Ivan Lui

Education Designer

Ivan Lui brings a unique mix of experience in intentional design, academic research, project management, economic development, and social work to the Lab, where he works as an Education Designer for the Designers in Residence project.

A native Californian, Ivan moved to Minnesota years ago to work as an engineer. Since then, he’s switched gears several times, going to the Middle East and Africa for international relief and development work, directing a nonprofit using agricultural business to promote economic development in developing countries, earning a master’s degree in Social Work, and working for a regional inter-governmental organization focused on changing youth outcomes in the Twin Cities.

Outside of the Lab, Ivan loves to read, cook, run, and spend time with his family.

Rebecka Ramos, PhD

Education Designer

Rebecka co-designs solutions with partners, facilitates partner and group learning sessions, and supports partners through the change process as an Education Designer. She brings her passion for equity and commitment to change to her projects, like Opportunity @ Work and BRIDGES.

Prior to joining the Lab, Rebecka was an educator in the higher education system. She has worked on  digital courseware, designed learning experiences, structured and facilitated learner support services, and wrote open-source textbooks.  She strived to give her students agency, belonging, and a sense of growth in their gateway English courses. 

HOMETOWN: Winter Haven, Florida

BACHELOR’S: B.A. in English, Nyack College

MASTER’S: M.A. in Literature, University of Central Florida

DOCTORATE: Ph.D. in Education Policy and Change Leadership, Walden University

FAVORITE QUOTE:  “Everything is figure-out-able” – Unknown

WHEN I’M NOT AT WORK I’M… reading, watching movies, and laughing with my family. You may catch me at the beach with my camera or a good book.

Courtney Bell

Learning Experience Designer

Courtney Bell believes in learning by doing and is excited to bring her background in learning design to the Education Design Lab as a Learning Experience Designer working on the Design Academy.

Prior to joining the Lab, Courtney worked as a Senior Learning Experience Designer at IDEO U, where she led the development of a transformational learning product, Sprints. She also worked at the University of Colorado Denver as an instructional designer, developing courses with topics focused on equity and the social determinants of health. Her favorite part of her field is poking at, questioning, and solving intriguing problems. She approaches this work by designing for interconnectedness so that people and communities can build capacity.

Courtney holds a Master of Public Health from Colorado State University, a master’s in Learning Design & Technology from University of Colorado, a bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of New Mexico, and a graduate certificate in Human-Centered Design and Innovation from University of Colorado Denver. She’s also a certified health education specialist.

Outside of work, Courtney enjoys playing rugby (previously union, now Aussie-style touch), singing bad karaoke, attending musicals, and dabbling in crafts (baking and making things).

McKenzie Paterson

Community Designer

McKenzie Paterson (she/her/hers) is the Community Designer at Education Design Lab and brings her experience in community building, social design, intercultural communications, and civic and social learning to support the Lab’s work. In her role, McKenzie leads the Lab’s community of practice to elevate an interconnected ecosystem of practitioners through equity-centered learning and collaboration for redesigning systems of learning and working at the margins.

Prior to joining the Lab, McKenzie was an Outreach Coordinator at the Close Up Foundation, where she cultivated and managed equity-centered partnerships with schools and communities in Washington, Illinois, Idaho, Maine, and Virginia. Previous to that, she was an Education and Youth Development Specialist with Peace Corps Thailand and partnered with her local community to pilot a portfolio of capacity-building programs for educators and learners throughout central Thailand. She holds a dual Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Public Relations from Syracuse University.

McKenzie is a fierce champion of radical joy and humanity, and she believes deeply in the magic of connection to catalyze our collective liberation. She strives to bring this passion to support the Lab’s mission in contributing to a future where people who have been historically and systematically underinvested in have opportunities to create the futures they want for themselves.

McKenzie lives in Washington, D.C., and loves exploring the natural and curated world around her, discovering new music that speaks to her soul, and all the little moments in between spent with her community that make her feel fully alive.

Sofia Lopez Nunez

Board Member

Sofia Lopez Nunez is a finance consultant and design thinking strategist with extensive experience managing complex projects across diverse industries and geographies. She is part of the Teaching Team at IDEO U, where she supports learners to develop and enhance their creative leadership skills. Her prior experiences include leading the Latin America Finance organization at Caterpillar’s Distribution division, where she was a member of the region’s executive leadership team. She also worked at HSBC in Panama, starting her career in corporate and investment banking.

Having lived across seven different countries in the Americas and worked on a worldwide scale, Sofia understands the important role education plays in our society and our future. She has volunteered in multiple efforts, including OpenIDEO’s Early Childhood Education and Education in Emergencies challenges. She also serves as an alumni mentor to McGill University students and is a First Movers Fellow at the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program.

Sabina Sariyska

Instructional Designer

As an Instructional Designer, Sabina Sariyska is excited to bring her hybrid background to the Education Design Lab. She is a creator for XCredit, the Community College Growth Engine Fund, and the Data Collaborative.

Prior to joining the Lab, Sabina walked many paths, acquiring a bouquet of skills along the way. From creating interactive art installations after college to working as a respiratory therapist in neonatal units around the nation, each path has been filled with learning, exploration, practice, growth, and development. Excited to join a nonprofit that embraces the multiple dimensions each of us contains, Sabina is looking forward to collaborating on projects that will elevate people and their skills, knowledge, and earning potential.

Sabina holds a Master of Arts in Learning Design and Technology from the University of Colorado, Denver; a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Theatre from Concordia University in Montreal; and an Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Care from Pima Community College in Arizona.

Outside of work, Sabina enjoys the Colorado sunshine, gardening, dancing, audiobooks, and puzzles.

Jimmy LeDuc, EdD

Education Designer

Jimmy LeDuc brings faculty and administrative experience in higher education to Education Design Lab as an Education Designer working on the Community College Growth Engine.

Prior to joining the Lab, Jimmy LeDuc worked in theatre as an actor, director, and teacher. He has served as Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monroe County Community College in Michigan and also  served as a theater faculty member at Saint Paul College in Minnesota while coordinating their Community-Based Learning program. While at SPC, he also served as an Assessment Coach and worked on assessment and program review for the college. while serving on the college’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee and working as an equity trainer for the campus. He is excited to join the Lab because he believes in transformative education opportunities. 

HOMETOWN: Minneapolis, Minnesota

BACHELOR’S: B.A. in Theatre, Millsaps College

MASTER’S: MFA in Drama, University of Oklahoma

DOCTORATE: EdD in Leadership, Minnesota State University

FAVORITE QUOTE: It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart”. – Anne Frank

WHEN I’M NOT AT WORK I’M… at the theatre, walking, watching soccer, reading, cooking, or traveling when he can.

Asha Gordon

Senior Education Designer

Asha Gordon is a Senior Education Designer working on the OneTen initiative within the Lab’s Community College Growth Engine Fund. With 14+ years of experience in higher education and workforce development, Asha is skilled in developing strategic solutions, inspiring teams, and fostering individual development. She’s passionate about reminding others of their intrinsic worth and helping them develop their potential. Her endeavors have fostered her to focus on the individual holistically, and that pushes her to promote change.

Prior to joining the Lab, Asha served as a Director and then Chief Officer within Generation USA, leading the development and execution of bootcamp-style programs for the Verizon Skills Forward initiative. During that time, she oversaw four departments dedicated to learner success focused on instructional and program design, employer engagement, mentorship, career readiness, and early alert retention systems, resulting in a reduction in learner churn and improved learner retention. Asha’s higher education experience centers around enrollment management, where she found her calling in bridging the gap between strategy and implementation for people and processes.

Her strength lies in her ability to inspire and guide people to fill in the blanks with innovative solutions, creating buy-in and ensuring a unified sense of responsibility for producing quality work, even in environments with heavy focus on quantitative performance metrics. Asha is excited to join the Lab because she believes the future of education involves strategically learning from and leveraging the strengths of all stakeholders within the skills economy ecosystem, and she looks forward to contributing to and supporting this effort led by the Lab.

Outside of the Lab, Asha’s a lover of new experiences and can be found adventuring to new countries, participating in escape rooms, attending spoken word performances, and exploring new restaurants.

Minzi A. Thomas, EdD

Senior Education Designer

Dr. Minzi A. Thomas is a Senior Education Designer who supports the Lab’s OneTen partnership focused on building economic prosperity for Black talent.

A storyteller at heart, Minzi has a background in marketing and communications, workforce development, and college enrollment. She has a passion for developing workforce talent through partnership building, information sharing, and student advocacy.

Prior to joining the Lab, Minzi served as Director of Strategic Professional Development and Enrollment Management at Meharry Medical College. In this role, she managed enrollment and workforce development programming for the School of Applied Computational Sciences by cultivating partnerships with community leaders, industry, and college leaders. One of her department goals was to increase the number of Black and minority data scientists in the U.S.

Minzi has also served as a Tennessee Reconnect Navigator for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, supporting adult learners through college enrollment processes. She has taught speech and communication courses at community colleges in the Nashville area for over eight years.

Minzi has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Electronic Media, a Master of Arts in Communication Studies, and a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership. Her dissertation research focused on partnership engagement and college-to-university transfer as capacity-building strategies to cultivate student success.

Outside the Lab, her interests include concerts with standing-room only, astrology, and long walks in the park.

Jordan Lin

Senior Manager of Innovation

As the Senior Manager of Innovation, Jordan Lin works to lead and codify the Lab’s brand of innovation and its practice, serves as a resource and ideation partner to internal and external stakeholders, and advances emerging programs, products, and services across and beyond the Lab.

Prior to joining the Lab, Jordan managed the corporate leadership platform in the innovation arm of Jobs for the Future, building resources and community for F1000 corporate leaders, advising them and activating them as changemakers who advocate for better, more worker-centered talent strategies at their respective organizations. She also served as Community & Operations Director at IDEA: Northeastern University’s Venture Accelerator, developing a platform and programming for 530+ early-stage global ventures, and formerly worked across a variety of people operations roles at Wayfair, McKinsey & Company, and Publicis Sapient.

Jordan is excited to be at the Lab as a champion for equity and identifying solutions that prioritize the needs of and shift power to individuals, enabling them to not be constrained by their environment. She believes that in this world of accelerating change, it’s critical to unlock the exponential potential of learners and create meaningful pathways to help them achieve greater prosperity and impact. She’s a passionate builder of better programs, systems, and experiences that center the needs and voices of (l)earners who are overlooked by traditional systems and innovate on the edges of what’s possible.

HOMETOWN: Sewell, New Jersey

EDUCATION: Northeastern University

BACHELOR’S: B.S. Psychology with a minor in Business Administration, Leadership & Human Capital

FAVORITE QUOTE: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

WHEN I’M NOT AT WORK I’M… a plant and nature enthusiast who loves adventures and exploring the world around her. She enjoys rock climbing, food, and painting.