Meet our dedicated program staff members working to build community health and economic wellness on Chicago’s West Side.
Jennifer (Norsworthy) Marcsisin, Healthy Food Program Manager
Jennifer (Norsworthy) Marcsisin, MPH, RDN, LDN, is a nutrition expert and leader in the community and healthcare sectors. She is an advocate of regenerative agricultural and food sovereignty. As the Healthy Food Program Manager for West Side United (WSU), she manages equitable food access strategies and provides grant management support. Prior to joining the WSU team, Jennifer worked as a clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) where she managed dietetic technicians and food service employees in long-term and acute care facilities.
She serves on Slow Food Chicago’s Executive Board as a Food Justice and Policy Co-Chair and on the Associate Board for Advocates for Urban Agriculture. Jennifer is a Past Chair of the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group under the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In addition, she spent three years volunteering for the Green City Farmers Market and completed the Chicago Conservation Corps program through the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
Jennifer earned her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago where she concentrated on community health outcomes. She completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kentucky and Frankfort Regional Medical Center, where she was presented the Outstanding Coordinated Dietetic Intern Award. She represented the University of Kentucky Student Dietetic and Nutrition Association at the 2012 Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit in Honduras and studied abroad in 10 countries on four continents through the Semester at Sea program. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics degree from the University of Kentucky.
In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys home cooking, watching documentaries, and traveling to new places.
Chanel Smith, Economic Vitality Program Manager
Chanel Smith is a dedicated DE&I advocate and self-proclaimed conduit, who is passionate about workforce training & development, and advocating for underserved populations. Her drive is to connect individuals to resources that change the trajectory of their lives. She is a proud Chicagoan, with roots on the south side, but a move to West Garfield Park, changed her forever.
She received her Bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago in Management with a focus on Organizational Development and Leadership. Chanel has held positions in scrap metal recycling as an operations coordinator, and multiple roles in the nonprofit sector with youth is state care, workforce development, education coaching & mentoring, and leadership and professional development.
While working at UCAN, Chanel became a trauma informed professional, and understands the impact trauma has on human development and the barriers individuals face living in marginalized communities. She is currently pursuing the Certified Workforce Development Professional certificate and membership with the National Association for Workforce Development Professionals.
Prior to joining West Side United, she worked as a Talent Acquisition Consultant with Rush University Medical Center’s Human Resources Recruitment department and focused her efforts on diversity recruitment strategies including Rush’s Anchor Mission local inclusive hiring initiative, veteran, and university recruitment. Chanel values teamwork, creativity & innovation, and integrity.
In her spare time, Chanel enjoys traveling, attending live music concerts and theater, cooking and spending time with friends and family.
Minyoung Do, Data Analyst
Minyoung Do is a data analyst and researcher with a passion for using data to tell stories, discover insights, and guide decision making. At West Side United, she supports data and evaluation activities in collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, as well as research and graphic design projects.
Minyoung has extensive experience in both quantitative and qualitative research in the social justice, public health, and education spaces. Prior to joining West Side United, she worked as a research specialist in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.
She holds a Master’s degree in social sciences with a certificate in computational social science from the University of Chicago and Bachelor’s degrees in political science and gender studies with minors in race & ethnicity studies and Asian American studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Before she moved to Chicago, she worked at Asian Women United of Minnesota (AWUM) to provide legal and financial advocacy for domestic violence survivors.
Outside of work, Minyoung enjoys spending time with her dogs, trying out new restaurants, and traveling around the world.
Laura Christman, Budget & Grants Analyst
Laura Christman is a financial analyst for West Side United, stewarding grant funds for maximum programmatic impact. She is an avid gatherer of information, and enjoys both the analytic and interpersonal aspects of her role.
Prior to joining West Side United, Laura served as Grants Accountant for Youth & Opportunity United, a youth and family services organization in Evanston. Her earliest work in finance was for international development entities that grew out of ShoreBank, Chicago’s first community development bank. The more she learned about development work, the more her interest grew in the many ways that finance can promote equity.
Laura has been a book editor, Montessori teacher, teaching artist, and co-manager of a community sponsored agriculture garden. She continues to serve in an advisory capacity for CodeCreate, an organization focused on the integration of art into technological learning for youth. Laura holds a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Desiree’ Lloyd, Community Engagement Administrative Assistant
Desiree’ Lloyd is an administrative professional with 25+ years of experience. Desiree’ has a proven track record of being goal focused, achievement oriented with office administration, special project management and computer system operations. She has been known to perform challenging tasks under a wide range of circumstances which involve precision and close attention to detail. Desiree’ believes in thinking “outside of the box” which allows her to achieve positive results.
Prior to her venture into the nonprofit sector, Desiree’ worked several large corporations including KPMG and Citibank. Desiree’ believes that if she could reach one person and make a difference, and that one person tells another, she has already surpassed her goal.
Desiree’ is a graduate of Robert Morris University and currently pursuing a degree in Psychology/Criminal Psychology from Liberty University. In her spare time, Desiree’ enjoys spending time with her husband, son and church family.
Veronica Pereyra, Community Engagement Coordinator
Veronica Pereyra is driven to help the community by cultivating relationships in Chicago’s diverse communities. She takes pride in helping community members connect to referrals, resources, benefits, and vital services. Her goals are to find strategies to better help the residents of the West side of Chicago.
Veronica has led efforts to bring community residents together. Prior to her role at West Side United she worked at SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) as a contact tracing for the Chicago Department of Public Health, conducted outreach to business owners, school administrators and
community stakeholders via door to door canvassing. She also has extensive experience helping community members with Covid-19 information and education. Veronica also worked to support immigration efforts to help residents reach the path of citizenship.
In her spare time, Veronica enjoys traveling, road trips, and spending time with her family.
Hanzi (Maria) Jiang, Data Fellow
Hanzi is a recent graduate from the University of Chicago with a master’s in public policy, focusing on data analysis and environmental economics. She is motivated to utilize publicly available data to investigate quantifiable consequences and relationships in the various steps of the policy-making process, aiming to provide practical policy actions and solutions. Her interest in public health stems from her research experience studying the relationship between COVID- 19 viral concentration in wastewater and the local infected population at the Argonne National Laboratory. She was fascinated by how fast data analysis can potentially impact policy measurements. She would like to dedicate her training in data science to promote public health and the environment itself.
Before moving to Chicago, Hanzi earned her dual bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Hospitality Administration from Boston University.