University of Illinois System
HomeAbout UsNewsPortfolioResources

Staff Biographies

Jennifer Creasey

Jennifer Creasey

Assistant Vice President State and Local Relations

Jennifer Creasey joined the University of Illinois System in March 2014, stepping into the role of senior director of state relations. Previously, Jennifer was the associate state director for advocacy and outreach with AARP Illinois, and she also served as deputy director of Boards & Commissions/Economic & Environmental Affairs in the Office of the Governor. Jennifer has also worked in a number of political internships in both Washington D.C and Springfield.

Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in both political science and speech communications from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and was selected for the James H. Dunn Memorial Fellowship Program after graduation in 2004. She earned her master’s in political science from the University of Illinois Springfield. Jennifer represents the U of I System in both the Illinois State Capitol and the community to advance its priorities. She is also responsible for outreach, state legislative advocacy efforts, strategic partnerships, and management of relationships around the state. Through this work, Jennifer works closely with the U of I System legislative caucus and system alumni throughout the state.

In 2016, Jennifer was nominated to participate in the Edgar Fellows Program. Before coming to the U of I System, she was the AARP staff lead for state healthcare legislation and implementation of the Affordable Care Act for the AARP Illinois legislative office. Jennifer is a member of the Springfield YMCA board, and an active member of a number of community and professional development groups..

Contact Jennifer


Nolan Drea

Nolan Drea

Associate Director, State Relations

Nolan Drea joined the University of Illinois System in February 2019 as assistant director of state relations. A graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Gies College of Business, Nolan previously worked on Illinois Senate President John Cullerton's staff for seven years. 

Contact Nolan


Angelica Alfaro

Angelica Alfaro

Visiting Associate Director of Local and State Relations, State Relations

A proud alumna of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Angelica Alfaro joined the University of Illinois System in February 2020. Angelica spent almost ten years working across Chicago on improving access to high-quality education, summer college programs, and scholarships for thousands of families while leading policy, fundraising, community organizing, and advocacy efforts.

In 2016 she ran for State Senate, garnering 47% of her district’s votes. After a very close race, she drove cross country to work the 2016 presidential campaign in Nevada. After contemplating moving to the coasts, she decided to stay where her heart is — Chicago. She is a strong believer of the potential of Black and Brown communities. Angelica has dedicated her career towards ensuring equity and access to opportunities within education, public health, mental health, violence prevention, environmental advocacy and economic development.

Contact Angelica


Alan Solow

Alan Solow

Visiting Special Advisor

Alan Solow serves as special advisor for External Relations and Communications and for the U of I System-led Discovery Partners Institute. Alan has had an extensive career in public affairs consulting, law, not-for-profits, politics, and civic life. As the founder of Grover Strategies, he brings decades of experience and a wide perspective to clients seeking to navigate public-facing challenges.

Solow has had extensive involvement in politics. He served as a National Co-Chair of the 2012 Obama-Biden campaign and was a charter member of the 2008 and 2012 Obama Finance Committees. He acted as an outside advisor to President Obama on Middle East issues, working with the senior West Wing staff and National Security team as well as many members of the House and Senate.

Solow is a 1976 graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, summa cum laude with highest distinction in political science, where he twice received the Charles Merriam Scholarship and where he also founded the Orange Krush, the widely recognized student support and fundraising group for Fighting Illini men’s basketball. He subsequently graduated from Harvard Law School cum laude where he was President of the Harvard Law School Forum.

Contact Alan