Learn, Network, Grow – Join DWN in 2016-2017

By Jennifer Roop

Roop headshot

In spring 2012, after nearly two years of working at DePaul, I found myself at a crossroads. I was about to finish my master’s program, which had been keeping me busy and helping me feel more connected to the university. I decided to devote my newfound time to DePaul in a different way, by joining the DePaul Women’s Network (DWN). Now, four years later, I’m still happy to be involved in DWN and I want to encourage other DePaul women to join the Network for our coming service year.

My Journey with DWN

I had been seeing emails from DWN about opportunities, so I decided to apply to a position where I could use my writing and editing skills. I started as a communications co-chair and moved into a director role the next year when we shifted to the structure in place today. My time heading a DWN team helped me gain leadership skills, which helped me grow professionally and move up to a manager position in a new department.

I have met so many different, interesting women through the Network. Each year our recruitment push brings in new faces and ideas that make me energized for what lies ahead. That excitement has inspired me to step up my commitment each successive year. Now, heading into DWN’s 2016-17 service year as president, I’m looking forward to a whole new set of challenges and even more growth.

How DWN Can Help You

Everyone’s experience with DWN is different and can inspire growth on both a personal and professional level. You may want to join to:

  • Learn new skills. Is your regular job in accounting or administration but you want to learn about event planning? Join the Programming team! Would you like to gain managerial skills but you don’t oversee anyone at DePaul? Apply to be a director!
  • Meet women from across the university. While DWN has programs focused on personal and professional development, there is also a fun, social aspect. Being on a team is a great way to connect with women from various departments and roles.
  • Feel more connected to DePaul. DWN members get to plan events that bring the DePaul community together, from faculty forums to our yearly Women of Spirit and Action Awards and High Tea with Saint Louise. As an Employee Resource Group, DWN also works with other groups on university initiatives such as the Diversity and Inclusion Forum.

How You Can Get Started

Once you’re ready to share your time and talents with DWN, applying is easy. All staff and faculty women at DePaul are welcome, whether you’re full- or part-time staff or faculty. You can learn about all of the ways to participate by reviewing our practice areas and positions below.

  • Team Member: You can join as a team member within 1 of 5 areas: Operations, Membership & Engagement, Service & Outreach, Programming, and Marketing & Communications.
  • Director: One director leads each practice area, and all directors meet together monthly to discuss DWN’s overall direction. This year there are open director spots for Operations, Membership & Engagement and Service & Outreach.
  • M@L: If you want to learn about DWN with a lower time commitment, a Member-at-Large position might be for you. Stay tuned, as this option will have a separate sign-up process in fall 2016.

This year, it’s easier than ever to apply: Just fill out the online application, which takes less than 10 minutes. Unlike last year, you don’t need to include a resume or your supervisor’s email (though you should discuss your DWN involvement with them). We want to make joining DWN as easy as possible.

What’s Next?

DWN has grown through the years and is still expanding. I invite you to join and see how the Network can help you learn, network and grow. And if you know a woman in your department or your circle of friends at DePaul who would be interested, please encourage her to join as well! DWN grows most by word of mouth.

DWN recruitment is open until Friday, April 1. Click here to apply now!


Jennifer Roop is the incoming DWN president and the Marketing & Communications Manager in the Department of Housing Services at DePaul.

Millennial Women: A Force to be Reckoned with

By Laura Durnell


In 1997 she entered the world.

In 2009 she began writing an anonymous blog advocating education as a right for all children.

In 2011 her home country awarded her with its First National Peace Prize.

In 2012 when she was 15, she was shot on her bus ride home from school simply because of her beliefs.

In 2013 she co-founded a foundation to increase awareness for the importance of girls’ education.

In 2014 at the age of 17, she became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 2015 she called herself a feminist as well as an education activist.

Her name is Malala Yousafzai, and she is a millennial.

In May of 2013, Time magazine devoted its cover story to the millennial generation entitled The Me, Me, Me Generation.  It listed some attributes that I am sure you have heard and read about:  spoiled, disrespectful, entitled, impatient, shallow, lazy, aliterate, narcissistic, sheltered, arrogant.

I have taught first year writing far longer than I would like to admit.  During this time, I have educated students ranging from the Greatest Generation to those still in high school working toward advanced college credit.  While I do admit I have taught my share of stereotypical millennials, I am please to say that stereotype has not been the norm.  I also know the stereotype is not unique to them. In Ancient Greece, Socrates said, “The children now love luxury.  They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in the place of exercise.”

Every generation has faced some sort of criticism, and people have declared that the current generation coming of age will be the end of civilization.  However, that negates the accomplishments and power each generation achieves.  With this being women’s history month, I want to address two famous millennial women as well as those under the radar who take leadership roles and challenge the status quo.

In addition to the now eighteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai, twenty-five-year-old actress Emma Watson has emerged as a gender activist.  In 2014 she became the United Nations Women Global Goodwill Ambassador and heads the HeForShe Campaign.  With her hair pulled back and wearing an elegant white dress secured with a silver belt, the HeForShe Campaign button secured to her left lapel, Watson looked more confident and determined than admittedly nervous when she delivered her amazing 2014 speech to the UN.  That speech was broadcasted by CNN and later went viral.  I have even shown it in my WRD 104 class as an example of rhetoric, language, audience, cited evidence, and argumentation.

Since her speech, Watson continues to advocate gender equality for men and women.  Better yet, she extends a hand to men to work as allies in breaking gender expectations.  In person and online, she works to raise awareness and opportunities for equal pay, women’s education, women’s health, and women’s political participation and contribution.  In February, she told Paper magazine, where she was featured alongside feminist and writing legend bell hooks, she planned to take a year off from acting to concentrate on feminism, activism, and personal development.

Watson is also the person who led Yousafzai to call herself a feminist.  Before the premiere of her documentary He Named Me Malala, Watson interviewed Yousafzai who told her:

It has been a tricky word. When I heard it the first time, I heard some negative responses and some positive ones. I hesitated in saying am I feminist or not?

Then after hearing your speech I decided there’s no way and there’s nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist. So I’m a feminist, and we all should be a feminist because feminism is another word for equality.

Out of the spotlight, I see the same drive and confidence in the writing and research done by several of my female millennial students.  This quarter alone, several are writing their argumentative-research essays on contemporary topics relevant to women.  One student argues how even in 2016, “toxic masculinity” continues to prevent women from advancing in basic human rights while stripping their existing rights.  Another student argues how school dress codes unfairly focus on female students and even “slut shames” them, which in the end advances the rape culture.  And another student argues that the Texas law “protecting” women’s health, which the United States Supreme Court just finished hearing arguments for and against, in reality damages women’s health by limiting and ultimately shutting off access to abortion providers and services.

Last year one of my Muslim students in my Erica Jong focal point seminar focused her final essay on Islamic feminism and argued that Islamic feminism provides women more rights and dignity than Western white feminism.  And several years before my Erica Jong Focal Point liberal arts seminar, one of my female African American students argued that black women served as the true power behind the abolition of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement in the mid-twentieth century.

As the General Election arrives this November, the one demographic that should not be dismissed are millennials—especially millennial women.  They are the fourth wave of feminism.  Even though I am a cynical and snarky Gen Xer from the third wave, millennial women make me hopeful for the future of not only women but the world.

Laura Durnell is a member of DWN’s Marketing and Communication team and a part-time faculty member in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse at DePaul University. Along with first year writing, she also teaches a focal point on Anne Sexton and will teach another one in the spring entitled “Women’s Confessions.” She tutors at Wilbur Wright College in addition to her teaching at DePaul and has recently published an essay in Trivia: Voices of Feminism entitled “The Social, Cultural, and Political Necessity of Anne Sexton.”

An Afternoon Treat: High Tea with St. Louise

By Laura Durnell


Part social catch-up and networking opportunity, part recognition of service, part membership recruitment, and part relaxation, the 2016 High Tea with St. Louise managed to achieve a multitude of goals much like Saint Louise de Marillac did during her remarkable life.

The afternoon began at Cortelyou Commons with what could be argued was the most important part of this DWN event:  coffee, tea, water, and tasty delectables.  With daylight savings time having occurred the Sunday before, there was still enough light outside to stream through the windows during the mid-to-late afternoon high tea event and provide an added energy jolt along with the provided caffeine and chocolate.

A few minutes after my arrival, I ran into one of my friends from the English department who works as one of the directors of its graduate program.  We met at one of the rear tables to catch up where we introduced ourselves to two other women in attendance, one of which was the Invocation speaker Lubna El-Gendi, the associate director of the College of Law.

Once seated, I looked at my slip of paper the greeters provided everyone upon entering.  The paper instructed us to locate the tea’s “mystery guest” while we interacted with friends and made new ones.

A few minutes after my friend’s arrival, another one of my friends who works with me in the WRD department arrived.  Both my friends are not involved with DWN as members or members at large, but both mentioned they were thinking about possibly applying for next year.

The event opened with Shenay Bridges, DWN’s 2015-2016 Director of Membership & Engagement and DePaul’s Assistant Dean of Community Resources, welcoming everyone to this year’s high tea.  She then learned who discovered the “mystery guest.”  A woman at the table to my immediate right discovered the mystery guest.  It was Jennifer Mata, a tenure-track member of the faculty in the College of Education, who was also sitting at the same table.

The next speaker was El-Gendi.  Being a Muslim woman, she explained the standard greeting Muslims use to greet one another before she led the diverse community with an Invocation that appealed to women of all spiritual backgrounds.

Bridges then introduced keynote speaker Jennah Dunham, Coordinator for Scholarships and Vincentian Mission Logistics in the Office of Mission and Values.  In her keynote, Dunham talked about her love of Saint Louise, DePaul University, and the university’s Vincentian mission.


Perhaps the most stirring and profound part of her keynote speech was when she discussed how Saint Louise inspires and motivates her professionally as well as personally.  She revealed she is leaving DePaul at the end of the year so her partner can partake in a new opportunity in another state.  While sharing how Vincentian values and spirituality have guided her work with students and DePaul, she revealed she also applies Saint Louise’s lessons, spirituality, and words to her own life and was finding them poignant as she embarks on this next chapter of her life.  Twice during her keynote address, she paused to give the attendees time to discuss their own lives in how they deal with challenging and new situations as well as reflecting on Saint Louise herself.

One of my friends who attended is Jewish.  Without hesitation, she said she did not know anything about Saint Louise.  However, my other friend attended Catholic school as a child gave us all a lesson on Saint Louise from what she learned as a child and when she travelled to France with DePaul to learn more about Saint Vincent de Paul and his mission and life.  As a Catholic myself, I did not know about Saint Louise until I was accepted as a member two years ago, and my friend gave everyone at our table a lesson. Though Saint Louise was illegitimate and lived  hundreds of years ago, Saint Vincent de Paul treated her as an equal more than a subservient female and an “other.”

The tea ended with some current members talking about their experience serving DWN before Jennifer Roop, DWN’s 2015-2016 Executive Vice President and incoming 2016-2017 President, talked about DWN’s membership recruitment process. The tea ended with DWN’s new membership video put together by the Membership & Engagement team.

As we left, my friends and I remarked we couldn’t believe how fast the time went.  One of them said she was even more intrigued into learning more about DWN and applying.


DWN is currently accepting applications for 2016-2017 membership. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2016.

Laura Durnell is a member of DWN’s Marketing and Communication team and a part-time faculty member in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse at DePaul University. Along with first year writing, she also teaches a focal point on Anne Sexton and will teach another one in the spring entitled “Women’s Confessions.” She tutors at Wilbur Wright College in addition to her teaching at DePaul and has recently published an essay in Trivia: Voices of Feminism entitled “The Social, Cultural, and Political Necessity of Anne Sexton.”


‘Notorious RGB’ Sparks Insightful Discussions

By Kris Gallagher


“She puts so much of her own personal history in her decisions. There will never be anyone quite like her again.”

No, that isn’t a quote from Notorious RBG, the Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which was the March selection for the DePauL Women’s Network (DWN) Book Club. Voiced by Elly Kafritsas-Wessles from the College of Computing and Digital Media, it summed up participants’ reactions to Judge Ginsburg’s remarkable story.

Ginsburg did not set out to become an activist for women’s rights, a Supreme Court justice known for her scathing dissents, or even the adored subject of fan clubs, artists and a Tumblr. She simply wanted to be a good lawyer. Whenever culture and tradition got in her way, she went about eliminating the obstacles.

“The pedestal upon which women have been placed has all too often, upon closer inspection, been revealed as a cage.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

At the Loop book club discussion, about a dozen DWN members talked about Ginsburg’s strategic approach to challenging legal and societal barriers. Most were surprised by her personal opposition to the landmark Roe V. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Ginsburg supports the legality of the procedure, but believes incremental changes in the law tend to stick, while dramatic decisions tend to be undermined—an accurate description of the cases surrounding the issue today.

Book club participants credited Ginsburg’s strong, egalitarian marriage to fellow lawyer Marty Ginsburg as a source of both her feminism and her success. The two shared childrearing and household duties and supported each other’s careers in an era where this was unthinkable. Ginsburg turned their shared experience of gender stereotyping into a crafty strategy. She took the cases of men whose rights were infringed by their gender to achieve equivalent women’s rights. She also used her position to advocate for everything from more female legal clerks to the addition of women’s bathrooms in traditionally all-male chambers.

“I think that men and women, shoulder to shoulder, will work together to make this a better world. Just as I don’t think that men are the superior sex, neither do I think women are. I think that it is great that we are beginning to use the talents of all of the people, in all walks of life, and that we no longer have the closed doors that we once had.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Members admired the cheeky and cheerfully illustrated book, which used lyrics from the rapper Notorious B.I.G. as chapter titles. Red “handwritten” annotations filled the borders of excerpts from her briefs and dissertations. Photos of Ginsburg from throughout her life pepper the pages. The cartoons and fan art are particularly wonderful, including a needlepoint submitted by Shannon Downey of the School for New Learning.

They enjoyed the unexpected aspects of the justices’ lives: fantasy baseball leagues, opera, prank gifts, and Ginsburg’s impressive work-out routine. They also talked about Ginsburg’s close friendship with recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, the current Supreme Court vacancy, and Ginsburg’s decision to remain as a justice until she believes she can’t do the job properly anymore.

“For some reason, people repeatedly have asked RBG when she thought there would be enough women on the court. The question is asinine, her answer effective: “When there are nine.” — Irin Carmon, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The next selection for the DWN Book Club is Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Cline. Watch for your invitation to register!

Kris Gallagher is a member of DWN’s Marketing and Communication team and a part-time staff member in University Marketing Communications.

Remembering DePaul’s First Laywoman Graduate

by Beth A. Murphy

Minnie E. Daly listed as a DePaul graduate in the General Alumni Catalog, 1918. Image courtesy of DePaul University Archives.

Who was one of the first women to graduate from DePaul? In celebration of Women’s History Month, we decided to find out.

While the first religious women graduates from DePaul earned their degrees in 1912, Minnie E. Daly (1865 – 1934) was the first laywoman graduate of DePaul University when she earned an A.B. degree in Education in 1914. She was close to 49 years old when she graduated. She attended by means of the Extension Program, which means she attended classes on Saturdays.

Minnie came to DePaul in 1911 to further her education and be a better teacher. Her DePaul transcript shows she had high school credits and attended classes at Lewis, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago – to name a few. Minnie was commuting from two addresses from Rodgers Park. She was a parishioner at St. Ignatius Catholic Church.

Minnie was a public grade school professional. She was principal of Hendrick’s School (43rd and Princeton) from 1922 to 1924; in the late 1920’s, she was the first principal of John B. Murphy School (3539 West Grace). William Adams at Chicago State states that Mary E. Daly (Minnie’s full name) attended Cook County Normal School in the academic year of 1879-80 (when she was 14 years old). Chicago directories for 1885 and 1889 have Minnie listed as a teacher, living at 332 Ohio.

Daly marker
Image courtesy of Brother Mark Elder, CM.

Minnie never married and lived in an apartment building with her siblings Eleanor, Elizabeth, James and John. She died at the age of 69 on June 30, 1934 and was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Evanston on July 3, 1934. In fall 2015, a head stone was placed at her grave as a result of the efforts of Brother Mark Elder, CM and Father Dennis Holtschneider, CM.

Our gratitude to Brother Mark Elder, CM who contributed to this post.

Beth A. Murphy is a member of the Marketing & Communications team for DWN, and an associate professor in the School of Accounting at DePaul.