North Central College - Naperville, IL

Kai Ruggeri ’06 in Europe

In five years since graduation, Kai Ruggeri ’06 has studied in Ireland and England, lived in Austria, Spain and Germany, completed a postdoctorate in Portugal and worked in Belgrade, Serbia. Not bad for someone who never studied abroad as an undergraduate majoring in psychology. “I had too many commitments, played football and changed majors late in the process so I never had the opportunity to go abroad,” says Ruggeri, who’s been living in Serbia.

Yet the international flavor of North Central’s campus influenced his career. He credits his language skills to studying Spanish with professor Beverly Richard Cook. It was two international students from Northern Ireland, Glenn Hand and Sarah Harte, who convinced him to consider a doctoral program at The Queen’s University in Belfast. With the help of professors Karl Kelley, Heather Coon and Stephen Maynard Caliendo, Ruggeri was admitted to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology focusing on international statistics education. He finished first in his class and completed his doctorate in two years thanks to fortunate data returns and nights spent in his office analyzing and writing.

Ruggeri’s résumé includes a qualification in international human rights earned at Oxford University and work in Serbia as a research and policy advisor for several development and humanitarian organizations. He’s been associated with the United Nations since 2009 and he’s also a consultant in Chicago for a statistical economics project. He has published several papers on statistics, including one co-written with Kelley. With his work completed in the Balkans, Ruggeri is in the process of obtaining a research position in public health at the University of Cambridge.