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.

Who We Are: Hakki Gurkan


Hakki Gurkan, MALS, 2016

Hakki Gurkan is a modern renaissance man with a background that varies from sound design to the military to the Chicago Police Department and more.  As a part of his academic journey, he took great pleasure in the self-tailored nature  MALS and IDS  has to offer at DePaul.  “I have an insatiable desire to learn and MALS pushed me towards exploration.  Not just exploration in an abstract sense, but to explore in a concrete manner, to develop so that I can deftly handle any challenges and obstacles.”  The exploration Hakki describes led to a tremendous result. “I’ve become a better leader and have been able to excel in my field while continually looking to better myself as a person.”

As a graduating student this year Hakki reflects on his time spent at DePaul.  “The interdisciplinary MALS program taught me to see every issue from multiple perspectives.  This sets me apart from some of my technically trained peers and colleagues.”  In addition to enhancing his leadership skills and creating a truly unique resume, Hakki  found immense satisfaction in DePaul’s customizable programs.  As he put it, “The MALS Program allowed me to task my intellect, to nourish and feed it!

For more on Hakki and other MALS/IDS students,  check out the DePaul MALS and IDS newsletter Convergence, coming in April.

Who We Are: Laura McLaughlin

Laura Mc

Laura McLaughlin, IDS, 2012

When Laura McLaughlin came to DePaul, she intended to study the impact that organizational culture has on business as well as the greater community.  Like many IDS students, her customized program encompassed many more fields than anticipated.  She studied marketing, public relations, advertising, sociology, human-computer interaction, and more.

Laura’s studies took such a diverse range because “the classes I chose followed a passion that I found intriguing and have become a great compliment to my professional background. Because of the flexibility of DePaul’s IDS program, I can now make contributions that come from a unique perspective that is grounded in methodologies from a variety of academic disciplines, while at the same time add possibilities of new perspectives and solutions not previously thought of.”

To describe her overall experience with DePaul’s MALS/IDS program, Laura thanks DePaul for “taking the chance on the creativity of the students that you teach. You truly do empower us all to make a difference.”

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

Who We Are: Dr. Frank Chaten

Dr Frank

Dr. Frank Chaten, MALS, 2012

Dr. Frank Chaten came to DePaul with nearly two decades experience as a pediatric critical care physician but had the desire to “reawaken” parts of his brain.  It is safe to say his self-constructed MALS program accomplished that.  Along his journey Dr. Frank took classes on the world of wine, modern Irish literature, and much more.  He did not know it at the time but his path was one large circle, leading back to his medical roots.

Dr. Frank Chaten’s thesis explored organ donation and the ethical importance of donation balanced with religious definitions of death.  Working with Thomas O’Brien, Ph.D. of the Religious Studies Department, Dr. Chaten found one way to marry biology and theology.  Dr. Chaten writes, “This approach, outside the realm of traditional secular bioethics, would not have occurred to me had I not pursued the MALS program.”

To summarize Dr. Chaten’s experience in DePaul’s MALS and IDS program he says, “I’ve met lots of interesting people along the way and developed some friendships I otherwise would have missed. It’s been lots of fun and lots of work, especially the writing in virtually every course. But it’s been one of the more rewarding things I’ve done, leading me to unexpected places both personally and professionally.

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

Who We Are: Warren Davis

Warren Davis

Warren Davis, MALS, 2009

At a glance, politics and art do not have much overlap but when you realize how art can critique governments and policies can censor and neuter that expression, it becomes obvious that the two function in almost a yin and yang balance.  For MALS graduate Warren Davis, exploring this relationship has created a lifelong passion.  Warren studied theater and art at Arizona State before continuing on at DePaul.  His MALS/IDS final thesis, The Personal versus the Political: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Names Project memorial AIDS Quilt in the 80s and early 90s, drew parallels between the two projects.

In describing art in its relationship to causes, politics, government, and more, Davis says, “Art study is interdisciplinary because the compartmentalization of art is false.”  It is this avoidance of a subdividing life that made DePaul’s customized MALS program so attractive.  Davis described his experience as a “unique perspective of self-reflection that synthesizes enriched education.”

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

Who We Are: Cristina Rodriguez

Cristina Rodriguez

Cristina Rodriguez, IDS, 2010

Program coordinating and event planning are critical activities in the business world but it can be difficult for academia to define these professions, let alone have a full program or department to deeply study the demands of those careers.  Cristina Rodriguez’s self-constructed IDS program cut through the haze created as universities play catch-up to the corporate universe.

Cristina combined communication and business courses to better prepare for her professional calling but she always remained grounded in her liberal arts background saying, “Life is an educational journey. The more you learn, the more you grow as a person and community member.”

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

Who We Are: Vesna Lazar


Vesna Lazar, MALS, 2013

Vesna Lazar’s customized MALS program let her turn traveling into an art form…literally.  Vesna combined study abroad, art, and writing into the culminating project Travel Essays and Drawings.  Despite a twisting global path, the goal was always clear to Vesna: “Quite quickly everything came together and suddenly I knew what I was looking for and how my personal views and experiences of history, politics and traveling could be expressed in creative ways.

The always reflective Vesna expresses the intersection of travel and learning she experienced through DePaul MALS and IDS, saying “As all travelers know, the great part of a journey is the anticipation and the hope for the experience that alters one’s points of view…no one wants to return to the exactly the same point from which one has departed. The intriguing part for me was, and still is, how this change occurs, what it is that happens to me and confirms the saying that one can never go back home.”

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