As the Director of Urban Affairs in the Office of Federal Relations and Office of Civic Engagement, Alaina is responsible for sharing the University’s research, scholarship, and models of urban investment with federal policymakers and national partners. She identifies strategic opportunities to advance the University’s efforts to enhance the quality of urban life in the surrounding South Side neighborhoods, nationally, and across globe.
Alaina joined the University of Chicago in September 2013. An experienced civil rights lawyer, urban advocate and political strategist, Alaina came to the University from The Raben Group, a public policy and advocacy firm in Washington DC, where she helped non-profit, foundation and corporate clients reach their public policy goals through strategic planning, partnership development, research and communications. Alaina also served as the Associate Director for the first-ever White House Office of Urban Affairs during the first term of the Obama Administration. In her role, Alaina laid the foundation for President Obama’s urban office by building a constituency for the office and identifying scalable models of urban innovation to inform the White House-interagency policy efforts. Prior to working in the White House, Alaina was a voting rights attorney for Advancement Project and the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund.
Alaina graduated from Stanford University and the University of Michigan Law School.