MAEA Graduate Showcase

Last night DePaul University’s Center to Advance Education for Adults (CAEA) hosted the Master of Arts in Educating Adults Graduates’ Showcase which featured the Applied Inquiry Projects of the 2011-2012 academic year. The MAEA graduates who participated in this event included Amy Krenzke, Tonya Marie Mahomes, Lorena Guzman, Dennis Gregory, Pamela Thomas, Jacqueline Lewis, and Aaron Rucker, many of whom have recently graduated from the program. Catherine Marienau, MAEA Program Coordinator and Faculty Mentor, explains why the MAEA showcase is an important part of the program, “It is important to show that helping adults learn takes place in many diverse settings.  Those settings – which included universities, community colleges, non-profit organizations, vocational schools, high schools, and corporations – were shown in the students’ work.  More importantly, we want to show how the students’ academic projects are designed to influence change to improve their particular settings.”

School for New Learning (SNL)  MAEA graduate students produce a final project intended to effect change/improvement in their practice in educating adults, while the event allows participants to converse with graduates about new ideas and effective practices that they have developed through their MAEA program. One current MAEA student, Larnzell Harper, told us in anticipation of the event, “I am looking forward to meeting the current graduates, thinking of ideas for my 2014 applied inquiry project, and networking opportunities to meet more SNL and DePaul members.”

Amy Krenzke discussing her project with CAEA advisory board member Cheryl Cornell Powers

The event began at 5:30PM with poster displays and time to converse with the graduates about their project.

Amy Krenzke was eager to share information about one resource that was an enormous help to her while she completed her project: the DePaul ePortfolio website. “The ePortfolio site is easy to use and essentially gives students the ability to build a website to discuss a project. My AIP project final product is actually a portfolio so this was a perfect way to get my project out there electronically. I just think it’s a really great resource that DePaul offers!” Amy’s ePortfolio can be viewed at:

Lorena Guzman spoke of her project, which focused on the design of a workshop for college students that would allow for them to better understand how to file their taxes.  Guzman says that the course is designed to “initiate a dialogue between students and their parents about taxes.  By making them more aware of household finances, they close

Lorena Guzman with her Applied Inquiry Project

the gap between themselves and financial literacy.”  Guzman designed her workshop to appeal to youth, with a 20-30 minute online portion, 30 minutes for questions to be answered by an instructor, and 30 minutes for students to actually work with forms and documents – including the 1040, the 8863 and 8869 forms- as well as providing them with information about educational credits.

We were able to briefly speak with Jacqueline Lewis about her Online Tutoring Service project that she has actually been able to turn into her personal business.  The Online Tutoring Service has helped over 200 students in the areas of medical assistance, medical administrative, medical billing and Lewis says the service will soon include tutoring for pharmacy students and dental technician students.

This year Aaron Rucker became one of the first School for New Learning (SNL) graduate students (along with MAAPS student, Carl Bolton) to be selected to receive a SNL Student Excellence Award for his project entitled Designing and piloting an assessment rubric specifically for evaluating teachers of Emotional Behavior Disorder students.” During the panel discussion, Aaron spoke about how his project evolved through the course of his MAEA program: “When I look back on it, I think I changed my project at least six times.  One – I wanted it to be relevant to my job and to what I do. Two – I wanted it to be relevant to others and Three – I wanted it to still be valid at least five years from now.  The more that I tried to meet these criteria, the harder it got.”

Logo designed by TonyaMarie Mahomes

TonyaMarie Mahomes shared the logo she designed for her project entitled “Recommendations for Successful Strategies to Promote Multicultural Inclusion in a Complex Healthcare Organization.”

At 6:00, a panel discussion that included both students and AIP reviewers allowed for additional questions about the projects. Nearly 70 people crowded into the room, eager to ask questions and listen as students explained their personal experiences while working on their projects.  Dennis Gregory shared an insight he discovered soon after beginning the MAEA program, that “there’s a world of difference between educating adults and adult education.”  Gregory’s project, like many others, attempted to close that gap. Aaron Rucker spoke to the importance of  the practical application of learning, which really resonated with the group that included SNL faculty, staff, instructors, alumni, project advisers, prospective students and friends and families.  “Everything we did, including our Applied Inquiry Project, is useless if we don’t use it!” The panel discussion lasted over an hour with time afterwards for additional conversations. The night a great success. Congratulations once again to all of the students that participated and to our new alumni!

MAEA Showcase Panelists discuss what they included in their Applied Inquiry projects and what was left “on the cutting room floor.”

Additional quotes and pictures from the event can be found on our Twitter and on our Facebook page:



What Employers Want

These are the three qualities that are on the top of every employers list (even though they may not know it):

  • Initiative
  • Resourcefulness
  • Passion

This semester I took ART 383 – a service learning internship class that was recently visited by Rob Sullivan, (Author, Career Coach, Inspirational Speaker).  Before he started talking, I didn’t know what to expect, except that it was a Wednesday night and I probably would have preferred to be home having dinner.  Within minutes of beginning speaking, Rob had captured the interest of the entire group; everyone was hanging on to his every word and some were even taking notes!

Anyone who is in transition, college students and career changers alike, knows that navigating the job market is a daunting task.  Rob had good tips about how to make the best impression possible just by answering questions differently and changing the content of your cover letter.  He told us that employers are looking for “initiative, resourcefulness and passion” because these are things that cannot be taught to someone.  You either have it or you don’t and many people who do, are unable to express these qualities to their prospective employers.

It is difficult to summarize all of the points that Rob made, I would suggest hearing him speak in person for the full effect, but these were the points that resonated with me:

1.  The “Tell me about yourself…” Question: You need to tell a good (true) story that immediately demonstrates how you have the characteristics of taking initiative, being resourceful, and having passion.  Ask yourself these questions:

– What have you done on your own to prepare for the university you want to attend or the career you want to start?

-How have you shown resourcefulness?  It is important to quantify you accomplishments, to show how you might have saved a company time, money, etc.

-What are you passionate about?  Why have you chosen this path in life over thousands of others?

While keeping those questions in mind, its good to formulate a short story that sets you apart from everyone else who says ‘I grew up in this town, went to this college, majored in this subject, and here I am applying for this job.”

2.  The “What is your greatest weakness?” Question:

I blushed when Rob immediately said to avoid saying “I’m a perfectionist,” or “I work too much,” which might have been my go-to answers for this uncomfortable question. When employers ask this question, it’s probably because they don’t know how to properly interview someone.  This was his suggestion for how to answer it:  Think about the impression you give off to people you don’t know very well, that might not have the best impression of you, what might they identify as a flaw or weakness?

I personally have been told a few times that I can come off as cold or unfriendly to people, when that was not my intention.  If I was answering this question I would say, “Sometimes I have been told that I come off as a little cold when I first meet people.  However, now that I am aware of this, I try harder to smile more when I first meet someone and look for ways that we can connect and engage each other.”  Always end with what you are doing to fix this “problem,” so your  answer ends on a positive note.

3.  The “Do you have any questions for us?” Question:

Do not ask factual questions.  Do your homework before, and know something about the company.  Instead ask opinion questions that are relevant to that company or field.  Rob also suggested asking ‘What is one thing you would want everyone to know about this company that few people know?”

4.  N-E-O-N, use these four elements when writing a cover letter or interviewing:

N-  Where are you now?

E- Why are you excited or energized and what about? (Passion)

O- What is your objective/why do you want the job?

N- Why is this the next logical step?

Navigating the job market is a difficult endeavor.  Best of luck!

June Events

Spring Quarter is almost over, but there are a couple events in June that you need to know about!

When Where What
Wednesday June 1st, 4:30-6:30PM Lincoln Park Campus Alumni Center Graduate Students Graduation Reception
Please join us for a graduation celebration in honor of our graduate students! Enjoy food and networking with fellow graduates.
Wednesday June 1st, 5:30-7:00PM Loop Campus, DePaul Center, 9500 Navigating Your Career Change Workshop
Experienced professionals who are considering or already involved in the process of changing careers will benefit from this workshop. Learn how to develop a career change plan by identifying the career development components you most need to work on. This workshop will help you identify the type of transition you are attempting and assess its level of difficulty.  Pre-register HERE.
Tuesday, June 7th, 12:00-2:00 & 4:00-6:00  Loop Campus, DePaul Center, 1113 Fuel for Finals
Free chair massages and food for our adult students during finals.
Wednesday, June 8th, 12:00-2:00 & 4:00-6:00  Loop Campus, DePaul Center, 1113 Fuel for Finals
Free chair massages and food for our adult students during finals.
Friday June 10th, 8:30AM -11:00AM Lincoln Park Campus, Student Center, 120 A&B Breakfast with Don Mullen
Please join us for breakfast and a rare conversation with Don Mullan, Irish author, peace and justice activist, humanitarian worker, media producer, and the 2011 Honorary Degree Recipient for SNL. RSVP by June 7 to
Friday June 10th, 7:30AM- 4:15pM Loop Campus, DePaul Center, Lover Level Group Facilitation Symposium: “Catalysts for Innovation”
Join and network with experienced group process facilitators in DePaul CPE’s one-day symposium, “Catalysts for Innovation.” Learn new approaches that will help you increase your capacity to serve as a facilitator and a catalyst for innovation with your teams, organizations and communities.  Symposium Agenda.
Tuesday June 14th, 10:00AM-2:00PM Lincoln Park Campus, Student Center, 120 Just in Time Job Fair
Just in Time Job Fair is designed exclusively for DePaul recent graduates, students and alumni. Recruiters from a wide variety of industries will be seeking qualified job, internship, and post-graduate service volunteer candidates of all majors and experience levels at this event.  Pre-register HERE.

Upcoming Events (May)

The haphazard fashion in which we usually post events to our Facebook page (which then goes to Twitter and then to WordPress and LinkedIn!) is certainly in the advanced stages of driving people who love organization, myself included, a little insane.  There are several opportunities for the greater School For New Learning community to participate in exciting events in the month of May.

The following is a list of the events that we are aware of, but please feel free to comment with any shout outs or suggestions.




Friday May 6th, 12PM McGrath Arena Old School vs. New School Basketball Game sponsored by the Black Student Union (BSU)
Students play professors while over 10 CPS schools cheer in the stands! It’s a mentoring opportunity and we need you. Food, Fun and Fellowship. Bring the whole family.
Saturday May 7th, 8AM – 2PM St. Vincent de Paul Parish  Vincentian Service Day 
An exciting annual opportunity for DePaul University students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners to come together in the communities of Chicago for a day of service. Registration begins at 8AM at St. Vincent de Paul Parish. There will be a picnic from 2 – 6 for all participants!
Thursday May 12th from 11AM-3PM  LPC Student Center  Healthcare and Nonprofit Job & Internship Fair 
Open to DePaul students and alumni only, please pre-register for this FREE event at (the full list of employers is listed here as well).  Dress in professional attire and bring plenty of resumes!
Friday May 13th, 5:30-7:00PM 14 E. Jackson, 14th Floor SNL Student Association (SNLSA) General Body Meeting
SNLSA offers current students a chance to have their voice heard within the college and university, a chance for networking and for finding out about important information and resources.
Friday May 13th, 6:00 -8:00PM 14 E. Jackson, 14th Floor ArtShare 
SNL undergrad students… Are you a painter? Sculptor? Musician? Do you practice other forms of visual or theatrical arts? Art Share is an Independent Learning Pursuit (ILP) option offered quarterly to students who wish to present evidence of learning that meets the criteria for competences in the A2 sub category: Creative Expression.
Wednesday, May 18, 1:00-4:00PM 14 E. Jackson, 1451 Defining “Need” and Being Prepared for the Unexpected 
This workshop will help you learn how to apply your education to real problems and issues facing non-profit learning professionals; allow a chance for feedback and connection with CCASTD professionals, skill development, and an opportunity to take a leadership role in one of the largest ASTD chapters in the country.

Perspective Students are always welcome to find out more about SNL graduate Programs by registering for an exciting informational session!

Highlight of a MAAPS Student: Heather Silecchia

Have you ever had a really great idea and wished you could design your own area of study that would help you bring that idea to its fullest potential?  The Master of Arts in Applied Professional Studies (MAAPS) in the School for New Learning is a truly unique program that allows you to take your idea and create a graduate area of focus around it.  Not confined to traditional degrees or courses, the students within the MAAPS program are studying things like “exercising leadership in health care organizations,” “applying holistic health care principles to physical therapy,” and “developing and providing fashion and surface design services in everyday art applications.”

“The MAAPS program has been instrumental in helping me to push through boundaries and explore new opportunities in art, design and business,” says Heather Silecchia.  Heather is a student within the MAAPS program, a Fashion Design Instructor at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago and Marwen, a Freelance Designer and a small business owner (Little H Designs).  Originally from Birmingham, Michigan, Heather chose the MAAPS program because it allowed her to create a custom learning experience that supported her future design and business goals while offering the flexibility to balance her busy lifestyle.  “The program has made me examine my life as a whole and has pushed me to be more proactive in achieving my goals.”

Since beginning the MAAPS program, Heather has also started her own small business.  Little H Designs sells  hand printed baby garments and stationary that has a” one of a kind” feel.  Heather has recently succeeded in creating her own website and online shop, selling in Chicago boutiques, creating packaging and business cards, participating in local Art fairs and shows and developing custom gifts.

As an instructor, Heather feels she has been able to better support her students by creating more extensive projects and guides.  As busy as she is with her many commitments, Heather has been able to “meet such an interesting, diverse group of people from many different backgrounds and areas of study,” within the MAAPS program.  After graduation, she plans to continue to teach, grow her design company, practice yoga, and find more time to paint.  “I hope to continue to offer art and art experiences to everyone and would like to eventually open my own art center.”

Check out Little h Designs at or on Facebook. 

Highlight of a MAEA Student: Leodis Scott

Many of the students within the graduate programs of DePaul’s School for New Learning lead exciting and hectic lives, still somehow managing to find time to work towards their master’s degree.  Leodis Scott is an exemplary MAEA student who is both the Founder and Chief Learning Strategist for LearnLong and also the Grant Manager for Community Impact at Columbia University in New York.

LearnLong is an educational service and consulting firm comprised to advance the practice, research, learning, and participation within the field of adult & continuing education.

In regards to choosing DePaul’s MAEA program: “Actually the program chose me.  As a corporate trainer, I had taken random training seminars, sessions, and conferences with no consistency.  But, when I found that the MAEA program provided a comprehensive and structured program in addition to a pursuing a graduate degree at a renowned university – I started my application that day.

Leodis has been able to tailor the MAEA program to meet his career goals because of the independent study options and electives taken within other colleges at DePaul, including the Kellstadt School of Business.  For him, it was an “added benefit,” because his experience and interests “were represented and encouraged.”

MAEA student, Leodis Scott

As part of his 2011 New Year’s Resolution, Leodis plans “to continue learning things that I haven’t learned before such as financial planning, management, and consumer economics.”

Undoubtedly, entering a master’s program after you have already been working in the professional world for many years will affect your professional life, and Leodis is no exception,  “It has opened the door to seeing education beyond the traditional level.  Education really does continue to colleges and workplaces.  Education is lifelong! Through the MAEA program, I have dedicated my professional life to making others aware of this important educational distinction.”

Life as an adult student can be very challenging.  Not only do you have to juggle work and school, but many students have families and commitments that require attention as well.  According to Leodis, one of the most difficult challenges besides time management is “student finances.”  He says, “What adults must consider is the “return-on-investment” component to continuing education.”  For Leodis, the investment is made apparent by the personal and professional growth he has experienced.

After graduation, Leodis will continue as a doctoral student at Columbia University-Teachers College in New York pursuing a degree in Adult Learning and Leadership.

Holiday Traditions

Every year as the holidays start to approach, I, like many other people start to stress out:  What should I buy him?  What should I buy her?  Is it ok we are putting up the tree three days before Christmas?  Why is our house the least decorated on the block?  Oh no, Target is out of gift tags!  I wonder if Grandma and Uncle so-and-so will get in another screaming match this year…  etc, etc!!

We become so involved in the preparation for the holidays that often the original meanings, whether religious or cultural, are completely forgotten and by time the actual day comes around, the excitement is over!

One humor columnist, Dave Barry, wrote that “Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in The Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall. We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall. Then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who, 2,000 years ago, followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space.”

In the SNL Graduate office, conversations about the holidays and our own family and personal traditions were sparked by an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “A Very Sunny Christmas.”  In the episode, one of the characters, Mac,  recalls how he and his family would break into other families homes, open “their” present, and quickly move on before the “other family” woke up and discovered them.  As a child, he was taught that this was completely normal behavior and only during the episode did he begin to question how “normal” the tradition actually might be.

One staff member, Sarah, explained an event she remembers from high school in Elmhurst, when several high school students took the baby Jesus statues from nativity scenes in several yards throughout town.  The students replaced the statues with notes saying that Jesus should not be placed in the manger until after the 25th of December (His celebrated birth date).  Although this was meant to be a prank, the “theft” caused an uproar in town, many people believing it to be the actions of some kind of religious group.  Eventually after an anonymous tip from a pay phone at the mall, all the statues were found in a bag behind one of the stores.

One of our other staff members, Morry, says that in his neighborhood, “It’s Jewish tradition to go to the movies and eat Chinese food (on Christmas Day).”

Helen, another one of our team in SNL, said that as a child she remembers shining her shoes and putting them outside on December 5th, in celebration of St. Nicolas Day.  When they awoke in the morning, their shoes would be filled with candy.  On Christmas day, presents were not exchanged, but rather the family would all spend time together and have dinner.

Please feel free to share your holiday traditions and memories with us!  Happy Holidays from SNL Grad!

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