Recognize a Modern-Day Louise for the WSA Awards

As we prepare for the 2013-14 Women of Spirit & Action Awards on November 5, DWN Communications Team Member Clarissa Fidler chose to reflect on what it means to be a woman of spirit and action in modern times.

Don’t think you have anything in common with a French Catholic saint who lived during the 17th century? Look again. St. Louise de Marillac was a wife, mother, nurse, social worker, teacher and community organizer. Louise lived centuries before us in a time and place far removed from today’s fast-paced, rapidly changing world. And yet, the qualities Louise possessed and roles she filled are all relevant to today’s modern woman.

Who is a modern-day Louise?

A modern-day Louise possesses a spirit of service. She looks outside herself for opportunities to influence others for good. Service comes in many sizes and forms. Those of you who participated in last month’s American Heart Association Heart Walk gave of your time and means to support the greater good. Small daily acts of kindness, such as holding the door for a mom with a stroller and unruly three-year-old or calling a friend to see how he or she is doing, all demonstrate Louise’s spirit of service.

WSA Louise Wordle webA modern-day Louise shows true concern and compassion for her associates. She is careful not to pass judgment on others and seeks to be in tune with the needs of those around her. A modern-day Louise takes the time to connect with a new coworker or neighbor by inviting her to lunch or out to coffee. Her commitment to personalism is demonstrated through her daily interactions. Giving a sincere thank you to the bus driver or volunteering to take on a new responsibility at work to help out a coworker are both examples of compassionate personalism.

A modern-day Louise gets things done. She bravely charges forward to complete her many tasks in arenas ranging from the home to the workplace to the community. Some days getting something done may be as simple as getting the kids to school and yourself to work on time. Other days this may be successfully executing a project or event that has required months of preparation and teamwork. No matter the obstacles, a modern-day Louise perseveres until the job is finished.

Nominate a modern-day Louise

DePaul Women’s Network encourages all faculty, staff and students to honor a modern-day Louise. Nominations for the 2013-14 Women of Spirit and Action Awards will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 22. Click here for details on how to nominate your modern-day Louise, and register now to attend the awards ceremony.

Clarissa Fidler is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is a department assistant for the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse at DePaul University.

DePaul Center Promotes Women in STEM through Lecture Series

In advance of the Jeanne LaDuke Women in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Annual Lecture Series on Oct. 17, DWN Communications Team Member Dorothy Griggs visited the DePaul University STEM Center to find out about its history and role in the series. Read on to see what she learned.

STEMI recently had the pleasure of meeting with DePaul University STEM Center Director Lynn C. Narasimhan and Associate Director Victoria Simek. The STEM Center (formerly the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Center), has been in existence since July 2000 and is housed on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus at 990 W. Fullerton Ave. When the College of Science and Health separated from the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences in 2011, the center officially adopted its new name and continued its work providing universitywide programming in STEM disciplines, which include science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The History of STEM and the LaDuke Series

One of the many exciting things the STEM Center is responsible for is managing the annual Jeanne LaDuke Women in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Annual Lecture Series. The LaDuke Series is named after Jeanne LaDuke, associate professor emeritus in the Department of Mathematics. This lecture series was created in 2005 by Dr. LaDuke’s colleagues, and Dr. LaDuke kicked off the series in May 2005 by presenting “Women Who Count: Pioneers in American Mathematics.”

When I inquired what it was about Dr. LaDuke that would compel her co-workers to create such a great offering on her behalf, Victoria responded that Dr. LaDuke was an exceptionally dedicated professor who was always willing to help her colleagues, and that she was very inspirational. While all of these attributes are admirable, I am inclined to believe that the operative word here is inspirational. Hopefully, all of us have been fortunate enough to have had teachers who inspired us. It is an intangible quality that not all possess, but similar to genius, you know when you are in its presence. And as a direct result of the LaDuke Lecture Series, Dr. LaDuke’s inspirational spirit will be felt for many years to come.

For this year’s guest speaker, the LaDuke Faculty Committee has invited Dr. Melissa Gilliam, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago. Dr. Gilliam’s research focuses on populations that are at risk of poor reproductive health. Due to the complexity of the issue, Dr. Gilliam understood the importance of incorporating other disciplines in her research, and to that end has established The Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3), as well as the Game Changer Design Lab at the University of Chicago.

This Year’s LaDuke Lecture

Now in its ninth year, the Jeanne LaDuke Women in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Annual Lecture Series will be held on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m., at the McGowan South, Room 108, 1110 W. Belden Ave. A reception will immediately follow. RSVPs are encouraged by emailing Victoria at, but do not fret if you forget, just come on out and hear what Dr. Gilliam has to say about this important issue.

Prior to the lecture, there will be a special session for students interested in having the opportunity to have “face time” with Dr. Gilliam, and the chance to pose questions that are pertinent to their current studies and interests. This meeting will run for an hour, starting at 4:30 p.m., and will be held in McGowan South, Room 204. Refreshments will be served.

What’s Next for the STEM Center

In selecting speakers for the LaDuke Lecture Series, Victoria stated that the goal is to select local women from various disciplines. When I inquired whether the focus at the STEM Center was predominately on the women student population, Lynn informed me that the STEM Center supports both men and women equally in the STEM disciplines. She went on to share that she is currently teaching a course for middle school mathematics teachers and, among other things, is presenting them with a new paradigm of teaching to help change the mindset of their students from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. This course work is based on the research findings of Dr. Carol S. Dweck, and the objective is to supply teachers with the tools to help middle school students understand that they can be proficient in math if they persevere, even if math does not come easily to them, and even if they have been unsuccessful at math in the past.

That morning in the STEM Center as Lynn and Victoria spoke passionately about the work they do and the positive ramification of the research that is being done, their passion was palpable. Afterward, Lynn forwarded me a couple of her resources to read to further my understanding of her work. It was an honor to have had the unique opportunity to meet and talk at length with these two women. Opportunities such as these are, I believe, one of the great benefits of being a member of the DePaul Women’s Network.

But as all good things must come to an end, when the 15 minutes that I had initially requested quickly turned into 40, I bid a gracious good-bye. And as I stepped out of their building onto Fullerton and into the bright sunlit day, I must admit that I felt happy with the way the interview went, but mostly I felt inspired.

Dorothy Griggs is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is the department assistant for the Center for Students with Disabilities at DePaul University.