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DePaul Team Brings Chronicle of Violence to Stage and Page

12 Dec

Jacob Sabolo (LAS ’12) shares his experience with “How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence,” a project that enlisted DePaul students and faculty to shed light on Chicago violence.

How Long Will I Cry? Book

Photo via BigShouldersBooks.com

In 2011 and 2012, while more than 900 people were being murdered on the streets of Chicago, creative-writing students from DePaul traveled all over the city to interview people whose lives have been changed by the violence and bloodshed. The project, created by Miles Harvey, assistant professor of English, resulted in a Steppenwolf Theatre production inspired by the interviews, as well as an anthology containing 35 narratives.

I enrolled in the project’s first course in the winter of 2011. On the first day of class, Harvey asked me and my fellow classmates to locate South and West Side neighborhoods on a map of Chicago. The majority of us could not. He talked about Derrion Albert, a high school student whose brutal murder was recorded on video in 2009, and Frankie Valencia, a DePaul student who was shot and killed in 2009. The stories made it clear how severe youth and gang violence is in the city and how many Chicagoans don’t really know what is going on or what they can do to help.

What Harvey shared with us was just a taste of the stories that were told during the quarter and, ultimately, through the course of the project. By the end of 2012, students had collected hundreds of transcripts and narratives; in 2013, “How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence” premiered at Steppenwolf. The play was also brought directly to the affected communities in Chicago’s South and West Sides. The public performances included an open discussion with cast members and the audience, which gave people the opportunity to tell their own stories.

In October 2013, the “How Long Will I Cry?” book was published by Big Shoulders Books, a nonprofit organization dedicated to distributing free anthologies by and about Chicagoans whose voices might not otherwise be shared. Due to the high demand, the 7,500 books that were printed were all given away in less than a month. A second printing is planned for early 2014, and details can be found on the Big Shoulders Books website. Journalist Rick Kogan reviewed the book for the Chicago Tribune and called it, “a stunning, stay-with-you-forever new book [that will] alter the ways in which you think. I guarantee that after you read this book, the next murder that screams across the headlines and television news will affect you more deeply than ever before.”

Books have been given away to libraries and schools, churches and prisons. A series of readings were held in the fall to support the book’s release, and attendees shared what the story has meant to them. Teenagers who normally do not read outside of school said they are reading the book. One high school student even said that it is the first book he has ever finished. A woman said she is learning how to read because of it. I hope that the book will help change Chicago by raising awareness about youth violence in the city, why it is happening and what needs to be done to eliminate it. And, of course, I hope that it makes people realize that everyone’s story deserves to be heard.

Two Alumni Launch Literary Mission

25 Jan

Daniel Parra (LAS ’08)

Friends and recent DePaul graduates Daniel Parra (LAS ’08) and Kolin Jordan (LAS ’05) have joined with five other partners to establish a new independent publishing collective to “identify and publish works defined as unorthodox, progressive, experimental, irreverent, intellectually risky and cult-classics,”  according to co-founder Parra. “[We look for] works that the conventional giant publishers would never venture to publish.”

Kolin Jordan (LAS ’05)

Called 7Vientos, the new collective released its first book in December 2011. Llegaron los hippies / And the Hippies Came was originally published in Spanish by Manuel Abreu Adorno in 1978. The newly published version is a “flip” book—the text starts in Spanish, but readers can flip the book over in the middle and read the story in English. It is the first time Adorno’s cult-classic will be released in English.

Jordan and Parra began the independent publishing company in Chicago in 2010 with five other members of various backgrounds and nationalities. The members describe themselves as sharing a love for literature and a passion for alternative outlets as creative options for those seeking to break from the status quo.

“We are really happy to see that all the hard work and many hours of dedication we have invested into publishing our first book is now paying off,” said Jordan. “Even now, still riding the wave of success of the first, we’re looking forward to our next book.”

This spring, 7Vientos plans to publish its second book, Saturnario (Saturnalia) by Rey Emmanuel Andujar.

Arts & Letters Building Opens to Students

11 Jan

Classes began on Jan. 3 in the new $33 million Arts & Letters building, bringing 47 state-of-the-art classrooms to the heart of the university’s Lincoln Park Campus.

The 119,000-square-foot building, located at 2315 N. Kenmore Ave., features an interior staircase overlooking a dramatic four-story atrium. Light-filled bays just off the atrium on each of the four floors accommodate lounge and study areas, while a stained-glass image of St. Vincent de Paul overlooks the main entrance. The landscaped courtyard of the new building includes attached tables and chairs to provide additional gathering spots under a pergola.

Digital Commons, a computer lab located just off the main lobby on the first floor, provides students with work stations, and the entire building also offers wi-fi access. Two academic departments, English and History of Art and Architecture, are housed in the building along with faculty offices and meeting rooms.

With the building complete, Bob Janis, vice president for facility operations, says DePaul will apply for LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The new Arts & Letters building at 2315 N. Kenmore Ave.

Click here to see other photos of the Arts & Letters building.

Political Science Graduate Takes Students to the Hill

21 Dec

Adjunct Professor Krista Johnsen takes her graduate class to the GovGreen Conference

Students attending a class trip to Washington, D.C., for their Sustainability and Environmental Policy class got a special treat from a DePaul alumnus now working on Capitol Hill.

Worku Gachou (LAS '09)

Worku Gachou (LAS ’09), a staffer under Congressman Ed Royce, gave the students an exclusive tour of the Capitol Building and talked about life after graduating from DePaul University. Students also met with Royce, the chairman of the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF), an organization that promotes public-private partnerships encouraging international economic development by protecting natural resources and implementing sustainability measures.

Adjunct Professor Krista Johnsen, who led the trip, also took the graduate students to other one-on-one meetings with lawmakers and officials, and students visited the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters to participate in the GovGreen Conference on the Federal Agency’s sustainability policy implementation efforts.

“The students very much enjoyed getting a small taste of what it’s like to work on The Hill,” says Johnsen.

Students John Geahan and Aron Philipchuk listen to Matt Bogoshian, EPA's senior policy counsel for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, at EPA Headquarters.

Arts Alumni take part in SNAAP

21 Sep

DePaul University is participating in the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) – a survey that explores the lives of arts alumni nationwide.

After confirming a valid e-mail address with our alumni office, arts alumni can be sure not to miss the chance to share school and life experiences and help shape the future of arts education across the country and at DePaul University.

Alumni completing the survey will be invited to access a site to see how the school and career experiences they’ve shared compare with other graduates from across the country.  Arts alumni can see where other arts graduates live, where they work, what they earn and how their arts educations have influenced their lives.

The SNAAP survey will provide the first national data on how artists develop in this country, and help to identify the factors needed to better connect arts training to artistic careers. This will allow educators, researchers and arts leaders to look at the systemic factors that helped or hindered the career paths of alumni, whether they have chosen to work as artists or pursue other paths.

Calling All Arts Alumni: DePaul University Participates in SNAAP

19 Aug

DePaul University is participating in the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) – a survey that explores the lives of arts alumni nationwide.

DePaul arts alumni will be invited to take this annual survey, which will provide the first national data on how artists develop in this country, and help to identify the factors needed to better connect arts training to artistic careers. This will allow educators, researchers and arts leaders to look at the systemic factors that helped or hindered the career paths of alumni, whether they have chosen to work as artists or pursue other paths.

Alumni completing the survey will be invited to access a site to see how the school and career experiences they’ve shared compare with other graduates from across the country. Arts alumni can see where other arts graduates live, where they work, what they earn and how their arts educations have influenced their lives.

By verifying a current e-mail address with our alumni office, arts alumni can be sure not to miss the chance to share school and life experiences and help shape the future of arts education across the country and at DePaul University.

DePaul Alumna Receives $50,000 Medical Research Grant

4 Aug

Dr. Natalie L. Kamberos (far right) is awarded a $50,000 grant from Hyundai's "Hope on Wheels" (Photo courtesy of Dr. Natalie L. Kamberos)

The auto-maker Hyundai has awarded Dr. Natalie L. Kamberos (LAS ’00) a medical research grant for her work on novel treatments of childhood lymphomas and leukemia.

Kamberos, now a hematology, oncology and immunology fellow at University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, was presented the $50,000 grant during a Hyundai “Hope on Wheels”  handprint event on June 29, where patients of the children’s hospital used colorful paint to print their hands on a Hyundai Santa Fe model car to commemorate their battles with cancer. The event was held at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

“Hope on Wheels” is a campaign by Hyundai to present research grants at 50 children’s hospitals nationwide. Grant recipients, known as “Hyundai Scholars,” receive a combined total of $2.7 million, which goes toward funding new pediatric cancer research projects.