Paula serves as Policy Advisor to the Illinois Justice Project, a civic organization implementing policy initiatives and programs to improve the justice system. Formerly, she served as president of Governors State University and director of policy for Governor James R. Thompson. She has taught public policy at Governors State University and Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Paula has a BA from Smith College, as well as an MA and a PhD from the University of Chicago in political science. She serves on various boards including Vice President of the Chicago Police Board, the University of Chicago Medical Center, the University of Chicago emerita, the Johnson Foundation and the Metropolitan Planning Council, and chaired the Illinois Tollway and Chicago City College Boards.