Professional Portfolio

Olivia M. Chesniak, PhD is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching at Northwestern University where she works on the Postdoc Academy project. Dr. Chesniak earned a BS in Chemistry from Lewis University and a PhD in Chemistry from Michigan State University with a focus on biocompatible nanomaterial synthesis.

Dr. Chesniak decided to become an educator as an undergraduate student after recognizing the discrepancy between learning objectives and assessments. Using evidence-based instructional methods, She has aimed to resolve this discrepancy for her students throughout her time as a graduate teaching assistant. The broader inequities persistent within higher education captured her interest, leading her to pursue a career focused on improving professional and career development of early career scholars and professionals.

She is dedicated to supporting peer-led communities, with particular interest in cultivating professional identity and community-driven culture change. She hopes to inspire trainees to embrace their agency and see themselves as more than “just” graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Dr. Chesniak has brought her passion for community building to Northwestern University, where she has directed communication efforts and served as the Web Administrator for the Northwestern University Postdoc Association.

Examples of my work in professional development, online learning, evaluation, and in-person instruction spanning 2018 – present are shared here.