Alumni Awards

Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award

Lab’s highest alumni honor, this award celebrates the accomplishments of alumni across spheres of professional and personal achievement, public and civic service, and philanthropic and volunteer engagement.

The 2023 Distinguished Alumnus Award Winner

Erwin Chemerinsky, ’71

Erwin Chemerinsky, ’71 became the thirteenth Dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law on July 1, 2017, when he joined the faculty as the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law.

Prior to assuming this position, from 2008–2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law. Before that, he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004–2008, and from 1983–2004 was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. 

He is the author of sixteen books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction. His most recent books are Worse than Nothing: The Dangerous Fallacy of Originalism (2022) and Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights (2021).

He also is the author of more than 200 law review articles, and a contributing writer for the Opinion section of the Los Angeles Times. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court. 

Dean Chemerinsky was named President of the Association of American Law Schools in 2022. In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2017, National Jurist magazine named him as the most influential person in legal education in the United States. Dean Chemerinsky earned a bachelor of science degree from Northwestern University and a juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School.


XinQi Dong, ’90, AB’94


Charis Eng, ’80, AB’82, PhD’86, MD’88


Susan Landau Axelrod, '70, MBA'82


Rising Star Professional Achievement Award

The Rising Star Professional Achievement Award recognizes Lab alumni who have graduated within the last 30 years and have made an impact in their field.

The 2023 Rising Star Professional Achievement Award Winners

Andrea Ellis, ’03

Andrea Ellis, ’03 joined Fanatics Betting & Gaming as its Chief Financial Officer in October 2022. In her current role, Ellis oversees Financial Planning & Analysis, Strategic Finance, Accounting, Tax, Treasury, Payments, and Fraud. This is her second Chief Financial Officer appointment in the tech industry, as Fanatics looks to launch its proprietary online sportsbook app in the coming months. 

Prior to joining Fanatics, Ellis served as Chief Financial Officer of Neutron Holdings, Inc. d/b/a Lime, the largest electric micro mobility company globally. During her tenure, Lime more than doubled its revenue and became the first electric micro mobility company ever to achieve full-year EBITDA positive results. In addition to overseeing Finance at Lime, Ellis managed HR/People (interim), Investor Relations, Corporate Development, and Business Information Systems, leading a team of more than 100 individuals. Her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion was exemplified in the composition of her team, which was 70% women and more than 60% people of color.

From 2015–2020, Ellis held numerous positions at Restaurant Brands International (RBI) (NYSE:QSR), the parent company of Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons. Ellis started her career at Goldman Sachs, working in Investment Banking from 2012–2015 and Equities Trading from 2007–2010. She earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Pennsylvania and a master of business administration degree from Harvard Business School.  Ellis was named to Crain’s 40 Under 40 class in 2021 and was honored as the 2022 CFO of the Year in the Non-Public Company category by the San Francisco Business Times. She currently serves on the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools Board and resides in Chicago with her husband, Dr. Marco Ellis and their four-year-old son.

Ovlia John, ’03

Olivia John, ’03

Olivia John, ’03 is the Founder and CEO of Osso Capital, an investment firm offering traditional apartment investing with a data-driven approach. She is responsible for the investment strategy and day-to-day management of the firm and serves as the chair of the Investment Committee.

Before Osso, John was a Managing Director on the Real Estate Acquisitions team at Blackstone, where she worked in the New York and London offices from 2007–2020. She previously led the firm’s U.S. multifamily investing efforts (approximately $12 billion of acquisitions) and played a key role in the creation and expansion of LivCor, Blackstone’s U.S. apartment portfolio company.

Olivia graduated summa cum laude from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received a bachelor of science degree in economics and was a Joseph Wharton Scholar.


Alumni Service Award

The Alumni Service Award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the Laboratory Schools and the alumni community.

The 2023 Alumni Service Award Winners

Chase Chavin, ’97

Chase Chavin, ’97 is a Co-Founder and Principal of Intersection Realty Group where he is responsible for investment strategy and asset management. Since 2009, Chavin has overseen the acquisition and capitalization of almost 18,000 units in the multifamily space totaling over $1.5 billion in value.

In 2019, Chavin co-founded COLAB 7100, a shared workspace and innovation hub in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago with the goal of supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs from traditionally underserved markets in the city. He also serves on the board of directors of Social Change, a non-profit committed to liberation, amplifying community voices, and disrupting the legacy of systemic injustice through storytelling, organizing, direct action and policy advocacy.

Chavin has dedicated his time and talents to supporting the Laboratory Schools for many years. He joined the Alumni Advisory Committee in 2006 and continued to serve as the group transitioned to the current Alumni Association Executive Board (AAEB). Chavin chaired the nominations committee and served as Vice President of the AAEB during his tenure. Chavin and his family were instrumental in launching the Class of 1997 Scholarship Fund during his 25th reunion year. Additionally, he has visited Lab to speak with U-High students as a Maroon Mentor, has participated in philanthropic and engagement appeals to the alumni community, and has served on search committees for leadership positions at Lab.

Chavin received a bachelor of business administration degree, with high distinction, from the University of Michigan, and a master of business administration degree from Harvard Business School. He resides in Chicago with his wife Stefanie, his son Colby, his daughter Alexandra—both current Lab students—and their two dogs, Zoom and Misty.

Leah Taylor, ’78

Leah Taylor, ’78 is a Managing Director and Banker in the Chicago office of J.P. Morgan Private Bank. She and her team help clients define and pursue their individual wealth goals, providing customized strategies across financial planning, investing, borrowing, banking, and trust and estate planning.

With more than thirty years of experience at J.P. Morgan, Taylor marshals the bank’s best resources to address even the most complex family and business issues. She is finely attuned to the specifics of each client’s circumstances, and she is known for her ability to craft innovative strategies for special situations. 

Taylor has supported the Laboratory Schools and the University of Chicago community in countless ways. She has served on the Alumni Association Executive Board since 2011, spending two years as the Vice President. Taylor has also advocated for and championed the cause of the Laboratory Schools through her seat on the University of Chicago Alumni Board for the past two years. She has spoken with U-High students at career talks about the finance industry, providing guidance, wisdom, and encouragement to those looking to follow in her footsteps.

Taylor has spent her entire career in finance. She earned her undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, and holds a master of business administration degree from Harvard Business School. Prior to joining the Private Bank, Taylor worked in both Commercial and Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan.


Cheryl Cortez, ’92 MBA’03


Jason Tyler, ’89, MBA’99