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Nicole Granacki

Customized Program Manager | IES Abroad

"I love my hometown and I love the people from here. We are strong, gritty, and determined. Unfortunately as I travel the world, I hear horrible things about our city. A colleague from Cairo told me that his hometown in Egypt is quite dangerous so people call it the Chicago of Egypt. My vision is a world where there are leaders from Chicago in every field, and where we work together to lift each other up to smash these negative stories and show what we're really all about."


Undergraduate Degree: University of Wisconsin - Madison, '05

Fun fact: I traveled abroad for the first time during college and have now been to over 55 different countries.

Nicole is a Customized Program Manager on the Faculty-Led Programs Team at IES Abroad. In this role, Nicole works with university professors to develop unique, international programs to over 30 destinations around the world. She is the enthusiastic liaison between the Faculty-Led Programs Team and the Diversity Team at IES Abroad. She is passionate and strategic about getting under-represented students on study abroad programs by working with Hispanic Serving Institutions, HBCUs, and diversity offices. Her work has contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of Hispanic students on IES Abroad programs.

Before joining IES, Nicole spent years developing and supporting international programs for educational institutions and non-profits such as National Geographic, Harvard University, and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. She has developed programs on all seven continents and has traveled to over 55 countries.

Her passion for education as a powerful vehicle for social change has shaped her career in this field. Prior to working in international education, she was a community organizer for Greenpeace, where she worked with local community groups in Pilsen and Little Village to shut down Chicago's two coal plants. She has also worked on a number of high profile political campaigns including the 2008 Obama for America Presidential Campaign.

Nicole has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in Religious Studies and Africa Studies, and a master’s of science degree from the University of Edinburgh in Anthropology. Nicole is a product of the Chicago Public School system, and graduated from Lane Technical High School.

In her spare time, Nicole enjoys mentoring students with Chicago Scholars, watching the Cubs, and dreaming of her next visit to Africa.