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Alumni Spotlight


Madison Bagby, Class of 2019

Sociology has afforded me the ability to view the world through an analytical lens. My research on surveillance measures in public schools, based on geographical location, in the context of the school to prison pipeline has prepared me to be a future researcher and applied sociologist. My ambition is to be a university professor and conduct research on the education system. I am currently the artistic director of The Puzzle Box Dance Company. This is a company for youth that has the primary goal of empowering students and building their self-confidence. Moreover, I recently received my substitute teacher license and have been teaching in Chicago schools. This opportunity has allowed me to see what is happening in schools first hand. DePaul’s graduate sociology program has given me the tools to empower youth through teaching and research.    


Kirstin Chernawsky, Class of 2005

I am a proud Double Demon!  I received my Masters in Public Service and Bachelors in Sociology, both from DePaul University.  These degrees laid the foundation for my career in Chicago’s nonprofit sector.

My career path began at the Swedish American Museum as Development Manager.  I then served as Director of Institutional Giving and Director of Development, respectively, at Northwestern University Settlement Association and BUILD.

In 2013 I came to Erie Neighborhood House as the Senior Director of Development & Communications.  And, in 2016 I transitioned to just the ninth individual—and fourth woman—to serve as the Executive Director of the oldest still-operating settlement house in Chicago, providing cradle to career services to primarily immigrant families.

I currently serve as Board Treasurer for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and as a Board Member with Susan G. Komen Chicago and the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force.  I sit on Mayor-Elect Lightfoot’s Health & Human Services Transition Committee and was appointed by Mayor Emanuel to serve on the 2017-2019 Community Development Advisory Committee.  I am also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and a Class of 2019 Leadership Greater Chicago fellow.  In 2019 I was recognized by Crain’s Business Chicago as “40 Under 40”, Axelson Center at North Park University as “20 Exemplary Leaders for 20 Years”, and Executive Service Corp as “Executive Director of the Year.”

I credit much of my success to the outstanding experience I had at DePaul.  I still utilize much of my education in my day-to-day life and greatly appreciate the robust alumni network in Chicago.




Erik Withers, Class of 2008

I am currently a PhD candidate in the department of sociology at the University of South Florida. After I graduate in the summer of 2019, I will be heading to the University of Wisconsin River Falls where I will start as an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Fall of 2019. My areas of research and teaching are racial and ethnic inequalities, gender, and consumer culture, but I also engage with debate in the areas of identity, family, space and place, and culture more broadly.

I use sociology everyday during my professional life as both a PhD student and a Graduate Instructor at USF. In my research, I use qualitative methods to uncover and explore the nuances of race, ethnicity, and gender within the cultural work of consumer markets. As an instructor I teach both upper and introductory level courses on various topics within sociology, and I am a two-time recipient of the USF Sociology Department's graduate student teaching award. I strive to teach my students how to view the many aspects of their lives, and the lives of others, through a sociological lens.

My scholarship has been published in the journal Sociology Compass, and in two edited volumes on sociology and craft beer. I am also co-editing an upcoming special edition of the journal Humanity and Society, titled: “Inequalities in Contemporary Cultural Spaces.” Thank you to my mentors at DePaul (Black Hawk Hancock, Roberta Garner, and Julie Artis), the Department of Sociology, and the greater DePaul community for helping build the foundation which lead to my career as a sociologist. 

Clinton Boyd, Jr., Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. He earned a Ph.D. from Georgia State University, a MA from DePaul University, and a BA from Concordia University Chicago.

His areas of interest include race and ethnicity, poverty and inequality, urban sociology, social policy, and parenting and African American families.Dr. Boyd primarily studies how the life course events of African American men affect their experiences as fathers. His research also explores ways to strengthen father involvement in evidence-based home visiting programs. The National Institute of Health, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, and early childhood non-profit organization, ZERO TO THREE, have supported his research in these areas. 

DePaul’s Vincentian values remind me that my responsibilities to my community are not complete until every person is treated with full human dignity and respect. This emphasis is reflective of my love for the discipline of sociology. Through research, I get to call attention to people and phenomena that others have not noticed. I also get to use my skills on a daily basis to measure outcomes and help improve the ways in which my organization serves teens across Chicago. In short, I can use sociology to improve the world I live and work in.

My research interests include education access and sexual violence. In my career I hope to use research to influence policy and practice related to these issues, particularly in the nonprofit and government sectors.

In working towards this career goal, during my time as a graduate student, I worked as a research assistant for DePaul’s Arnold Mitchem Fellows Program, which provides early research opportunities to first generation, low-income, and underrepresented students. I also served as a graduate research intern at Feeding America throughout my second year in the program, where I contributed to their annual Map the Meal Gap and The State of Senior Hunger reports. Currently, I serve on the research team at After School Matters as a research and evaluation specialist, where I get to use research every day to better inform the ways we serve teens across the city.


When I first took a sociology class as a DePaul undergraduate, I felt like I had discovered a language to talk about the way I saw the world. Sociology impacts my viewpoint and shapes my understanding, always. After graduating with an BA in sociology, I started taking classes for my MA at DePaul immediately, thinking I might want to pursue a PhD. However, I instead left to accept a position in the nonprofit sector at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, where I was a Special Events Director. However, I  really felt drawn to working with patients and my next move was to return to school to study nursing.

I attended Loyola’s accelerated program in nursing and took a position as a Labor and Deliver nurse, where I stayed for ten years. I also simultaneously worked at the public health department in a walk-in clinic for uninsured patients, as well as performing home nursing visits. For the last couple years, I have been the RN Clinical Coordinator for Advocate’s First Aid Station at Wrigley Field. Running a clinic inside of a MLB baseball stadium has some unique challenges, but has been interesting, to say the least. In the past few years, I have been working on finishing my sociology MA, and am graduating!

My  professors at DePaul have been so supportive and knowledgeable, helping me navigate writing a thesis on my research project interviewing obstetrical nurses, focusing on occupational status and emotional labor. Overall, sociology has shaped my career and way I see the world.


Sociology was an interesting subject to learn about at DePaul. What I liked about Sociology is that it deals with the study of human’s social which is similar to Psychology. Also, what I liked about Sociology would be the classes that I took and the professors that I had because each professor was wonderful in teaching the courses that were related to Sociology. 

I use Sociology in my day to day life and my job all the time. I do like to interact with certain individuals because they have interesting stories to tell me. I have achieved so many things at DePaul University. One of them was making the Dean’s List and the other getting inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success. Also, I won the “Best Sports Update” award for Radio DePaul Sports which was amazing.

After I graduated from DePaul University, I decided to take everything that I have learned throughout my journey and bring it to graduate school. I am currently enrolled at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology where I am working on my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. There were so many career interests that I explored for this degree; however I am interested in becoming an Academic Advisor where my population is going to be college students. I want to be an inspirational to college students because I care about their education and I want them to feel comfortable when transitioning into college by providing them the best advice as possible to succeed.