College of Ed alums to talk about career success in public schools, entrepreneurship, medicine

Ankhe Bradley, Sylvia R. Cadena Smith and Linda Szymanski
Ankhe Bradley, Sylvia R. Cadena Smith and Linda Szymanski

NIU’s College of Education constantly adapts and updates its approach to learning to in response to the current economic climate, demand for an educated workforce and classroom competition.

Decade after decade, the college has excelled at positioning students to stand on the cutting edge in their fields once they leave campus.

In celebration of this legacy, the Spring 2013 Community Learning Series is titled “Women Educators in Science, Technology and Leadership.”

Speakers are:

All are invited to hear these three accomplished alumni explain how their education degrees have led them to careers in educational leadership, corporate consulting and entrepreneurship, and medical research.

While all three panelists are teachers first and foremost, they have taken their careers far beyond the traditional classroom. Hear their stories, the lessons they have learned along the way and how they feel their experiences can help current educators best navigate the constantly changing focus of the educational landscape today and in the future.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 21, in the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center. A reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres begins at  5 p.m.

Sponsors are the College of Education, the NIU Alumni Association, the Women’s Studies Program and the Women’s Resource Center.

Lara Luetkehans, chair of the College of Education’s Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment, will moderate the discussion.

Although the event is free and open to the public, guests are asked to register online or contact Pat Crumpacker at (815) 753-1949 or ceducollegerelations@niu.edu.

More on the speakers

Bradley implements research-based professional development opportunities in District 205, where she is also leading an effort to create and coordinate a leadership academy for district administrators.

She is currently pursuing a doctorate in education leadership through the NIU College of Education’s Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations (LEPF) in preparation to become a school district superintendent.

Her passion is working with staff, students, community members and parents to foster a positive relationship between the home and school environment.

Lara Luetkehans
NIU’s Lara Luetkehans will moderate the March 21 panel discussion.

Smith has earned two degrees from NIU’s College of Education: a Master of Science degree in education/curriculum in 1993 and a Doctor of Education degree in instructional technology in 1996.

She has written and taught graduate reading/literacy and English Language Learner courses and educational administration courses for Benedictine University, instructional design for NIU’s Instructional Technology graduate program and guest-lectured at Northwestern University.

Her corporate experience as vice president and chief learning officer for an international technology company includes the management of the firm’s U.S. offices and the design of efficiency processes and procedures for the development of e-learning programs for companies such as Sears, GM, Chrysler and Prudential.

Medicine is a second career for Dr. Szymanski, who received a Master of Science degree in physical education from NIU in 1987 and went on to earn a doctorate in exercise science at the University of South Carolina.

While serving as a postdoctoral researcher at George Washington University, she studied the effects of hormone therapy and exercise in postmenopausal women. She then earned a medical degree at Georgetown University and completed a residency in gynecology and obstetrics at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she served as administrative chief resident.

After practicing general obstetrics and gynecology for two years, she completed a fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in maternal-fetal medicine. During the fellowship, she found a way to combine her two careers, and has since implemented a research and clinical program in exercise and pregnancy.

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