Faculty of Color Panel: Career Paths and Navigating Tenure

Alfred G. Pérez (MSW, University of Michigan), Moderator, PhD Candidate UChicago School of Social Service Administration

Alfred G. Pérez earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in social work with a minor in speech communications from San José State University, his Master’s of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago.  His dissertation explores the subjective experiences of young adults who exited foster care through what is termed permanency–adoption, subsidized guardianship, or placed with relative–as teenagers.  He has taught graduate-level courses in research methods and child welfare practice and policy at the University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Loyola University Chicago.

Prior to pursuing his doctorate, Mr. Pérez served in former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano’s administration where he worked on child welfare reform and issues related to community service and voluntarism. He was a policy analyst for the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care and a research assistant for the social science research firm Westat, where he worked on the early stages of the National Head Start Impact Study and helped develop outcome measures for the National Youth in Transition Database.  He has also worked with adolescents transitioning from foster care to young adulthood in his position as a social worker with Santa Clara County, Calif. Social Service Agency’s Department of Family & Children’s Services and as the outreach coordinator for the California Youth Connection.

Rodney Dale (PhD'07, UChicago), Assistant Professor of Developmental Biology & Bioinformatics, Loyola University Chicago

Dr. Dale received his BA from Columbia University in New York City in 2000 before coming to the University of Chicago to obtain his doctorate. Following the defense of his dissertation in 2007, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Jacek Topczewski at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and Children's Memorial Research Center as a research fellow. During his time there Dr. Dale obtained NIH funding and published papers on craniofacial development and genetic regulation of collagen II alpha 1.
Dr. Dale is now an assistant professor in biology and bioinformatics at Loyola University Chicago where he teaches course on Cell and Developmental Biology. His laboratory's research focus is on understanding the genetic regulation of critical structural genes and how we can use identified regulatory elements to drive gene expression at desired times and places. Specifically, the laboratory uses the model vertebrate organism, Danio rerio, the zebrafish to understand the genetic regulation of cartilage and bone formation of the vertebrate skull.

Sheldon Lyke (PhD'13, UChicago), Assistant Professor of Law at Whittier Law School

Sheldon Bernard Lyke is an Assistant Professor at Whittier Law School where he teaches Property and Wills & Trusts. At the heart of his scholarship is a desire to identify the social collective action problems associated with shared resources (i.e., commons) and understand their links to oppression. His dissertation project examined cosmopolitanism and how foreign high court judges use and share foreign legal authority in their civil and human rights decisions. Professor Lyke’s current research explores anti-affirmative action practices in higher education as a shared commons problem.

Professor Lyke has extensive research and teaching experience in the areas of law, society, race, and sexuality. In 2011, he was appointed as the inaugural Dorr Legg Law and Policy Fellow by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. Before completing his Ph.D., he received a JD from Northwestern University School of Law and his AB cum laude in Sociology from Princeton University.

Lara Perez-Felkner (PhD'09, UChicago), Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Florida State University

Dr. Lara Perez-Felkner is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Florida State University. She is also an Affiliated Faculty member in the Department of Sociology at FSU, and a Research Affiliate of the Joint Centers for Education Research and Population Research Centers at NORC at the University of Chicago. Her research examines the social context of schools in relation to adolescents’ college and career outcomes. This research focuses on the mechanisms underlying racial-ethnic, class, and gender disparities in postsecondary educational attainment and entry to careers in STEM and other fields in which they have traditionally been underrepresented. Dr. Perez-Felkner’s recent work includes a lead-authored article in Developmental Psychology and numerous solo- and lead-authored chapters in edited volumes.

Before coming to Florida State University, she was an Associate Fellow of the Pathways to Adulthood International Fellowship Program and a postdoctoral fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago. Her Ph.D. dissertation from the University of Chicago was a mixed-methods study of the postsecondary pathways of high-aspiring Latino and ethnic minority youth.

Marcia Walker (PhD'12, UChicago), Visiting Scholar in African American Studies at the University of Houston

Dr. Marcia Walker received her doctorate in American history from the University of Chicago in 2012.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Social Policy from Northwestern University where she also majored in African American Studies.  Currently, she is a Visiting Scholar in African American Studies at the University of Houston where she is working on her book manuscript –a biography of labor leader, women’s rights activist, civil rights activist and minister, Rev. Addie Wyatt.  This project reflects her main teaching and research interests in African American history, 20th century American history, and social movements.  She also has a background in public history as an archival assistant with the Mapping the Stacks Project and as guest curator for a yearlong exhibit on the life of Rev. Addie Wyatt at the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection, Carter G. Woodson Branch of the Chicago Public Library.  She has taught courses in American and African American history at the University of Chicago, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, and the University of Houston.