We’re a group of passionate individuals working
to help build tomorrow’s workforce.
Jenna joined Urban Alliance in 2014 after completing an Education Pioneers fellowship with the Department of College and Career Success at Chicago Public Schools. She earned an M.A. from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration in 2014 with a degree focus in Nonprofit Management. During her graduate studies, she completed a two-year internship with the Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation and studied urban poverty abroad at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India.
Previously, Jenna held several roles with Junior Achievement of Chicago from 2006 to 2013, including serving as the Associate Director of Suburban Operations and later as the Director of External Relations. Jenna holds a B.A. in English and Anthropology from Augustana College.
Alumni Services Director
Heather joined the Urban Alliance Chicago team in September 2017 as a Program Coordinator and transitioned into the Alumni Services Director role in April 2019. Heather hails from Georgia where she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia. After college, she served as a high school tutor, mentor, and women’s basketball coach during her year of service with City Year in South Carolina. Heather returned to Atlanta to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Georgia State University and continue her work in youth development. While in Atlanta, Heather worked with Covenant House to manage a Community Drop-In Center for youth experiencing homelessness while providing job coaching and life skills development to support Covenant House’s young adults in their journeys to independence. Heather believes strongly in the resiliency, power, and strength of young people and works to foster those traits while supporting Urban Alliance alumni.
Jennifer joined Urban Alliance as Program Director for the Chicago region in April 2019. She is a native Chicagoan born and raised in the Albany Park neighborhood. For over 25 years, Jennifer has worked with youth and young adults across Chicago Public Schools, Northwestern University, the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and community organizations such as UCAN; Christopher House; My Block, My Hood, My City; SOS Children’s Villages-Illinois; and Bonjour Chicago. Most recently, Jennifer served as Chicago’s City Director for Up2Us Sports, where she oversaw efforts to train sports coaches to inspire youth from under-resourced neighborhoods through mentoring and sports. Jennifer has also served as Board and Committee Members for Girls on the Run – Chicago and Umoja Student Development Corporation. Jennifer holds a B.A. in Sociology from North Park University and an M.S. in Human Services from National Louis University.
Program Manager - Obama Youth Jobs Corps
Deldric Henderson has over ten years of experience developing and advocating for young people across Chicago. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Deldric worked with the domestic violence nonprofit Between Friends to educate elementary and high school students on the importance of building and maintaining healthy relationships. He has also facilitated and developed curricula focused on life and work readiness skills, computer literacy, leadership development, restorative justice, and community engagement. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northern Illinois University.
Director of Employer Partnerships
Katie joined Urban Alliance in August 2016 to establish and cultivate UA partnerships within Chicago’s business and nonprofit communities. Prior to joining UA, she managed fellowships at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center, where she designed and executed customized campus experiences for prominent journalists, politicians, and scholars from around the globe. Prior to her role at the Shorenstein Center, Katie led efforts to raise financial aid support within Harvard’s Office of Alumni Affairs and Development. Originally from northern Wisconsin, she brought her passion for people and the transformative power of education back to the Midwest as Urban Alliance Chicago’s Director of Employer Partnerships.
Selena earned her B.A. degree in Psychology from Saint Louis University in May 2016. She went on to enroll in the Master’s international partnership of Peace Corps which allowed her to pursue her M.S.Ed. while simultaneously serving for the Peace Corps in Peru. Throughout her service, Selena worked with a focus in Youth Development. She trained local professionals and community leaders to assist youth in strengthening life skills, leadership potential, and employability. She is currently a M.S.Ed. Candidate in the Community and Social Change program at the University of Miami, where she is expected to graduate in December 2018. Throughout her higher education journey, Selena was heavily involved in a variety of service programs both on campus and throughout the cities in which she resided. Some of her involvement includes working with organizations such as Global Brigades, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Miami Workers Center, New Friends New Life of Dallas, and Kingdom House in St. Louis. In her most recent professional role before Urban Alliance, Selena served as the program coordinator for a civic engagement and service learning program at the University of Miami. Born in the Chicago suburbs, Selena proudly hails from the Midwest but prides herself in her experiences traveling and living in diverse cities.
Sara Nagi joined Urban Alliance Chicago team in April 2019 as a Program Coordinator. Originally from Saudi Arabia, Sara was raised in Seattle and holds a bachelors degree in communications from Seattle Pacific University. Sara worked as a preschool education coordinator before earning a master’s degree in cultural and educational policy studies at Loyola University Chicago. Prior to joining Urban Alliance, Sara worked in curriculum redevelopment at Chicago Alliance Against Exploitation and as a site coordinator at ChicagoHOPES facilitating literacy programs for youth in transitional housing.
Ty joined Urban Alliance in September 2016 after working in youth development for four years at an organization on Chicago’s South Side. In her previous work, Ty guided high school students through the holistic college access process, and mentored students in the development of their personal and social well-being. In 2011, Ty received her B.S. in Marketing from DePaul University where she also worked intimately on efforts to enhance retention and success rates for multicultural and first-generation students. Ty is happy to be a part of the Urban Alliance team where she is able to continue empowering and advocating for Chicago youth.
Laura Padilla joined Urban Alliance in May 2018 as Program Associate for the Chicago office. Originally from San Francisco, Laura was raised in Chicago and is a product of Chicago Public Schools. Laura attended Stanford University, becoming the first in her family to graduate from college. Before joining Urban Alliance, Laura previously worked at the University of Chicago, and QuestBridge, an education nonprofit that helped her in her own journey to college.
Eileen joined the Urban Alliance team in March 2018. A native of Chicago’s South Side, Eileen earned her bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Loras College, then taught high school social studies as a Teach For America Corps Member in the Oklahoma region. Her work with high school students extended into the nonprofit sphere as a Program Manager with Future Leaders of Chicago. Eileen is a passionate believer in the power of youth and their ability to be agents for social change.
Anna joined the Urban Alliance team in March 2018. Born and raised in Avondale, Chicago, she always knew she wanted to make a difference through education. She began her journey as a Golden Apple Scholar and undergraduate at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Immediately after completing her Bachelor of Arts in English Education, she received a Fulbright to teach English language in Thailand, where she was able to reconnect with her culture. Upon returning to the States, Anna was offered a high school English-teaching position at a Noble Network Charter School, where she created new curriculum every year and founded the Newspaper Club. During this time, Anna also worked toward a Master of Science degree in Language Arts Instruction from Northeastern Illinois University. After three years at Noble, she realized she wanted to create a larger impact outside of the classroom. Anna is most passionate about creating academic and professional opportunities for students from underserved communities through intentional curriculum development and innovative educational technology tools.