Celebrating the Spirit of St. Louise at DWN’s 12th Annual High Tea

 By Nadia Alfadel Coloma

On March 28, DePaul women faculty and staff gathered for fellowship, networking and service at DWN’s 12th annual High Tea with St. Louise. This yearly celebration marks two occasions: Women’s History Month and St. Louise’s feast day, both of which occur in March.

So who was St. Louise anyway? Why does DWN hold this event each year to commemorate her?

One terrific metaphor I heard once from someone explaining the significance of St. Louise, in her relation to St. Vincent, is that if St. Vincent were the president of our university, then St. Louise would be the provost.

St Louise de MarillacFrom 17th century France, St. Louise was St. Vincent’s most trusted and key collaborator. She dedicated her life to the service of others, serving the poor alongside St. Vincent and educating women to help those most in need. St. Louise was also a wife (then widow), a mother (to a son with special needs), a nurse, social worker, teacher and community organizer. She founded the Daughter’s of Charity, a community of religious women that still exists today.

St. Louise’s spirit of service and action inspires us to take our beliefs,  ideas, passions, dreams, our vision for a better world—and put them into action. And it is because of her inspiring legacy that DWN honors her each year, not with one event, but with two: the other being our annual Women of Spirit and Action Awards.

17458234_10212052718136305_3478190085345872810_nBut this year’s High Tea with St. Louise was different. In addition to providing a space and opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea and treats with fellow DPU women, our 2017 High Tea included a service activity.

All this talk about St. Louise inspiring us to action, well, what better way to honor her than to put our inspiration to action and do service in her name?

The event kicked off with keynote speaker Barbara Sims, a DePaul SNL graduate student who talked about her experiences facing poverty, her struggles as a first-generation college student and single mother, and her climb to a six-figure corporate job that, while it filled her pockets, didn’t satisfy her soul.

“Knowledge is power,” she shared, reading a quote from Kofi Annan that inspired her. “Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress in every society and every family.”

Barbara ended up leaving her six-figure job to pursue her passion for singing. In fact, she sang a song just before beginning her address, mesmerizing everyone with the delightful surprise of her voice that echoed through the lofty ceilings of Cortelyou Commons. (Not every keynote speaker spontaneously breaks into song…) You can watch the 40-second clip of her singing here.

Barbara spent a few years traveling around the country singing, but she still felt a restlessness in her soul. She had a calling toward education, and so decided to go back to school, enrolling at DePaul to pursue a PhD that focuses on culturally relevant education in the neo liberal era.

“I wanted to be in some service,” she said. “Our African American students are either underemployed or unemployed. They’re not walking away from school prepared or inspired.”

sarahscircleAfter Barbara’s keynote, the local nonprofit that we would be serving that day was introduced. Sarah’s Circle, located in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, serves women who are homeless or in need of a safe space. Last year the organization served roughly 793 women in the community.

But there was one more special guest before the service portion of the event: the Depaul (yes, lowercase p) USA’s Dax Program, which helps our students facing homelessness by matching them with host families and giving them resources and support so they can complete their education at DePaul.

20170328_161128“There are at least 50 students at DePaul who are homeless, or housing insecure, as we prefer to say, during any given quarter,” shared Sister Judy Warmbold, the Dax program coordinator. “The problem is… we don’t know who these students are. The best thing you can do to help is know that this program exists, help spread the word and help identify students who you suspect might need this program.”

“There are at least 50 students at DePaul who are homeless during any given quarter. The problem is… we don’t know who they are.” – Sister Judy Warmbold, Dax program coordinator

I had heard about the Dax Program a couple of years ago, but admittedly, it had slipped from my mind since then—which made me feel awful, considering that one of the main points Sister Judy stressed to everyone was to simply be aware. Be aware of the program and be aware of the students you work with or teach on campus, as students facing homelessness are often too ashamed to come forward. You can read more about Dax in Newsline.

After a brief Q&A between the attendees and guest speakers, the energized frenzy of the service activity finally began.

At each round table, DPU women assembled sandwiches and packed them into bagged lunches for the women who benefit from Sarah’s Circle. Each table had loaves of bread, slices of deli meat and cheese, clementines and bags of chips. Also dispersed around the tables were index cards on which we could write a personal message to the woman who would receive the bagged lunch.

It was wonderful to be in the company of so many DePaul women who gave the gift of their presence that day to help women that they would never meet. Hands were reaching across tables, people were calling out “Is there more cheese?” and “Does anyone have an extra bag?” The connection and solidarity I felt with those around me was such a rejuvenating way to end my work day.

By the end, the 50 women who participated made 100 sandwiches for 100 bagged lunches. The representatives from Sarah’s Circle expressed their gratitude and amazement at how fast and efficiently we put the lunches together. Many looked up from the tables as if thinking, “Aren’t there anymore sandwiches to make?”

The spirit of St. Louise truly shone through the windows of Cortelyou Commons that afternoon.

I’m so glad that the DePaul Women’s Network offers these opportunities to come together, learn and give back to the larger community. It makes me proud to be a part of the Network. I hope we made St. Louise proud with this event that bears her name. I have a feeling we did.

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Visit our Facebook page to view more photos from the event!

Nadia Alfadel Coloma is the director of marketing and communications for the DePaul Women’s Network, and a communications and workforce specialist in Enrollment Management and Marketing at DePaul University.

The Vagina Monologues Should be an Ongoing Conversation

By Jennifer Long

vmOur society is not yet inclusive or representative of all people’s voices. Women, for example, have a number of experiences related to violence and oppression that still need to be heard and championed.

DePaul’s 18th Annual Vagina Monologues was a reminder of that fact. A reminder, because decades after Eve Ensler wrote and performed the original play at the Off-Broadway Westside Theatre, her words are still recited and are still able to disarm and empower an audience.

I had the pleasure of attending this play on the Lincoln Park campus in early February. It helped me grow in my understanding of DePaul women.

A collaborative effort between The Women’s Center, the Theatre School and the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness, this performance activism entitled “Vagina Monologues” raises awareness of the breadth of women’s experiences through Eve Ensler’s writing and personal monologues written by DePaul students.

It’s performed every year at DePaul around Valentine’s Day weekend, and proceeds from ticket sales support three on-campus organizations: Rape Victim Advocates, A Long Walk Home and Take Back the Halls. In fact, performances all over the country under this name have raised over $100 million dollars in support of women’s and domestic organizations since its inception.

I should have known that this combination of expression, intention and vulnerability would be reviving.

Throughout the play, audience members were encouraged to clap, holler or snap whenever a monologue resonated. I imagine many, like me, lost count of how many times they participated. It was remarkable to be in the presence of brave women who shared their stories and brought the experiences of others to life by reciting monologues. I felt empowered and connected to a community of DePaul women, women everywhere and their allies.

The personal monologues from DePaul students were particularly startling. They opened my eyes to the broad range of our female students’ experiences—experiences I wasn’t aware of at my own alma mater as an undergraduate.

One particular monologue revolved around conversations that had floated around campus last year. These “#triggered” conversations were in response to racial tension and insensitivity toward those suffering on campus due to their race, sexual identity or experience with sexual violence. This monologue was a reminder that we could all do better at thinking about the impact that our words and actions can have not only in the DePaul community, but in all communities.

And then there was a monologue that clearly articulated consent—how it is defined and supported at DePaul, and how DePaul continues the conversation on consent on many college campuses today.

Interestingly, after some contextual research on the subject, I learned there have been conflicting perspectives regarding these performances. Mostly, that the language used and voices represented were too narrow by focusing heavily on a white, middle-class female experience. Arguably, the platform has grown to include the voices of women with diverse backgrounds and varying identities, including transwomen.

One transwoman DePaul student, who had recently passed away, was unable to share her story that weekend. But a draft of her monologue was posted near the exit. By acknowledging her voice in this way, it was clear how DePaul values expanding the platform to include more voices and experiences—in a way that the original performance may not have done decades prior. Surely though, it could still grow to be even more inclusive.

I highly recommend attending this play the next time it is available on campus or in your community. Whether it is “The Vagina Monologues” or any other performance activism for a marginalized or oppressed community, all who attend will leave with a broader perspective of society.

If more people’s voices and experiences are heard, society might become more inclusive and understanding.

While the people in the audience may have had different identities or definitions of feminism, may not have had vaginas, may not have experienced sexual violence and oppression, they can still become allies for the community and help continue the conversation that works to eliminate violence and oppression of women.

How will you help continue the conversation?

Jennifer Long is a DWN member at large and an assistant director of development for DePaul’s Richard H. Driehaus College of Business.

Millennial Women: A Force to be Reckoned with

By Laura Durnell

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.”

 

Leaning on Our Sisters: The Annual High Tea with St. Louise

High Tea 2015By Lucina Schell

On March 17, Cortelyou Commons was a sea of green as festive chatter filled the vaulted ceiling. While St. Patrick’s Day was on the minds of many, DePaul women gathered two days after the feast day of St. Louise de Marillac to celebrate DWN’s annual High Tea with St. Louise. Leaving behind the stress of the workday, we met women from across DePaul who wield great responsibility and provide exceptional service to our community, all while taking care of their own well-being and that of their loved ones.

In her keynote, Sister Katie Norris, D.C., Director of Catholic Campus Ministry, reminded us that, though St. Louise lived more than 300 years ago, she has many lessons for today’s professional women. Together with St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise founded the Daughters of Charity. In a contemporary organization, St. Vincent could be thought of as President and St. Louise as Chief Operating Officer. St. Louise was an instrumental woman, a leader with many competing responsibilities. Not only did she have a family who depended on her, she also had a whole community of women. Like many of us, she was a woman who had to grow into confidence in her voice and abilities, the gifts that St. Vincent saw and nurtured in her. St. Louise became comfortable straddling the two worlds in which she and St. Vincent worked: the nobility who helped fund their work and the children of peasants who became the Daughters of Charity. With the strength of her faith and the support of St. Vincent and her fellow sisters, St. Louise became a mentor to these women.

Yet, St. Louise struggled with the same challenges professional women face today: taking on too much, burnout, feelings of inadequacy, making time for self-care. Decorating each table were flower petals with quotations from St. Louise that attest to her contemporaneity, for example:

“You must ask God for the grace to stay well within the limits of your authority so that you do not go beyond it and undertake more than you need to.”

As someone who routinely takes on too much, this was a welcome lesson. St. Louise understood that women with many talents may have trouble saying “no” to work that feels personally resonant or that no one else is willing or equipped to do. Yet, when we spread ourselves too thin, each of our projects suffers. It’s important to prioritize competing responsibilities, and consider where our talents can make the most difference. Saying “no” to one project may be an invitation for someone else to let her gifts shine. In her beautiful invocation, Sister Betty Ann McNeil, D.C., Vincentian Scholar-In-Residence, encouraged us to take comfort in our sisterhood, as St. Louise did, and seek out opportunities for mutual support from other women. As we shared tea, sweets and fellowship with other women, the room momentarily mirrored this healthy vision.

Lucina Schell is a member of the DWN Service & Outreach and a Student Records Assistant at DePaul University.

Why DWN Is a Smart Decision (and 7 Reasons I’m Happy I Joined)

For Women’s History Month this March, DWN invited a variety guest authors to share their insights. Read on to see why #DePaulWomenRock!

Jaclyn Hugg
Jaclyn Hugg, DWN’s Communications Team

By Jaclyn Hugg

The average human being makes thousands of decisions daily. Calculate that for a year, and well…you do the math! These decisions can be anything as simple as choosing what cereal to eat for breakfast, to something more complex like contemplating a career change. Yet, many of these decisions have an effect on what we think, say and/or do, and ultimately, aid us in influencing the world around us.

Whereas I cringe when I think about some of the choices I made within the past year (because who doesn’t make mistakes?), one of the things I am most proud of was my decision to apply to become a member of the DePaul Women’s Network (DWN). As a new staff member who had just moved halfway across the country for my current job, I was looking for a way to quickly connect with the university—an entity that would help me explore what it means to be part of the greater campus community, and an outlet that would allow me to serve in accordance with its mission and values. I am happy to say that since joining DWN last July, the Network has not only provided me that which I have described above, but also so much more. And as a way to celebrate my seven months of service, I felt it would only be fitting that I articulate what this experience has meant to me in the form of a top seven list.

Drumroll, please…

  1. Excitement & Challenge. As a member of the Communications team, I have the exciting and challenging task of telling DWN’s story. Through my participation in the Network, I was able to engage my passion for writing and learned new skills in a supportive environment.
  2. Professional Development. Being part of the Network is a great complement to my professional role as Staff Advisor for HerCDM—a student organization aimed at empowering women students within DePaul’s College of Computing & Digital Media (CDM). Because of the knowledge and resources extended to me as a DWN member, I feel as if I can better serve as a resource in regards to helping my students work through gender-related issues in their academic and professional lives. Additionally, I am able to offer timely and relevant suggestions for programming as a result of topics and discussions that emerge from DWN-related activities.
  3. Professional Connections. My participation in the Network put me in contact with women from across the institution that I would have never otherwise met. Through my membership, I developed productive working relationships with other DWN members. I actively seek out DWN members for their expertise, advice and assistance on any number of issues pertaining to my full-time role within CDM. I view a number of these women as mentors, and certainly all as valued colleagues.
  4. Expanded View. I am growing in my knowledge and am becoming more open-minded about gender issues in the workplace and in society in general (specifically as they pertain to women).
  5. Personal Growth. Being “in-the-know” about upcoming activities—uniquely created for and targeted toward women faculty and staff at DePaul, allows me to step out of my comfort zone (I am an introvert by nature) to initiate conversations with colleagues about issues directly related to DWN’s programming. Serving in this role has given me the confidence to network in this way, and somewhat of a platform to encourage fellow women faculty and staff to let their voices be heard and to participate in our events.
  6. Collaborative Environment. DWN sleeps, eats and breathes collaboration between its members and within the campus and surrounding communities! No intense and unnecessary competition amongst women colleagues here! This has been a refreshing change for me.
  7. Lasting Connections. In addition to developing strong professional ties, I am connected with a number of my DWN “sisters” on a more personal level. Through lunch meetings, afternoon walks and coffee dates, these women are great friends and a source of strength and inspiration for me.

As you can see, I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the DePaul Women’s Network and I plan on continuing my participation. My experience so far inspires me to invite you to participate. Become an active member today! Recruitment runs through April 4; visit our website to apply online. To learn more about the Network, you also can check out our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)!

Jaclyn Hugg is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is Assistant Director of Advising for the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University.

Community Is My Ultimate Reward

For Women’s History Month this March, DWN invited a variety guest authors to share their insights. Read on to see why #DePaulWomenRock!

Laura Durnell
Laura Durnell

By Laura Durnell

Since Autumn 2000, I have taught at DePaul as contingent part-time faculty. I enjoy teaching at DePaul and am inspired by its intelligent and remarkable faculty, student and staff body. As a bonus, DePaul treats its adjunct faculty better than many higher education institutions. Yet even though DePaul made me feel welcome and I had made friends with adjuncts, one feeling remained: isolation.

Adjuncts are jokingly referred to as “Roads Scholars” because we often teach at more than one college. Since graduating with my MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute, I have taught at Roosevelt University, the Graham School of General Studies at the University of Chicago, and Wilbur Wright College in addition to DePaul. Because of the lack of job and income security for adjuncts, teaching at other institutions or working at other jobs is a necessity. And because of not being secured to one university or college, it’s too easy to become disconnected from not only other faculty members but staff and administration as well. Too many times over the past 15 years, I have had other faculty members, part-time and full-time, in my departments ask, “Who are you?”

When I received DWN’s email last year inviting me to apply for membership, I knew DWN would provide the community I needed. In addition, I became excited that DWN would recognize and let me apply my talents and knowledge. Months before DWN’s invitation, I had attended the DWN events “Life on the Academic Ladder” and “Yes, You Can!” with financial planner and author Julie Murphy Casserly. Not only did these events provide fellowship and collegiality  (at “Life on the Academic Ladder” I even reunited with my fellow American Society of Magazine Editors intern who is now a tenure-track English professor at DePaul, Rebecca Johns-Trissler), but they recognized what female faculty and staff offered and needed in terms of professional and personal development.

I am a member of DWN’s Communications Team, which allows me to utilize and further develop my writing skills, most notably writing for the digital age. This year I have written a promotional email and a blog post for “Image/ing Gender.” I invited some of my fellow adjuncts to the event, and one who attended plans to apply for DWN membership for the coming year. One of my application’s goals for 2013-14 stated that I wanted to welcome more adjuncts into DWN. I think I am fulfilling my objective.

Yet community is my ultimate reward. In addition to working with my team, I have met and worked with staff and faculty on other teams and members of DWN’s directorate. Two members who work outside my academic department even requested that we meet for coffee to discuss writing. If I had not applied to be part of DWN, I would have never met these amazing women, and they definitely would not have asked me out for coffee to talk shop. As our Twitter hashtag proclaims, #DePaulWomenRock!

Laura Durnell is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is an adjunct in the Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse Department at DePaul University.

(Learn more about being part of the DePaul Women’s Network during recruitment for 2014-15. Applications are being accepted now until April 4!)