Upper School students explored potential future careers on April 16 as nine alumni and one alumni parent returned to campus to lead Career Day presentations and small-group discussions.


Rawan Abassi ’06, Rachel Cuadros ’90, Tom Dryjanski ’05, Bennett Kalafut ’99, John Koht ’02, C.J. Kowalsky ’01, Amber Sipich ’08, Jessica Szkarlat ’07, alumni parent Mark Erzen, and Director of Alumni Relations Julie Cuadros-Perry ’93 discussed their careers in a wide variety of fields:
  • medical research and healthcare
  • art, photography, and sculpture
  • science and engineering
  • web design and mobile applications
  • e-commerce
  • law
  • graphic design
  • dentistry
  • finance and accounting
  • pharmacy
The event was coordinated by college counselor Theresa Wright with assistance from Mrs. Cuadros-Perry and Upper School teacher Claire Concannon ’85.





Rawan Abassi ’06 is a clinical research coordinator in the Gastroenterology Department at Rush University Medical Center, after receiving her biomedical engineering degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology.


Rachel Cuadros ’90 practices dentistry in Mokena. She earned her undergraduate and dentistry degrees at the University of Illinois and did her residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.


Julie Cuadros-Perry ’93, our controller and director of alumni relations, worked at Arthur Andersen and at The PrivateBank before returning to MPA in 2013. She is a CPA and holds a Master’s in accounting from DePaul University and a B.A. in economics from Carleton College.


Tom Dryjanski ’05 is an artist, teacher, and community facilitator. As lab coordinator of LATITUDE, he is responsible for the technical direction of Chicago’s only public digital production facility. He also works as a photographer and sculptor and is a teaching artist at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where his main function is to help others translate their thoughts about art into mostly understandable sentences.


Mark Erzen P’04, ’07 practiced law for 30 years after earning a mathematics degree at Michigan State University and a law degree at the University of Michigan. After sending two children to MPA, he returned to school to earn a teaching degree and now works with us as a substitute teacher and coach.
Bennett Kalafut ’99 works as a software scientist at Thermo Fisher Scientific, writing instrument control software for mass spectrometers used in life and health sciences and in the regulated clinical environment. He graduated magna cum laude from Tulane University with a double major in physics and math and went on to earn a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Arizona.


John Koht ’02 is principal and creative director for Kohactive, a Chicago creative digital agency that specializes in web and mobile solutions. He has a heavy background in web and digital development, including websites and desktop applications. He graduated from Boston University.
C.J. Kowalsky ’01 leads 200-plus sales managers and account executives as director of sales at Yelp’s Chicago office. He has worked his way up the ladder at Yelp after starting in their San Francisco office after earning his undergraduate degree from DePaul University.


Amber Sipich ’08 is a graphic designer at Slalom Consulting, where her projects include designing responsive web apps for clients such as Nike and Taco Bell. She studied art at Illinois Wesleyan University and the Chicago Portfolio School, concentrating on printmaking and graphic design. She also has worked on brands such as Sharpie and Paper Mate and has done freelance design for a variety of large and small clients.

Jessica Szkarlat ’07 is a CVS pharmacist in Oak Forest. She earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Chicago State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa.