College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board
The College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board was established as a small, informal group of “friends of the college” in 2009 to enhance the connection between the college, alumni and greater community. The CAS Advisory Board serve as a “sounding board” for present and proposed programs, activities and issues relating to the College of Arts and Sciences, identifies opportunities for Arts and Sciences students and alumni to enrich their education, career, and cultural opportunities through internships, mentorships, social activities and other beneficial experiences, assists in the development and maintenance of external support and participate in the ongoing strategic planning process for the college.
Dr. Andrae Marak has led the College of Arts and Sciences since July 2016. Since joining Governors State University in 2012, Dr. Marak has played a central role in a number of important initiatives, including the university’s transformation from an upper-division and graduate university to a 4-year regional comprehensive university. He has taken a leadership role in creating the lower division curriculum for GSU’s already existing programs, spearheaded the creation and launch of a series of new undergraduate liberal arts majors and minors, and worked to create new pathways for high achieving students, all the while insuring that High Impact Practices are embedded in them.
A central aim of his work is encouraging student success and college completion. Under his leadership the College of Arts and Sciences has adopted, through curricular design and faculty professional development, student-centered teaching and learning models that allow students to become the co-creators of knowledge and provide them with unique hands-on experiences.
Dr. Marak is a borderlands scholar who examines transnational flows of licit and illicit goods as well as the history of indigenous peoples. He earned his Ph.D. in Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico, a master’s degree in Political Science from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University.
I knew I liked science for most of my life. I’ve always been fascinated with science fiction and fantasy (thanks to my father) and that lead to a fascination with science, primarily biology. So that is what I went to school for. Little did I know that it would lead to a career in food safety which is now stretching to over 23 years.
While my career started in a laboratory right out of college, it deviated significantly early on. After 5+ years on the bench, I was approached by the company to go into marketing. Best thing I ever did. And thanks to my liberal arts education I fairly easily made the transition and haven’t looked back. I have since obtained an MBA and am in a senior leadership position in my current company.
In my spare time I am a triathlete/cyclist/runner and have been for over 10 years. I like to challenge myself both physically and mentally. It is likely an extension of my career (challenging myself with new positions and tasks). I hope to help the College of Arts and Sciences do the same thing. I believe that there is such a close link between the two (some of history’s greatest scientists were also artists) and I know that CAS can help mold the next generation of students to do great things.
In her community Maria Luiza Gonzalez born in Michoacán, Mexico and raised in Harvey, IL is known as Coach “Marilu” Gonzalez. She is the middle child of seven brothers and sisters who happen to all be professionals. Her siblings cumulatively have accomplished 5 bachelors and 6 master’s degrees. Her phenomenal family knows hardship very well. Her mother raised them alone in poverty after the death of their father from cancer. Nonetheless the family motto has always been education. Her siblings are currently in Math, Spanish, Early Childhood, Physical Education, educational superintendent assistants, ELL and behavior specialists. Coach Marilu has spent the last eleven years building a competitive Women’s Soccer Program and teaching at Thornton High School. She has been part of the soccer community since 1994. Marilu has been the head coach at both the high school district and South Suburban Community College. Soccer is her passion, teaching is her love, coaching is her life and leadership is her calling.
Marilu is a graduate from Chicago State University and Concordia University where she earned a B.S. in Physical Education and M.A. in Educational Leadership respectively. Coach Marilu describes her philosophy as “learning life skills through education and athletic experience”. As the trajectory of her career has evolved, she may have the opportunity to be the first Latino administrator in the history of her current district. She states, “It is not a matter of ambition but the strong sense of debt I feel I owe my community. We have an urgency to have decision making individuals that understand the Latino students, parents, community members and businesses at any table within all educational levels in this dynamic community. Not because it is failing but because it is RICHLY THRIVING”. She was selected as the teacher spotlight up and coming leader in the March 2016 newsletter published by IALAS the Illinois chapter of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents. Presently her career mentor is Dr. Jose Leyba and he has been named national academy director in Washington DC.
Much of Coach Marilu’s work has been centered on getting all students and parents abreast of the great opportunities of higher education. She has granted thousands of athletic scholarship dollars to many students from the community. Her internship with District 205 administrators included audits from ISBE and drafting the strategic plan of a groundbreaking afterschool program. She is also the co- author with Ovidilio D. Vasquez of Who Coaches the Coach (2015) and is a professional motivational speaker. Recently she traveled to California to interview and is now working with Advance Sports Technology with the phenomenal Jim Madrid and will be working with Professionals, division 1 athletes and any championship building organization.
Marilu Gonzalez has been in district 205 as a Physical Education Teacher at Thornton High School for over eleven years. She matriculated her bachelors in Education emphasizing in Physical Education at Chicago State University and masters in educational leadership at Concordia University. Upon her committed arrival she coached the Girls Soccer team for 10 years and was the head women’s coach at South Suburban College for 8 years simultaneously. Coach Marilu is an alumnus graduate of Thornridge High School and Coolidge Middle School. She is currently a board member for the Communications and Arts department at Governors State University. Coach Marilu is the author of the book Who Coaches the Coach. She is a relentless health and fitness advocate. She enjoys her family and motivational speaking.
Born In 1946 as Jack G. Mckethen, in Topeka, Kansas. I transitioned as MTF transgender in 2004. I was in the Air Force, Iowa Army Reserves and Air National Guard, and received 3 Honorable Discharges. I was In Vietnam in 1968. I attended Washburn University, Topeka Kansas, Richard Daley College, Chicago and Columbia College Chicago. I have lived in Chicago-land since 1969.
I have worked in credit collection, finance, bank management and retail at all levels to include supervisor and management. After retiring, I have done acting and production work in TV, Film and Theatre. I designed clothes under my own label “Jackie Oooo” . I have a cable access CAN TV show for The Civil Rights Agenda. I have served on several boards as President and Secretary. I have been a volunteer firefighter, Boy Scout and Cub Scout leader, and am now a Girl Scout Co-leader. I was President of Dupage County NOW (National Organization for Women), am now Vice Commander of American Legion Post 1291, President and CEO of Mobile Moniker Productions Inc., caretaker for friend and activist for the Transgender LGBQIA community. I try to serve in any capacity which will help to promote knowledge, understanding, respect and an equal and just future for the community to which I belong. I do speaking engagements in association with my knowledge and experiences as member of the LGBTIA community.
I like playing baseball, tennis, golf, bowling and pool. I also like horseback riding, camping and canoeing, playing bridge and other card games, movies, theatre, cooking, fashion shows, painting and being around other people. I like to get involved in community activities.
A United State Marine Corps (1988-1992) Veteran, Mr. Mick carried out his undergraduate (B.A. in Political Science) and graduate (MPA) work at Northern Illinois University. Graduate coursework included an internship with the Village of River Forest (1996-97) followed by serving as the Assistant to the Director of Public Works for the Village of Glencoe (1997-98). He began his tenure with the Village of Park Forest in 1998 as the Assistant to the Village Manager/Director of Personnel, was promoted to Assistant Village Manager in 2001 and assumed the current duties as Village Manager in January 2005.
Village Manager Mick serves as a representative of the Village in various capacities across the region and the state. For several years he has chaired the Executive Board for SouthCom, a joint dispatching agency serving the Villages of Park Forest, Matteson, Richton Park and Olympia Fields. Mr. Mick also served the Park Forest Rotary Club and is actively involved with the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) as a member and co-Chair of the Management & Finance Committee, the Wellness Committee and as President of the Chicago Southland Fiber Network. He is a member in good standing with the International City/County Manager’s Association (ICMA) and the Illinois City/County Manager’s Association (ILCMA). He is also a Board Member of the Metropolitan Management Association.
In his personal life, Tom and his wife, Tracy, have three young children, Meghan, Tommy and Aiden. They have lived in Park Forest for 17 of the past 19 years and are active in many community endeavors including youth sports.
Don Naglich is a visionary business leader that combines business savvy and technical expertise to solve business problems with award winning, innovative ideas. He has over 25 years of experience in an I.T. role in diverse industries such as manufacturing, legal, consulting, staffing, and healthcare, nationally and internationally. Don also led I.T. consulting and staffing companies.
Don can articulate a clear vision of how I.T. can enable a business to achieve superior results. His view is that information technology, used properly, can become a competitive business weapon.
Don’s business experience ranges from senior leadership positions in sales and business development, to strategic, tactical, project, and operations planning and management. Don has a mentoring predisposition that encourages staff associates to think and act creatively, and has used this philosophy to develop leadership abilities in his staff. His teams have won national awards for innovative use for technology and excellent communications. One innovative idea became a million dollar business in its own right.
Don has been a speaker at numerous conferences, including the Illinois Association of Park Districts, the TechLaw Conference, the Tech Exec’s Network, and Technology Executives. Don has been quoted several times in the trade press.
Don’s goal is to help guide the GSU College of Arts and Sciences programs based on real life business experience coupled with deep understanding of how technology can be used to solve business problems.In his spare time, Don enjoys working on cars, trying new restaurants, and traveling.
Ms. Orr holds a B.S. in Political Science/Criminal Justice, an
M.S. in Human Services Administration and an M.Ed in Leadership/Organizational
Structure. Gia began her tenure as the Director of Community Rights, Relations
and Resources in July 2013. Her responsibilities are centered on agency public
awareness, programmatic support to community/service entities, and advocacy in
areas underserved/underrepresented. Additionally, she is the responsible
for coordinating training for employees and for citizens of Illinois focused on
human rights, research, collaboration, advisement, education and resolutions in
the areas of safeguarding the rights of persons with disabilities in
traditional and non-traditional settings. Her advocacy, policy and
organizational structure roots date back to career ventures in other state and
state supported systems as well as a fifteen-year tenure in education that
included seven years as an assistant principal and/or principal. Gia is a
former appointed Legislative Committee Member (ASCD, Washington, DC) where she
was involved in work on creating the annual legislative agenda, which guides
advocacy activities with the United States Congress and other policymakers. In
2016, Gia was confirmed as a Commissioner with Cook County’s Human Rights
Commission. She was recently invited to join boards at Governors State
University and Lake Forest College.
For more than a decade, Ayom has supported the holistic
advancement of developing communities throughout Chicago. Currently, as the
Senior Manager of Financial Capability at United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
(UWMC), Ayom manages a $4 million dollar investment focusing on the advancement
of economic stability (job training and placement, tax support, and financial
education and asset building) throughout the six-county region. Since 2006,
Ayom has held various leadership roles in community and workforce development.
In addition to his work at UWMC, Ayom is currently a board member of the
Economic Development Committee at Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and
the Chicago Workforce Funders Alliance. He was the 2014 recipient of Chicago
Jobs Council’s Betty J. Wilhoitte Award, has served as co-chair of the 741
Collaborative Partnership’s Executive Committee, and was an inaugural member of
Cabrini Green Legal Aid’s Young Professionals Board. Raised in Rogers Park,
Ayom currently resides in Flossmoor, IL with his wife, Gabrielle, and their
four children. When not at work, he loves to bike ride and garden, and he has
cheered for the Cubs since the 80’s. Ayom holds a Bachelor’s degree in
Political Science from Illinois State University and is currently completing a
Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at
Christopher L. Torres
Christopher Torres is the South/Southwest Regional Director for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago. With 153 programs at 154 locations throughout Cook and Lake Counties, Christopher and his staff engage the two regions that serve the greater southland of Cook County.
Christopher started as a Site Manager for The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). This is a USDA food and nutrition program administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and is operated by Catholic Charities. The Centers provide a variety of WIC-approved foods for eligible participants in Chicago. The food centers also provide access to social services, nutritional education, job training, and educational programs.
Christopher’s background is in operations and management. He is a servant leader who works with community partners, two regional advisory boards, parishes, and the greater community to serve those in need.
Christopher holds a B.A. in Management from National Louis University and a Master of Public Administration from Governors State University.
Through a broad spectrum of services, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago annually assist more than 1 million persons in Cook and Lake Counties without regard to religious, ethnic or economic background.
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