Maria Ranahan

Maria Ranahan Funny thing about Streamwood High School graduate Maria Ranahan: She takes her work seriously.

Ranahan, a product of Streamwood’s World Languages and International Studies Academy, works as a community manager and producer for Cards Against Humanity, the Chicago-based comedy company behind the bestselling party game.  The company also produces comedy shows in Chicago and around the country.

“I also work deeply on all of our huge marketing stunts and new product launches,” she adds.
As if that’s not enough, Ranahan also serves as the director of the company’s Science Ambassador Scholarship, a full-ride scholarship program for young women in science, technology, engineering and math studies.

“I was always a strong writer, and very bad at math – really a right-side-brain kind of person –  and I had an interest in business and marketing,” she says. “I knew I wanted a job that was creative and impactful, that made people laugh while also making a difference, that wasn’t your average 9-to-5 desk job.”

Ranahan looks back fondly, and gratefully, on her Academy days.

“Well for starters, I took enough AP tests in high school that I started college with 12 credit hours, which is an entire semester. Do you know how much money that saved me? A lot. It also meant I could graduate early and start working sooner. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to take that many AP courses outside of the academy, that’s for sure.”

Being in the language-focused academy also made Ranahan appreciate – and practice – writing more, ultimately preparing her for research papers.

“I adored the history courses that we took in the academy. Economics, government, all that. The Budget Project and the World Civilization Project were probably two of the most meaningful assignments I’ve ever been given, in both high school and beyond. They offered real world applications and critical thinking skills that most other homework assignments lack. It wasn’t until I was in college that I could really appreciate that.”

Ranahan also remains a fan of the tight-knit nature of her Academy experience.

“Being in classes with the same students for four years made us all get really close, which was nice,” she recalls. “I had lots of great teachers, too, the ones that stick out are Señora Jennifer Porto, Mr. Nicholas Vassolo, and Mr. Ryan Sims.”