“Jobs that require high levels of education and skill pay higher wages than jobs that require few skills and little education,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jacqueline Von Edelberg proves that obtaining higher education has helped to open new doors in advancing her career. For the past two and a half years, Jacqueline has been the director of strategic partnerships for Youtopia, an online gamification platform that tracks and rewards civic engagement.

(Photo Courtesy of Jacqueline Von Edelberg)

(Photo Courtesy of Jacqueline Von Edelberg)

Jacqueline is best known for her role in revitalizing Nettelhorst, an underutilized and underperforming public elementary school in Chicago. She is a published author, community activist and social entrepreneur. With a bachelor’s degree and doctorate, Jacqueline offers some insight for others looking to go into the field of education.

What inspired you to take an alternate route in your career?

“I was one in a group of eight park moms who galvanized neighborhood parents and then organized an entire community to take a leap of faith, transforming a challenged urban school into one of Chicago’s best, virtually overnight. If eight park moms and one visionary principal could pull our little neighborhood school out of its 25-year nose-dive, surely others could do the same. If we could spark a national grassroots school reform movement that would pull us all out of the giant mess we’re in, now wouldn’t that be something?”

How has your education helped with your career success?

“Success is a funny thing. I’m not sure I have succeeded in the way most Americans would define success, but I tell my kids that the value of work is more work. My education encouraged me to remain true to my passion, come what may. Whatever positive impact I’ve been able to make is due to that drive.”

What is some advice you can offer others going into education?

“A great education is more than gaining a set of skills or even a body of knowledge. It’s about learning to ask the fundamental questions that shape our society. So, I encourage young people to seek out an education that will force them to challenge their assumptions.”

Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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