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Colin Reynolds

Colin Reynolds

Senior Education Designer

Colin Reynolds brings over 15 years experience as a classroom teacher, instructor, administrator, and consultant to Education Design Lab as a Senior Education Designer in Digital Transformation.

Colin’s projects include Experience You, Last Mile to Hire, and others related to learning and employment records, digital credentials, and open technology and learning standards.

Prior to joining the Lab, Colin was the Vice President of Learning for Learning Economy Foundation, where he led projects related to open technology standards, learning and assessment design, and social architecture. Colin holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Education in Leadership and Policy Studies.

When not building digital learning systems and infrastructure, you can find Colin coaching baseball, hanging at live concert venues, playing in the mountains, and searching for the world’s best coffee shops.

Joseph Davis

Joseph Davis

Senior Education Designer

Joseph Davis is a Senior Education Designer working with the Community College Growth Engine Fund. His focus is on assisting colleges in aligning their programs with stakeholder needs (business and learner) and transforming into invaluable resources in their economic ecosystems. He brings 12 years of experience in Workforce Development, where he focused on the human-centered experiences of learners, job-seekers, and employees.

Prior to joining the Lab, Joseph was the Employment and Training Programs Supervisor with Yates County in New York, where he spent six years overseeing WIOA, SNAP E&T, and TANF employment programs. Joseph focused on aligning partnerships and programs between workforce development, higher education, economic development, and K-12 to address the unique rural needs of the region. Additionally, Joseph spent two years as co-chair of the Finger Lakes Career Center Consortium, coordinating partnerships and initiatives with 13 WIOA One-Stop partners in the region. As a community partner and steering committee member with Finger Lakes Community College, he assisted the college in developing a successful “learn anywhere” model through their work with the BRIDGES Rural initiative at the Lab.

In his free time, Joseph enjoys spending time with his wife, Tara, and sons Jackson and Vincent, and exploring the outdoors in the Finger Lakes region. He also enjoys visiting new places and learning the local history with his cousin Bobby.

Jessica Lauritsen, EdD

Senior Education Designer

Jessica Lauritsen, as a Senior Education Designer working on the Designers In Residence project, brings 18 years of student affairs work in higher education with a focus on equity and access for all students.
Prior to joining the Lab, Jessica served as the Vice President of Student Affairs at Hennepin Technical College, where she worked for over 10 years. She also worked in student affairs at St. Cloud State University, the University of St. Thomas, and Loyola Marymount University.
Jessica was named one of the “Top 40 under 40” women working in community colleges through the American Association of Women in Community Colleges, and led the work that resulted in Hennepin Technical College being named a White House Healthy Campus for her work around the Affordable Care Act.
Jessica holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Minnesota State University, Mankato; a master’s degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas; and a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Geography from St. Cloud State University.
Outside of work, Jessica enjoys reading, traveling, and outdoor adventures with her family and friends.

Chade’ Brooks

Executive Assistant

Chade’ joins the Lab as the Executive Assistant to President and CEO Bill Hughes, where she provides direct support. In addition, she provides assistance and schedule coordination support to the Lab’s executive team.

Chade’ is an enthusiastic individual with over 14 years’ experience providing direct executive support to senior leadership personnel, businesses, and nonprofits. She has also spent the past six years working as a business consultant, specializing in business development, management, operations, and risk management. She has assisted over 70 entrepreneurs to develop and maintain businesses. Over the years, Chade’ has gained a variety of skills and knowledge from her experience in several different industries including real estate, marketing, international affairs, and nonprofits.

Chade’ holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from University of Maryland Global Campus and a minor in Criminal Justice. She has a passion for helping others succeed professionally and personally. When not working, Chade’ enjoys spending time with her children, reading, content-creating, mentoring, and traveling.

Carol Erickson Education Design Lab

Carol Erickson

Director, Foundation and Philanthropic Partnerships

As Director of Foundation and Philanthropic Partnerships, Carol Erickson works to build relationships with the philanthropic community so the Education Design Lab can fulfill its mission and increase its impact.

Prior to joining the Lab, Erickson managed education, research, evaluation, technology and literacy initiatives for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, International Research & Exchange Board (IREX), American Library Association, and Fulbright Senior Scholar Exchange.

Erickson has also supported a wide variety of nonprofits and businesses to enhance their poverty alleviation efforts, focusing on strategic planning, organizational capacity building, fundraising and foundation partnerships, board development, communications, project management, and research; and supported for-profit entities to build philanthropic initiatives that reflect their companies’ values.

Throughout her career, she has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable contributions, and made thousands of grants to individuals, nonprofits, and government entities around the globe.

She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Slavic Linguistics from Albany University, and a master’s of science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois.

Mariza June Avila

Associate Designer for Visual Design + Impact

Mariza June Avila joins the Lab as the Associate Designer for Visual Design + Impact. As the only child of Filipino immigrants, Mariza grew up navigating the American educational system without a guidebook. Between choosing the “right” classes in high school, preparing for standardized tests, applying to schools, gathering application materials, applying for financial aid, to securing part-time jobs and gaining financial literacy, transferring institutions, graduating, and preparing for post-grad life, each outcome was a combination of timing, diligence, and luck. Along the way, she adopted a mentor mentality, eager to help peers through these processes. In her role, Mariza is excited to bring this experience to the forefront, designing a more equitable and accessible path to higher education and beyond.

Mariza holds an associate degree in Art from Montgomery College (#MCProud) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art (#MICAmade). During her undergraduate career, she honed in on her interests in service design, understanding user experience as it applies to game design, human-centered design, and products. When not working, she’s either singing, training to be the very best like no one ever was, or working on her fitness.

Casey Andree

Instructional Designer

Casey Andree brings a lifelong focus on equitable access to education, and a background in K-12 mathematics and competency-based learning to his role at the Education Design Lab. He’s joining the team as an Instructional Designer working on the XCredit project with the Digital Transformation team.

Prior to joining the Lab, Casey worked as the Competency-Based Learning Specialist for Denver Public Schools, in addition to a decade teaching secondary math. He can’t wait to get to work turning lived experience and 21st century skills into workplace currency for New Majority Learners.

Casey holds a master’s degree in Education from Christian Brothers University, and a bachelor’s in Classics-English from Colorado College.

Outside of work, Casey enjoys HIIT, collecting original comic art, and occasionally appearing in film, commercial, and theater projects in Colorado.

Carolina Mendez

Education Design Intern

Carolina Mendez brings her higher education and policy background to the Education Design Lab as an Education Design Intern working with the Lab’s Community College Growth Engine Fund (CCGEF). Carolina is a full-time student at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, where she is pursuing her Master of Public Policy, with an emphasis in education policy.

Prior to joining the Lab, she worked as a Senior Multicultural Recruitment Coordinator at the University of Minnesota – TC, where she focused on access and recruitment efforts for low-income, first generation, LGBTQIA+, immigrant, and BIPOC students in the Twin Cities. Additionally, she served as a facilitator and trainer for gender equity and access for University of Minnesota staff and students. She’s excited to join the Lab and continue pushing equity-based efforts through the Fund and make large-scale change for new majority leaners.

Carolina holds her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ayanna Conway

Social Media + Community Specialist

Ayanna Conway joins the Lab as the Social Media + Community Specialist with experience in brand management, marketing, and building a strong presence on all social media platforms for organizations. She hopes to use these skills to bring the Lab’s mission and vision to life as well.

Ayanna has spent the past eight years working as a Social Media Manager for community-based projects in addition to working as a Social Media Marketing Manager in the auto industry. She provides expertise in establishing brand identity and target audiences by implementing specific and intentional strategies in order to increase overall brand awareness for organizations.

Ayanna holds a B.S. in Business Management from Grand Canyon University with a minor in Marketing. Now that she has joined the Lab, Ayanna is most excited about the opportunity to flourish in a team environment with fellow Labbies who are not only supportive, but are extremely knowledgeable on all things involving equity and education design.

Ayanna lives in Phoenix, Ariz., where she was born and raised. When not working, she enjoys teaching dance classes at a local dance studio with the hopes of inspiring the next generation of young, talented dancers to dream beyond their current reality!

Nalini Ravindranath Headshot

Nalini Ravindranath

Manager of Foundation Partnerships

Nalini Ravindranath is the Manager of Foundation Partnerships. She collaborates with the Lab’s education designers and senior leadership to advance a range of business and partnership development activities. Nalini also serves as the primary project manager for the Lab’s fundraising operations including grants management and compliance processes. 

A commitment to expanding opportunities for historically underinvested learners has driven her professional pursuits over the past decade. Nalini began her career with Teach For America as a 7th grade English teacher in New York City. In subsequent years, her teaching and lived experience as a first generation college graduate has informed her work with a range of national nonprofits at the intersection of education and workforce systems. 

Most recently, Nalini led the fundraising efforts of the Forum for Youth Investment. In this role, she provided strategic leadership to the organization’s revenue development activities, worked across departments to translate project goals into funding strategies, and deepened the pipeline of philanthropic partners. Nalini also led the DEI efforts of the organization and implemented practices that expanded internal equity. Prior to the Forum, Nalini managed research projects at the Finance Project supporting state and local Departments of Education devise equitable school financing formulas. During her tenure at YouthBuild USA, she supported the execution of a $20M technical assistance contract with the U.S. Department of Labor, which served 100 local YouthBuild programs across 40 states. 

Away from the Lab, Nalini is an avid long-distance hiker and blogs about her experiences. She completed a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2014. Nalini is also a dog mom to her elderly “Chiweenie,” true crime podcast aficionado, documentary film obsessive, and voracious reader.