Professor Chorak returned home in 2020 to join Olivet’s full-time faculty and serve as an assistant professor and the director of the Child Development Program. She teaches education and child development courses, along with advising all child development majors.
Upon completing her undergraduate degree in elementary education from ONU and Illinois teaching licensure in 2003, she supported children and families within the urban settings of Chicago Heights as a 1st grade educator, and Chicago Public Schools as Prek-8th grade science educator. Her deep desire to support the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social developmental needs of children inspired in the initial years of teaching, led to advanced specialization in human development at the Erikson Institute in Chicago. She completed an M.S. in Child Development with a Child Life Specialization as well as a year long internship at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital – supporting the psychosocial, emotional and developmental needs of children and families during life’s adversities across the healthcare setting.
Following graduate school, Professor Chorak continued supporting the psychosocial, emotional and developmental needs of children birth through young adults and their families as a member of the multidisciplinary care team as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) at both Rush University Children’s Hospital and Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and as an educator at Aquinas Catholic Academy and Triton College. In recent years, she served as a Supervisor Parent Educator with the First Taste (prenatal-3yo) ISBE Preventative Initiative funded Program of Kankakee County and collaboration amongst area K111, BESD53 and Herscher school districts.
She has served on regional (Chicagoland Association of Child Life Professionals CACLP) and national level (Association of Child Life Professionals ACLP) child life professional committees and currently continues to serve as a professional member and Board of Directors member for the Chicagoland Association of Child Life Professionals and Member Advisory Group committee member for the ACLP. Amanda served as the president and president elect executive board leadership positions for the CACLP (2015-2019). Locally, she is an Advisory Board member for Health Families and member of the Success by Six United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois County initiative. Additionally, she is a member of the National Association of Education for the Young Child (NAEYC) and Certified Educator for Infant Massage (CEIM) and member with the International Infant Massage Association.
It is her passion and goal to contribute to the growing profession and field of child life support services; cultivate change within education and conversations societally that support the psychosocial, emotional and developmental needs of children and families, not only during life’s challenges, but during the everyday difficult places their lives inhabit; and to advocate for the importance of play in the lives of children.
She and her husband Steven ’05 M.A./’10 M.Ed., reside in the Kankakee area and enjoy spending time with their families, along with supporting the vibrant community theatre organizations throughout the county together both onstage and offstage. Steven is the assistant principal at Hoopeston Area Middle School. During her spare time, she enjoys baking, gardening, dancing and family cats.