Leadership Team

Meet Our Leadership Team

Photo of Professor Phyllis Moen, Head and Upper Torso
Professor Phyllis Moen<br>Founding Director, UMAC

Professor Phyllis Moen

Phyllis Moen is a life course scholar, professor of sociology, and holder of a McKnight Endowed Presidential Chair at the University of Minnesota, recruited there in 2003 after 25 years at Cornell University.

In addition to her work with UMAC, Dr. Moen directs the Life Course Center and serves as a board member of Encore.org founded by social entrepreneur Marc Freedman.

She was elected president of the Eastern Sociological Society; president of an international association, the Work and Family Research Network; and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Gerontological Society of America, and the National Conference For Families.

Professor Moen is also part of the Work, Family and Health Network, an interdisciplinary group of scholars established by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to examine the effects of working conditions on the health of women and men of all ages.

The author of numerous articles and books, including the award-winning Career Mystique: Cracks in the American Dream (2005), Professor Moen published Encore Adulthood: Boomers on the Edge of Risk, Renewal, and Purpose (2016). In it she addresses the challenges of this emergent “encore” life stage for individuals and families, communities, employers, and governments.



Photo of Dr. Kate Schaefers, torso and head
Dr. Kate Schaefers<br>Executive Director, UMAC

Dr. Kate Schaefers

Kate Schaefers, PhD, LP, is a psychologist, coach, and educator. She coaches professionals who are transitioning into new roles, jobs, and careers, and organizations that are exploring ways to tap the talent of a multigenerational workplace.

Dr. Schaefers is volunteer state president for AARP-MN, and a founding board member of SHIFT, a Twin Cities nonprofit facilitating career change in the second half of life.

She has taught graduate level classes at the University of Minnesota and University of St. Thomas. She is a past president of Minnesota Career Development Association, and received the Jules Kerlan Outstanding Achievement Award in 2012 for contributions to the field of career development.

Dr. Schaefers has a PhD in counseling psychology from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Twitter  @KateSchaefers


Photograph of Jane Peterson, upper torso and head standing in front of the MPC quilt.
Jane Peterson<br>UMAC Coordinator

Jane Peterson

Jane Peterson coordinates the learning opportunities offered to UMAC fellows and schedules events and speakers throughout the year. She assists in the development and monitoring of short- and long-term plans for the program.




Mahala Miller
Mahala Miller
Graduate Research

Mahala Miller

Mahala Miller is a PhD Student in the department of sociology with research interests in family, culture, and healthy. She is a graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, and originally from the Chicago suburbs. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Mahala worked in the non-profit sector in a variety of roles and organizations. Mahala is a graduate research assistant working on a research project titled, “Pathways to Post-Career Civic Engagement: Universities as Catalysts?” as part of the University of Minnesota Advanced Careers Initiative.



Dave Villarama
Dave Villarama
Undergraduate Research

Dave Vilarama

Dave Villarama is a junior pursuing a BA in Sociology at the University of Minnesota. Within sociology, he enjoys learning about the subfields of labor, race, and historical-comparative sociology. He hopes to use the research training experience provided by working on the UMAC Initiative to launch an academic career someday.




Haley Carrero
Haley Carrero
Research Assistant

Haley Carrero

Haley Carrero is a transfer student from Chicago, Illinois working towards a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a minor in Business Management. She is a national competitor for the UMN Forensics Speech Team and participates in various STEM organizations. As a transfer student who recently had to figure out the university on her own, she hopes to help the UMAC fellows along in their own transition journeys.




Sean Maurer
Sean Maurer
Marketing and

Sean Maurer

Sean Maurer is a freshman at the University of Minnesota and is originally from Oakfield, Wisconsin. He is pursuing a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. He hopes to be able to use his technology-based past, which included working as Technology Support at his high school, to help this year's fellows in any technology needs. Sean is also excited about getting the word out about the UMAC Initiative through marketing and social media platforms.