The Garage Team
Melissa Kaufman is the executive director of The Garage at Northwestern. She is a former Googler, startup veteran, and entrepreneur with a decade of experience at consumer technologies companies in Silicon Valley. Currently, she is a committee member of ChicagoNEXT (the mayor’s technology council), a member of P33 (the Chicago Technology Initiative), and a venture partner at Chicago Ventures. She was named to Chicago Inno’s 50 on Fire in 2017 and Crain’s Tech 50 in 2018. Melissa received her BA in computer science from Dartmouth College.
Hayes was a member of the founding management team at Legacy, and has served in leadership and advisory roles at several other digital companies. She taught journalism at Northwestern after several years as a magazine writer and foreign correspondent. Hayes has a BA from Vanderbilt University and did graduate work as a Rotary Scholar at the University of Perugia in Italy and as a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Assistant Director of Operations & Finance
Elisa Mitchell is an accomplished attorney and CPA with 18 years of experience in the financial securities industry, bringing new investment products to market. As a team member at Allstate, Van Kampen, Morgan Stanley, and Invesco, Elisa helped business leaders navigate a complex competitive landscape and a challenging regulatory framework. She brings strong organizational skills, attention to detail and a can-do attitude to every project. She is thrilled to be the Assistant Director of Operations and Finance at The Garage and enjoys helping each student start a unique entrepreneurial journey.
Senior IT Manager
Ben Williams is a lifelong technology enthusiast, AV systems whiz, and US Army veteran. While deployed to Balad Air Base, Ben assisted as security escort for the ASV fielding and recovery services. During his career, Ben has provided AV/IT services at sites such as The Pentagon, Securities and Exchange Commission, Scott and Nellis Air Force Base, Chevron Headquarters, and ExxonMobil’s Houston campus.
Elisabeth is a marketing pro with experience in the public and educational sectors, with a special interest in international relations and social entrepreneurship. She joins The Garage with a passion for work in higher education and a love of all things student centered. Elisabeth received her BA in anthropology and her MPA from Northern Illinois University.
Patrick King has spent his career working in higher education at Loyola University, Tufts University and Northwestern. In addition to his work in university administration, he has extensive experience as an educator and a practitioner of theatre. He has worked as a literary manager and actor in Chicago and as a graduate instructor and writing/public speaking tutor at Tufts in Boston. He holds a BS from Northwestern and a PhD from Tufts in Theatre and Performance Studies.
Student Aides and Interns
Sophomore, Computer Science
West Long Branch, NJ
Favorite Thing About The Garage: Access to a large community of people who share a passion for entrepreneurship.
Senior, Cognitive Science & Computer Science
Favorite Thing About The Garage: The technology: 3D Printers and Oculus Rifts and drones, oh my!
Freshman, Electrical Engineering
Favorite Thing About The Garage: All the fantastic technology that The Garage provides the residents and staff.
Junior, Communication Studies and Economics Major
Favorite Thing about the Garage: Amazing people, cool high-tech equipment, and startups galore!
Yasmeena Faris Faycurry
Freshman, Computer Science & Economics
Favorite Thing About The Garage: The bean-bag room
Favorite Thing about the Garage: The highly motivated residents and staff, as well as the amazing hoodies
Sophomore, Computer Science
Favorite Thing About The Garage: All the cool technology and all the really amazing people who work and hangout here!