Interview with Roosevelt Criminal Justice Alumnus, Sean Thompson El

Sean Thompson El, 49, is a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago studying criminology, law and justice. That’s remarkable when you learn that Thompson El spent 27 years and nine months in prison. While incarcerated, he earned his associate’s degree, and after his release in 2010, he enrolled at Roosevelt. In 2013, he earned a bachelor of arts in criminal justice through the Adult Fast-Track Program.  Here is a recent interview with Sean:

Q. How did you choose Roosevelt?
A. I paroled straight to Chicago, and I couldn’t find a job. I was just passing out resumes. I walked by the Gage Building one day and they had some type of exhibit going on, and I walked in there and got to talking to people. Before I knew it, I was enrolled. Roosevelt makes you feel welcome. No one has ever made judgment or been critical of me.

Q. Why did you choose criminal justice?
A. I had been a part of the (criminal) life for so long. I wanted to see how the other side thought, what’s really going on in the system. I don’t want any kid to grow up doing what I did. To fix the system, you’ve got to go through it.

Q. What was it like to be an older student and have been incarcerated before your college experience?
A. I’m always the oldest guy in the class. (laughs) It doesn’t bother me. The kids gave me a new perspective. They were so bright and they were so eager to learn. I loved my professors. They used me as an example in class sometimes, which was fine. I think I gave a unique spin to the criminal justice department.

Q. Was earning the degree difficult?
A. Nothing was really difficult. But it was sweet. The academic advisors always kept me on point, making sure I was OK. Before you knew it, I was graduating.

Q. What did graduation day feel like?
A. Oh man. I was speechless. Like, here I am. I can’t even describe it.

Q. What would you say to someone who things they have too many obstacles to pursue a degree, like age or background?
A. I encourage everyone I meet to go to Roosevelt and talk to the people about the adult programs. Go to the financial aid office and see if they can help you out. Education is the only way to better your condition. I meet older people who say, ‘I wish I could go back.’ You can! You’ve just got to do it. There was one lady in my class, 71 years old, she did it one class at a time. Anybody can do it. You can always better your condition and improve your skills.

Paralegal Studies Program Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The Roosevelt University Paralegal Studies Program
is hosting a 40th Anniversary Reception and Award Ceremony

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Registration: 5:30 p.m.
Reception: 6 – 7 p.m.

Roosevelt University
425 S. Wabash Avenue, Room 1315
Chicago

______________________________________________________________________

In recognition of our program’s 40th anniversary, the Hon. Abishi C. Cunningham Jr. (Ret.), Public Defender will receive the Roosevelt University Social Justice in the Legal Profession Award.

Please join us for wine, hors d’oeuvres and conversation
as we celebrate. Meet, greet and mingle with old friends and our current faculty and staff.

For more information, please contact Yvette Garcia,
ygarcia@roosevelt.edu

SUST Graduate Troy Withers Promotes Wellness at Chicago Schools through the “Peace Diet”

Re-post from yesterday’s Sustainability Studies blog:

This story from The Chicago Crusader on May 3rd, 2014, profiles the work of Troy Withers, a recent graduate (BPS ’13) of RU’s Sustainability Studies program and current intern at Morrill Elementary in Chicago. We applaud Troy’s work as a advocate of community health, sustainable food production, good nutrition, and social justice. (Editor’s note: The text of the article has been modified slightly to refer to the May 6th Wellness Event in the past tense.)

As a new wave of gang and gun violence hits Chicago, a Roosevelt University intern at an impacted elementary school in Chicago is promoting a wellness agenda that includes a ‘Peace Diet’ that is meant to reduce youth aggression and violence.

Troy Withers, a 2013 graduate of Roosevelt’s Sustainability Studies program and a vegan, has long held the belief that diet can negatively impact behavior, particularly processed foods high in omega-6 fatty acids, refined carbohydrates and sugars.

That is why he organized a Wellness Day that was held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6 at the Morrill Elementary School, 6002 S. Rockwell, Chicago, just blocks from the scene of a recent shooting of a 2013 graduate of Morrill and the brother of a current Morrill student.

“It will be a day devoted to healing in which we will be discussing why so much violence is happening and how we can turn the tide against it,” said Withers prior to the event. He works part-time at the school as a peacekeeper helping students resolve conflicts using restorative justice practices in conjunction with an internship through Roosevelt’s Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation.

“We will be presenting some possible solutions to the violence epidemic, including providing information on the importance of having our kids eat better on a regular basis,” said Withers.

The event included a 4 p.m. Symposium on Inner City Violence where Withers introduced the concept of his Peace Diet, (which includes plant-based whole foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and essential micronutrients), as a tool for violence prevention.

Sample servings of the Peace Diet, including lentil sloppy joes, sweet potato fries seasoned with kelp and a leafy green vegetable, were served at the Symposium. Free-food giveaways, hip-hop music geared toward violence prevention as well as participation by community activists, including Ameena Matthews from the award-winning PBS documentary, The Interrupters, were among other activities.

A resident of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, Withers is the founder of the Gahn Institute for Sustainable Solutions, a Chicago-based policy institute stressing sustainability, health and community wellness as a means to combat societal problems. He first began researching causes of violence last year as a Roosevelt student after learning of the highly publicized murders in Chicago of Hadiyah Pendleton and six-month-old Jonylah Watkins. During the research, Withers became convinced that there is a correlation between poor nutrition and violent behavior, and has been working since then to educate and engage communities, youths and their parents about the importance of eating healthy foods.

“Young people in this community are facing violence on a regular basis,” said Nancy Michaels, associate director of Roosevelt’s Mansfield Institute, which has been working at Morrill since 2011 and at other Chicago Public Schools as well to support young people through the use of restorative justice practices, including peace circles.

“While there are many factors that can contribute to violence, we believe Troy’s ideas are worth considering as we look for ways to establish a more peaceful, positive environment for young people to thrive,” Michaels said.

The Wellness Day event was co-sponsored by the Healthy Schools Campaign, Morrill Elementary School and Roosevelt’s Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation. For more information, contact the Mansfield Institute at 312-341-2150.

Professor Wolfe Claims Fifth Nomination for Hugo Award

 

Gary-Wolfe_webpage-picProfessor Gary Wolfe has been nominated a  third time (2012, 2013, 2014) for a Hugo Award for Best Fancast–for the Coode Street Podcast which he records with Jonathan Strahan. He was also nominated for his book, Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001, in 2011 and Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996, in 2006.

The Hugo Awards are the most prestigious award in science fiction. They have been presented annually since 1955.

The winners will be announced at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, Loncon 3, London, United Kingdom, August 17, 2014.

(An earlier post of this blog forgot to include Wolfe’s impressive book nominations.)

Paralegal Alumni Group April 2014 Events

The Roosevelt University Paralegal Alumni Group
invites you to our next events – a social networking event
and a career presentation on writing your resume.

Welcome Spring! Social Networking Event

Berghoff’s Restaurant
17 West Adams Street
Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.

Career Presentation on Resumes

Please join us for a presentation on preparing your resume. A local legal professional will provide strategies and advice for preparing your best resume. Cover letters will also be addressed. We will also provide an opportunity for follow-up individual advice on your resume from experienced program alumni.

Roosevelt University Gage Building Campus
18 S. Michigan Avenue, Third Floor Commons
Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Please sign up by clicking on the following link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-roosevelt-university-paralegal-alumni-group-february-meeting-tickets-10209459769

Look for future announcements on our upcoming career related presentations offering advice for paralegal program graduates and current students. The following topics will be covered throughout the year: interviewing; using social media in your job search and professional life; dress for success/professionalism in the workplace.

For questions, contact alum@roosevelt.edu

The Clockwork Muse

“It is almost impossible to live in the modern world and not have to write” (Zerubavel, 1999, p. 1).

A muse is a source of inspiration and when pairing it with the word, “clockwork,” it might mean that our work with the clock (timing, scheduling, planning) could be an inspiration. But what kind of inspiration?

I’m teaching PLS 399 Senior Thesis this spring 2014 semester and we are reading The Clockwork Muse by Eviatar Zerubavel. This book of a little over 100 pages is a practical guide for writing theses, dissertations, and books. Zerubavel describes how to set up a writing schedule and maintain it over the long haul. As The Clockwork Muse went to press, Zerubavel had published seven books and was Professor of Sociology and Director of the Graduate Program at Rutgers University.

The book begins with establishing the writing schedule, particularly delving into finding time during the week to concentrate on writing. Zerubavel says that once you decide when you can write, you should keep track of how effective you are when you write. Keep a journal by listing the days of the week, the times you wrote during those days, and reflect on your productivity. For example, my journal entries were the following, recently: “I wrote on Monday, from 9 – 10 pm and it was very focused and energetic, but too short.  On Wednesday, I wrote from 9 am – 1 pm and it was very productive, I had good concentration, and it was a good session.”

Zerubavel says that you must determine your A-times from your B-times and even your C-times. We want to be at our best during peak writing times – our A-times; however, if our energy wanes, we can do productive tasks during our B-times (checking resources, adding references, revising an outline). And during C-times, we might want to pay bills or straighten the desk!

There are chapters in the book that deal with organizing the process of producing a manuscript, as in Chapter 3: A Mountain with Stairs. A thesis cannot be completed in “one gulp” and Zerubavel stresses that one must think about the project in stages. One of the most effective ways to break down writing the thesis in incremental steps is through the use of an outline. Zerubavel gives a good example of how his outline changed several times as he developed one of his books. Eventually, his outline became the book’s table of contents. And for a thesis, the outline can become the major headings in the paper. The outline can do the following: Aid in the process of writing, help organize ideas, presents material in logical form, shows relationships among ideas in the writing, constructs an ordered overview of the writing.

This has been a summary of some of the main points in A Clockwork Muse. Students and faculty alike who are about to embark on a significant writing project, could be successful by adhering to this guide’s simple but profound principles in developing a certain amount of self-discipline to complete that thesis, dissertation, or book.

Happy writing!

Susan J. Katz, PhD, Associate Professor, Educational Leadership

Zerubavel, E. (1999). The clockwork muse: A practical guide to writing theses, dissertations, and books. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

 

 

Summer and Fall 2014 registration

Registration for Summer and Fall 2014 is currently underway. If you haven’t yet registered for classes, follow these simple instructions and set your schedule:

  • Review the course schedule.
  • If you receive financial aid and plan to take classes for the summer, check with that department to see if you have funds available for the summer semester.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor or contact him/her via email with the courses you’d like to take. Don’t know who that is? Contact our office at 312.281.3134 or 847.619.8730 and we can assist you.
  • Log on to RU Access and register for classes.
  • Complete all requirements with the Office of Financial Aid and confirm your payment arrangements with the Office of Student Accounts. Payment arrangements for Summer must be completed by April 15. Payment arrangements for Fall must be completed by July 31.