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OUTreach is Chicago Booth’s LGBTQ+ student organization on campus for our Full-Time MBA Program. The group works to build and strengthen the community among LGBTQ+ students at Booth, while also aiming to promote inclusivity on campus. OUTreach also provides mentorship opportunities to help students navigate the recruiting process, connect with alumni, attend conferences, and more during their MBA experience. Even before officially joining Chicago Booth’s community, OUTreach provides support to LGBTQ+ applicants as a way to be a resource for individuals before, during, and after applying to Booth. Learn more about OUTreach from the lens of current students and co-chairs, Andrew Cook, Jacqueline Cheng, and Yoni Melamed.

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Originally from McKinney, Texas, Andrew received a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology from Texas A&M University. After undergrad, Andrew served in the Air Force for eight years where he had the privilege to fly the B-1B as a Weapon Systems Officer and deploy all over the world. When the time came to separate from the military, Andrew applied to Booth in hopes of getting a world-class education and exploring what opportunities awaited him on the other side. After carefully tailoring his application and studying for the GMAT, Andrew became part of the Booth community!


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Jacqueline was born and raised in the SF Bay Area. She studied economics at UChicago for her undergraduate degree. After college, she worked as an equity associate in investment management and will be returning to that field this summer for her internship.


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Yoni is from Tel Aviv, Israel. He holds a BA in Philosophy, Political Science and Economics from Tel Aviv University. Prior to Booth, he worked as an Innovation Manager at Tel Aviv Municipality, serving as the bridge between the city and local tech ecosystem, specializing in early-stage startups in the smart cities field. In his spare time, Yoni enjoys practicing yoga, playing guitar, and educating other Boothies about skincare.

Why was joining OUTreach important to you?

Andrew: I wanted to give back to the community that supported me through so much of my struggle coming out—OUTreach provided the medium to do that and more. The entire Queer experience is paved upon the work of generations before us, and I want to be a part of moving our community forward so others won’t have to face the same issues I did. In OUTreach, I have a group of friends to walk alongside and fight for. This may be cliché, but I do believe that what we do here changes the world.

What should prospective students know about OUTreach at Booth?

Andrew: OUTreach is a cross section of everyone in the program. Within our organization we have many diverse perspectives and personalities, so you will find a friend here that understands you and is interested in what you are interested in. Furthermore, on a fundamental level, we have a collection of people who understand what it means to be in a minority community and all of the challenges that come with it. OUTreach is especially important today. The strength of our members and support of our allies helps to ensure a safe and welcoming experience at the University of Chicago.

Tell us more about OUTreach hosted events.

Jackie: OUTreach hosts two large events each year for everyone in the Booth community to attend: our Holigays Christmas Party and the Spring Pink Party. These events are great opportunities for allies to show support for their LGBTQ+ friends. OUTreach also hosts smaller events for people within the LGBTQ+ community like dinners, games nights, and mixers with other graduate schools within UChicago.

What is your favorite OUTreach event that you attended?

Jackie: My favorite OUTreach event was a candle making class! It was a fun opportunity to meet other OUTreach members in a small, relaxed setting. The event was at an LGBTQ+ owned business, so we got to meet the owner, hear his story of how he started his business, and learn about the local neighborhood. 

How has your involvement in OUTreach contributed to the connections you’ve made during your time at Chicago Booth? 

Yoni: Coming to business school is scary. At first, you might want to stick with people you worked or studied with before, people who grew up in the same place as you, or people recruiting for the same target industry. And you’ll probably find some great friends in that mix! But OUTreach gave me an opportunity as early as my first day at Booth to find people with shared experiences who came from different places and backgrounds, and expanded my horizons with their current and future aspirations. Even with all of these differences, they still felt immediately familiar, and gave me a sense of home away from home. I believe that just as it makes sense to find people interested in the same industry as you, or who speak your native language, it’s crucial to find people who understand your lived experiences. As LGBTQ+ people, we may not have been born into our communities, and instead we need to intentionally look for them, or create them ourselves. OUTreach was my first community at Booth and a huge part of my first year. I’m excited to keep building our community!

What makes Chicago a great place to be during Pride Month?

Andrew: There is no better place in the world than summer in Chicago! Pride Month adds to that celebratory atmosphere already palpable in the city. Buildings all over town are adorned with the Pride flag, and there is no limit to events celebrating Pride and calling attention to LGBTQ+ issues. Chicago is a place where we can be ourselves.