Skyler Adams

Coordinator of Recruitment, Marketing and College Relations, Chicago Semester

Skyler Adams Joined the Chicago Semester team in September of 2015. What he loves most about this program is that it not only suggests, but actively guides students through a journey of cultural and self-discovery as they begin to navigate what It means to live, work and learn in an urban city environment.

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Although born in Davenport, Iowa and living for a brief time in Springfield, Illinois, Skyler spent the majority of his life prior to Chicago in Holland Michigan. Before joining Chicago Semester, Skyler worked at Hope College (where he also graduated 13’) as an admissions representative. It was during this time that he began recruiting and working in the city of Chicago, developing a passion for the city and engaging in urban life. He marks this as the time that he knew he wanted to make Chicago his home.

Skyler also has a passion for the performing arts, and enjoys taking in the many artistic offerings that the city provides, including plays, musicals and checking out new bands.

Skyler currently lives on the north side of Chicago. When he’s not recruiting future CSers, he enjoys long runs around the lakeshore, playing in his band, leading worship at Community Christian Church in Old Town, and exploring new Chicago neighborhoods.


Rebecca Burwell, PhD

Faculty & Practicum Group Coordinator 

Rebecca Burwell joined the Chicago Semester team in spring of 2007. She loves Chicago Semester because of its potential to impact students as they transition from college to the real world.  She also loves engaging students in learning about and working with urban communities.

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Born and raised in New York and Pennsylvania, Rebecca has lived on both the East and West costs, and feels that she has found a happy medium in Chicago. Prior to joining Chicago Semester, Rebecca did extensive work within the realm of social justice, doing her dissertation in Cuba on the negotiation of motherhood, wage-earning and civic engagement in the Cuban context. She also spent several years studying the impact of Latino churches on Chicago communities through the Center for the Study of Latino Religion at the University of Notre Dame. She finished her MA and PhD in sociology at Loyola University Chicago and continues to write and research about issues related to race, inequality, and social justice.

Rebecca currently lives on Chicago’s northwest side with her family and counts herself extraordinarily blessed with a great group of friends, a faith community she loves, and a close family.


Lisa Hensey, PhD

Student Teaching Program Director 

Lisa Hensey joined Chicago Semester in August of 2005, the same month she moved to Chicago. She thoroughly enjoys working with student teachers at Chicago Semester because they are dedicated educators who are interested in urban education, and want to make a positive difference in their students’ lives.

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Lisa was raised in a small central Illinois town, but has traveled all around the world. Prior to coming to Chicago Semester, Lisa was a public school teacher, and taught at a small Christian college in eastern Iowa. In 2000, she and her husband, along with their two children, went to Tanzania as ELCA missionaries for five years. Lisa served as the Education Department Chair at Tumaini Universtiy – Iringa (the first private university in Tanzania).

After living abroad, Lisa is happy to have settled in a city that is a microcosm of the world! She currently resides in the south side Hyde Park neighborhood. When she’s not learning about social justice issues in education first-hand with her students, she enjoys spending time with her family.


Mackenzi Huyser, PhD

Executive Director

Mackenzi Huyser joined the Chicago Semester program as Executive Director in July 2014. She is passionate about the program’s mission to provide experiential learning opportunities, rooted in a Christian perspective, as students live, learn and work in the global city of Chicago. She is inspired by student and alumni stories about how the program has shaped their ideas about urban life and work.

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Originally from West Michigan, Mackenzi is now deeply committed to living in the city and continually seeking to answer questions about what it means for Christians to engage in urban life. Mackenzi is excited to lead the Chicago Semester Program as it seeks to explore possible answers through work with students in the program. Prior to joining the staff at Chicago Semester, she served as Dean for Faculty Development and Academic Programs and Professor of Social Work at Trinity Christian College’s Palos Heights campus.

Mackenzi lives in the south side Hyde Park neighborhood with her family. She enjoys spending time outdoors, visiting museums and neighborhood restaurants throughout the city, and attending LaSalle Street Church where she and her family are members.


Michelle McClure, DNP, FNP-BC

Nursing Program Director

Michelle McClure joined Chicago Semester in fall of 2005. Because she believes that nurses are called to a profession and by answering that call nurses are obedient to God, Michelle made the decision to go in to education, and teaching at Chicago Semester.

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Michelle is a life-long Chicago native. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Chicago State University, holds a Master of Science degree as a Family Nurse Practioner from Saint Xavier University, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Loyola University New Orleans. She has extensive experience in maternal child health, primary care of women, primary care in the retail health setting, and in nursing education. Her special interests include perinatal loss, childbirth and lactation education.

Michelle currently lives on the north side of Chicago. When she is not teaching at Chicago Semester, she enjoys being actively involved in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She also loves taking in music in the city, going to movies, and trying one of the many local restaurants with friends.


Erik Nussbaum, MM

Seminar Instructor

Erik Nussbaum joined Chicago Semester in fall of 2008, and has taught the Arts & the City course ever since.  Erik’s favorite part of teaching the Arts & the City class is the discussion about the amazing art events they see. He really enjoys sharing and learning about all of the different perspectives and ways each person understands each experience, and witnessing the growth that happens within each student as the semester progresses is always very fulfilling. Erik feels this embodies, in part, the mission of the whole program.

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Erik’s experience leading up to his time in Chicago was quite different. Born in a small town (Eureka, IL), Erik then attended Knox College for his undergraduate degree, and Westminster for his graduate work. He went from small, to small, to huge! Employment with the Chicago Children’s Choir led him to Chicago in 2000, and serving in many south and west side public elementary schools greatly expanded his understanding of life in the city.

When Erik isn’t teaching at Chicago Semester, you can often find him writing music for his church music ministry, which includes the choir, string ensemble, organ or piano, and various instruments and different combinations of all of them. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, whether that’s playing Frisbee, watching movies, playing with their senior cat, Charlie, or making music together.


Alexis Rivers

Operations Coordinator and Registrar

Alexis Rivers joined the Chicago Semester staff in December of 2016. Alexis’ favorite part of the CS program is building relationships with students and seeing how they transform during their semester in Chicago.

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Although born in Los Angeles, California, Alexis grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. She attended Hope College and majored in International studies, and graduated in 2016. Alexis served in numerous roles during her time at Hope, including Assistant to the Director of Multicultural Education, Director of Advising and Transition Orientation, and President of Black Student Union and the Theta Gamma Pi Sorority. Alexis also studied abroad for a semester in Argentina.

Alexis currently lives on the south side of Chicago in the Bronzeville neighborhood. Her favorite activities in the city are exploring the different cultural neighborhoods in Chicago, finding different festivals or events to attend, and trying at least one new restaurant a month.


Nancy Triezenberg Fox, MSW

Social Work Program Director

Nancy Fox joined Chicago Semester (then referred to as the Chicago Metropolitan Center) in 1992, initiating the Social Work track for the program. This was not Nancy’s first experience with Chicago Semester, however, as she is also an alum of the program. What Nancy loves most about Chicago Semester is the opportunity to expose students to all that Chicago Semester has to offer, while also preparing them for a rewarding career in Social Work.

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Nancy attended Calvin College as an undergrad, and then completed her Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in Community Organization. Following her graduate work (and a two month trip to Europe) Nancy returned to Chicago where she held her first position as a Community Organizer, and later worked for several years at a Fair Housing organization, a testing program to determine if local real estate agents were discriminating.

Nancy now lives with her husband in the Oak Park neighborhood, and is the proud mother of two sons. When Nancy isn’t exploring social justice issues in Chicago with her students, she enjoys traveling, museums, architecture, art and spending time with family and friends.


Kendra Wright, MSW

Associate Director of Internships

Kendra Wright joined Chicago Semester staff in July of 2013, though she joined the Chicago Semester family in 2010 when she took part in the program as a social work student from Trinity Christian College. After completing the CS program, Kendra moved permanently to the city and completed her Master’s in Social Work at University of Illinois–Chicago, concentrating in Community Health and Urban Development. Her experience in multi-cultural non-profit settings, preparing refugees and high school students for employment, equipped her for the good work here at Chicago Semester.

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Kendra thoroughly enjoys the opportunity that she has to support students as they reflect on their career goals, build a resume and/or portfolio, and learn how to interview well – all while practicing urban values and vocation in a city rich with culture and diversity. When Kendra isn’t emailing students about their internship opportunities and reminding them to submit their updated resumes, you can find her spending time with her husband, Mark, and new daughter Naomi. Kendra lives in the Avondale neighborhood and attends Covenant Presbyterian Church.