College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > English > About > End of Year Achievements

End Of Year Achievements 2020

​​Congratulations to all our Graduates!

What a bittersweet time. We in the Department of English are very proud of all our graduating seniors and master’s degree students, particularly this year, when getting to the finish line required extra effort and stamina. At the same time, we deeply regret not being able to celebrate you in person, shaking hands, offering hugs and high fives, telling you to your faces how certain we are that you will withstand this temporary crisis and move into a bright future.

As we complete this quarter, I send a heartfelt thanks to everyone who made it possible for you to gain such a valuable education at DePaul: the students; your families; our extremely hardworking and dedicated English faculty, our marvelous program directors, our expert department advisor, James Phelps, and our uber-creative department assistant, Marc Schell.

Thank you for making us proud. Enjoy the next phase of your life. Please stay in touch.

And please join me in celebrating the English Department's 2019-2020 honorees below.

Michele Morano, MFA, PhD
Professor and Chair

Marwa El Nour

Marwa El Nour, Graduate Distinction Award

I am a wife, a mother, and an eternally curious student. I find myself in literature, and hope that one day my career will consist of reading, and teaching the books that I love. I want to pursue a PhD and continue to learn, and once I achieve that goal then the sky is the limit.

Margo Aruda

Margo Arruda, Graduate Distinction Award

Ms. Arruda began her academic career at the University of Southern Maine where she centered her research upon artificial intelligence, personhood, and robotics ethics. Utilizing her background in both literary and women’s studies, she focuses on the ways in which stories can bring us together to confront the most challenging ethical dilemmas of our time. 

 She will begin her doctoral research at the University of Illinois at Chicago in September 2020 where she will focus on issues of gender, power, and the artificial person in speculative fiction narratives.

Liam Baker

Liam Baker, Student Worker

Liam is a graduating senior who studied Film & Television at DePaul, with a concentration in Editing and Visual Effects. His time as student worker at the Department of English allowed him to explore and gain experience in different fields such as graphic design and social media.

After graduation Liam plans to stay in Chicago for work that encompasses his various skills and passions.

Eric Canan

Eric Canan, Graduate Distinction Award, Graduate Assistant

Eric Canan graduated from Ohio Sate with a degree in civil engineering. After working as a schoolteacher and a corporate trainer, he came to DePaul to learn to tell engaging stories about the world. 

He's truly loved working as a GA for the English Department with both Big Shoulders Books and DePaul's partnership with One Book, One Chicago. After graduation he's aiming to work in science communication, and he's hoping to continue some of the freelance writing work he began as a student. 


Madelyn Funk, Graduate Distinction Award, Graduate Assistant

For the past two years, Madelyn Funk has served as the Associate Editor of Poetry East. She has designed several of the journal’s most recent issues, including “Origins” and “Chicago,” as well as Richard Jones’s Avalon, forthcoming in 2020 from Green Linden Press.

After graduating from DePaul with a Master’s degree in Writing and Publishing, Madelyn hopes to continue working in the publishing industry and to adopt a dog with her partner, Ben.


Page Gilberg, Outstanding Academic Achievement, Distinction Award

In June 2020, Page Gilberg graduated Summa Cum Laude from DePaul University with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Professional Writing. During their time as an undergraduate student, Page took on various tutoring, editing, and assistant teaching roles on campus. They also interned with the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame and 826CHI, a nonprofit creative writing center for Chicago Public School students. In their free time, Page enjoys watching movies and exploring the city.

Page is currently enrolled in the five-year BA/MA English Literature and Publishing program and will be continuing their education at DePaul this fall. As a forthcoming Graduate Assistant in the Department of English, they will support operations at the University Center for Writing-based Learning next school year. 


Ariel Gonzalez, Graduate Distinction Award, Graduate Assistant

Originally from Willow Springs, IL, I have earned a BS in Writing Intensive English from Marquette University, MS in Library and Information Science from UIUC, and a MA in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University. My passion projects include creative writing, editing in all forms, and trying new recipes.

After graduation I plan on pursuing a career in publishing and working to amplify the voices of marginalized and underrepresented authors. 


Madeline Happold, Graduate Distinction Award, Graduate Assistant

Madeline Happold received her BA in English literature and journalism from DePaul in 2018 before returning to complete her MA in English. Her studies focused on accessibility, popular culture, and the intersection of media and literature studies. After graduation, she will move to Wenatchee, WA to work as a community engagement fellow for a Google-funded local journalism grant.


Nicole Huff, Graduate Distinction Award, Graduate Assistant

I have worked as the Graduate Assistant for DePaul’s University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL) for two years. This year I took on the role as the Acting Coordinator for the UCWbL’s Collaborative for Multilingual Writing and Research.

After graduating from the MAE program this spring, I will be pursuing my PhD at Michigan State University in English. I will also be working as a Teaching Assistant for Michigan State University’s “Afrofantastic: Race, Power, and Gender in the Black Imaginary” course. 


Katherine Kozlik, Outstanding Academic Achievement

Katherine Kozlik is an English major at DePaul with a concentration in Literary Studies; her interests in literature led her to minoring in Irish Studies and Anthropology, subjects in which she took courses while studying abroad in Cork, Ireland. After returning from Ireland, she began working at the DePaul Study Abroad Office as a Peer Advisor. Her area of focus in her undergraduate studies has been 19th and 20th century Irish literature and she is particularly interested in the usage of literature as a medium of communication in Ireland's sociopolitical sphere over time. 

In the Fall of 2020, Katherine will be continuing on to a year-long Master of Arts program in Gaelic Literature at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. While the entirety of the course will be taught online, she plans to return to Ireland the following year to pursue a second Masters degree or a PhD in Literature. As one of her favorite dramatists and folklorists, Lady Augusta Gregory, once wrote: "I feel more and more the time wasted that is not spent in Ireland." Katherine hopes to someday be a professor of Irish Studies and/or Literature.


Emma Littel-Jensen, Outstanding Academic Achievement

Emma Littel-Jensen will be graduating in June with a degree in English Literature and a degree in French Studies. During her time at DePaul, she has worked at the University Center for Writing-based Learning as a peer tutor, writing group facilitator, and Outreach team member. She has also been a fiction reader and poetry section editor for Crook & Folly. With the eventual goal of working in publishing, she enjoys discussing and editing writing, and is grateful to DePaul for giving her ample opportunity to do so.

After graduation, Emma will be attending the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, where she will learn about book, magazine, and digital publishing. She hopes to work as a book editor, which will combine her love of words with her desire to work with people.


Wren Lively, Student Worker

Wren Lively is a fourth year Graphic Design major with a minor in Animation. While living on campus she served as an RA for the Corcoran and McCabe Halls. In her four years at DePaul, she has worked as a student assistant in the English Department and been active in DePaul’s AIGA chapter. She loves to craft and create in all capacities and has a knack for thrifting. Her main goal in life is to adopt cats and live in Chicago while being creative for a living.

Her post-graduation plans are to be happy.


Caroline Macon Fleischer, Graduate Distinction Award, Graduate Assistant

Caroline Macon Fleischer is a Dallas-born writer, editor, and theatre-maker. Her work has been published in American Theatre Magazine, PANK, L.A. Review of Books, The Rumpus, and more. She lives in Albany Park with her husband, son, and dog.

After graduation, she hopes to publish her first novel and keep writing for magazines and literary presses. She also plans to continue to make theatre and serve on the steering committee of the Parent-Artist Advocacy League.


Emma Mares, Outstanding Academic Achievement, Distinction Award, Student Worker

Emma Mares majors in Environmental Studies and English Literary Studies. In her time at DePaul, she has interned with Reading Chicago Reading, learning and writing about Chicago readership. She has also participated as a research assistant for Dr. Bala Chaudhary, compiling data on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) spores. Fascinated by the interactions between our natural environment and the arts, she hopes to continue working on research projects that span the humanities and the natural environment, as the two are mutually informed.


Chris Schafale, Outstanding Academic Achievement, Distinction Award, Excellence in Research Award

Chris Schafale is a graduating senior with a concentration in Literary Studies and minors in History and Classical Studies. He has had one poem published in Abstract: Contemporary Expressions and has given presentations on Ben Hecht, ideal learning environments, haibun poetry, and mindfulness. He has worked as a peer tutor for three years and was a research assistant on Reading Chicago Reading. In January 2020, Chris started a literary magazine—The Orange Couch—to showcase creative writing at DePaul’s Writing Center. He is currently working on two travel essays for his thesis and hopes to continue both traveling and writing after graduation.


Cyd Seifert, Graduate Assistant

Cyd Seifert is from Muskegon, Michigan, and she will be graduating from DePaul this year with an M.A. in Writing and Publishing. This summer, she will continue to work at the University Center for Writing-based Learning, and afterward, she would like to explore editorial opportunities locally in Chicago, Illinois.


Caitlin Stout, Graduate Distinction Award, Graduate Assistant

Caitlin Stout is student in the Writing and Publishing program who loves to travel, write fiction, and read both classic and contemporary books. She is managing editor at Arcturus magazine and has interned with Incarcerated Voices, Starts With Us, Chicago Review of Books, and StoryStudio Chicago. 

She plans to save up and then pursue work abroad (when it's safe to do so).


Sabrina Szos, Outstanding Academic Achievement

My name is Sabrina Szos and I am a senior majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minoring in the History of Art and Architecture. This year I served as the Editor-in-Chief for DePaul’s art and literature magazine, Crook & Folly, which has been one of the best experiences I’ve had here at DePaul! Outside of school you can most likely find me at one of the various art museums in Chicago, watching a cooking competition show (right now it’s Top Chef!), or hanging out with my dog, Cookie.

I am enrolled in DePaul’s combined degree program, getting a head start on a master’s in Writing and Publishing. Come autumn 2020, I will be in grad school full-time! I will also begin my graduate assistantship working as the associate editor for Poetry East, a journal affiliated with the university. I’m so very excited to continue my education at DePaul and to see where life will take me once the next two years are over.


Abby Vakulskas, Graduate Assistant

Abby Vakulskas has just completed her first year living in Chicago and studying in the Masters in Writing and Publishing program. After graduation, she hopes to continue working with literature and writing.


Andrea Walker, Graduate Distinction Award

After earning her B.A. in English from Western Michigan University, Andrea spent a year teaching English in Beijing before settling down in Chicago. She’s looking forward to a career in teaching.


Chris Watkins, Graduate Distinction Award, Graduate Assistant

I came to DePaul knowing I wanted to read and write poetry, but without a clear artistic direction and without knowing my poetic voice. Thanks to many people here, not only did I find my direction and voice, but I learned more than I ever hoped to about the slow type of seeing that both writing and a well-lived life require. I would like to thank all of my professors and friends, especially Chris Green, Miles Harvey, and my Poetry East family Maddy Funk, David Welch, Meredith Ferrill, Katie LaTour, and Richard Jones. I will miss all of you down in Florida, and I can only hope my PhD is half as beneficial, rewarding, and enjoyable as my MFA has been.


Jessica Watson, Graduate Distinction Award

After receiving my BA in English Publishing Studies from Illinois State University, I decided to further my academic career by pursuing my MA in English at DePaul University. Now that I've graduated, I hope to pursue a career as an editor in book publishing.

Soto Headshot

Susana Cardenas-Soto, Outstanding Senior, Creating Knowledge Winner, Distinction Award

Susana Cardenas-Soto is a Cuban-Mexican-American writer and performance poet originally from Madrid, Spain, and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. Susana's interdisciplinary work ranges from slam poetry, short-form prose, and memoir essays, to literary criticism, contemporary media studies, and psychological analysis, and explores theories of and experiences of trauma, either personal, historical, or literary. Susana graduated from DePaul University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English with a focus in Creative Writing and a minor in Psychology. Susana was awarded as the Outstanding Senior in the English Department of the Class of 2020, winner of the Creating Knowledge essay competition, and received a Distinction in English. Currently, Susana is the resident writer and marketing intern for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. In the near future, Susana plans to publish a collection of memoir essays, and later plans to pursue graduate school to earn a degree in either creative writing, literary studies, or Spanish-language literature. 


Karen Rosen, Bill and Irene Beck Award for Community Engagement

Karen Rosen has served as development officer of foundation and government relations at the Chicago Botanic Garden for the past ten years. She partners with foundation, corporation, and government organizations to raise millions of dollars for the Garden's learning and engagement programs, science initiatives, and capital projects. One of her expertise areas is securing grants for nationally recognized programs that serve a diversity of populations with access to nature-based learning, food, health, and jobs. This includes Windy City Harvest, the Garden’s urban agriculture initiative based in North Lawndale, and horticultural therapy services. Prior to joining the Garden, Rosen served in leadership roles in Chicago’s nonprofit community. She received a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and began DePaul’s MAWP program in the 2019-20 school year. Her goal during graduate studies and beyond is to publish creative non-fiction, including essays, articles, and a full-length manuscript. 

Ryan Z

Ryan Ziencina, Outstanding Research Award, Excellence in Research, Distinction Award

Ryan is from Chicago and wanted to stay in the city to learn more deeply about its history, art, and literature. During his time at DePaul, Ryan has engaged in many archival research projects on various topics, from the Harvard Houghton Library to the Newberry Library at Chicago. He has presented at conferences on Walt Whitman and twentieth century Chicago author Henry Blake Fuller. His essays have been published in DePaul's Creating Knowledge for English and American Studies. 

Outstanding Academic Achievement

  • Miriam Cortinovis
  • Franco-Aureli Diaz
  • Madison Doppelt
  • Connor Druhan
  • Katelyn Dubose
  • Avery Ferin
  • Allison Hennessy
  • Morgan Kail-Ackerman
  • Blake Laymon
  • Lucy Miller
  • Maxwell Rowe-Sutton

​​Distinction Awards

  • Morgan Kail-Ackerman
  • Erin Roux
  • Maxwell Rowe-Sutton
  • Allison Hennessy
  • Madison Doppelt

Graduate Distinction Awards

  • William O'Connor
  • Michael Beauchamp
  • Tyler Blanchette
  • Emily Gorski
  • Clare Mckitterick