Friday, February 15, 2008

Zoanne Clack

Dr. Zoanne Clack is a writer, executive story editor and producer on the award-winning ABC television hit “Grey’s Anatomy.” She has been with the show since it began and also acts as a medical adviser, assisting in production of all medical aspects of the show.

Zoanne grew up in Missouri City, TX, a suburb of Houston, with her mom. She entered Northwestern University with a major in Radio/TV/Film, but changed her major to Communication Studies and Neurobiology. Pursuing a stable career, her next ten years of Zoanne’s life were devoted to the practice of medicine. From medical school at UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX, she went to Atlanta, GA to pursue a residency in Emergency Medicine at Emory University. This was followed by a fellowship in Injury Prevention that led her to obtain a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) in Behavioral Sciences. Zoanne went on to spend a year with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doing International Emergency Medicine. Throughout that year, she helped develop an emergency medicine program in response to the bombing of the American Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as well as playing a part in expanding emergency medicine to the pacific island of Palau.

Then, Zoanne moved to Los Angeles where she signed up for acting, producing and writing classes at UCLA. "I wasn't finding my niche in medicine," she told Manuel Mandoza. "It wasn't where I thought I wanted to be."

In 2002, she landed a staff job on the short-lived series Presidio Med based on spec scripts she'd written for Without a Trace and The Shield. After working as a consultant on ER, she was hired as a writer for Grey's after ABC picked up the pilot in 2004.
In 2006, she won a Writer's Guild of America award for "Grey's Anatomy" in the new series category. Zoanne also was awarded the Scroll of Merit in 2006 by the National Medical Association, the largest organization of black doctors in the country.

In addition to writing for television, she serves on the board of the Student National Medical Association, an organization with the goal of ensuring culturally sensitive medical education and increasing the number of students of color that enter and complete medical school.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Susan Fuhrman

NU alum Susan Fuhrman holds an extremely important job. She recently completed her first year as the president of Teachers College, Columbia University. Susan earned her bachelor's and master's degree in history at Northwestern University and her PhD degree in political science and education at Columbia University. She is also chair of the management committee of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. Her many professional involvements include membership on the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Coca-Cola Council for Corporate and School Partnerships.

Susan is a noted education researcher who was an early analyst of the state education standards movement. Together with David K. Cohen of the University of Michigan and Fritz Mosher of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, Susan recently published The State of Education Policy Research (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007), a new compendium of essays about education policy research. Dr. Fuhrman notes that “The growing centralization and standardization of certain areas of education policymaking coexists uneasily with the public’s desire for local control of its schools. It results in a system that is very tightly controlled around some issues – e.g., civil rights, state standards and assessments – and very loosely controlled around other functions, most notably teaching and learning.”

NU alum with school aged children are keenly aware that their states are now dealing with difficult educational issues such as performance standards, assessment and accountability. Not to mention No Child Left Behind. We are fortunate that one of our most distinguished alums is playing such an important role in the discussions about public education policy.