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Photo of Aláan, Thomas

Thomas Aláan, DMA

Business/Administrative Associate

Lecturer, UIC Honors College

Energy Initiative, Liberal Arts and Sciences, UIC

Pronouns: He/Him/His


Building & Room:

2340 SES, MC 273


845 W. Taylor St., Chicago IL, 60607

Office Phone:

(312) 996-2141


Thomas Aláan has developed sustainability and energy-related programs for the UIC Energy Initiative in partnership with local and nationwide organizations since 2010. Most notable is the acclaimed Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy (SISE). Now in its 12th year, the program is the UIC Energy Initiative’s most visible program. Thomas also works with Jordi Cabana on the Next Generation Electrochemistry (NGenE) workshop, and has developed several programs over the years including the iThink lecture series, the University of Common Sense, and ENERnational. He’s a “utility player,” performing everything from web and graphic design to marketing, development to grant writing, and developing and supporting curriculum and programs.

Thomas also teaches interdisciplinary music courses like Music as a Tool for Environmentalism and Change and The Music and Science Connection in the UIC Honors College. He has presented and moderated panels on the use of music and the arts in environmental spaces at SISE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and Loyola University’s Climate Change Conference, and presented on music more broadly through the Helena Music Teachers Association, The People’s Music School, and the Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Art Business Entrepreneurship Workshop. He co-directs Chicago’s The EcoVoice Project, which makes makes music that informs, connects, and inspires people to act for environmentally just causes.

Thomas received his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Performance from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he was a Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellow studying with Jim Doing. His research interests include the performance practice and ornamentation of Sean-nòs singers; educational frameworks for approaching science, philosophy, and environmentalism through music; and the use of music in sociopolitical and environmental movements. He also holds a Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy, a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, and a certificate in Emerging Nonprofits from The Law Project. He is on the artistic leadership team of OperaWorks™, co-directors the Bach and Beethoven Experience, is Assistant Conductor of Choirs at Holy Name Cathedral, and volunteers as Vice President of the Board of Directors for Beyond Legal Aid.

Selected Grants

Department of Energy, Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy, Coordinator

National Science Foundation, Next Generation Electrochemistry, Coordinator

Service to Community

Vice President, Board of Directors, Beyond Legal Aid (formerly CALA), 2016—present
Secretary and Founding Board Member, Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA), 2014—2016

Notable Honors

2018-2021, Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellow, University of Wisconsin — Madison


Doctor of Musical Arts, Voice Performance, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Master of Arts, Vocal Pedagogy, Texas Woman's University
Bachelor of Arts, Music Education, Alderson-Broaddus University

Licensures and Certifications

Professional Teaching Certificate (West Virginia), Elementary Music, Choral, and Instrumental Education (PreK-12)

Professional Memberships

National Association of Teachers of Singing
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia National Fraternity of America, Inc.

Selected Presentations

Music as a Tool for Environmentalism and Change
Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy (2021)
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (2021)

Art as a Platform for Climate Advocacy
Loyola University’s Climate Change Conference (2021)

Miscellaneous Presentations
Helena Music Teachers Association (2015)
The People’s Music School (2019, 2020)
Self Employment in the Arts (SEA) Art Business Entrepreneurship Workshop (2015)
Illinois Institute of Technology, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2014)
University of Illinois Chicago Honors College (2014, 2015, 2016)

Artistic and Professional Performances and Exhibits

Please see artist website at for full list.