Career preparation inspires recent graduate to give back

June 5, 2015

BobbieIn today’s budget-conscious world, sales isn’t the easiest profession, but Bobbie Dawod (BUS ’14), inside regional account manager at Flexera Software LLC, loves the challenge. “It’s a very tricky business,” she explains. “The hardest part is overcoming rejection and dealing with objections. If the objection is something you can handle, you have to stay confident and explain your reasoning as to why you can overcome it. If you can’t handle it, you have to accept it, move on and realize there are a million more opportunities in front of you.”

Dawod manages regional sales for Flexera’s software monetization unit, which helps companies maximize revenue through flexible software licensing rights. Her territory spans Minnesota to Louisiana through the East Coast, as well as the eastern provinces of Canada, and Dawod believes her DePaul experience helped prepare her for the demanding nature of the field. “The sales leadership program definitely put me ahead,” she stresses. “I took a class on Salesforce, and that was huge to put on my resume. Companies didn’t expect that of somebody just coming out of college.”

Professors Clancy Ryan (BUS ’97, MBA ’03) and Richard Rocco served as mentors to Dawod and helped critique her resume, prep her for job interviews and build her network. Also integral to her success was her job as a student worker on campus. “Many millennials aren’t comfortable on the phone, but that was my job,” she says. “It gave me a lot of practice. I don’t think I would be where I am without that job.” Her gratitude inspired Dawod to give back to DePaul immediately after graduation.

“I knew I didn’t have to wait until I was further along in my career to start giving back,” she says. “DePaul gave me a million opportunities to succeed in my career and in school, and my gift helps students have the same opportunities I did.” Dawod understands firsthand the strain of student loans, but she still encourages others to give in any amount they can. “It doesn’t matter if you give $1, $1,000 or $1,000,000—it’s your participation,” she asserts. “It’s the fact that you are willing to help. It’s so cliché to say, but it really does make a difference. It really does all add up. Ten dollars might not make a difference to you, but it can mean a lot to somebody else.”

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Dinners on DePaul prompts alumna’s publishing deal

April 23, 2015

On a whim, Bethanie Hestermann (LAS MA ’13) attended a Dinners on DePaul, a networking event for students and alumni, held in January 2013. She’d spent her career in magazine publishing but was looking to break into the book world. This event was the perfect way to hear from those in the field, and Hestermann directed several queries to Lisa Reardon P1000317(LAS MA ’02), acquisitions editor at Chicago Review Press.

“My line of questioning got her attention,” Hestermann recalls. “After the dinner, she turned toward me and asked if I had any particular idea in mind.” Feeling empowered by the support of her friends and classmates, Hestermann verbally pitched Reardon an idea for a zoology book. “Her [jaw] dropped, and she said, ‘We have this For Kids series, and I think this would be great.’ She was super excited. It blew my mind,” says Hestermann.

Three months later, Hestermann and her husband, Josh, submitted an extensive proposal based on a sample Reardon shared with them, which included a complete chapter, an annotated table of contents and ideas for 21 zoology-based activities. “It was very intense,” she says. “It wasn’t like [Reardon] was handing us anything on a golden platter. We really had to prove that we had what it took to write the book.” Just three weeks later, Chicago Review Press confirmed that the couple did.

“Zoology for Kids” explores basic animal biology and career opportunities in ways that are accessible for readers ages 9 and up. “It’s similar to a textbook in that it teaches the hard science, but in a fun way that will actually keep kids interested,” explains Hestermann. “We really want to empower kids to use whatever they’re passionate about to find a way to make a difference. There are a lot of ways to make a difference in the zoology community.”

For the past 13 years, Hestermann has navigated the field with her husband, who is a zoologist. “That whole world is Zoology for Kids Cover Imagefascinating, just rich and full of ideas to write about,” she gushes. “Even though I’m a liberal arts person, I care about the environment and wildlife conservation and I hope what I write will help others care too.” The couple wanted to find a way to unite their interests, and a zoology book seemed like the perfect idea. The training Hestermann received at DePaul helped prepare her for the grueling editorial process.

“I was doing on-the-job training until I went to DePaul,” she says. “That was really when I got into the nitty-gritty and started learning how to write a science article, how to write to difference audiences and how to pitch.” Professors Ted Anton and Miles Harvey became mentors to Hestermann during her time here, helping her with everything from technical writing to the publishing process. “It enhanced everything and opened up so many doors—I’m sure I haven’t even experienced how many doors it’s going to open for me yet,” she enthuses.

The couple celebrated the release of “Zoology for Kids” in March 2015, and Hestermann remains proud of what they accomplished. “Whatever kids want to do, they just go for it,” she says. “They don’t have the same reservations that we as adults do. It’s just so awesome to think that we can inspire some of the kids who are going to become the next conservation leaders. They’re going to make changes that are going to matter for our planet.”

DePaul Welcomes New Provost

March 6, 2015

Marten L. denBoer was appointed as provost in February. He will will become DePaul’s chief academic officer on July 1. (Photo credit: California State Polytechnic University/Tom Zasadzinski)

On Feb. 18, the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul University, announced the appointment of Marten L. denBoer as the university’s new provost. He comes to DePaul from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs for the past seven years.

During his tenure at Cal Poly, denBoer managed eight colleges that comprise more than 150 degree and credential programs and is credited with recruiting a leadership team that exemplifies diversity. Among his accomplishments, denBoer expanded internal grants for faculty scholarship, established awards to honor faculty achievements, and worked closely with faculty to develop and implement a strategic plan for the university.

Prior to his work at Cal Poly, denBoer was associate provost at Queens College of the City University of New York, professor and chair of the physics department at Hunter College of The City University of New York, assistant professor of physics at the Polytechnic Institute of New York and research associate at the National Research Council of Canada. He earned his doctorate and master’s degrees in physics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

As a physicist, his research focuses on the use of X-ray absorption spectroscopy in the investigation of materials important in energy storage and conversion, particularly batteries and fuel cells. DenBoer has published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, and his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health and the Office of Naval Research. He is also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society.

As provost at DePaul, denBoer will serve as the university’s chief academic officer. This position, which focuses on the intellectual life of the university, oversees academic affairs, enrollment management and marketing, and student affairs. He will begin his new role on July 1.

Read the full press release for more information. >>

Return to the Alumni & Friends website. >>

Demon darlings give back to institution that inspired their love

February 27, 2015

In 1956, on the way to the military ball—the social event of the ROTC season—Dorita Bolger-Malecki (LAS ’58) and Marty

Marty and Dorita on their wedding day.

Marty and Dorita on their wedding day.

Malecki (BUS ’58) fell in love. Although they’d never met—in fact, each came with a different date—there was a spark neither could ignore. “As soon as I got in the car, I knew I would rather have been with him,” Dorita laughs. “I just knew that we hit it off … and the rest, as they say, is history.” The couple became engaged their senior year and married in August 1959.

Marty’s direct commission took the newlyweds to Indiana and Maryland before finally settling back in the Chicagoland area after he left the service. Even while raising three children, thriving in the business world and juggling numerous volunteer commitments, the Maleckis fondly remembered their time at DePaul University. “You always have a soft spot for where you went to school, and we always felt that we could help out at DePaul,” explains Marty, who has served on the Finance Advisory Board since its inception in the 1990s. The couple also volunteers together on the Office of Alumni Relations Fifty Year Club Committee. “We just wanted to get involved, and if we could help in any way, we were happy to do it,” he adds.

The Malecki's celebrate nearly 56 years together.

The Malecki’s celebrate nearly 56 years together.

They wanted to give back not only with their time, but with their financial resources, as well. “Our focus was on students [who had to work to pay for their education like we did,]” Marty says. “We knew we weren’t going to be [naming] a building with our donation, but we love helping students who have difficulty completing their education [due to finances].” Both credit their success to the education they received at DePaul and want to ensure that the tradition can carry on well into the future. “Education is certainly one of the primary building blocks [of success],” he says. “If you go to a university like DePaul [that invests in its students], you come away with a lot of advantages. You want to be sure that this is going to continue for others.”

Dorita and Marty encourage fellow alumni to follow their lead. “We’re not going to inhabit the earth in perpetuity, so you want to leave something behind that would benefit the school,” stresses Marty. “It should be something you want to do as a recipient of this type of education and to provide for others into the future … Students can effect change down the road and benefit from your experience at DePaul.”

As Dorita and Marty celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary later this year, they reflect on what they’ve learned over the course of their marriage. “Don’t speak too quickly,” Dorita says. “It often saves a lot of trouble if you don’t say anything or choose your words carefully.” Marty adds, “There’s so many ways you can go wrong if you’re approaching life in general, and marriage in particular, by not being considerate of others.”

Inspire future generations of Blue Demons like Dorita and Marty do by making a gift today.

Ascension names the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., chair of board of directors

January 14, 2015

Fr. HoltschneiderThe Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul University, has been named chair of the board of directors for the faith-based healthcare organization Ascension Health. As the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension delivers a variety of services and solutions to those in need. During their 2014 fiscal year, the organization provided $1.8 billion in care for persons living in poverty and also offered other community benefit programs.

“I’m delighted that Fr. Holtschneider has agreed to serve as chair of the Ascension board of directors,” says Anthony R. Tersigni, EdD, FACHE, president and chief executive officer at Ascension. “We look forward to his continued guidance and wisdom as we continue to create an integrated ministry across Ascension to bring truly person-centered care to individuals in the many communities we’re privileged to serve.”

The Ascension health system includes more than 150,000 associates and 35,000 affiliated providers in 1,900 care facilities across the country. In addition to providing healthcare, the services and solutions Ascension subsidiaries offer include physician practice management, venture capital investing, treasury management, biomedical engineering, clinical care management, information services, risk management and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing organization.

Read the full press release for more information. >>

Return to the Alumni & Friends website. >>

MBA preps alumna to oversee observatory’s financial operations

December 2, 2014
Margarita Scheffel (MBA ’95)

Margarita Scheffel (MBA ’95)

For decades, Margarita Scheffel (MBA ’95) dreamed of moving to Hawaii. “The aloha spirit just resonated with me,” she says. “The way people respond to each other … it’s just a very nice, welcoming and open environment.” She’d sit with her colleagues, daydreaming during the brutal Chicago winters about how one day she’d live there. They’d laugh off her comments as idle musings, but in 2003, Scheffel did just that. She became the chief financial officer of the W. M. Keck Observatory, one of the world’s foremost observatories, located on the summit of Mauna Kea in Kamuela, on the Big Island of Hawaii. “Living in Chicago, you barely see the stars, but when you come out here, it’s just amazing,” she enthuses.

Scheffel manages the observatory’s $25 million operating budget, overseeing funding from two partner institutions—the University of California and the California Institute of Technology—as well as from NASA, the National Science Foundation and private organizations. “Compliance is a big deal,” she asserts. “We have to make sure that we’re abiding by all the restrictions of the various funds. That can get quite complex.”

To do this, Scheffel scours regulations line by line. “You identify those that you feel are relevant to what you’re doing,” she explains. “Then you ask yourself, ‘Do I have the systems in place to allow the transactions and processes to support that requirement?’ If you don’t, then you look at ways to implement new processes.” This process includes creating new systems to monitor how funds are being spent and efforts are being reported. “Then you cross your fingers and hope you did it the right way,” she laughs.

Failure to comply with regulations, no matter how obscure, may result in loss of funding, so Scheffel often turns to her colleagues for advice. “It’s difficult to do the job on your own, but when you can share what you’ve learned or hear what someone else is doing, you don’t have to make the same mistakes,” she explains.

Scheffel learned the importance of collaborating with her peers while at DePaul. “We would talk about real-life issues we were facing in our careers,” she notes. “It was interesting to be able to share our experiences and get help with them. The MBA program helped me see the value in that.” Her concentration in international studies was an unexpected benefit to her current position. “We’ve got people from different nations, and understanding the cultural aspects of management and how diversity can make an organization better has helped me,” she says. “There is value to their differences, and I use that in how I interact with them.”

When she’s mired down with an overwhelming amount of detail, Scheffel forces herself to take a deep breath. “Sometimes, I have to step back and say, ‘I’m supporting an organization that has the ability to find life in the universe—look at what you’re enabling the scientists to do,’” she says. “We’re just one small planet in the universe. It makes you think about the impact you could be having.”

DePaul welcomes the Rev. William Piletic, C.M., to the Office of Advancement staff

October 9, 2014
The Rev. William Piletic joins the Advancement staff as alumni chaplain.

The Rev. William Piletic joins the Advancement staff as alumni chaplain.

DePaul University welcomes the Rev. William “Bill” Piletic, C.M., to the Office of Advancement, where he will serve as chaplain for alumni, donors and the university community. Piletic first came to the university in the 1960s and now returns after 50 years in Los Angeles where he was working with a small parish and other houses of prayer as needed.

“It’s like a homecoming,” Piletic says. “I have always loved the energy and vitality of the campus. It is really exciting to see the expansion of programs and campus buildings and the tremendous influence DePaul alumni have in the city and beyond.”

In his new role, Piletic will serve as a liaison for the alumni community and will attend regional and local events and events throughout the Chicagoland area. As this is a brand new position in advancement, many of his responsibilities are still to be determined. He invites the DePaul community to contact him and let him know how he can be of help.

“I want to hear from the university community about how I can best serve them,” he says. “I would love to nurture relationships between the university and those who support it. If alumni are interested in getting together for spiritual occasions, I would be happy to help plan such events. I always say that though I’m not a licensed counselor, I have a good ear and a strong shoulder. I’m excited to hear from the community, and I hope everyone feels free to contact me, whatever their needs might be.”

For more information, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at