Success Stories
from 14 Alumni under 40

Fall 2010
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Success Stories

The real measures of a DePaul education are the accomplishments of its alumni—not only professional successes, but creativity and satisfaction in other facets of life. Each year, we call on members of the community, including alumni, faculty, staff and friends, to nominate DePaul graduates who distinguish themselves. We then choose 14 of them, with the goal of representing schools and colleges across the university. The result is an inspiring, interesting mix of people, professions and achievements.

We hope you’ll enjoy the pages that follow and that you’ll write and tell us about yourself or other remarkable alumni. E-mail us at

Sarah Kustok (CMN ’04)

Comcast SportsNet Chicago

After Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game in July 2009, reporter Sarah Kustok asked, “Have you ever in your entire career experienced something that feels quite like this?”

Now that she is a full-time anchor and reporter at Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Kustok might ask herself that same question. “Originally, I thought I would go into something in business, maybe accounting,” says Kustok. But a DePaul communication course sparked a different passion. “I completely fell in love with [broadcasting],” she says.

Growing up in Orland Park, Ill., Kustok was a standout athlete at Carl Sandburg High School. At DePaul, she led the women’s basketball team to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. She credits her time as a Blue Demon with preparing her for the world of sportscasting. “On the court, you have to be ready to adapt to game-changers, and that’s true in my job now. … You never know what someone’s going to say or when an ordinary day will end with a no-hitter.”

One thing Kustok did know was that she was determined to break into television. After graduation, she worked weekends as a production runner for ESPN while holding down a full-time graduate assistant position in DePaul’s athletics media relations department. When a spot opened on the Blue Demons women’s basketball staff, Kustok detoured from the broadcasting path to work alongside her former coach, Doug Bruno.

The Blue Demons advanced to the Sweet Sixteen that year, and Kustok says she feels lucky to have been part of that team. Still, she was anxious to continue her broadcasting career, and when the season ended, she returned to reporting. Freelance gigs for ESPN and FOX Chicago, plus part-time hosting for two Comcast sports programs, put her back in the limelight. Then, just three years after graduation, she landed the dream job she has now.

As a regular in the Chicago pro sports scene, Kustok still has to adjust to the occasional “game-changer.” In 2009, she was charged with covering the Chicago Blackhawks. Being unfamiliar with hockey meant she had to learn the game in short order. Her quick study paid off when she was assigned the Blackhawks beat again in 2010 in time to cover the team all the way to its Stanley Cup victory.

What’s next for Kustok? “Right now I am so fortunate to be working in one of the best sports cities,” she says. “I just hope to keep learning as much as I can.”

Amin Al Arrayed (COM ’04)

General Manager
First Bahrain Real Estate Development Co.

Amin Al Arrayed has learned a lot from the experience of others—enough to create a new business with a sustainable future.

In his past experience as regional head of retail banking and creator of a mortgage product at the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait B.S.C. (BBK), he acquired a strong credit background. “If you do it enough, you start to see patterns. You’ve seen the products that have gone bad and what has worked,” he says.

Though he liked the job security, Al Arrayed’s entrepreneurial spirit couldn’t be contained within a large bank. Looking to advance his career, he found DePaul’s MBA program in Bahrain to be a great fit.

“Entrepreneurship was kind of the theme of the program, and that started me thinking about taking that leap of faith and starting up something new. I began to get excited about things other people were doing,” he says.

While working full time and starting a family, Al Arrayed completed his MBA and left the bank to set up—with a BBK colleague—the first dedicated real estate finance company in Bahrain. The company quickly became an award-winning success.

In 2006, he had the opportunity to create First Bahrain Real Estate Development Co. as general manager reporting to a board of directors. His concept—warehouse space in Bahrain for small- to medium-sized enterprises—blossomed into the Majaal project, which features a 60,000-square-meter state-of-the-art industrial space used by tenants for light manufacturing and storage. Majaal creates local jobs as well as advantages for its customers, which include international companies, and may well become a model First Bahrain can franchise to other countries.

One of Al Arrayed’s key hires was operations manager Daniel Taylor (COM ’04), whom he met when they teamed up to work on projects in their MBA program. “The program has been a change agent in terms of meeting the people who eventually would support me in my kind of entrepreneurial activity and also in allowing me to gain the confidence to do the things that I did,” Al Arrayed says.

The future looks promising—and sustainable. The company’s core values are based on Islamic finance principles, which require tangible assets along with shared risk and ownership between borrower and lender. “The concept of making money on funds or derivatives is seen as fundamentally very risky and unproductive. Real estate is a tangible asset,” Al Arrayed says.

Josephine Lee (MUS ’97)

President and Artistic Director
Chicago Children’s Choir

Two years ago, Josephine Lee was directing the Chicago Children’s Choir (CCC) next to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, facing north as they sang about peace and harmony. Then came a phone call from the North Korean military, directing the choir to turn around. It remains a poignant moment for Lee, the American-born daughter of a North Korean father and a South Korean mother, and underscores the complexity of the role that Lee defines for the internationally acclaimed group.

“[My singers] learn how to become ambassadors, not only of this ­country, but ambassadors for humanity, for human rights, for freedom, for music,” educating and exposing people around the world to the diversity of America and the beauty of its art and ideas. “They represent a microcosm of Chicago, of the world.”

Lee has been artistic director of the CCC for 12 years and just added “president” to her title. During her tenure, the choir has forged deeper relationships with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Ravinia, and famed orchestras and children’s choirs around the world. She broadened her singers’ repertoire to include theatre, music and dance performances; in pursuit of that goal, she co-created an epic Hindu musical, “SitaRam,” which received three Jeff Equity Award nominations in 2006. Her honors include being named the first Robert Shaw Conducting Fellow in 2002 and receiving the 3Arts Artist Award in 2008.

She says she owes it all to Dmitry Paperno, professor emeritus in the School of Music.

“Those life lessons he gave me as a musician have stuck with me. I really am so eternally grateful,” says Lee. “That’s why great professors are so important, because they can shape who you’re going to be as an adult.”

That’s a gift that Lee seeks to pass along to the 2,800 children, ages 8 to 18, who participate in the CCC’s 46 programs in the Chicago Public Schools, eight neighborhood choirs and the acclaimed 90-member concert choir. Having them become professional singers isn’t really the goal.

“It’s more about who they become as a person,” interacting with kids outside their own neighborhoods, traveling the world, and learning history and culture through song. “They learn how to become positive, contributing adults with an appreciation for the arts,” she says.

Eduardo Scoz (CDM ’05)

Software Architect
Redpoint Technologies

Brazilian-born Eduardo Scoz was just 7 years old when his father gave him a computer—and three programming books. “My father told me from the beginning that he didn’t want me to play games on the computer,” he says.

Scoz’s father was an accountant, but he interacted with developers through his work. “I guess he liked parts of the computer world, and he wanted me to be a part of it,” says the software architect for Redpoint Technologies. Ever since then, “my entire life has been devoted to computer science,” he says.

Scoz took electronics classes in high school and graduated from Unisul, a Brazilian university, with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2002. Through a partnership between DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) and Unisul, Scoz was one of four students selected to receive full scholarships to work on master’s degrees at DePaul. He arrived in Chicago in January 2003, and for the next three years did a variety of computer-related jobs at CDM while going to school. He started to receive job offers a couple of months before he graduated with a master’s in software engineering in 2005.

Scoz accepted a position at Redpoint, where his job has evolved over the years. Now he consults and serves as project lead for large company clients who need help developing complex information technology solutions to meet particular business needs.

Even when Scoz is not at his day job, he’s working. He always has some software or application project in development.

For example, he created the Brazilian version of Yelp in 2007. The idea for the business came to Scoz when he was having difficulty finding a hotel near the airport while planning a visit back home to Brazil. So he built a website ( that would rate locations in Brazil, such as bars, restaurants, hotels and other entertainment and hospitality venues. Today, mapia boasts 10,000 registered users and 20,000 location reviews in 16 of the largest cities in Brazil.

Scoz also developed Cracklytics, a popular application that allows people to keep track of their website traffic on their iPhones, and he currently is working on a project management application.

“I keep starting these things because I like to stay up-to-date with technology,” Scoz says. Cracklytics came about because Scoz wanted to learn the Apple framework and how to develop applications for the iPhone. “My day-to-day work at Redpoint requires that I stay sharp on all the new technologies, and I love what I do day-to-day,” Scoz says.

Susan Vargo (THE ’98)

Executive Producer of Live Theatricals and Events

At 12 years old Susan Vargo already knew what she wanted to do with her life. After seeing a live performance of “Sweeney Todd” with her dad, she was smitten, and from that day forward, there was no question that she would spend the rest of her days in show business.

“I am one of those strange people who, from an early age, was driven to accomplish something very specific,” she says. That single-mindedness eventually led Vargo to The Theatre School at DePaul, where she majored in the nascent theatre management program.

“Although I fancied myself a decent performer, I had a mind for business and I was wary of an acting career, which is often dependent on pure luck,” she says. At DePaul, she got ample real-world theatre experience participating behind the scenes at The Theatre School and within the commercial theatre community of Chicago.

Today, as the executive producer of live theatricals and events at Nickelodeon, Vargo remains driven, burning the midnight oil and even cutting short her maternity leave to put together traveling stage productions that feature the cable channel’s biggest stars, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and The Backyardigans.

And she’s great at it.

In fact, one of her 2010 productions, “Storytime Live!,” racked up gross ticket receipts of $2.8 million in a single week during its recent 12-show run at New York’s Radio City Music Hall—the most revenue generated by a family touring show at that venue in the past decade. (The previous record was set by a “Dora the Explorer” show in 2003.)

“Storytime Live!,” which is expected to visit 70 U.S. cities during 2010, is just one of five international touring productions that Vargo has in various stages of development at the moment.

During her six years at Nickelodeon, Vargo has worked with partners around the world to bring the channel’s cast of characters alive on stage, crisscrossing North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, and the U.K., where in 2006 she met her photographer husband, Matt Holliday. The couple welcomed their first child, Charles Holliday, into the world on Christmas Eve 2009, and, within seven weeks, she and the baby were holed up in a dark theatre in Pennsylvania as Vargo put a new Nickelodeon show through its paces before it hit the road.

Claude Chofi (SNL ’08)

Social Activist

Claude Chofi describes himself as a social change activist deeply committed to development in Africa. In 2005, he took a leave of absence from his job with a children’s rights nongovernmental organization (NGO) in his native Democratic Republic of the Congo to visit a friend in Chicago. While here, he planned to work on his English, learn about American NGOs and explore graduate programs in international development.

He was discouraged to discover that his English skills were not as strong as he thought. Also, Chicago offered no graduate programs in his interest area, and the credits from his undergraduate degree in Congo were not all transferable; he would have to complete an undergraduate degree here before applying to graduate school.

Chofi’s relationship with DePaul began via free ESL classes offered through the School of Education. A friend told him about the School for New Learning (SNL), and a meeting with Mary Jane Dix, SNL student advocate, convinced him that SNL could meet his needs. “The ability to go to school with adults and design my own focus area made it a perfect fit,” says Chofi. He also was able to keep his job as a child-care counselor with Jewish Child and Family Services, where he helps teenagers who have been taken from their homes because of abuse or neglect.

With help from his faculty mentor, Susan Reed, associate dean for curriculum, instruction and assessment, and his professional advisor, Patricia Szczerba, who has extensive experience with NGOs and the United Nations, Chofi designed a focus area in community and international development and mapped out very clear steps toward his goal of working for an international NGO.

He created an advanced research project on the role beneficiary populations should play in determining priority projects for international humanitarian organizations, which includes guidelines for NGOs for using more participatory strategies to assure that development projects respond to the true needs of the communities they intend to serve. As part of his research, he traveled back to Congo and spoke to senior-level people from international NGOs working there. His project won SNL’s Weinberg Prize for its focus on social justice and activism, excellence in research and quality of writing. Meanwhile, Chofi founded a small NGO in Congo that helps send former child soldiers to college and is vice president of the Congolese Community of Chicago. He plans to continue his international development studies in graduate school in the near future.

Paula Kim (LAW ’05)

Polsinelli Shughart P.C.

Practicing commercial and business litigation at one of the nation’s top law firms is enough to keep anyone busy. But, in her free time, Paula Kim fills the part of her soul that’s committed to public service by providing pro bono legal services for immigrants and asylum-seekers and volunteering in her community.

“My work with the Korean-American community and pro bono work really augments what I do professionally, and it makes me feel like a whole person,” she says.

Her values of hard work and community service come from her parents and were strengthened at DePaul’s College of Law. “The focus on public interest is something DePaul is known for. It’s not just lip service.”

Kim began working pro bono in the immigration rights field a few years ago when she represented a man from Chad. “He had been politically persecuted there and suffered unimaginable torture,” she says, adding that it took almost four years to win political asylum. “It’s definitely an inspirational case and close to my heart.”

Her latest case, involving a woman from Nicaragua who is trying to obtain permanent residency status, just set a precedent for all immigration cases in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “She married a U.S. citizen, and the Department of Homeland Security alleged that she committed marriage fraud, based on written statements by the husband, which were obtained under suspicious circumstances,” Kim says. During deportation hearings, the immigration judge denied the woman’s request to subpoena her husband, he never appeared in court and wasn’t cross-examined, and she was ordered to be deported. Kim successfully argued before the appeals panel that under immigration statutes, an alien is guaranteed a right to compulsory process and the right to cross-examine witnesses.

Involved in minority rights for years, Kim has served on boards of many Asian-American organizations, including Korean-American Community Services. She just completed her term as president of its inaugural Associate Board and received the Korean-American Association of Chicago’s Independence Movement Day Award in recognition of her community service.

Kim encourages new generations to share their expertise to strengthen the community. “The immigrant generation raised their children to focus on success,” she says. “The next generations need to focus on how they can leverage that success for the benefit of the community.”

Bill Hoffman (LAS ’95)

Senior Vice President
Best Buy

Bill Hoffman remembers exactly when he knew he wanted to work for the CIA. It was on a Friday night 20 years ago during his senior year in high school after he saw the movie “The Hunt for Red October.”

Coincidentally, the following Monday, his high school guidance counselor announced a CIA scholarship program. Hoffman submitted to its rigorous application process, which included physical and mental examinations and two days of polygraph tests. He jokes that being a kid from South Dakota helped. “There weren’t many skeletons in the closet.”

At the age of 18, Hoffman became a full-time employee of the CIA, and the agency paid for his undergraduate education at DePaul, where he double-majored in international studies and economics. Over his last two summers at DePaul, he went to Washington to work as an analyst.

During his seven years with the CIA, Hoffman’s work focused on creating a climate for peace and security in the Balkans during the turbulent mid-1990s. He loved his job, but says he left the agency because of “the pull of the more entrepreneurial private sector.” He now lives in Lakeville, Minn., and works as senior vice president at Best Buy, where he leads the consumer insights unit. Companies always are desperate to learn about their customers’ needs quickly so they can capitalize on them, and Hoffman’s background as an intelligence officer helps the electronics and technology retailer do just that.

“At most companies, research functions are centrally located, and there’s not a lot of connectedness with the business,” says Hoffman. “Ours looks much more like a Special Forces unit. It’s very nimble.”

Hoffman earned a master’s degree in national security studies from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. During his junior year at DePaul, he took a leave of absence for a semester to attend Oxford University, where he studied changes going on in post-Soviet Russia.

“I attended Georgetown for graduate school, and I went to Oxford for a semester, and, by far, DePaul was the best of the three schools I went to,” says Hoffman. “I went to DePaul because I felt it would best prepare me for managing a lot of complexity. I am not a deep expert in economics, politics, anthropology, math or research, but I am able to connect the dots and see patterns across those disciplines. That was a skill I learned at DePaul.”

Maria Lopez (COM ’02)

Bilingual Business Trainer
Women’s Business Development Center

For Maria Lopez, the decision to leave the work force to raise her children turned out to be a great career move.  Prior to that, Lopez spent 13 years working for LaSalle Bank. While working full time, she attended DePaul.

“The environment at DePaul was so supportive, and I completed my degree while working full time and being a mom. The classes were flexible with evening and weekend options. I struggled, but I was able to do it,” she says.

After finishing her degree, Lopez decided that staying home with her kids would allow her time to determine her next step.

“I made a point of getting out and networking. I took some workshops at the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) because I was considering starting my own business. That’s when they approached me about the bilingual business trainer position. I wasn’t looking for a job, but here was this opportunity. I liked the mission and that I would be outside the cubical environment and in the community,” Lopez says.

She oversees the Latina Program at WBDC, which helps women who are going through the process of opening or growing their businesses. The program provides counseling, coaching, technical assistance and workshops on marketing, finance and business planning.

“We see a lot of success stories in the Latina Program,” says Lopez. One of her favorite examples is a woman who emigrated from Mexico and wanted to open a boutique for kids that carried a shoe available only in Mexico. With the help of WBDC, the woman was able to negotiate a distribution deal that brought the shoe to her store in Chicago. “It’s been a good business for her, and I’ve loved seeing her grow and become more and more motivated,” she says.

Lopez and her family came to the United States from Mexico when she was only 6 years old. Her language skills in Spanish and English allowed her to translate for her parents, but she never planned on using her bilingualism in her career.

“I feel like I’ve come full circle from my childhood, to be in a role as a bilingual speaker for WBDC,” Lopez says. “Being in the community and helping women, it gives me pride to know that I can motivate other people. I’ve never seen being Latina as being a setback, and I want other Latinas to realize that, too.”

P.J. Byrne (THE ’99)


In the recent movie “Dinner for Schmucks,” P.J. Byrne leaps onto a table like Errol Flynn, defending himself from a blind swordsman with a champagne bucket and assorted stemware.

As Irv Goldman Sachs, Byrne lampoons greedy sports agents on the hit comedy “The Game,” currently filming new episodes for BET.

And he entered the national zeitgeist with a single word—“Championship”—in a wildly popular commercial for NFL fantasy football.

He made it all up.

“P.J. Byrne, an up-and-comer with stellar comic timing who plays Gary in ‘Finding Bliss,’ is an actor who loves to ad-lib and is brilliant at it,” says director Julie Davis in the June 3, 2010, issue of Back Stage magazine.

Byrne is quick to praise directors like Mike Nichols, Nora Ephron and Clint Eastwood, who create safe environments that bring out actors’ creativity. “Once you feel you have free rein to do whatever you want, magical things can happen,” says Byrne, citing the completely unrehearsed fight scene in “Dinner for Schmucks” as an example.

But the actor, who makes no secret of his love for DePaul, credits The Theatre School (TTS) for the depth and breadth of his career. “They give you the classical training, with myriad techniques, from Stanislavsky to method acting, but they also are great at teaching you improvisation,” he says.

“People who are successful are willing to take risks, in life and in acting. Once you choose to be an actor, you’re rolling the dice. … DePaul gave me the confidence to take those risks.”

Byrne has rolled the dice a time or two. As a finance major at Boston College, he followed a roommate to an audition and snared a role. He double-majored in theatre, figuring that would help get him a job offer from a big Wall Street firm, but declined that offer to enroll in TTS.

A former Alumni Board member, Byrne is actively involved in TTS and the current campaign for scholarships and a new theatre building. “My definition or my measure of success would be my ability to give back ... to create that environment for the next kid to have this opportunity. I want to make sure that venue is there in perpetuity.”

Rhonda Matthews Ware (LAS ’95)

Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.

DePaul is where Rhonda Matthews Ware learned to follow her heart, and that has led her to great things.

Ware had already committed to attend another university when she learned about DePaul’s more intimate size, dedication to diversity and commitment to community service. She felt so strongly that she had found her perfect school that she changed her plans.

After graduating from DePaul, Ware received a law degree from Suffolk University Law School in Boston. She chose the school’s four-year evening division so she could continue her full-time work as an advocate for crime victims and witnesses.

She is now an associate with Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. in Milwaukee, specializing in product liability litigation and risk avoidance. She says she chose to work for WHD, a mid-sized regional firm that supports diversity and community initiatives, for the same reasons she chose DePaul.

Ware serves on the firm’s diversity committee and coordinates a program that provides pro bono representation for victims of domestic abuse. She also is on the board of the Waukesha Women’s Center, which provides an emergency shelter and other services for abused women and families. For many years, she facilitated gender violence prevention education at universities and high schools for the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.

Her advice to the young people she mentors? “Make sure that while you are working hard to achieve your goals, you stay true to yourself. Make decisions that make sense to you and feel right. If you follow your heart, the sky’s the limit.” She credits DePaul for having strengthened her values system. “DePaul is where I learned that there is more to success than financial gain and to make choices based on values rather than prestige,” says Ware. “I am proud of having chosen ‘a road less traveled’ and still achieving success, in all meanings of the word.”

Ware is a member of TEMPO Milwaukee, a women’s leadership network, serves on the board of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, and is a published poet. Her poem, “Please Come See About Me,” a plea for help from Hurricane Katrina survivors, was featured on National Public Radio three weeks after the disaster. She is married to Milwaukee attorney Christopher Ware.

Katie Weitz White (EDU ’99)

Director of Impact Planning and Improvement
Sherwood Foundation

When Katie Weitz White taught in Chicago in the 1990s, she worked at an elementary school that held gunfire drills nearly every day. At another, she taught math and reading in a new science lab after science was eliminated from the curriculum. Although dismayed by the challenges her students faced inside and outside the classroom, she drew on the techniques she learned from her favorite professors at DePaul: how to teach students to learn by doing, how to incorporate social justice into subjects such as math.

“I was really inspired by [my professors’] commitment to social justice in the classroom and in the educational system at large,” White says.

Convinced she could make the greatest impact at the system level, “I really began to think about what kinds of policies encourage adolescents, in particular, to engage in their communities,” she says.

In a master’s and doctoral program on human development and social policy that she will complete in the next year at Northwestern University, White discovered that students who engage in meaningful community service have better educational outcomes, regardless of socioeconomic status or racial background. Although nearly half of the high schools in America have such programs, they tend to serve upper-middle-class students. How could she meaningfully involve racially diverse but primarily low-income students in her hometown of Omaha, Neb., in civic life?

She found her opportunity through the Sherwood Foundation, a charitable organization focused on improving child and family welfare throughout Omaha. Hired in 2006 to lead the organization’s partnership with the Omaha Public Schools (OPS), White has facilitated service-learning partnerships between OPS magnet schools and corresponding departments at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She’s coordinating the creation of an emergency medical technician training program in the OPS Career Center, linked with a network of new health clinics in the schools, that enables high school students to gain hands-on experience as medical aides. She also has coordinated a cultural proficiency program to help teachers, most of whom are Caucasian women, create lesson plans that reflect the experiences of Omaha’s large African-American and immigrant populations.

“I’d love to see the Omaha Public Schools close the achievement gap and eliminate childhood poverty in Omaha, have no gang violence and reduce teen pregnancy. Short of that, there is so much potential with this foundation and the partnership with the schools,” says White, who confidently predicts, “Omaha Public Schools will be the best urban school district within seven more years.”

David Scriven-Young (LAW ’03)

Peckar & Abramson P.C.

David Scriven-Young didn’t set out to become a lawyer specializing in environmental law, but as a law student at DePaul, he landed a gig as a summer associate at the firm Jenner & Block LLP, where he got a taste for the field.

“Environmental law is a very interesting area from both a scientific and legal aspect. The issues I work on are significant for the government as well as for individuals who might be injured as part of contamination. And, it combines my degree in political science with my career as a lawyer,” says Scriven-Young.

Scriven-Young’s work in environmental law has led him to become an expert and an advocate for the Great Lakes region. In 2005, he was recognized as part of the Jenner & Block team that received the Great Lakes Stewardship Award for Advocate of the Year for providing pro bono representation to the Alliance for the Great Lakes in a case against the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, which was not properly treating sewage before dumping it into Lake Michigan.

“Doing pro bono work for the alliance provided them with legal representation that they could not have paid for without the mission of the organization being affected. DePaul definitely deepened my interest in doing pro bono work because DePaul instills the value of service in its students. That’s true in the law school as much as any other program at DePaul,” says Scriven-Young, who also shares his expertise as the author of the Illinois Environmental Law Blog (, which provides news and information about environmental issues and updates on cases, laws and regulations specific to Illinois.

Scriven-Young also actively works to encourage other young lawyers. He currently serves as co-chair of the Environmental Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, writes numerous articles about succeeding as a young lawyer for the American Bar Association and is an alumni advisor to DePaul’s College of Law’s Environmental Law Society.

“A lot of people helped me get to where I am. I had a lot of mentors,” he says. “One thing I have learned is that you really need to keep your connections and help other people because no one gets to where they are by themselves; you get there through the help of others.”

Elias Goldstein (MUS ’04, ’06)

Roxana Pavel-Goldstein (MUS ’04, ’06)

Advent Chamber Orchestra

Elias Goldstein and Roxana Pavel-Goldstein have been making beautiful music together since the day they met playing in a string quartet during their freshman year at DePaul’s School of Music.

Today, the husband-and-wife team runs the Advent Chamber Orchestra (ACO), a small group of young musicians based in Chicago’s western suburbs that focuses on Baroque music.

The couple started the ensemble as an informal gathering of DePaul friends who enjoyed playing Baroque music together. From there, it has grown into a 501(c)3 organization with a board of directors, a small but workable budget, a loyal following of subscription ticket holders and a staff of three. Pavel-Goldstein is the music director and concertmistress. Goldstein, the executive director, is responsible for administrative duties, such as marketing, publicity, fundraising and grant-writing. He is also the group’s violist.

Goldstein says ACO has remained true to their original vision for it. “We wanted to form a conductorless ensemble because we prefer playing that way. We feel it demands that the players give the music their full emotional input,” he says. “It is a true collaboration,” adds Pavel-Goldstein. “Everyone is equally involved and free to express their ideas.”

Working together is nothing new for the couple. “During school we were always together. We studied under the same violin teacher [Professor Emeritus Mark Zinger], took all the same classes, played in the same ensembles and got our degrees at the same time. It was great fun,” Pavel-Goldstein says.

She says five and a half years as concertmistress for the DePaul Symphony Orchestra prepared her to lead ACO rehearsals and guide the group’s artistic direction. She and her husband agree that DePaul offered playing opportunities—both in small ensembles and in its renowned symphony orchestra—that would not have been available at other music schools.

During the past year, Goldstein won two distinguished international awards. He was the first American to win a top prize at the Yuri Bashmet International Viola Competition in Moscow, and he won a top-named prize at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Festival and Competition in Great Britain.

In addition to the ACO, the couple orchestrates the activities of their two small children, Lukas and Linette.