Teacher Profiles

Dima Ali

Dima Ali is a local Mom, Activist, and Artisan. Dima was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. She immigrated to the US more than 16 years ago. Among the few things she brought with her from Iraq was her family recipes box. Cooking provides a comfort zone and a small reminder of Dima’s first home and childhood. Dima cooks for her family, friends, and community.

Kurt Hedlund

Kurt Hedlund is an electronic hardware developer and manager. System, circuit board, ASIC and FPGA designer and manager, in leading edge systems mostly involving wire speed packet networking. Applying theory and leading edge technology in a practical manner for manufacturing and real world applications is my specialty.

Kamal Jackson

Kamal Jackson is an Information Technology Leader with 20 experience building IT systems for small and large companies. Kamal currently owns and operates http://www.kjcubed.com, a boutique IT consulting firm that build custom system for businesses.

Deborah Jian Lee

Deborah Jian Lee is an award-winning journalist and author of Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelism. She has worked as a staff reporter for the Associated Press, taught journalism as a professor at Columbia University, and written for Foreign Policy, Time magazine, Slate, The Atlantic, Playboy, Religion Dispatches, Forbes, Reuters, GOOD, WBEZ, WNYC and many others. She hosts the podcast Kaleidoscope.

Alec Nevala-Lee

Alec Nevala-Lee is a novelist and freelance writer who has sold over a dozen stories to the magazine Analog Science Fiction and Fact. His group biography Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction (HarperCollins) was recently named one of the best books of 2018 by the Economist. Three of his suspense novels have been published by Penguin, and he contributes occasionally to the New York Times Book Review.

Susan Lucci

Susan Lucci became a social artisan of Circle technologies a decade ago and is on a mission to facilitate soulful conversations and create community using this ancient archetype. Over the past 10 years, she has convened more than 600 Circles. www.2big4words.org

Alix Mikesell

Alix Mikesell has taught Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design at Indiana University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, and is currently teaching at College of DuPage. Alix creates jewelry for her company Alix Mikesell Design. She specializes in the clever reuse of alternative materials such as laminate countertop, buttons, beach pebbles and swizzle sticks.

Mary Anne Mohanraj

Mary Anne Mojanraj has published over a dozen books with big presses (HarperCollins, Random House, Penguin) and small presses, and has even indie-published a few books too.  She’s run multiple successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo arts campaigns.
Learn more at www.maryannemohanraj.com.

Cheryl Muñoz

Cheryl Muñoz is the Founder of Sugar Beet Schoolhouse, a community cooking school in River Forest, and Sugar Beet Food Co-op, a cooperatively owned grocery store in Oak Park. Ms. Munoz practices and teaches “observational cooking” which invites students to explore their senses as they cook together.

Pamela Penney

Textile Artist Pamela Penney has been inspiring and educating adults and children to utilize traditional needle arts techniques as a means of creative expression for over 30 years.  She has a three-fold mission of salvaging materials through creative re-use, crafti-feminism, and the healing of individuals and our planet with art as medicine.

Stephanie Walquist

Stephanie Walquist, co-founder of West Cook Wild Ones, is a life-long gardener.  She has been growing many types of plants from seeds since the 90’s.  She never tires of watching those first leaves make their way to the light.

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