A lifelong resident of Chicago, Ramon Ocasio graduated from Roberto Clemente High School in the Humboldt Park community and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He went on to law school at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts.


Upon graduation from law school, Ramon Ocasio represented indigent clients in criminal cases as a public defender for four years. He subsequently managed the Illinois Attorney General’s northwest regional consumer fraud office in Chicago. Eight years later, he returned to the Public Defender’s office where he supervised 18 lawyers, in six courtrooms, at three different sites.

Before his election as judge, Ramon Ocasio served as president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois and received a Community Service Award for his leadership. He was elected and served as a community representative on the Local School Council at InterAmerican Magnet, a Chicago Public School. Ramon also had previously served 10 years as a trustee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

After serving in traffic court, Judge Ramon Ocasio was assigned to Cook County’s Bond Court where he presided over preliminary hearings, extradition matters, misdemeanor trials as well as bond court.

In the November 2012 election, Judge Ramon Ocasio was retained countywide.

Starting in 2012, Judge Ocasio was transferred to the Fourth Municipal District: the Maywood Courthouse where he handles misdemeanor, traffic and bond court and felony matters. He also presides over the Drug Treatment Court.

Judge Ramon Ocasio is well known as a patient, caring and knowledgeable jurist.



A native of Buffalo, NY, Wagstaff ventured to the San Francisco Bay Area to Stanford University where he completed a Bachelors in African and African American Studies and a Masters in Science Education. During his time at Stanford, Will wrote a thesis entitled Fixing the Leak: Solutions for Challenges Faced by Under-Represented Minorities in the STEM Pipeline because he was disappointed in how often minority students drop out of STEM majors at elite institutions.


Will is also passionate about science. After Stanford, he worked in a gene therapy lab studying ways to cure severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (also known as Bubble Boy disease). It was in that lab where he determined that he would like to pursue a career in both biomedical research and medicine. Now he is an MD/PhD student at the University of Chicago pursuing a PhD in Cancer Biology.



LaToya Hayden was a participant of the University of Chicago’s Upward Bound program from 1993-1996. She graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and is currently pursuing a dual MA/MBA in Organization and Behavior and Organization and Health Administration at Benedictine University. Her academic achievements include attending the 5th International Conference and Doctoral Consortium in Lyon, France, as a representative of Benedictine University.


LaToya began her career in the food industry as a microbiologist before transitioning into the healthcare industry. She currently works at a private outsourcing lab, Doctor’s Data Inc but is on track to graduate this December and looks forward to starting a new career in Health Administration.



David T. Rothal received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago and his law degree from DePaul University College of Law. Mr. Rothal is a Staff Attorney and the most senior attorney at the Illinois Department of Human Rights (Department). Mr. Rothal participates in the review and legal analysis of employment, housing, and public accommodations discrimination cases. He also litigates fair housing cases before the Illinois Human Rights Commission and drafts the Department’s regulations. In his spare time, Mr. Rothal enjoys sports, movies, music, and travel.



Lisa Laws earned dual bachelor degrees in Physics at Xavier University of Louisiana and in Civil Engineering at Tulane University with the last civil engineering class in 2006.

Lisa began her career at James McHugh Construction Company as an assistant project manager and estimator and then a structural designer with URS Corporation in 2008, while earning a graduate certificate in infrastructure engineering and management at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Lisa has previously served as the Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, where she managed and directed the daily operations of infrastructure departments for a city with hundreds of bridges, 4,000 miles of streets, and 3 million people.

In 2011 and 2012, Laws was awarded the URS Pyramid Award of Excellence, for her outstanding community service and was selected as a URS emerging leader.  Also in 2012, Lisa was honored with the Tulane University Young Alumna Volunteer Award, and the WTS Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award. In 2014, Lisa was appointed my Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) board where she represents the City of Chicago, named one of 40 Game Changers under 40 in Chicago by WVON and Ariel Investments, and one of Xavier University's 40 Graduates under 40.


Lisa has dedicated herself to being a mentor for young people of color in the STEM fields, which continues to be the hallmark of her career. As she actively reaches young people through countless organizations, Lisa demonstrates the importance of mentorship to children and leadership in communities in Chicago. 



Adam Rod graduated from The University of Chicago in 1992 with an undergraduate degree in geography, an affirmation of his lifelong passion for studying and shaping cities. He first gained planning, government and business experience as a manager at the Chamber of Commerce in Evanston, Illinois. From there, he jumped to the private sector in 1995 as a property manager with Urban Retail Properties. In 1998, he could not resist an opportunity to join the City of Chicago as an assistant commissioner of downtown development and then as an aide to Mayor Richard M. Daley. In 2000, he switched posts to his current dream job: managing the planning and development efforts for both O'Hare and Midway Airports at the Chicago Department of Aviation. 

Dr. Shelley Amuh attended the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago and completed her residency at Wayne State University. A resident of Chicago's Flossmoor neighborhood, Amuh has been involved with volunteering with the Careers Conference for multiple years because of her passionate interest in inspiring the youth of today. Dr. Amuh is a Obstetrician/Gynecologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital.  


Dr. Shelley Amuh is excited to contribute to the future by leading a panel of medical professionals that will share their expertise and specializations. 



Featured Panelists



Morning Panel
Afternoon Panel

Accounting, Banking, and Finance Panel

Ghiane Jones (‎Institutional Sales & Business Development, Invesco PowerShares) 
Michelle Balog (Executive Vice President, NuMark Credit Union)

Steven DeJoie (Banker, Banker, Mortgage and Investments, MB Bank)

Kirk Jones (Chief Human Resources Officer, Urban Partnership Bank)

Advertising, Marketing and PR 

All Day Panel


Lisa Caro (Strategy Director, Constellation Brands)

Calmetta Coleman (Director of Communications for Civic Engagement,

Office of the Vice President for Communications, University of Chicago)

Morning Panel

Eben Smith (Sr. Manager Planning & Design, Chicago Public Schools)

All Day Panel
All Day Panel

Cristina Vanko (Freelance Artist)

Berit Ness (Coordinator of Academic Initiatives, SMART Museum of Art)

William Lynch (Owner/Artist, Ariel Joseph Art Gallery and Salon)

Paul Bluestone (Principal, Bluestone + Associates)

Eric Jenkins (Founder/CEO, the art of emj)

Author, Journalism, and Publishing

Panel Part A
Panel Part B
Panel Part C

Business, Consulting, and Nonprofit

John W. Fountain (Author/Columnist, Roosevelt University/Chicago Sun-Times)

Katara Patton (Author)

Daschell Phillips (Editor, Hyde Park Herald)

All Day Panel

Dr. Carol Collum (CEO, iInspire Enterprises)

 Darcel Washington (President, Mentoring You College and Career Readiness Program)

Seth Sanders (Associate Director, Planning and Coordination, The University of Chicago)

Shari Felty (Collection Associate, Terra Foundation for American Art)

Yuanqi Wang (Lead Analyst, Epsilon)

Warren C. Daniel (CEO, Commercial Level Simulations, Ltd)
Sharan Subramanian (Founder/President, Invest in Chess)

Derrick Fleming Jr. (Founder/CEO, The Gent Enterprises, LLC)

Art, Design, Music and Photography

All Day Panel

Philip Kelly (College and Career Guidance Coach, Chicago Public Schools)

Tina Franklin-Bertrand ( International Baccalaureate, Primary Years Programme Coordinator, Bouchet International School)

Erick Williams (College/Career Specialist, Chicago Public Schools)

Matt Knoepke (Teacher, Chicago Public Schools)

Engineering, Technology, and Robotics

All Day Panel

Essay Writing Workshop

Carl Butt (Senior Software Engineer, Trustwave)

 Gerry Smith (Director of Minority Affairs, College of Engineering, UIC)

Melanie Mosley (Vice President, National Society of Black Engineers - Chicago Professionals)

Delvin Grant (Associate Professor of MIS, DePaul University)

Stanley Chatman (Group Manager, Avanade Inc.)

Panel (right side)
Panel (Left Side)

Marcus Woodlaw (Assistant Director of Admissions, University of Chicago)

Safiya C. Johnson (Senior Admissions Counselor, The University of Chicago)

Workshop Topic: Components of a Compelling College Admissions Essay


All Day Panel

Meghan Lockerby (Athletic Trainer, UChicago Sports Medicine) 

Research & Scientific Inquiry Panel

All Day Panel

Social Work

Saule Agdauletova, PhD (MBA Candidate, University of Chicago Booth School of Business/Microbiologist)

Ritoban Basu Thakur (Kavli Postdoctoral Fellow, Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago)

Panel (afternoon)
Panel (right)

Anibal Vega (Executive Director, East Village Youth Program)

Eugene Robinson (District College and Career Specialist, Chicago Public Schools)

​Professional Athletics

Panel (left)
Panel (right)

William Wagstaff (MD/PhD Candidate, Pritzker School of Medicine, The University of Chicago) 

Renee Williams (MD student, St. Joseph's School of Medicine)

 MaryAnn Nwatah (MD student, Atlantic University School of Medicine)

 Dr. Gregory Smith (Physician, Anointed Health Partners)

 LaToya Hayden (Microbiologist, Doctors Data Inc.)

Karen Powell (MD student, St James School of Medicine)

 Doriane Miller (Director, Center for Community Health and Vitality)
Dr. Shelley Amuh (Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Advocate Trinity Hospital)

Law and Justice

All Day Panel

Performing Arts

Judge Ramon Ocasio III (Judge, Cook County Circuit Court)

Dartesia Pitts (President-Elect / Attorney, Cook County Bar Association)
Paul Johnson (Managing Director, Kroll)
Kenya Burnett (Senior Attorney, Legal Assistance Foundation)

Patrick Gould (Legal Learning Consultant, Gould Legal Education)

David Rothal (Staff Attorney, Illinois Department of Human Rights)

Paul Johnson (Managing Director, Kroll)

Shannon Veazey (Attorney, Cook County Circuit Court)

Student and Judge Ocasio
Morning Panels
Afternoon Panel

Terra Schultz (Executive Director, Hyde Park School of Dance)

Julie Krause (Senior Associate Director, University Events and Ceremonies, The University of Chicago)

Teena Hendricks (Creator/Producer/Director, The Soul Train Impact)


Morning Panel
Group Photo
Dovetta McKee, John Arena

Claudia Madrid (Congressional Aide, Office of Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez)

 Hubert Morgan (Principal, Stanhope Consulting)

 John Arena (Alderman, 45th Ward, City of Chicago)

 Adam Rod (Planning Administrator, Chicago Department of Aviation)

Urban Policy, Politics