Spring 2010 TRINITY Magazine, Career and Calling
Laura Zumdahl ’02
Major: Social work
Title: Associate executive director
“Today I work at a faith-inspired organization that exists to ‘answer God’s call to seek justice and mercy,’” said Laura Zumdahl ’02, associate executive director of Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA). CGLA provides free legal services to over 5,000 low income residents of Chicago each year.
Following her graduation from Trinity, Zumdahl went on to graduate school for a master of arts in social work and will receive her Ph.D. this spring. “My experience at Trinity shaped my vocation and life,” she said. “It provided a firm foundation of knowledge in my areas of study in sociology and business and prepared me for graduate school and work both as a social worker and administrator.”
Part of that Trinity experience involved working as the College’s project coordinator in the social work department from 2005-07. Her connections with Trinity have remained strong. She and fellow alumni and former co-worker Dr. Mackenzi Huyser ’98, professor and chair of Trinity’s social work department, have been collaborating on a project that will give Huyser’s students experiential learning. At the same time, the project will provide Zumdahl with valuable information she can use to better serve CGLA clients.
Zumdahl is responsible for overseeing development, operations, finance, and the volunteer and client support services programs at CGLA. In recognition of her work, she was named a Chicago Community Trust Emerging Leader Fellow for 2010 and received nearly $30,000 to fund her professional development plan studying innovation and design thinking in nonprofit organizations.
“My time at Trinity provided a comprehensive education but also challenged me to integrate my faith into my vocation,” said Zumdahl. “It was through that experience that I found how much I loved the profession of social work and working in nonprofit organizations. That discovery shaped my calling and career.”