CEHD’s 2017 Spotlight on Rising Alumni

The University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) is focused on improving the lives of children, families, and communities by forging research-driven solutions to complex problems. These solutions come from our brightest minds and from decades of real-world experience across eight departments and 25 research centers and institutes.

It’s that time of year again, where we like to take the time to recognize the work being done by graduates of the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). Their exemplary work in their chosen field of study has earned them recognition as CEHD Alumni Society’s Rising Alumni. CEHD’s primary mission is improving lives, and these individuals carry out that mission through a wide variety of disciplines. Their efforts are making a difference in organizations, schools and communities.

Below are four profiles of the alumni recognized this year. To learn more about all of our Rising Alumni, click here.

Grace Akukwe

Grace Akukwe finds inspiration in her work when she’s solving complex development challenges. She has a Ph.D. in educational policy and administration with a focus on international education. Her career includes work on education reform in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Sudan; workforce development in Afghanistan; and a youth resilience program in the Eastern Caribbean. Currently, Grace works at Creative Associates, an international development organization, leading economic empowerment projects.

David Roseborough

David Rosenborough has been on the faculty of St. Catherine and St. Thomas universities since he earned his Ph.D. in social work in 2004. He is a highly regarded expert in clinical mental health, and maintains a practice working with community mental health providers. David has earned recognition for his research and teaching, and is a longtime research consultant for a psychiatric clinic in St. Paul. He also is known for his commitment to social justice and advocacy, particularly within and for the LGBT community.

Jennifer Eik

Jennifer Eik is focused on reducing the graduation gap for Latinos in our community. Jenni was hired at Roosevelt High School to launch a Spanish Heritage curriculum that uses culturally relevant pedagogy. Her courses focus on English as a second language at the same time as exploring Latino culture, history and identity. Students who had felt marginalized discover ways to express themselves through spoken word, music and community projects. Remarkably, Roosevelt High’s Hispanic student graduation rates increased last year by about 15%, and Roosevelt’s principal credits the Spanish Heritage program.

Connor Cosgrove

Connor Cosgrove is a great example of the variety of careers our graduates pursue. Soon after transferring to the University of Minnesota and joining the football team, Connor was diagnosed with leukemia. His experience in treatment led to his idea of a t-shirt that allows easier access for a chemotherapy port. Today, he owns ComfPort, a company that produces multi-functional shirts that have an opening so cancer patients don’t have to remove their clothes to receive treatment. Along with fashionable and practical clothing, Connor hopes to build a community of support among his customers and their loved ones.

A big congratulations and a round of applause go out to all of our Rising Alumni for their contributions locally, nationally and globally. This recognition is a testament to their dedication to improving lives.


Originally published at cehdvision2020.umn.edu on May 12, 2017.

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