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Gay in the Life: Maura Ross
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

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While a student at Northwestern University, Maura Ross attended a barbecue on campus for a group called, College Feminists. She remained involved with the club for the rest of her career on the Evanston campus and, by the time she graduated, Ross was really interested in non-profit work.

However, she was an art-history major who dreamed of working at a major museum, perhaps the Art Institute of Chicago.

"While in college, I was trying to get internships at museums," Ross said.

Instead, she landed at the Center on Halsted in Lakeview for a fellowship in 2011. She went full-time at the Center this year.

"I'm really happy here; everyone is amazing to work with—and the people who you work with really make a difference," Ross said. "Being younger and trying to appeal to that 25- to 35-year-old age bracket here at the Center is really important and vital for our programming since it's outside of the [age ] range of the youth programming and way below the [age] range of the senior programming.

"The best part of my job is, I'm given so much freedom to decide what we should do here."

Ross focused in school on 18th- and 19th-century paintings, and she dreamed of a museum job that involved preservation and curating. "But there are other things that I'm passionate about, too, and I think people see that here at the Center," she said. "I'm really passionate about civil rights, so this is a real interesting [job] for that.

"I now get to do some of what I originally thought I would do when I went to school."

Ross said she eventually wants to go to graduate school, "but I'm learning a lot and having a great time here," she said.


Age: 23

Neighborhood: Uptown

Job title: Community and Cultural Program Manager, Center on Halsted

Hobbies: Soccer, reading fantasies novels, and playing the guitar

Body art: Has five tattoos, including a triskele on her left wrist, plus a nose- and rook-piercing

Little-known fact: Has lived in Italy, Holland and Ireland—and Ireland was her favorite

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