March 13, 2021

1:00-6:00pm CST

Virtual Conference for Humanities

Graduates on the Job Market

Join us for the inaugural Theory Meets Praxis Conference designed for humanities professionals looking to explore careers beyond academia. This conference is designed for current students or recent graduates in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in the humanities. The first 200 registrants will have the chance to sign up for 15-minute matchmaking sessions with employers.

Attendees should expect to learn about unexpected and interesting career paths for humanities grads, meet with employers, and network.


This conference is organized by Theory Meets Praxis. Create a free account today to review our job board updated weekly with jobs of interest to humanities graduates.


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    1:00-1:15pm CST Welcome

    Brief opening remarks welcoming all registrants to the conference and presenting an overview of the conference agenda.

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    1:15pm-2:30pm CST | Panel 1

    Lauren Silvers | Global Program Manager, LinkedIn

    Devin Ackles | Design Researcher, Field Form

    Mark Keller | Assistant Vice President, EMEA Country Credit Risk at MUFG

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    2:30-2:45pm Break / Networking

  • 2:45-4:00pm | Panel 2

    Marcus Lampert | Software Engineer, Pricewaterhouse Coopers

    Mechie Nkengla | Chief Data Strategist & Founder, Data Products

    Dale Walker | Experienced Director of Development and Major Gifts Officer

  • 4:00 - 4:15pm CST | Break / Networking

  • 4:15 - 5:30pm CST | Panel 3

    Laura Briggs | Author, two-time TEDx speaker, and full-time freelance writer

    Risha Lee | Senior UX Researcher, American Express

  • 5:30 - 6:00 pm | Networking


Our mission is to help humanities graduates discover interesting new careers beyond academia. Join us to hear more about the career paths of our panelists from a variety of fields ranging from the world of consulting, freelancing, development, and beyond. Each panelist will discuss their professional journey, a typical day in their job, and how humanities graduates can be competitive in crafting applications.

Lauren Silvers | Global Program Manager – LinkedIn

As Global Program Manager at LinkedIn, Lauren Silvers translates the business’ strategic priorities into programs that create behavior change at scale. Lauren completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at University of Chicago and also served as a Harper Schmidt Postdoctoral fellow/Assistant Professor in the Humanities. Her current role engages her love of critical thinking, collaboration, and her deep need to create impact on others.

Devin Ackles| Design Researcher

Devin Ackles is a Design Researcher for Field Form, a boutique Design Build studio based in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to his current role, Devin was a Senior Associate at Ernst & Young, Contributor to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Researcher and Policy Analyst at the Center for Social and Economic Research in Ukraine and editor of Belarus Digest, an English-language analytical daily on Belarusian current affairs. Devin has also served as a High School Instructor for Americorps in New York City and an Education Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan. 


In his role as a design researcher, Devin takes a decidedly interdisciplinary approach to strategic problem solving for built and virtual environments, utilizing his theoretical training and real world experience in ethnography, policy analysis, linguistics, editing, curriculum design and strategic problem solving, among others. Devin holds an M.A. from Middlebury College in Russian, an M.A. in Social Studies Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, a B.A. in Russian Language and Literature and a B.A. in Anthropology from Michigan State University. Devin is a former Fulbright Fellow at the Kyiv School of Economics, Ukraine. He is a first generation college graduate.

Mark Keller | Assistant Vice President, EMEA Country Credit Risk at MUFG

 Mark received his MSc in Latin American Studies at the University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College). [BA European History, Columbia University]. During his early career, he started out as a Research Analyst for the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. From there he went on to serve as a Researcher for Freedom House, an Analyst for the Latin Trade Group, and eventually Lead Analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit (the EIU). Finally, in August he accepted a new role as Assistant Vice President (EMEA Country Credit Risk) at MUFG in London, England.

Marcus Lampert | Software Engineer, PricewaterhouseCoopers (Germany)

Marcus received his PhD in Germanic Studies in 2015 from the University of Chicago and now works as a software engineer in Berlin building web-based applications for PricewaterhouseCoopers Germany.  After his PhD, while working as a Humanities Teaching Fellow at UChicago, Marcus decided it was time to think constructively about the lackluster job market and his eternal struggles with academic writing.  He remembered how much he had enjoyed a programming course he took over a decade before as a college undergraduate, and he heard from friends about how many job opportunities there were in software engineering that allowed one to work on building new, creative digital products.  He started working part time for UChicago ITServices, visited an undergraduate computer science course, and took a number of online courses.  He now has nearly three years under his belt as a professional software engineer in a team of ten people, building applications that help to streamline the financial audit process.  He enjoys the rigor, the challenges, and the creativity involved in software engineering, and is very happy to have a portable skillset that seems able to open many doors to future career positions.

Mechie Nkengla | Founder & Chief  Data Strategist, Data Products LLC

Dr. Mechie Nkengla is the Founder and Principal Data Strategist of Data Products LLC ( She holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her professional journey has taken her from Academic Research to Government to Start-ups to Fortune 500 Corporations and finally to founding her own business which strives to improve lives through data. She is an excellent resource for insights on employer perspectives for hiring, perspectives on online coding/data science courses, and DEI (diversity/equity/inclusion) initiatives in tech. 

Dale Walker | Experienced Director of Development and Major Gifts Officer

 Dale received his Ph.D. in Early Christian Literature from the University of Chicago in 1998. His education also includes a BA in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan. His career path began as the Senior Director of Development at the University of Wyoming then continued at the Illinois Institute of Technology at the Senior Major Gifts Officer. He later served as the Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. Most recently, he held the role of Deputy Director of Major Gifts at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.


Laura Briggs | Author, two-time TEDx speaker, and full-time freelance writer & project manager

Laura Briggs is a former inner-city teacher turned entrepreneur and freelance writer. She started her freelance business in 2012, scaled it to $200k in revenue as a solopreneur, and then began teaching other freelancers how to get started. She’s the author of two currently published books with Entrepreneur Press, the award-winning How to Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business and the Amazon bestseller Six Figure Freelancer. Her 3rd,4th, and 5th books will be published in 2021 and 2022. She’s the founder of Operation Freelance, a 501(c)3 teaching military spouses how to break into freelancing. 

Risha Lee

As a Senior UX Research Lead at American Express, Risha Lee translates the company’s strategic priorities into studies focused on user needs and behaviors. Risha holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Columbia University and previously worked as a museum curator and professor. Her current role ties together her love of learning, collaboration, and creative problem solving.