operations teams to manage data, complete reports, and monitor compliance related to invention disclosures, patents, and contracts. He will also be responsible for business process development of the aforementioned data, reporting, and compliance activities.

Prior to joining Polsky, Kyle served as the assistant director, data management at UChicago ARD, developing engagement data strategy for Harper Lectures and other special events. Before coming to UChicago, he worked in Washington DC in various levels of government, including the DC Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the Obama White House. While working for the White House, he became interested in science and technology policy and the application of data science in public institutions.

Kyle is interested in how technology, innovation, and design thinking can support sustainable development and social impact in international communities. In his spare time, Kyle enjoys video editing, international travel, and reading about how technology, politics, and entrepreneurship influence society and culture.

Kyle earned a BA in international economics from the George Washington University and a certificate in data analytics from the University of Chicago.

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Shakira Jones

Project Coordinator

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Shakira Jones

Project Coordinator

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3048
E: sjones18@uchicago.edu

Shakira Jones is a Project Coordinator at the Polsky Center on the Technology Commercialization Team. She manages invention disclosure, patenting and license agreement data and processes. Shakira brings to the team a strong background in customer relations and administration. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with her church’s food pantry, and has worked with Habitat for Humanity in Louisiana to rehabilitate homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

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Michelle Li

Data and Compliance Analyst, Technology Commercialization

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Michelle Li

Data and Compliance Analyst, Technology Commercialization

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60637
E: michelleli@uchicago.edu

Michelle serves as a data and compliance analyst at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. She works on database management to ensure compliance in patent and technology commercialization processes.

Prior to joining Polsky, Michelle was a research assistant for the Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP) and analyzed data for climate statistics research projects. Michelle earned an undergraduate degree in statistics and english language and literature from the University of Chicago.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, embroidery, and practicing on aerial silks.

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Camille Andres

Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice President and Head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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Camille Andres

Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice President and Head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.702.0926
E: candres@uchicago.edu

Camille Andres serves as the executive assistant to the associate vice president and head of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

She will be responsible for support functions as well as special projects for the AVP and director of operations and chief of staff. Camille will work from the Harper location and can be reached at candres@uchicago.edu.

Prior to joining Polsky, Camille served as senior assistant to the associate dean, Psychology Department at Pepperdine University for 11 years. She supported the associate dean and also handled significant graduate program responsibilities, such as adjunct faculty hires, course schedules, payroll, and new student orientations. Before working at Pepperdine, Camille also served as administrative coordinator at another graduate school and has worked in various forms of healthcare. She began her career at Crain’s Communications in Chicago.

Camille earned a bachelor of arts in communications from Loyola University of Chicago.

Camille loves to travel both domestically and internationally, and in her spare time she enjoys working out, watching sports, and spending time with her family.

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Kim Chin

Project Analyst

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Kim Chin

Project Analyst

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.702.2948
E: kimberlyc@uchicago.edu

As a Project Analyst on the Data Administration and Compliance team, Kim supports administrative processes related to technology commercialization, including arranging submission of formal documents and monitoring patent maintenance fees and annuity schedules.

Prior to joining Polsky, they managed operations for a curatorial department at the Art Institute of Chicago, with a focus on interdepartmental relationship-building within the institution. Kim has a background in classical languages and literature with undergraduate and graduate degrees both from the University of Chicago.

In their spare time, they enjoy knitting and training regularly on aerial rope, straps, and handbalancing.

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Beatriz Gonzalez

Executive Assistant

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Beatriz Gonzalez

Executive Assistant

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.3209
E: gonzalezb@uchicago.edu

Beatriz Gonzalez is the executive assistant for Jay Schrankler, associate vice president and head of the Polsky Center. Prior to working at the Polsky Center, Beatriz spent a dozen years as an assistant at a law firm in the West Loop. She enjoys working on projects at home, revamping spaces and creating new ideas.

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Wendy Jones

HR and Financial Coordinator

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Wendy Jones

HR and Financial Coordinator

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.702.1966
E: jonesw@uchicago.edu

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Nick Neu

Financial Analyst

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Nick Neu

Financial Analyst

1452 E. 53rd Street, 2nd floor 
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.702.2470
E: nneu@uchicago.edu

Nick Neu serves as a financial analyst for the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In this role, Nick performs comprehensive reviews and analysis of financial statements and financial data. He has previously served as operations manager at the Polsky Exchange where he played an integral role in maintaining the most community facing component of the Polsky Center footprint, overseeing all physical aspects of the Polsky Exchange and managing logistical support for events, programming, and Polsky staff working within the facility. 

Prior to joining Polsky, Nick managed the inventory team as a member of the Facilities Services department at the University of Chicago. In addition to providing sourcing, procurement, and planning support, while also assisting with various department wide analytics projects.

Nick earned a BA in chemistry from Michigan State University. Since graduating from MSU, he has continued to explore additional educational opportunities, earning a certificate in supply chain management from MIT and becoming increasingly involved with APPA, the leading industry group for educational facilities management professionals.  

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Doreen Mitchell

Controller

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Doreen Mitchell

Controller

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.702.0304
E: dmitchell@uchicago.edu

Doreen manages the organization’s assets through the development, input, analysis, and continuous improvement of financial systems and reports required to provide accurate financial information to the Polsky Center’s stakeholders, and she ensures adequate controls are maintained to safeguard assets and that financial and human resource-related business processes comply with University of Chicago policies.

Doreen Mitchell joined UChicagoTech as Director of Finance in January 2007. In addition to managing all of the office’s accounting and financial reporting functions and providing financial support to the Polsky Center team, Doreen works closely with the Director of Finance and Operations, as well as with the University’s Comptroller’s and Budget Offices, to ensure seamless integration between the University’s and UChicagoTech’s operations. Further, she oversees the Polsky Center’s Human Resource functions.

Before joining the University, Doreen spent her career working for both for-profit and not-for-profit entities. She was the Controller for The American Dietetic Association and The American Dietetic Association Foundation, a Professional Association of over 70,000 members. She went on to become the Controller for Casa Central, the largest Hispanic social services agency in the Midwest. At Casa, Doreen worked with many different Federal, State and Local Agencies and was responsible for accurate reporting and recording of grant monies. Most recently, she was the Vice-President Controller and Chief Compliance Officer for Ibbotson Associates (now a wholly owned subsidy of Morningstar, Inc.), a leading authority on asset allocation and registered investment advisor with the SEC. In addition to her accounting and financial management responsibilities, she was instrumental in creating and implementing Ibbotson’s SEC mandated compliance policies and procedures.

Doreen received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Eastern Illinois University and an MBA in Finance from DePaul University. She is an active member of the Association of University Technology Managers.

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Teana Stocco

Manager of Project Coordinators, Technology Commercialization and Licensing

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Teana Stocco

Manager of Project Coordinators, Technology Commercialization and Licensing

5113 S. Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
O: 773.834.0272
E: tstocco@uchicago.edu

As Project Coordinator, Teana Stocco supports the Project Management team with managing their patent and licensing portfolio and supports office initiatives. She also serves as a liaison between the administrative, operations and finance and project management teams.

In addition to her responsibilities, Teana also helps to manage the team’s relationships with several University and non-University organizations including University Research Administration, the University of Chicago Investment Office, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the National Institutes of Health.

Prior to joining the Tech Commercialization team, Teana worked for several law firms in the areas of litigation, personal injury, and employment law.

Teana received her BS in Legal Studies from Grand Valley State University in 1992, and a law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2002. Teana resides in the near west suburbs with her husband and three daughters.

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