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Startup Weekend EDU awards NLU Dean, alumnus top prizes for new business concepts

Startup LogoNational Louis University announced today that two distinguished members of the NLU community have won top distinctions at the recent Startup Weekend EDU Chicago event that was hosted at the University’s downtown campus.

Chris Cassirer, who currently serves as the Dean of the College of Management and Business and the College of Arts and Sciences at NLU, and alumnus Daniel Rezac, founder of, each provided initial concepts for participating teams of entrepreneurs to then further build upon. As a result, Cassirer and his team won first place in the competition for his business concept, Adjunct, Inc. Rezac, working with his team, won second place for his new concept, PDnear.Me.

“I am so proud of both our Dean and alumnus for winning first and second place in Startup Weekend EDU. Both ideas are innovative, incorporate the use of technology and address the quality of education. All of these critical issues are at the very heart of our institutional mission, and we applaud their efforts to introduce much needed changes,” said NLU President Nivine Megahed.

First place award winner Adjunct, Inc. is creating a global marketplace for higher education institutions to identify pre-qualified adjunct instructors to teach courses. Adjunct instructors, in turn, have a place to showcase information about their instructional  experience and competency to teach.

Second place award winner PDnear.Me is the “Kayak of teacher professional development.” PDnear.Me allows teachers and administrators to find relevant professional development for themselves or their staff, based on location, or online courses or workshops, in a simple all-in-one interface.

Chris Cassirer, Sc.D., was appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Management and Business at NLU in November 2012. Cassirer is the first in his family to attend and finish college and graduate school and was a postdoctoral fellow in public health at the Johns Hopkins University, where he also earned a doctor of science in public health. He received a master of public health degree from Yale University School of Medicine and a bachelor of arts in psychology from Rutgers University.

Daniel Rezac is the CEO of, the Education Broadcasting Network. Daniel’s interest in education technology began when he struggled with finding methods to translate to his non-English speaking students. His mission is finding solutions to many of education’s problems, as well as education’s stature in the media. He often presents about education in the media, online learning environments, YouTube in the classroom, and the “flipped classroom.” Daniel has taught fourth through eighth grade and is a Certified Technology Specialist and a Google Certified Teacher.

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