2015-2016 Luce Scholar

The American University of Myanmar Yangon, MYANMAR

Lanier Zimmer will be hosted by the newly established American University of Myanmar, Myanmar’s first private non-profit university modeled on the American style of higher education with a liberal arts core and a governance structure headed by an independent board of trustees. Working directly with Rector Craig E. Klafter, Lanier will serve as Director ad interim of Admissions and Financial Assistance, tasked with establishing the Office of Admissions and the Office of Financial Assistance, setting policies and procedures, and managing them in their first year of operation. The American University of Myanmar aims to be internationally recognized as Myanmar’s comprehensive research university known for the rigor of its academic programs grounded in the liberal arts, its respectful and open debate of well-reasoned ideas, its contributions to the improvement of the human condition and the advancement of Myanmar, and its knowledgeable, industrious, creative and ethically-minded students.

Lanier Zimmer is Assistant Director of Recruitment and Placement for the Golden Apple Foundation, a non-profit that gives awards to excellent teachers and prepares future teachers through a college scholarship program. In her first year, Lanier initiated and led three major reform projects. She streamlined the application process by moving the application online and created an online job board, which resulted in 100% placement for graduating students. Most recently, recognizing that the preferred method of communication for high school students is texting, she initiated the successful use of a texting platform to communicate with them. In January, Lanier started a master’s program at Northwestern University in Organizational Change, which focuses on leadership and organizational development, to further her goal of leading an education non-profit. Earlier, Lanier worked for three years in admissions for the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. She recruited and provided outreach to first generation, low income and underrepresented students from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and led an expanded early outreach program for underserved 9th and 10th graders. Working in CPS, she witnessed the dramatic inadequacy of education for students in poor neighborhoods and the dire need for improvement. During her time in admissions, the University enrolled a record number of students from CPS. Lanier first worked with teenagers after college, when she obtained certification to teach English as foreign language through Cambridge University. She taught in a Basque public high school near San Sebastian. After the school year, Lanier was invited to lead the first ever summer English program and enjoyed creating a curriculum, introducing students to Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and sharing 4th of July traditions. In college, Lanier was the captain of Claremont McKenna College’s water polo team, perfected the skill of walking backwards as a tour guide and kept 20 freshmen alive as the leader of a wilderness orientation trip. She spent a semester abroad in Quito, Ecuador, where she lived with a family, took classes in Spanish, and interned at a daycare for children whose parents worked as scavengers in Quito’s city dump. Living immersed in another culture, speaking another language and gaining an addiction to ahi (hot sauce) constituted one of Lanier’s most valuable life events. Lanier served as Co-President of the CMC Chicago Alumni Chapter and recently joined the board of her high school alumni association. Her latest personal accomplishment was completing her first (and last) Chicago Marathon.