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A self-taught filmmaker, Angelo Madsen Minax ’12 MFA says he “sort of tripped into filmmaking through activism.” Six years after earning his bachelor’s in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Minax was keeping busy — editing videos full-time for Beyondmedia Education, a social justice organization that provides media tools to underserved youth; working odd jobs at coffee shops; and playing in a couple of bands. While on tour with a bluegrass band, “we made a feature documentary about 21 transgender musicians in the U.S.

Explore with Minax

CU Madsen Minax
David Ellis ’93 JD is not only the youngest-serving justice on the Illinois Appellate Court — he’s also a bestselling crime novelist. Inspired by the courtroom drama he’s observed throughout his career, Ellis has written a number of bestsellers and says he owes his legal and writing success to his law school experience.

Learn about Ellis

CU David Ellis
After watching the footage of George Floyd’s murder, digital artist Lo Harris drew a digital art piece to express her frustration with police killings of Black people. Her artwork took Instagram by storm — and now she’s encouraging others to raise their voices too.

Read her story

Lo Harris portrait
After learning how to bake alongside a Parisian chef during her study abroad year, Melanie Moss launched Mini Melanie, a direct-to-consumer bakery in New York City delivering custom cakes, cake pops, brownies, truffles and more nationwide. Since then, Moss has appeared on popular Food Network shows Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay — and she’s not stopping there.

Learn what inspired Moss

Melanie Truffles
Musician Charlie Williams, aka Larkhall, is a U.K.-based new media artist whose piano compositions are brought to life with musically reactive visual displays. These dancing algorithms are coded by Williams himself, a Bienen School of Music alum and self-taught coder who has found unique ways to combine his creative and technical talents.

Watch Williams’ performance

Charlie Williams
Grace Lightner ’13 was cleaning out her grandmother’s house in Ohio with her mother, Lorraine Stewart ’80, ’81 MS, when she stumbled upon a box of preserved wedding dresses belonging to Stewart and her sister. Stewart immediately teared up, and in that moment, inspiration struck.

Learn about the startup

Unbox the Dress
As executive producer of ‘Ted Lasso,’ Liza Katzer ’08 is involved in nearly every aspect of making the hit AppleTV+ series. And while the success of 'Ted Lasso' has led to a lot of other opportunities, the senior vice president of Doozer Productions remains keenly aware of the challenges she faced in her early-career years and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

What it takes to make a hit TV show

liza katzer hero
Pawel Janas and Kyle Rutledge took the Chicago Union ultimate team to the brink of frisbee greatness. In late August the duo played in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) championship, where the Union fell to the heavily favored New York Empire 22-14.

Check out the Chicago Union stars

Pawel Janas Norman Timonera
On May 3, 1968, just one month after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., James Turner ’68 MA led 120 students in a peaceful, 38-hour sit-in at Northwestern’s bursar’s office to protest the racism and injustices Black students faced on campus, now commonly referred to as the Bursar’s Office Takeover. Northwestern Magazine remembers his legacy.

Learn about Turner's legacy

James Turner 2 1290 X 1290
When Natalie Y. Moore ’99 MS started writing The Billboard, her new play about reproductive rights, in 2018, she never imagined that the script might hit the stage in a post-Roe world.

Read the story

Billboard Play Image SH