Student Feature: Meet Alicia
At the start of the Fall 2014 semester, IPS hired Alicia as a graduate student worker. In the short time she has been here, Alicia has been an invaluable asset to IPS and makes the work day that much more enjoyable. Read more below to find out just some of what makes Alicia the endearing person she is.
Full name: Alicia Crosby
Nickname: Ali, Leigh, Lesha – what I go by is very much based on the relationship I have with someone.
A favorite of yours: My favorite thing to do in my free time is cook. I love thinking about what things could go together and making that happen. Cooking for me is about feeling and experimentation so it’s rare that you’ll ever see me with a recipe or a cookbook.
Hometown: New York, NY
Previous education: I am a proud alumna of Hollins University and graduated in 2008 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Education, Psychology, and Pastoral Studies. I (half) joke that I majored in what I felt like. Hollins gave me the freedom to construct a program of my choosing and I took courses that allowed me to explore how people acquire knowledge (ex. cognitively, spiritually, experientially) and how it impacts what they produce in the world. I think I called it “The Methodology of Learning.”
What were you doing before beginning your IPS journey?
Before moving to Chicago, I worked as an Educational Advocate for a non-profit in NY. Our work included facilitating discussions around anti-violence and bully prevention, offering STEM opportunities for economically disenfranchised youth and their families and speaking out against systems of inequality while empowering students to push back against the very things that tried to hold them down. It was transformative for me and helped me understand that I want to spend my life doing the work of advocacy.
What made you decide to come to Loyola IPS?
I was looking at grad schools for a while and LUC kept coming up. One day, I was considering what Christian social justice looked like and decided to Google it to see what popped up. I came across the IPS website and saw Dr. Schmisek post something related to IPS preparing people to help others move toward God’s prophetic intent for them. Empowering others to live purposeful lives is something that means a lot to me and seeing that sentiment was confirmation that IPS was where I needed to be.
What is the focus of your studies?
I’m a social justice kid aka MASJ student.
What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time here at Loyola IPS and how does that relate to your future goals?
I look forward to lending my giftings and presence in a way that makes this place a little bit better once I leave. I think we all have a responsibility to lend our voices, who we are and what we can do to strengthen the spaces in which we find ourselves. I suppose this relates to my future goals because that is a sentiment that is applicable in all spheres of life. You are in a given space, in a given season, because who you are is needed there.
Do you have a favorite class or one you look forward to taking?
Anything with Dr. Dan Rhodes! He’s an amazing professor and I thoroughly enjoy my Social Context class. I feel like I walk away with new language and concepts that I can apply to understanding the world around me. I’m taking an ethics course with him next term and even though I expect to work hard, I cannot express how excited I am about tackling economic and political theory with him as a guide.
Do you see any challenges you will have to overcome during your time here? If so, what is one of them?
I’m a social justice student, which naturally lends to my seeing challenges. That said, I think one of the things I discern being a challenge is creating community with people throughout this program. We are an adult, commuter-based student body, which makes forming communal ties difficult at times, especially outside of our cohorts. I want to do what I can, as both a student and a worker at IPS, to help foster a sense of community because there is so much we can learn from one another if we make space in our lives to journey together.
Do you have any recommendations for future students?
Talk to students, check out faculty CVs, and really make sure that this (or any) school is one you are willing to deeply invest in. You are committing your money, your time and your talents to your institution so do your homework to make sure it’s the best option for you.
In what way will you go forth to “change the world?”
I suppose this is the adult version of asking what I want to do when I grow up…
I’m still sorting that out honestly. I’m interested in non-profit work and ministry, which I’ve known for some time, but ethics is something that is fairly new on my radar. Knowing me, all of those things may converge in some way after I leave here. I’ve got some time to figure that out and I’m working to grant myself the grace to accept that.
Are you currently working on any interesting project(s) that you wish to share?
I’m working on a paper on LGBT youth and interaction with the Church, specifically through the lens of family. What grieves me deeply is that families are treating these babies poorly or abusively when we are taught that your first ministry is at home. I’m finding that there are a ton of qualitative resources sharing stories, but there are very few people tracking the abuses happening quantitatively. I think my paper will explore why this is the case and, perhaps, work I do in the future can look at this through different lenses.
What is a fun fact or story about you?
I only like red condiments, namely BBQ sauce, ketchup and hot sauce. This made for an interesting time when I went to Portillo’s and ordered a hot dog. The poor lady looked so confused when I told her all the things I didn’t want on it. I finally explained that I just needed her to stick the hot dog on a bun and call it a day. I was already getting a side eye, so I added my own ketchup.
How can people further connect with you via social media?
I blog, so you can check me out at chasingthepromise.wordpress.com
For more exciting news and updates, follow @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram!