Minds Matter is a Community
of Like-Minded Volunteers

Mentor Volunteer Applications Are Open!

We are now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 academic year, which begins in September 2017.

Transform a young student's life by supporting their college dreams.

Be the catalyst for a student to become the first in their family to attend college.

Fill out the online application today! 

Applications are considered on a rolling basis. Our team will review your application and schedule a brief phone interview to assess your candidacy. 

Any questions? volunteers@mindsmatterchicago.org


Volunteers Across All Chapters In 2017

Each year, we place bright and motivated students together with young college graduates.

Each is committed to developing strong relationships with students,

and guiding them in decisions that have proven to actually transform lives.

Become a Mentor!

Our volunteers are dedicated to helping our students achieve academic success, so our mentors need to be just as invested in the program – if not more so. By joining Minds Matter as a mentor, you are committing to:

  • Dedicating 4 hours, almost every Saturday during the school year to meet with your mentee.
  • Working with your mentee student throughout the 3-year program.

Profile of Our Fabulous Mentors

Our mentors are young professionals who donate their time while pursuing full-time careers. Each mentor is highly enthusiastic about helping each mentee to master academic pursuits ... and realize their biggest dreams. Our mentors come from diverse career backgrounds, and some are currently pursuing graduate degrees from local universities.

Mentor Profile

  • Mentors must be college graduates.
  • Most have been out of college for less than 10 years, so that students perceive them as highly relatable.
  • Mentors must attend at least 75% of Saturday sessions.
  • Mentors must be able to communicate with their mentees in and out of sessions.
  • Mentors must undergo a background check.

Are YOU mentor material?  Fill out the online application today!

Benefits of Being a Mentor

First and foremost, our mentors tell us this experience has enriched their life, well beyond their expectations.

You will be joining a community of like-minded young professionals, dedicated to making a difference in the world.

Plus, being a mentor is fun!

While there’s lots of time working, there are many get-togethers throughout the year, including happy hours, fundraisers and intramurals.

It's a terrific way to meet new people and build lasting friendships.

Mentoring also provides an opportunity to take part in an exciting, young, and successful enterprise. Minds Matter Chicago is a dynamic, growing organization. Anyone interested in leadership has the opportunity to join the management team and make your contribution to our strategic vision and execution.

This experience not only gives you access to a strong local network of young professionals in a variety of industries, the national alumni network can open doors to contacts in sister cities across the country.

Join Our Management Team!

With oversight from our Chicago Board of Directors, the management of all our day-to-day operations is lead by a very talented group of young professionals that we call our Management Team. Just scroll down to see the varied talents, backgrounds and contributions of our dedicated volunteer leaders.

If you are interested in leadership, and have adequate time to contribute, consider joining the management team to help shape our program, as we grow. If you have a special skill, anything from financial to tech management to education to event leadership, we would love to get to know you.

If you'd like to get involved, please just contact us at:


Help with Fundraising

Fundraising is a critical part of Minds Matter Chicago’s success – and we’re always looking for more help! Whether you have lots of time to dedicate or little time to spare, there’s always a way to contribute your energy and expertise.

  • The Associate Board works closely with the Co-Directors of Fundraising to further develop Minds Matter Chicago’s fundraising strategies. Their focus is on corporate sponsorship and grant writing, event planning for our two annual events and individual fundraising. If you are able to dedicate up to an hour every other week and help plan our annual events – this group is for you.
  • The Advisory Council is a perfect fit if you have less time to dedicate, but still want to get involved on a regular basis. This groups meets just three to four times a year to make recommendations to the board of directors, which includes ... yet goes beyond ... fundraising.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Associate Board or the Advisory Council, please email us at fundraising@mindsmatterchicago.org

Other Volunteer Opportunities

Interested in joining our team, but not able to make the mentor or leader commitment? There are other ways you can volunteer:

  • Teach Help manage our academic programs.
  • Network! Initiate Minds Matter fundraising ideas, appropriate for your own social network.
  • Other? Do you have other ideas about how you can help? Contact us!

Volunteer Spotlight

Our Leadership Team

Chicago Board of Directors

Lisa Souter

Lisa Souter - Chairman

Lisa joined Minds Matter in 1998 as a mentor and team leader in New York. She now serves as the Chairman of the Chicago chapter. Her strong belief in the mission of Minds Matter prompted her to co-found the Boston and Chicago chapters. Lisa received her BS/BA from Georgetown University and MBA from Harvard University.

Sean Moran

Sean Moran - Vice Chair

Sean joined the Chicago Minds Matter board in 2011.  He has been involved in education causes throughout his career and believes strongly in the power of education to open doors and transform lives. Outside of Minds Matter, he is currently a lead in the Commercial Transformation & Private Equity growth consulting practices at ZS. Sean has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Illinois. He grew up in the surrounding Chicago communities and now lives with his wife and two daughters in the western suburbs.

Teryluz Andreu

Teryluz Andreu - Secretary

Teryluz joined Minds Matter as a result of her interest in making a difference in the lives of high potential students in the Chicago community.  She has a BA from the University of Puerto Rico and a Masters in Communication and HR from Cornell University.  She is a Partner at Aon’s Consulting Practice, specializing in helping organizations attract, develop and retain the employees they need to succeed.

Bill Malczyk

Bill Malczyk - Treasurer

Bill Malczyk has been involved with the Chicago Chapter of Minds Matter as a board member since 2012. He believes strongly in the mission of Minds Matter and the difference it can make in the lives of mentees. He is a Managing Director in the restructuring practice at Ernst & Young where he advises clients on risk and strategy. Bill grew up and currently lives in the Chicago area with his wife and two children.

Rhonda Bell

Rhonda Bell

Rhonda has devoted her professional career to leading programs that close opportunity gaps for Chicago youth, often those who are the first in their family to enroll in college or who demonstrate significant financial need. She brings these fifteen years of college and career access leadership to Minds Matter. In her current position as Partnership Development Liaison for Chicago Public Schools, she works to connect high school students with experiential learning opportunities and internships. She is also a private Educational Consultant, former School Director for the Schuler Scholar Program, Upward Bound Director, and has spent eight years working for the College and Career Office at Chicago Public Schools. Ms. Bell holds a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studied early childhood education in graduate school, and is the proud mother of two children. She enjoys art, French culture, film, and cupcakes.

Thomas Seibert

Tom Seibert

Tom has served Minds Matter Chicago for nearly ten years in a variety of management and board roles.  He finds the passion and dedication of the 200 volunteers and the tangible success of the students to be highly inspirational and rewarding.  Tom works at Deloitte Consulting and is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.

Randy Wagner

Randy Wagner

Randy Wagner joined the board of Minds Matter to make a contribution at the end of 2008. Her focus is optimizing our communication, leveraging her branding expertise, honed as former Chief Marketing Officer for Orbitz Worldwide, EVP at Leo Burnett, and Corporate VP of Strategic Global Branding for McDonald’s, where she was part of the leadership team that galvanized the brand’s turnaround. Prior to moving to Chicago, she contributed to building big brands like Citibank, Chrysler, American Express, Exxon, Campbell’s Soup and Colgate-Palmolive ... and now loves working at the other end of the spectrum with venture and private equity clients. In her free time, she's an avid traveler, crafter and photographer.


Calvin Hui

Calvin enjoys his involvement with Minds Matter because the organization positively impacts the lives of Chicago students.Calvin has served in various positions. Now on the board, Calvin graduated from Duke University with degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Economics. He is a Partner at Gator Trading, a proprietary trading firm, where he currently trades agricultural products.


Anne Lokken

Anne is honored to have worked with Minds Matter Chicago since 2015.  Anne spent many years as an attorney practicing in the area of school law, and has served on the local school council of two public schools in Chicago.  She is committed to the Minds Matter mission of providing educational opportunity to students in need.  She lives in Chicago with her husband and three children who all attend Chicago Public Schools.

Andrew Abahoonie

Andrew Abahoonie

Andrew joined the Minds Matter Chicago board in 2017, as part of the Kellogg School of Management’s Board Fellows program. He is currently earning his MBA at Kellogg with expected graduation in June 2018. Prior to Kellogg, he spent four years as an economic consultant at PwC. Andrew grew up in New Jersey and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, where he received a BS in Economics and a minor in Mathematics.

Mike Bush

Mike Bush

Mike grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and attended Dartmouth College where he received a BA in Economics. He worked in consulting at The Parthenon Group in Boston before joining Harry’s, a men’s grooming e-commerce start-up based in New York City. He is currently studying at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern for his MBA with a focus in finance.

Chicago Management Team

Maria Ptouchkina

Maria Ptouchkina - President

Maria has been involved with Minds Matter’s Chicago Chapter since 2012 when she joined as a mentor. She enjoys her involvement with the organization because it is an incredible opportunity to work together with students to help realize their full potential. Maria received her BA in Psychology and Cognitive Science from Northwestern University. She currently works in technology consulting at Isobar.

Parth Patel

Parth Patel - Director of Senior Program

Parth Patel has been involved in the Chicago Chapter of Minds Matter since 2014, and has helped run the Senior Program since 2015. Being first generation himself, Parth appreciates the value of education as a means to tackle challenges, to break down barriers, and to elevate oneself. After graduating from Hope College in Michigan with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Mathematics, Parth moved to Chicago to work in the real estate investments. He is a Founding Principal of the real estate development firm, Fanchon Group.

Caitlin Gillis

Caitlin Gillis – Director of Senior Program

Caitlin joined Minds Matter in 2014 as a mentor and transitioned to the role of Director of Senior Program in 2016. As a graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill, she’s an avid Tar Heels fan and lover of all things from the South. Outside of Minds Matter, Caitlin works in marketing at a startup and is also an Affiliate Board Member of the Ounce of Prevention Fund.

Victoria Stroz

Victoria Stroz - Director of Senior Program

Victoria is thrilled to be a part of the Chicago chapter of Minds Matter! Prior to her move to Chicago in 2012, Victoria volunteered with Minds Matter New York for three years. As a mentor, she worked with one student through his high school graduation. Victoria currently works at IMC Financial Markets in Human Resources. Victoria earned her Bachelor degree in Finance from Villanova University. In her spare time Victoria enjoys exploring the Chicago food scene and skiing wherever she can find mountains and snow!


Joey Kiessig - Director of Junior Program

Joey joined Minds Matter as a mentor in 2013 after hearing about the program through a former Co-worker.  As a fellow first generation college student the Minds Matter mission really resonated with Joey as he understood how daunting it is to apply to College when no one around you had ever done so.  After graduating from Florida State University with degrees in Finance and Accounting, Joey moved to Chicago to pursue a career in finance.  He currently works as an investment banking and private equity associate at SOLIC Capital.


Isaac Stern - Director of Junior Program

Isaac joined minds matter last year as a mentor after he had heard about the program from friends in his office. He was lucky enough to have coaches and mentors as a student in high school, and he hopes to give back by helping students overcome obstacles and achieve new heights. Isaac double majored in physics and economics at the University of Chicago, and he currently works as a trader at Peak6 Investments. .

Rupa Ramadurai

Rupa Ramadurai – Director of Sophomore Program

Rupa is a Chicago native and has been a part of the Chicago chapter of Minds Matter for two years. She attended law school at Loyola University Chicago School of Law where she was a Child & Family Law Fellow. Rupa has been an attorney, practicing in the area of education law, for 2.5 years here in the Chicagoland area. Currently, she serves as Assistant General Counsel at the Illinois State Board of Education. Prior to being an attorney, Rupa was a high school Intensive Reading/English teacher in inner city Miami, Florida through Teach for America. During this time, she also got a Masters in Education & Social Change from the University of Miami School of Education. Rupa earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science from the University of Michigan.


Michael Miller – Director of Sophomore Program

Michael began volunteering for Minds Matter as a mentor in 2014. He now serves as a Director of the Sophomore Program in Chicago. Michael believes strongly in Minds Matter's mission of helping students achieve their full potential. Michael graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Economics and works as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch.

Greg Voutsos

Greg Voutsos – Director of Sophomore Program

Greg joined Minds Matter as a mentor in 2015 and in 2016 moved into the Director of Sophomore Program role. He's passionate about the program and enjoys seeing students progress and excel. He graduated from University of Michigan with a degree in Economics, and he currently works as a Management Consultant at Point B.


Andrew Khalifa – Director of Sophomore Program

Andrew was born and raised in Chicago and joined MM in 2014 as a mentor before moving to Team Lead and PD in 2017.  He earned his undergrad degree in health sciences from Iowa and is currently waiting to find out where he matches for residency while finishing up medical school. He enjoys team sports, disaster relief, traveling and helping people whenever he can.

Brent Troxell

Brent Troxell– Director of Summer Programs

Brent is now working with Minds Matter Chicago after serving as a mentor with Minds Matter Twin Cities in 2013-2014. Brent is a graduate of Wofford College and received his Master of Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill. He currently works as the Deputy Director of Public Works for the Village of Glenview, IL.

Suoyang Hou

Suoyang Hou – Director of Data & Metrics

Suoyang joined Minds Matter in 2014 as a mentor. She now serves as a Director of Data & Metrics for the Chicago Chapter. She believes strongly in the mission of Minds Matter and the importance of creating opportunities through education. Suoyang works as a product manager at Uptake and has earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University.

Leo Bekerman

Leo Bekerman – Director of Volunteers

Leo Bekerman is a consultant at ZS Associates, where he's helped clients in a wide variety of industries realize profitable sales growth. He holds Bachelor's Degrees in Finance and Business Administration from the University of Illinois.


Eric Mintzer – Director of Volunteers

Eric has been a mentor for Minds Matter Chicago since 2014.  He joined the management team in 2017 after his first mentee went off to college.  Eric studied Economics at Williams College and is now a trader at Gelber Group.

Christina Boesler (10)

Christina Boesler – Director of Volunteers

Christina joined the Management Team in 2017 after attending the Spring for the Students Gala where she found herself inspired by the organization and the members within it.  Christina graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a degree in Accounting and works in recruiting for Baker Tilly.  She is also the co-founder of FitCityBlonde, a health & fitness blog, and has a passion for building community in Chicago.

Stephen Ni

Stephen Ni  – Director of Test Prep

Stephen joined Minds Matter as a senior mentor in 2014, where he saw firsthand how Minds Matter opens opportunities for our high potential students. As Director of Test Prep, he looks forward to maximizing that opportunity by providing students the necessary tools to succeed. Stephen graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Mathematics and now works in marketing strategy and analytics at Capital One.


Ryan Evans – Director of Test Prep

Ryan began his tenure with Minds Matter as a test prep instructor in 2014. He graduated from Miami University with a bachelor’s degree in business and earned his J.D. from DePaul University. When not helping Minds Matter students maximize their standardized testing potential, Ryan is a trial attorney in Chicago specializing in medical malpractice and health care defense.

Jennifer Walker

Jennifer Walker – Director of Finance

Jennifer joined Minds Matter as a mentor in 2011. After her mentee graduated and went on to college, she took on a new role as a Director of Summer Programs in 2013, and then in 2014 moved on to the Director of Finance role. Jennifer graduated from Arizona State University with a dual degree in Finance and Economics and is currently working as a Financial Analyst at Morningstar.


Erica Whelan – Director of PR

Erica joined the management team in 2016 after hearing about Minds Matter from colleagues that had been involved in the program across the span of several years. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame where she studied Biochemistry. Erica currently works at APCO Worldwide where she is a healthcare communications specialist.


Jonathan Weiss –  Director of Technology

Jonathan joined Minds Matter as a math tutor before deciding to jump on board the management team.  Jonathan has a BS and MS in Industrial Engineering and specializes in automation within healthcare information systems.

Clara Tse

Clara Tse – Director of Alumni

Clara joined Minds Matter after learning about this organization from a friend who mentored at the New York chapter. In her six years with the organization, she has served as a mentor,  Director of Senior Program, and Director of Alumni. She graduated from Northwestern University and received her Master in Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She currently works at a healthcare consulting firm, specializing in revenue cycle improvement.

Stew Kerr

Stew Kerr – Director of Corporate Fundraising

Stew Kerr joined Minds Matter in 2014 as a Director of Fundraising, and helps oversee the chapter’s fundraising strategy for corporate, charitable foundation, and individual donors. Stew worked previously in fundraising capacities for several other local organizations, but was sold on Minds Matter’s mission and unique approach to serving its students—he is constantly impressed with the intelligence and poise of mentees in the program in addition to the dedication of volunteers. Stew currently works in Axiom Law’s Healthcare practice, and graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont. In addition to Minds Matter, Stew enjoys playing lacrosse, listening to live music and seeing new movies.

Thomas Paras

Thomas Paras – Director of Corporate Fundraising

Thomas joined Minds Matter in 2014 and served on the Associate Board during the 2014-2015 school year. He is continuously impressed with the success of our students and with the passion of the organization’s volunteers. Thomas earned his BA from the University of Michigan and his Master of Accounting from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He currently works in the Deal Advisory practice at KPMG.

Headshot - Eliza Wood

Eliza Wood – Director of Events

Eliza joined Minds Matters in 2015, serving on the Associate Board from 2015-2017. She is continually inspired by the passion and dedication of all those involved in the organization – from the students to the volunteers. Eliza currently works in experiential marketing at Legacy Marketing and earned a BA in Communications and Psychology from the University of Michigan. In her spare time, Eliza enjoys travel, cheering on the Wolverines, and trying out new restaurants around Chicago.

Associate Board

The Associate Board oversees the fundraising efforts of Minds Matter of Chicago and is comprised of two committees: Corporate Fundraising and Event Planning.


Stew Kerr – Co-Director of Fundraising

Thomas Paras – Co-Director of Fundraising

Eliza Wood – Director of Events

Karl Rosario – Events

Sofia Zervas – Events

Idan Levy – Events

Joe Sauer – Events

Kenny Kluckman – Events

Leeda Wang – Events

Nolan Jones – Events

Sean Stanley – Events

Srishti Bhattacharya – Events

Melissa Groark – Events

Karthik Khajana – Events

Sam Miller – Events

Christina Boesler – Events

Lin Zhang – Events

Natalie Bohn – Events

Sylvia Yu – Events

Taylor Erickson – Events

Allesandro DiSanto – Fundraising

Brett Rocheleau – Fundraising

Charles Green – Fundraising

Dean Olson – Fundraising

Erik Olson – Fundraising

Jeff Chu – Fundraising

Lee Keller – Fundraising

Neil Ostrander – Fundraising

Phil Iler – Fundraising

Ryan Menges – Fundraising

Steve Upham – Fundraising

Nick Schweiger – Fundraising

John Gordy – Fundraising

Max Needle – Subcommittee Head

Mike Chmielewski – Subcommittee Head

Derek Siadak – Subcommittee Head

Brendan Griffin – Subcommittee Head

Becky Sulentic – Subcommittee Head