Meet a Student Assistant -Anissa

Hi everyone!

I’m Anissa Patterson, one of the honors student assistants. I am a rising senior majoring in Business Management with a minor in Spanish. I started working as a student assistant in February, and only worked physically in the office for about a month until we moved to remote work. It was quite a learning curve but Jennifer, Nancy, Elizabeth and the other student workers created an uplifting environment that made it easier to navigate the move to remote work. Throughout my time at DePaul I have been an active member of the Honors Program. Freshman year I lived on the honors floor in Clifton-Fullerton which allowed me to come out of my shell and make new friends with similar passions. I frequented the Honors Student-Faculty dinners which helped me get to know some professors better and meet honors students in different years. In my junior year I became an Honors Mentor which was a great experience because I got to help incoming freshmen learn about DePaul and what makes the Honors Program so unique. I will also be an Honors Mentor this coming fall which will be exciting but full of new challenges as I attempt to mentor students via zoom. 

I am also involved in other on campus activities, including the DePaul Swim Club. I have been an active swimmer since high school and was overjoyed when I found the Swim Club here at DePaul. I have made some of my best friends in the pool at the Ray and I am hoping that we can figure out some way to keep the team together during the 2020-2021 school year, although I know it will be drastically different. When I am not on campus I am at my apartment cuddling with my one year old cat Luna, reading or playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the switch. Throughout quarantine I have also tried my best to remain active by doing at home workouts and taking walks to the lake. Pre-covid you would usually be able to find me at a cubs game or at a concert. Some of my favorite artists are Twenty One Pilots, Twin XL, Ed Sheeran, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande. I am excited for fall quarter to begin as I will hopefully regain some structure in my days, as it has been hard to stay motivated this summer. I look forward to returning to campus, eventually, and until then I will be sitting on my couch remodeling my Animal Crossing island. 

All the best,

Anissa Patterson

DePaul Swim Club
Luna, my lovely cat
My Animal Crossing character enjoying fireworks

Meet a Student Assistant – Hannah

Hello! My name is Hannah and I am one of the student assistants who works in the Honors Office. Many of you may already know me from the office or shared Honors classes, but I’m about to start my final quarter to complete my degree in Political Science. This fall will be my last quarter at DePaul and as a Student Assistant for the Honors Program, but I’ve spent the past two years working with Jennifer, Nancy, Elizabeth and so many other amazing honors office staff.

Since DePaul’s campus and much of Chicago closed down in March, the majority of my work for the office has been behind the scenes – with Anissa, Elizabeth, and myself working together to create an online version of the Honors Conference for student research. I’ve been doing that work from my home in Lexington, North Carolina, where I’m living with my mom and stepdad and our dog Rufus. Since my return, I’ve used my free time to pursue hobbies that are all pro-social distancing, something that’s much easier in a town of 13,000 people rather than in a city of 2 million. I’ve successfully planted an herb garden, started to learn how to knit, and worked on embroidery projects. Outside of those, I spend most of my time reading and hanging out with my dog. When it’s not too hot outside he and I go on long walks on the walking trails in the public park by our house or sit in the backyard in the sun. Since quarantine began I’ve been keeping up with my friends as much as I can through video-calls (and sometimes just text because… zoom), but the majority of my social interaction comes from commiserating with my sister who lives in Scotland, where lockdown is much stricter and police enforced and she lives alone with her two rats.

While, like many others, I won’t be on campus this fall to see anyone in person, I hope you all have a great quarter wherever you are. 

Stay safe! 


Rufus (as mentioned above)

Honors Summer Series: Racial Justice in America

Author: Jade Ryerson

On June 25th, as part of it its summer Speaker Series, the Honors Program held its first webinar-style Zoom event for incoming freshmen. “Racial Justice in America” introduced new students to the Honors Program. By addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the country today, this event offered Honors students an opportunity to listen, learn, and consider how they can make a difference whether in the classroom, at the ballot box, or socially distancing in their pajamas. 

Professor Jennifer Conary, the new Honors Program Director, moderated the event and invited three distinguished Honors faculty members to present mini lectures. Professors Chernoh Sesay, Christina Rivers, and Francesca Royster shared their expertise about the pervasiveness of systemic and institutionalized racism and the dehumanization of Black people.

Dr. Sesay of the Religious Studies department kicked off the event by discussing how ideas powerfully shape and are shaped by society. Professor Sesay illustrated how the U.S. Constitution enshrines the United States as a place where freedom and opportunity are possible, yet it is simultaneously deeply oriented toward the marginalization of Black people by denying their autonomy and agency. There is an inherent contradiction between these ideas which challenge that the United States is a place where racial justice and equality can ever really be achieved. In this context, Professor Sesay explained why our ideas matter: they deeply shape the current political and historical moment. 

In her mini lecture, Political Science professor Dr. Christina Rivers discussed the denial of civic personhood through felony disenfranchisement and misinformation about voting rights and requirements. She explained that if African Americans are seen as societal threats, they more likely to be incarcerated and their political voices are more likely to be stifled. Additionally, when a person’s civic personhood is denied, they lose a fundamental power to control their political lives, as well as the influence of their political voice.

English and Critical Ethnic Studies professor Dr. Francesca Royster introduced the power of storytelling and imagining the past, present, and future. She stressed that we are here because our ancestors and predecessors imagined we could be. Drawing from Toni Morrison’s Beloved, the recent movie Black Panther, and work by singer/actress Janelle Monae, Professor Royster explained how Afrofuturism provides a critical way to reimagine Black life and envision the future. When the complete humanity of Black people is denied by systemic violence and policing, there can be devastating costs to young people’s imaginations and psychological experience.

Within the context of their own disciplines, each speaker demonstrated the importance of recognizing the complete humanity of Black people. By engaging with these difficult issues, this event briefed students about something the Honors Program does best: encouraging students to explore their own interests, challenge long-held beliefs, and discover unfamiliar ideas.