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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.