Articles by Tom Hagerman

​​​​​Why I Chose DePaul vs. Why I Like DePaul

Choosing what college to attend wasn’t an easy decision for me.  I knew that I wanted to go to school in Chicago, but I was conflicted between schools here.  I had visited the two that I was interested in, but didn’t necessarily know which was going to be better for me and which would better prepare me for the future. 

So, I chose DePaul based on these considerations: 
- Location in Chicago and proximity to downtown
- Smaller size of the science program compared to other Chicago schools

My story doesn’t stop here because these reasons only scratch the surface of why I’ve enjoyed my four years here at DePaul.

Here are the major reasons why I’ve had an incredible experience at DePaul:

- Small size of science program:  Because the science program​ is relatively small, there’s more of an opportunity to get close with professors and get involved in undergraduate research.

- Location in Chicago: The proximity of DePaul to downtown Chicago, specifically the major business districts and many hospitals, means that you have the more opportunities to get experience outside of classes.

- Relationships with professors and staff (feeling much more like an individual and not a number): This is one of my favorite aspects of DePaul.  It’s clear just how much professor’s care about their students and how hard they will work to help students succeed.  While they have high expectations for students, they make sure you have support and the resources you need to make the most of your experience at DePaul. 

- Vincentian mission: I didn't know anything about the Vincentian mission​ before coming to DePaul, but it's been an important aspect of my college career.  The mission has provided a larger purpose for my education here and guidance to how I see myself contributing to society in the future.



My DePaul Lenses

As a senior, it’s increasingly on my mind that I will be moving on after the next two quarters.  A lot of conversations with friends (and family members) these days are about what's next.  There’s not much of a unifying theme to this entry.  I wanted to talk about how my experience at DePaul is getting me ready for the next step, and this is what I’ve ended up with.

I’m incredibly grateful for my time at DePaul.  Going to college in Chicago has changed who I am.  I’ve been exposed to the realities of people in the world that I may not have if I wasn't at DePaul.  Of course there are things that I wish I did differently, but I’ll save that for another time.  Overall, DePaul has made me think differently about how I will contribute to this world.  Not only have I drank the DePaul Kool-Aid, but I’ve purchased a pair of DePaul lenses (this is supposed to be symbolic). 

My mind has been exploding with interests and thoughts lately.  Over break I became interested in learning about computer programming.  I know that in the future world we will live in, if not this one already, it will be necessary for everyone to understand programming.  My kids will be learning coding at the same time they’re learning basic math and (hopefully) Spanish.  I’m also increasingly interested in statistics and data analysis.  I do lots of data analysis as a chemistry major, but I’m especially interested more about data analysis outside of a scientific context.  I want to be more literate as a data consumer, more aware and critical of the information I take in.  Over break I took a religion class taught by a historian, and I realized just how little I know about US history and world history, for that matter.  The world changed a lot since I was born, but I feel like I missed out on the significance of those changes because I wasn’t thinking broadly enough.  I started listening to PlanetMoney (from NPR) podcasts religiously, and I realized that I wish I knew more about economics.

So, how does this relate to DePaul?  My curiosity to learn is symbolic of my time at DePaul.  There’s no way that I could have spent time exploring all of these things in college.  That’s the point though, right?  We’re in college to become more prepared for continued learning.  I would like to think that because of my experience at DePaul I’m prepared to continue my learning journey.  Even more, DePaul has shaped the lenses through which I will take in new information and experiences.  The Vincentian mission at DePaul constantly comes up in my head when I listen to an economics talk.  There seems to be a contradiction between the growth that economics calls for and the human dignity that may be exploited in that growth.  My experiences at DePaul have caused those thoughts, and I couldn’t be more thankful because I know that those reminders will continue to help shape the decisions that I make.  


Spring Break in Philly

I had the pleasure of spending my spring break with nine fantastic people in Philadelphia, PA. 

After going on two service immersion trips through University Ministry I decided that it was time to take on the challenge of being the student leader for a trip.  I applied last Winter and had a class last Spring in preparation.  This winter quarter before the trip I also had class once a week to prepare for the trip.

The service immersion trips are organized by the Vincentian Community Service Office of University Ministry.  The hope of the trips is not to necessarily provide services that would otherwise be unmet if we didn't go somewhere, but instead to hear stories from the people we meet and learn about the issues in that community.  We are on the trips to learn about our relatioinship with the poor and the marginalized and to examine how we live our daily lives back at home or at school.  The most important aspects of hte trip include awareness, simplicity, dialogue, and solidarity.  

After a 14 hour car ride to Philadelphia we arrived in Germantown, a neighborhood about 10 minutes outside of downtown Philly.  Each day we woke up around 7:30am and left the house by about 9am.  We would work at one or two service sites and then get back around 5pm.  Most nights we had some other type of activity planned, such as a visit to a Jesuit Volunteer Corps house in Philadelphia as well as a potluck dinner with members of the local dioceses.  Reflection is an important part of the trips and each night we would talk about the things we saw, experienced, and felt and what that means for us. 

I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend the week with.  Here are some pictures to give you a glimpse of our trip.