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College of Communication grad uplifts marginalized voices

Emily Diaz discusses favorite classes, the Steans Center and writing for social justice

Emily Diaz
Emily Diaz will graduate from the College of Communication. (Photo by Jacqueline Cardenas/La DePaulia)
Emily Diaz, College of Communication

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
Hometown: Chicago, IL

What is your favorite DePaul memory?

My favorite memory is when my DePaul friends and I went to queer prom. The vibe was immaculate, the music was fun and it was a great celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. I danced all night on the dance floor and really felt like I found my crowd.

Who are the professors who have made the biggest difference in your education at DePaul?

Gil Gott. I rave about him to all of my friends because of how passionate he is about his classes. I took him for an honors course on racial justice and capitalism. I have no background in political science but he made the class very accessible and easy to grasp.

Though I’m passionate about radical social justice, equity and dismantling systematic oppression, I could never remember big terms and “isms” enough to publicly discuss my views with confidence. Now, I can.

How will you carry DePaul’s Vincentian values forward with you?

I worked for DePaul’s Irwin W. Steans Center for over two years. The love and affinity I have for the people at the Steans Center will always stick with me after DePaul.

The Steans Center integrates asset-based community development into their approach to service-learning. It emphasizes taking a backseat approach to supporting communities and their plans rather than swooping in with a savior complex, which is how I believe all people should approach service-learning.

My previous manager at the Steans Center, David Pintor, was a great mentor during my first two years at DePaul. Before I even began my first week of classes, he hired me for my position there. I’m grateful he gave an aspiring, fresh out of highschool student like myself the opportunity to work so early on at DePaul. He taught me so many things about challenging injustice through community-based healing and always encouraged me to integrate my personal dedication for social justice into the work I did at the Steans Center. His mentorship and reflection of true Vincentian values will stick with me forever.

What advice do you have for other students?

Take your time with college. It’s funny because I’m graduating a year early and crammed all my classes in with the goal of saving money. While I’m certainly grateful to be able to get my degree early, I wish I allowed myself more grace to explore fun classes unrelated to my major.

Prioritize your learning experience over everything else. Take that niche class even if it has nothing to do with your degree progress because the classes we choose at DePaul can be a great catalyst for exploring our passions outside of academia. Some of my classes have inspired the articles I write for various publications outside of school, which is one of the most gratifying things about my time here.

What are you doing next?

I’m enrolled in the 4+1 program, so I’m going to continue pursuing my graduate degree in public relations and advertising with a concentration on Latine studies for another year. After that, hopefully I’ll be able to jump into the job market and find a nonprofit or radical magazine to write for. I love journalism and write for DePaul’s 14 East Magazine and La DePaulia, so I want to continue uplifting marginalized voices through writing and social media branding.

Read more stories from the Class of 2024.