Executive Director for Mikva's Chicago office, Michelle brings with her over 19 years of experience in youth development. Having worked as a teacher at an alternative high school in Chicago's Humboldt Park community, Michelle saw first hand how disempowerment and marginalization affects many youth of color - often leading youth to engage in risky choices that can impact their lives. The alternative high school taught Michelle the power of engagement and self-actualization and how respecting youth, their ideas and their voices is not only transformational for the youth involved, but also for all those around them. She brings this passion for youth voice and empowerment to Mikva Challenge. Michelle firmly believes that youth - once empowered and civically engaged can change the landscape of Chicago and the nation. Michelle has extensive experience specifically working with non-profit, community-based organizations that impact communities of color in the Chicago area. She has a B.A. in Latin American Studies from DePaul University, an M.Ed. in Special education from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University. Michelle is also a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago.