Grace Graduate News – Lucia

Stand-up comedian, environmentalist, podcaster, and Grace alumna. This is but a glimpse of who Lucia Whalen is. Lucia graduated from Grace Lutheran School in 2008. She went to high school at OPRF before attending UIC. It was at UIC where she became involved with urban farming and started volunteering for Al Gore’s nonprofit, the Climate Reality Project. There she gave climate change presentations and was even featured on a panel with Mr. Gore where she shared her experience working in environmentalism.

Lucia earned her master’s in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School, and currently works as a communications manager at Openlands, which is non-profit conservation organization in Chicago. At Openlands, Lucia works with staff to create messaging strategies that will encourage people to experience nature and engage around Openlands’ advocacy work. In addition to all of this, Lucia is a stand-up comedian and a regular at clubs all around the city and country, including Steppenwolf, the Laugh Factory, Zanies, and the Den Theater. She has combined her passions for the environment and comedy as a contributor to The New Yorker “Shouts & Murmurs” section and through her podcast What a Waste where she teaches comedian Tyler Horvath about environmental issues.

Lucia’s favorite memory from her time at Grace is the Washington D.C. trip in 7th grade. Sports were also a huge part of her Grace experience. She played basketball, volleyball, and ran track. By her own admission, she famously fouled out most of her basketball games. When asked about a recent accomplishment that she is proud of she replied, “Publishing for The New Yorker on Earth Day”.

Congratulations, Lucia, on all your hard work and accomplishments. We wish you the absolute best on all your future endeavors.

If you or someone you know is a Grace Graduate, please share your stories with us! We love to showcase our alumni. Email your photos and stories to