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Founder & CEO

Letitia Zwickert holds an MA in International Relations and a MAED in Secondary Education. Among her many experiences, Letitia was a researcher with the European Parliament on defense and security issues, and worked at Harvard University on an EU grant. She is the first K-12 educator to receive a Fulbright-Schuman Scholar award, which gave her the opportunity to develop and carry out research and policy work on best practices in education for migrant, refugee, and underserved youth in Europe, in 2016.

Letitia is also a current Fulbright Specialist in Education for 2017-2020. Her volunteer work as an Education Advisor for the International Outreach Council for the University of Illinois supports educators throughout the state, and helps bridge the gap between k-12 and higher ed. Letitia is also a Transatlantic Core Group Fellow with the BMW Foundation, and contributed to the development of a Connected Cities program between the US and Germany to foster civil society networks and focus on those who are unconnected or underrepresented. As a BMW Responsible Leader, Letitia works to promote SDG goals within and outside of the network. As a writer for Education Week’s Global Ed blog, Letitia helps advance the K-12 teaching profession.

In 2017, Letitia presented her philosophy of “Engaged Teaching” to the OECD’s Education Team at their headquarters in Paris, and in May of 2018 she represented the US education system in New Brunswick at the OECD’s 4th Policy Forum on SEL for immigrant and refugee students. Letitia has devoted her life’s work to cross-cultural understanding and the supporting and fostering of local and global connections, understanding, and action to create lasting, positive change. Letitia is a second career, full-time high school social studies teacher, and mom of three children, ages 17, 15, and 5.


MENTEE is a Chicago nonprofit that supports immigrant, refugee, and low-income youth with mentorship and cross-sector job shadows.

MENTEE cares about the whole person. We provide social-emotional, mental health, and legal resources to reduce the obstacles students face, and offer opportunities that support both English language learning and celebrate our mentees’ own language and culture. MENTEE puts students in cross-neighborhood cohorts to promote the idea that Chicago is not just their school or their neighborhood, and aligns ourselves with the United Nations SDGs 4 and 11 to highlight that these challenges are problems without borders: it’s essential for the students and our community to see the global connection to a local concern. Mentorship and cross-sector job shadows and experiences offers our students the guidance they need, and helps them build a network they don’t naturally have. MENTEE’s holistic approach ensures students not only have the confidence in themselves to be successful, gain the experiences, skills and knowledge they need to create personalized plans and see them through, but also have the power to control their own future.  

Founder and CEO of MENTEE, a Chicago based nonprofit that supports immigrant, refugee,and low-income youth with mentorship and cross-sector job shadows. MENTEE helps kids stay inschool, offers social and emotional supports our students need, helps them build a network theydon’t naturally have, and gives our young mentees the confidence and experience to direct theirown future.

What are the names of our cross-neighborhood cohorts?

MENTEE éxito (Spanish)

MENTEE kamyabi, کامیابی (Urdu)

MENTEE najah, نجاح  (Arabic)

MENTEE owneynteh, အောင်မြင်ခြင်း (Burmese)

MENTEE sikēti, ስኬት (Amharic)
MENTEE succès (French)

MENTEE uspeh, успех  (Russian)

About our mentees:

  • 100% are English Language Learners
  • Many are refugees
  • Some are undocumented
  • Many are facing various challenges, from being victims of human trafficking to very serious family hardships.

Languages our mentees speak (in order of %):











About our mentors:

63% are themselves, or come from a family comprised of immigrants or refugees

66% speak Spanish

77% speak another language

What companies/organizations/agencies are our mentors from?

Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center;

Medical Organization for Latino Advancement
American Red Cross of Chicago
Casa Central
Chicago Public Schools
Decades Network (Weigel Broadcasting)
Farmers insurance
First Stop Health, LLC
Food Chain Workers Alliance
Fredman Design Group
HBK Engineering
House of Representative (Congressman Luis V.

Gutierrez 4th District)
Jonamay Lambert & Associates
NAGY Associates
National Immigrant Justice Center
National Louis University
Northeastern Illinois University
Oracle (3 mentors!)
Packback (4 mentors!)
Robert Morris University Illinois
Rush University Medical Center

State of Illinois (Comptroller’s Office)
University of Chicago
University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
University of Illinois at Chicago, The CHANCE Program
University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
Univision (3 mentors!)

Website: www.menteechicago.org

CEO & Founder: http://www.menteechicago.org/founder-and-ceo

Radio Islam interview: https://soundcloud.com/radioislamusa/ep-6231-mentee-chicago-segment-101318  

Piece on MENTEE by Univision: https://www.univision.com/chicago/wgbo/noticias/educacion/mentee-el-programa-que-brinda-ayuda-academica-a-estudiantes-inmigrantes-y-refugiados-video

Letitia Zwickert


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