The University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program
1225 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program Staff
KIM RANSOM | DIRECTOR
Kim Ransom is the founding Director of the University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program. She is a Chicago native and Chicago Public School graduate. Ms. Ransom earned her B.S. in Business Management from Bradley University. Following graduation, Kim worked for the Chicago Tribune while volunteering for a teen program at the Elliott Donnelley Chicago Youth Center (EDYC). After volunteering at the youth center, she was offered a position as Outreach Coordinator for the MacArthur Foundation funded program, The Grand Boulevard Arts Initiative. Ms. Ransom provided over 700 youth with free, professional arts programming. Shortly thereafter, she became the Program Coordinator for the EDYC Teen Program (EDYCTP). For five years, she worked to equip low income, urban teens with leadership skills by fostering employment opportunities, college scholarships, arts programming, college tours, fundraising, counseling and a variety of social and educational activities. During this time, Ms. Ransom also brokered numerous services and opportunities for EDYCTP by developing strong community partnerships with various community centers, schools, housing projects, social organizations and churches in the Chicago area.
In 1999, Ms. Ransom was hired to work with the Office of Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College Chicago. In this capacity, she served as Audience Development Coordinator for DanceAfrica Chicago and The Center for Black Music Research’s New Black Music Repertoire Ensemble. In 2000, she was promoted to the Academic Advisor for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) serving over 700 students at Dyett, Beethoven and ACT Charter Schools. In 2001, Ms. Ransom became the Director of GEARUP and worked here for two years before accepting the position of Director of the Collegiate Scholars Program at University of Chicago (CSP). As founding director of CSP, Ms. Ransom has built a highly successful college access program whose mission is to prepare talented Chicago Public Schools high school students for admission and success at highly selective colleges and universities.
In addition to her career accomplishments, Ms. Ransom is a published author and holds a MA in English Literature from DePaul University, Chicago. She’s performed at many venues in the Chicago area as well as in other states.
ABEL OCHOA | ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
Abel Ochoa was born and raised in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Abel graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish. Abel is currently finalizing his Master of Arts in Public Policy degree at Northwestern University. Abel knows firsthand how difficult it can be to prepare for college. Growing up, Abel was unaware of the skills and preparation needed to succeed in life. With the help of community centers and positive role models he was able to take initiative and work hard in the classroom to make college a reachable goal. The challenges Abel faced as a high school student and his most recent professional experience have fueled his desire to be an agent of change in the field of education. Abel is currently finalizing his thesis project which researches gentrification in Chicago neighborhoods and its impact on youth development. Abel has experience working with high school students, parents, faculty, undergraduate students and knowledge in admission and financial aid. Abel has a true passion and desire to see that all students, regardless of ability, realize their dream of attaining higher education.
JAMIE BALDWIN | OFFICE MANAGER
Jamie Baldwin is responsible for overseeing the budget, payments, gifts and grant administration and staffing. Jamie is a native of Southern California, where she received her bachelor's degree in History and Psychology and a Master's in Counseling with a specialization in Higher Education. She previously worked as Scholarship Coordinator and Recruiter at the University of South Florida in Tampa. In addition, Ms. Baldwin also served as the Academic Advisor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She is thrilled to be on the University of Chicago campus although getting used to the Chicago winter took some time. When not working, she enjoys traveling and photography.
JACQUELINE GAINES | MANAGER OF COLLEGE ADVISING
Jacqueline Gaines provides oversight and management of the college preparation component of UCCSP. Prior to joining Collegiate Scholars, Ms. Gaines served as the Manager of Matriculation and Onboarding for Teach For America - Chicago, where she was responsible for ensuring that 250 incoming corps members were certified and prepared to teach in schools in the low-income communities throughout Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Ms. Gaines was also a 2006 Teach For America - Chicago corps member. Through the program, she taught Reading and English at Bogan High School and served as the National Honor Society adviser. Ms. Gaines holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio and is currently working towards her Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Policy at Northwestern University.
VERSHAWN SANDERS | MANAGER OF STUDENT ENRICHMENT
Vershawn Sanders provides oversight and management of the arts, cultural, academic and special projects for the student enrichment component of UCCSP under three core areas- Program Development, Special Projects and Civic Engagement. In this role, she assists with identifying potential faculty for the summer program, as well as plan arts/cultural events, community service projects and other special events during the academic year. Prior to joining UCCSP, Ms. Sanders served as a faculty member, teaching artist and administrative staff with many organizations and institutions in Chicago including City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X Campus, Robert Morris University, The Gary Comer Youth Center, Gary Comer College Prep Middle School, the Dance Center of Columbia College, Urban Gateways and the Office of Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College Chicago. In her artistic life, Ms. Sanders is the Founder and current Artistic Managing Director of Red Clay Dance Company, a Chicago-based contemporary dance ensemble. Her educational background includes a Master of Fine arts degree in Dance from New York University and was the first recipient of a Bachelor of Fine arts degree in Dance from Columbia College Chicago. Ms. Sanders is 2000 Gates Millennium Scholar and brings her passion for dance and education to her new role at UCCSP.