Received her A.B. in 1972 from the University of Chicago and her J.D. from the University of Michigan in 1977. For two decades following her graduation from law school, she specialized in matters related to the labor and human rights of immigrants and refugees, working with migrant farm workers in Michigan and Minnesota and with urban immigrants and refugees at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. From 1995 until 2001, she directed the Mexico-U.S. Advocates Network, a binational coalition of civil society organizations which advocates for the human rights of immigrants in the binational and regional context. During the same period, she served as counsel to the Embassy of Mexico on immigration matters.
Ms. Gzesh is Director of the Human Rights Program of the University of Chicago and a Senior Lecturer in the Center for International Studies and the College. The Human Rights Program is an interdisciplinary project in the Center for International Studies, supporting curriculum, research, events, and internships for students and faculty from all departments and schools of the University. (see http://humanrights.uchicago.edu/) .
From 1996 until 2001, Ms. Gzesh served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Regional Network of Civil Organizations for Migration (RNCOM), a coalition of North American and Central American non-governmental organizations, and directed its Human Rights Guidelines initiative. She is currently a member of the Advisory Board of Enlaces America, the successor organization to the Mexico-U.S. Advocates Network.
She is a past chairperson of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and has served on the boards of directors of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and the Illinois Coalition for Immigration Rights. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Ms. Gzesh has taught immigration law at the University of Michigan Law School and Northwestern University School of Law. In 1990, she was a Fulbright lecturer at the Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico) where she taught a seminar on U.S. immigration policy and in 1992 served on the Clinton-Gore Transition Team. She is currently involved in research on the role of immigration policy in U.S.-Mexico relations and on the role of non-governmental organizations in shaping migration policy in the Western Hemisphere. She is working with a committee of University of Chicago faculty on the development of human rights courses based in the humanities and social sciences. She also coordinates the HR Program's Activist Fellows Roundtable, an annual workshop for activists and academics from the U.S., Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala, who meet with University of Chicago faculty to discuss the intersections between human rights, migration, and economic development.