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Alumni Spotlight

​Michael Rangel '20

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Michael Rangel is a trained and active social worker in Chicago currently working and fighting for trans and gender non-conforming people and communities across the city.  Currently, Michael works as the TransWorks Career Specialist/Case Manager with Chicago House Social Service Agency Employment Program and TransLife Care Team, Development Board at Heartland Health Centers and is joining the team of Chicago Therapy Collective as a Community Representative. Michael is working to build a strong network of organizations and businesses committed to affirming and supporting TGNC folks and their rights to employment while simultaneously combatting the root causes of injustices and inequity that create these systemic and systematic barriers. His MA thesis, “De-Policing Queer Possibilities​” creates a theoretical framework of theorizing how policing influences and extends beyond the police state and into society's social constructs and institutions that explicitly affect Queer/Trans People of Color. Michael is graduating from DePaul with an MA in Critical Ethnic Studies and a certificate in Women and Gender Studies and recently co-authored DePaul's CES Statement of Solidarity and Fight for Black Lives. 

Darius Parker '20 

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Darius Parker graduated from the Critical Ethnic Studies MA program in Spring 2020. Darius is a queer African American poet, scholar, visionary, and activist born and raised in Chicago. He currently serves as the Director of Operations for Kuumba Lynx, a not-for-profit hip-hop arts and education organization housed in Chicago's Uptown. Darius also serves as the Resource Coordinator at Uplift Community High school where he is able to offer Kuumba Lynx programming throughout the school due to a grant called Sustainable Community Schools. He was awarded a DePaul University Community-and Project-Based Internship Scholarship in Fall 2019 and in February 2020, he was interviewed by Vocalo on his work with Kuumba Lynx. In Spring 2020, Darius co-authored DePaul's CES Statement of Solidarity and Fight for Black Lives. For his final creative project he wrote a script, "Everytime We Get Close: Using Art As a Form of Resistance and Healing" and wrote and produced two videos "Colorin Every Time We Get Close” and “COVID-19.”
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Zerrin Bulut '20

Zerrin Bulut graduated from the Critical Ethnic Studies MA Program in April 2020. Her work within the program has been inspired and influenced by the questions, concerns, and scholarship surrounding ethnicity, identity, migrants, and second-generation migrants in the United States. She was specifically interested in the influences on the preservation of ethnicity among Turkish Americans in the Chicago area. Zerrin is currently serving on the board of TACA (Turkish American Cultural Alliance).  She hopes to reconnect second-generation Turks and Turkish Americans like her to groups that can both educate the non-Turkish population on this misunderstood and under-represented population and support the maintenance of ethnicity through its work. For her thesis, Zerrin analyzed the factors influencing ethnic identity among Turkish Americans in Chicago. Read Zerrin's thesis "Second-generation Turkish Americans in Chicago: the influences on the preservation of ethnic identity and Turkishness." Zerrin plans to return to teaching, as well as interact with existing Turkish entities in Chicago to create more power and agency through collaboration.


Jamie Corliss '18

CES MA student Jamie Corliss presented her thesis research and participated in a panel at the Critical Ethnic Studies Association Conference at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, in June of 2018. Her research is focused on race and the wilderness. She participated in a roundtable with DePaul CES faculty titled “What’s so “Critical” about Ethnic Studies? Pedagogy and Practice of Critical Ethnic Studies within the Neoliberal University in an era of White Nationalism” and she presented a paper titled “White Women and the Wild: An Intersectional Analysis of US Wilderness Mythology.” Jamie's thesis can be found here: White wilderness: race, capitalism, and alternative knowledges of natural space


Robert Barry '17

Robert A Barry, Jr. graduated from the Critical Ethnic Studies MA Program in 2017 as a member of our inaugural cohort. As an educator, he is currently serving as an Educational Counselor for the Schuler Scholar Program- a scholarship program that equips first-generation students of color with the support they need to gain access to and succeed at highly selective colleges. In Fall 2019, he will join the Comparative Studies PhD program at The Ohio State University to continue his scholarship on pop culture, media, and the examination of Black representation to further dismantle euro-normativity and modernize how folks acquire knowledge about Blackness. For his MA Final Project, Rob utilized his love for Beyonce to compete his thesis “Lemonade, Gin, and Juice: The Performance and Deconstruction of Black Masculinity from n**ger to Negus.” This research employed counter-storytelling to investigate Black masculinity; its performance, the identity politics that materialize in the discovery of Black “maleness,” and its manifestation through male intrasexual competition to analyze how Black men learn and perform traditional patriarchal masculinity in Diasporic spaces (i.e., The ‘Hood).

Robert's thesis can be found here: Lemonade, gin, and juice: the performance and deconstruction of black masculinity from n**gers to negus


Aiden Michael Bettine '17

Aiden Michael Bettine graduated from the Critical Ethnic Studies MA Program in 2017 as a member of our inaugural cohort. He is now pursuing a PhD in History and M.A. in Library & Information Science at the University of Iowa. Aiden's scholarship is focused on the history of race and ethnicity in the U.S. Incorporating both the applied methodology of public history and the digital humanities and the theoretical frameworks of critical race theory and decolonial thought, his historical projects work towards anti-racist scholarship. For his MA Final Project Aiden co-curated an exhibit now on view in the DePaul University Library Special Collection and Archives titled Stories Shared: Highlights from the Arnold and Jane Grisham Collection. He also designed a digital component for the exhibit which highlights the rare African American texts on display.


Carrie Morris '17

Carrie Morris graduated from the Critical Ethnic Studies Program in 2017 as a member of our inaugural cohort. In Fall of 2018, Carrie will begin a PhD in Communication, Culture, and Media Studies at Howard University in their Communications Department. Carrie is a Chicago, IL native who was introduced to critical thinking and early ideologies of Black feminism through her mother and father. Carrie's father was a Black Panther who taught her the importance of her voice in the movement with her mother teaching her early traditions of resistance to community and state violence against Black women. Much of Carrie's continual research and analysis has been centered through a Black feminist queer framework in order to dismantle patriarchy and misogynoir. Carrie's work moves to examine and reshape learned ideas about race, gender, and class. She will continue to follow the footprints of her ancestors.

elizabeth fei

Elizabeth Fei '17

Elizabeth Fei graduated with distinction from the Critical Ethnic Studies MA Program in 2017 as a member of our inaugural cohort. As a scholar, her research interests include mixed-race theory, queerness, performance studies, and decolonization. An abbreviated version of her MA thesis, "As Above, So Between: Configuring Miss Lala as a Mixed Race Figure," was presented at the Critical Mixed Race Studies conference in March 2018. A transplant from the Twin Cities, MN, as of April 2018 she is currently working at the Art Institute of Chicago as a Project Coordinator under the Diversifying Arts Museum Leadership Initiative. She looks forward to continuing to utilize the knowledge gained from the Critical Ethnic Studies program in her work with complex, community-based projects.

Elizabeth's thesis can be found here: "As above, so between: configuring Miss Lala as a mixed race subject"

Qu Yearby '17

Qu S. Yearby graduated from the Critical Ethnic Studies Program in 2017 as a member of our inaugural cohort. Her poem “Front Porch Funerals” is from her MA Final Project titled “Front Porch Funerals: The Visible and Invisible Mourning of Blkk Austin/Chicago/Amerixxx.” In Spring 2018, Qu will begin at Oakton Community College as an instructor of Ethnic Studies. Qu’s research and scholarship is centered around Black communities, Black death and mourning, education, and the prison systems. Using both research and vocal poetic expression to raise awareness in communities. Qu is a Chicago native of the West side of Chicago. Qu is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing- Poetry at Columbia College Chicago. 

Listen to Qu's poem: Coming to You Late on The Green line: After Kevin Coval