Transformations in Education Alumni Panel - 3/3/21, 4:30-5:30 pm

Are you interested in working in education but unsure about your fit within this large field? Princeton University alumni across multiple sectors of education (edtech, nonprofits, teaching) will share their professional experiences, how they transitioned from Princeton to their career and will reflect on recent changes in their fields since COVID-19.

Zoom link (open to Princeton University students on Handshake)

Alumni Panelists

Rena Chen ‘11, Development & Engagement Manager, Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, enjoys bringing people together to build community, solve problems, and learn from one another. She studied anthropology, environmental studies, and urban studies while at Princeton and first taught in Singapore through the Princeton in Asia fellowship program. Since then, she has worked with college access startups, social enterprises, nonprofits, and schools. She currently works for the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival (JRMF), an education nonprofit that seeks to inspire joy in mathematics. At JRMF Rena helps drive community engagement, outreach initiatives, and increased accessibility for those underrepresented in the STEM fields.

Ryan L Herbert ‘11, Biology Teacher, East Brunswick Public Schools, is eager to maintain and expand a student-centric approach to education, whatever the conditions he and his teaching team face. He received a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Lehigh University and went on to receive an M.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton. While at Princeton, he TA'ed three different courses, and his experience in these inspired him to enroll in Princeton's TeacherPrep program. After being certified to teach Biology and Earth & Space Sciences in New Jersey, Ryan became a 9th-grade biology teacher at East Brunswick Public Schools. He has taught there for about a year now, encompassing teaching experience from classes fully in-person, fully remote, and hybrid.

Lauren Lichtman ‘07, Partnerships Lead at Learning Equality Partnerships Lead at Learning Equality, is passionate about collaborations for innovations to eradicate barriers to education so all children and youth have their right to quality education realized. Her recent work has focused on supporting corporations engaging in education and the use of edtech for learning. Lauren holds a M.A. in International Educational Development with a focus on Peace Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.A. in Comparative Politics and a Certificate in African Studies from Princeton University.

Ogechi Oparah ’13, Social Studies Teacher, Clayton County Public Schools. While at Princeton, Ogechi Oparah danced with DiSiac Dance Company, served as a project coordinator with the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, and earned her degree in sociology as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. She then returned to her hometown of Fayetteville, Georgia, ran for school board, and led two civic organizations. Ogechi has coordinated district-wide arts and professional development for teachers at the Woodruff Arts Center. She is a National Urban Fellow and received her Master of Public Affairs degree from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College, CUNY in 2018. Ogechi currently teaches middle school social studies in Clayton County, where she works with a small collective of teachers to advance equity in education.


Anne N. Catena Ed.D., Director of Professional Learning Initiatives, Program in Teacher Preparation, Princeton University. Anne N. Catena, Ed.D. is the director of Professional Development Initiatives, and program associate within the Program in Teacher Preparation. She is the lead instructor in Program courses and advises students in math and the sciences. Dr. Catena develops Teacher Prep’s alumni network to improve the preparation of our students as they pursue a range of careers in education and professional learning. Analyzing the needs and goals of University faculty’s research grant requirements for broader impact, Dr. Catena creates and delivers education programs that synthesize talent and resources and disseminate research among community educators. Anne joined Teacher Prep in 1998. Prior to joining Princeton University, she worked with the National Research Council and the National Science Resources Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Catena earned her doctorate in Education Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation, "An Analysis of Career Choices among Teachers of High Academic Ability” examined the employment positions and influences on career choices among graduates of teacher preparation programs at Princeton University, and 5 other selective colleges.