Who We Are: Alia Ibrahim


Alia Ibrahim, IDS, 2016

My IDS program helped me to discover my passion and place in the world, enabled me to develop sharp critical thinking skills, and contributed to my ability to succeed professionally. Currently, I work at as an International Patient Services Coordinator at a prestigious Midwest medical facility in the International Programs department. Many of the skills I have acquired enable me to provide a bridge for international patients to obtain the medical care they need in a culturally and racially sensitive manner. Current policies and research support the notion that healthcare is best delivered in a culturally sensitive manner, which can sometimes be difficult in a racially and culturally diverse setting. My expertise from my personal and educational background has enabled me to work with various organizations that serve Arab and Muslim populations.

Being raised in an ethnocentric Arab Muslim community in Chicago created a murky set of Arab values to negotiate in an American context. One side of my family was governed by “proper” and “respectable” conservative Arab and Muslim values; the other side of my family is from a German working class background in Pennsylvania. My reality was shaped by these seemingly diametrical opposites – a culmination of Orientalism and its antithesis. My undergraduate background is in Political Science, and I became interested in Middle Eastern Politics because of my bicultural upbringing as an Arab American and experience of being racialized after 9/11.

As I come to the end of my graduate career, I reflect back and see how each and every course impacted my ability to know myself and critically think about the factors that shaped my reality and how I interact with the world. I can trace the trajectory of my education as beginning without much grounding in the variables that shaped my existence. International Studies courses helped me connect historical events and systemic powers to my own experiences and positioning in the world. This was further explored in Women’s and Gender’s Studies courses, where I studied feminism and post-colonialism to reflect on how gender roles shape our experience in society. Finally, I moved into the Modern Languages program to focus on Arabic language and culture to gain more language and cultural competency skills. All of these disciplines have shaped my life today and empowered me to move on from being a shy girl who did not understand herself to a professional striving to bring cultures and nations together.

Start your self-constructed educational journey today by contacting the DePaul MALS/IDS program.

Who We Are: Kevin Moffat

Kevin Moffat, IDS, 2016

Kevin Moffat came to DePaul as an in-service educator wanting to expand his skills with a self-customized program that drew from a variety of fields including leadership and business.  In his original learning goal, Kevin wrote “The main focus of this goal was to think critically about my profession, and how I could incorporate my roots in education to sales and business management.”

DePaul’s MALS and IDS helped Kevin achieve this unique blend of fields to study.  Per Kevin, “I had a wonderful experience at DePaul, and have been fortunate enough to learn from great Professors. The insight I obtained through my courses has created a foundation for what I want my career to be in the future.”

As for those avenues of study applying to the real world, Kevin writes, “I can definitively say that working in an interdisciplinary program has given me a direction. Business, leadership, and education skills will always have relevance in the workplace at any level. Not every career path needs to be ‘black and white.’ This graduate program allowed me to see that, and truly become an engineer of innovation.”

Start your self-constructed educational journey today by contacting the DePaul MALS/IDS program.

Moffat Digication

Kevin Moffat’s portfolio homepage demonstrates how easy it is to make a bold statement in Digication. DePaul MALS / IDS requires a portfolio to be maintained for graduation; in addition, it is a great piece to add to a career portfolio.

Who We Are: Rachel Conrad


Rachel Conrad, IDS, Current

Rachel Conrad comes to DePaul with a decade’s worth of teaching experience. She will use her self-constructed IDS program to carve out a fascinating niche of working with “third culture kids,” in order to “help them through their identity negotiation processes.” Her focus includes minority studies, non-fiction writing and story-telling,  along with educational theory.

While some would find returning to school daunting, Rachel sees it another way.  “After teaching and writing curriculum and obeying the ever-changing demands of state education for the past decade, I’m finding the freedom and singular concentration of the academic life highly liberating.”

DePaul’s LAS graduate programs offer students many conference opportunities.  Students are encouraged to participate in academic conferences as presenters and observers to the most current research and practice.  Rachel explains, “Because my topic is such a compilation, there’s no cohort or even one professor (that I’ve discovered yet) who is an expert in my field of study. But hey, that also means I’ve got center stage on any presenting/ publication opportunities.” As Rachel’s unique studies evolve, she has taken advantage of  DePaul conference events as a panel participant and presenter.

Start your self-constructed educational journey today by contacting the DePaul MALS/IDS program.

Tony Fitzpatrick: The Secret Birds

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Tony Fitzpatrick: The Secret Birds

May 12 – August 21/ 2016

In his ongoing series “The Secret Birds”, Tony Fitzpatrick intricately draws and layers images, poetry and found materials onto the page. He combines inspiration from his working class roots in Chicago, and influences from folk art, comic book characters, and tattoo imagery in his trademark style on view. Each drawn collage depicts a specific species, ranging from the Peregrine Falcon, to the common “immigrant” Starling.  Tony Fitzpatrick’s earliest drawings as a child were of birds.  He credits his Grandmother for instilling in him a sense of wonder and reverence for a creature she believed inspired hope, telling him, “for the price of a crust of bread you can hear God sing”. “Each bird becomes a “visitation to her”, says Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick’s is a narrative journey and the birds become a catalyst for self examination.  They  play symbolic roles some delivering  otherworldly messages and cautionary tales, while others serve to commemorate and eulogize late writers like Gabriel García Márquez and he gives a soulful tribute to the  Chicago songwriter and rhythm and blues legendary musician Otis Clay. His interests are numerous, and his narratives are reflections on his travels,  social and political concerns or they become commentaries on the inequities and injustices found in Chicago and beyond.

The exhibition also features prints, drawings and collages from the museum’s permanent collection, they encompass a range of  ideas and showcase a sampling of the  visual trajectory of the artist Tony Fitzpatrick’s work from over the past two decades.

Who We Are: Megan Metzger


Megan, left, and Sharon Needles at the 2012 Drag Stars at Sea cruise where fans and drag queens interact.

Megan Metzger, IDS, 2016

Megan Metzger’s field of study embodies what is amazing about DePaul’s self-constructed MALS and IDS programs.  Completing her IDS degree in 2016, her superfandom of RuPaul’s Drag Race led to work in several fields like Gender Studies and Media. Megan explains why such a range of classes was beneficial: “At DePaul not only did I become intimately familiar with the work of theorists like Michel Foucault and Audre Lorde, I also acquired skills that transcended the classroom. Skills like how to be more critical as a media consumer, or how to be a better feminist.

This work culminated in a thesis about RuPaul’s smash television show and led Megan to find her life meaning in a new field: TV Scholarship.  “My goal as a television scholar is to avoid giving into the trap of designating only certain kinds of TV as ‘worthy’ of academic pursuit. I like to analyze all media, especially the ‘trash.'”

Megan’s uniquely self-tailored program allowed her to find her calling but also put her on track to pursue a doctorate in the near future. “I am forever indebted to the IDS program at DePaul for allowing me to harness my pop culture predilections into a viable academic profession.

Start your self-constructed educational journey today by contacting the DePaul MALS/IDS program.