This past May marked our third year post graduation. Where has the time gone? This update will be short and sweet because I know everyone is busy making positive change.
Jennifer Holton, who lives in Washington, D.C., works for Fox News Channel. She recently attended the White House correspondents’ dinner on April 25, 2015, with Caitlin (Huey-Burns) Rodak ’09, who works for RealClearPolitics. Caitlin and Jenn, who both worked on The Carroll News, were in the same sorority while at Carroll. They were so grateful to be able to attend the dinner.
Congratulations to Jacqueline Wyman, who finished her M.A. in national security and intelligence studies at Notre Dame College in May. Living in Cleveland, she volunteers with the Cleveland Catholic Worker Community full time.
Carrie Vollentine serves as a volunteer with the Humility of Mary Volunteer Service. She spent her first year working on an organic farm and the subsequent two years in Immokalee, Fla. While in Immokalee, Carrie became passionate about a nonprofit organization called the Immokalee Soccer School. As program coordinator, she helped advance the mission of the organization, which is to inspire and support the youth of Immokalee to set goals and believe in their own abilities. The organization provides soccer training and tutoring, as well as general support for the young players, much like a family. Because I know you’re curious about this wonderful organization, like it on Facebook or click here.
On June 20, 2015, a small JCU reunion happened in Burton, Ohio, as Abby Curtin and her fiancé Ethan Tear tied the knot. The beautiful weekend was spent celebrating love and the friendships formed at JCU. Ellen Holodnak served as Abby’s maid of honor. I was lucky enough to have Ellen and Abby as roommates our senior year at JCU. Madeline Presper, Lydia Munnell, Elizabeth Natonski, Alyse Viggiano ’13, and Allison Gase attended, too.
Thank you for those who continuously stay in touch. It’s inspiring to see what our class has achieved.
Hopefully this note finds everyone thawed after the frigid temperatures and snow this winter. Most of the updates this time come from Cleveland.
D’Von Gay, who continues his graduate studies at Cleveland State University, has been promoted to dispatch supervisor at the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and is busy moving to North Royalton.
Barbara LaRose ’12G received the Walsh Jesuit High School Manresa Award, which is the school’s highest honor. The award honors Barbara, who exemplifies the mission of Walsh Jesuit and John Carroll, being a woman for others and serving the school for many years. She’s a founding member of the Alumni Mother’s Club, serving as president, vice president, and treasurer. She served as a member of the Walsh Jesuit Board of Trustees for six years and is an active member of the Boosters Club. Barbara received her master’s degree in humanities from JCU, completed Ignatian pilgrimages to Rome and Spain, is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, and led groups through spiritual exercises. Thank you, Barbara, for your dedication to Ignatian Spirituality.Alexandra D’Auria was named one of Northeast Ohio’s Top 25 Under 35 Movers and Shakers by the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club, which is the region’s largest and longest-running young professional group. Congratulations, Alex, and thank you for all your dedication and philanthropic work.
After graduating in May with a Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling, Lauren Jakubowski passed her national licensure exam and will be a licensed professional counselor.
On Dec. 20, 2014, Lauren Halladay ’14G and John Mastracco tied the knot at JCU’s Saint Francis Chapel. The Rev. Donald Cozzens presided. The reception was held at the Cleveland City Hall Rotunda. Sadie Curtin ’13 and Mark Ehrbar provided the music, while Jon and Jeff Hatgas were ushers. Alex Cavasini ’14 was a bridesmaid. John, who works at the Kenan Advantage Group, is pursuing an MBA at the University of Akron. Lauren works with College Now Greater Cleveland.Please join me in congratulating Nicole Mesnick and Daniel Brown on their engagement. They’re planning to wed in early September 2015.
Matt Kerschner is a first-year student at Wake Forest University School of Law in Winston-Salem, N.C., with an expected graduation date of 2017.
In Oregon, Michael Murray continues to ski, hang out at the ocean, attend graduate school, and bartend at a local gastropub. He set a goal to climb Mount Hood this spring.
Happy winter. I’m excited to share engagements of our fellow classmates. On Sept. 26, Moriah Sloan became engaged to Patrick Barnhart ’09, ’10G in front of Saint Francis Chapel. Moriah and Patrick celebrated by buying a brick for the new plaza. The wedding date is Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, at the Saint Francis Chapel. Lauren Grzegorzewski said yes to Craig Thomas ’11, ’12G on October 25 at the top of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix.
Bay Village, Ohio, hired two police officers, and Greg Engel is one of them. Greg was sworn in Aug. 18 and started an 18-week program at Lorain County Community College. Following the program, he will return to the Bay Village Police Department and take part in a demanding, 14-week, field-training program. Congrats, Greg!
Michael Murray, who’s settling in on the West Coast, is in his first semester of the MFA program at Portland State in Oregon. He’s also bartending and teaching yoga.
On the opposite coast, Michael Coughlin is in his first year of medical school at the University of New England. He’s working diligently and doesn’t mind having a beach nearby. He wants to spread the news about a charity that spun from a group of JCU friends living in Hamlin Hall. HHH and Friends Charitable Organization established the tradition of HHH Formal Dance, which brings friends together annually for music, dinner, and dancing. The formal is an official Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital – University Hospital sponsored event to which all proceeds are donated. The spring of 2014 brought about the third annual event, raising almost $2,000 for UH Rainbow Babies. Part of the money goes toward donating toys for the children around Christmas. HHH and Friends looks forward to continuing the tradition, giving back to the community of Cleveland. HHH and Friends is a wonderful example of friends for others following the Jesuit tradition. Visit hhhandfriends.com for more information.
Before the weather turned cold, a few Blue Streaks took part in Ohio marathons. Marybeth Stucker ran in the Akron (Ohio) Marathon, and I ran in the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio. We both finished under our goal times.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, bringing much joy to family and friends. Please continue to send updates.
I recently visited John Carroll and walked down memory lane, admiring the new fountain located just outside Saint Francis Chapel. After several rounds of reading and rereading the bricks dedicated by numerous alumni, I found my brick right alongside many of our fellow classmates. Such exciting times on and off campus. I’m thankful to be able to share in everyone’s success.
Lindsay Smetana works in Cleveland, bringing awareness to local fresh food options in the Tremont neighborhood. She’s in charge of the Tremont Healthy Corner Store Initiative and hopes to change the local eating culture to a more healthy one.
This fall, William Rand transitioned from a ninth-grade science teacher at Maple Heights to a guidance counselor for Lincoln Elementary, which is part of Maple Heights City Schools. He attributes his M.Ed. in school counseling for enabling him to move on to a new educational adventure.
In the West Allegheny (Pa.) School District, Kennan Killeen will be teaching English at the local high school.
Elizabeth-Burton Jones also is finding success in D.C. In May, she graduated from Georgetown University with a master’s degree in communication, culture, and technology. Elizabeth’s studies took her to Paris, where she studied the African American migration to France. While in our nation’s capital, she has been involved in the Let Freedom Ring Choir that performed at the Kennedy Center and with Dionne Warwick. Also, she portrayed Sister James in Georgetown’s department of performing arts production of “Doubt: A Parable.” This summer she was hired as an adjunct faculty member for the Summer Discovery program with the School of Continuing Studies, teaching fundamental techniques of debate and public speaking. Now, Elizabeth has accepted a full-time position with the U.S. Senate as a press assistant and works for a senator from Oklahoma.
I hope everyone had a wonderful summer and autumn brings new opportunities.
I’m incredibly excited for our class and everything we’re achieving. Thanks to everyone who sent updates. It looks like our class is taking full advantage of the warm weather.
Congratulations to Kim Bennett who married on June 28, 2014. Many JCU alumni were part of the festivities: Bernadette Carlson, Tracy (Thompson) Duemling ’00, Kathleen (Upper) Kovacina ’00, Ana Brnjic Dorsey, and Rachel Massaro.
Andy Petraska ’12, ’13G and Megan Lutz became engaged while visiting Washington, D.C., earlier this summer. Both work as educators in the Cleveland area and plan to marry in Megan’s hometown of Oil City, Pa., in June 2015.
Mariya Semenova ’13G delivered beautiful baby Camille on Jan. 10, 2014.
Last school year, Chanel Smit taught physical education, was the head varsity field hockey coach, and head junior varsity lacrosse coach at the Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. She’s been doing wedding videography on the side. Kristen O’Brien assisted Chanel as the assistant lacrosse coach this past season.
In Columbus, Ellen Holodnak, who earned a Master of Public Administration at The Ohio State University, moved to Akron and works at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank as a grants coordinator.
Many JCU reunions have been happening. In December 2013, Lauren Halladay, who recently graduated from JCU with a master’s in nonprofit administration, and John Mastracco hosted a Christmas party in Lakewood, Ohio. In March, JCU took over Ohio University when friends visited Carroll alumni first and second year medical students who are studying at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.
A few Blue Streaks are moving out West. Lauren Grzegorzewski moved to Phoenix with her boyfriend Craig Thomas ’11, ’12G. She teaches second grade at Fowler Elementary, and works at the accounting firm Semple, Marchal & Cooper LLP. In September, Michael Murray will move to Portland, Ore., to pursue a master’s in fine arts poetry at Portland State University.
Melissa Vinci has clocked a few miles on her running shoes, completing the Boston and the Pro Football Hall of Fame marathons less than a week apart. She finished both at 3 hours and 17 minutes. “It was an honor to be able to run in the Boston Marathon, but it was also inspirational to be a part of it after last year’s events,” she says. “The runners and crowds were extremely supportive, which helped me enjoy it every step of the way.” She’s thankful for the support of her family and friends.
Best wishes to my fellow classmates. I’m always excited to receive your updates and hear what we’ve been up to. Enjoy the rest of the summer.
It’s neat to hear from many of our fellow classmates. At our wonderful alma mater, Anna Barnes, Helen Cestra, Matt Crow, and Howard Regal are working diligently to achieve their master’s in communication management this May. Cierra Perry is working on her master of arts at Carroll and continues to teach English literature. Two of Cierra’s poems have been featured in the Carroll Review.
Michael Murray applied to graduate programs, hoping to earn a degree in poetry/short fiction. Meanwhile, he teaches yoga at Blue Buddha in Chagrin Falls and One Love Yoga Boutique in Kent, Ohio. In February, Michael returned to Honduras on a medical brigade with Gesu and the Cleveland Clinic. In May, he plans to walk the Camino De Compostela trail (aka the way of St. James).
Lauren Bajda works at the Lexington Bell Community Center, coordinating an after-school program for high school students. She encourages people who are interested in doing similar work to contact her.
Using everything she learned at Carroll, Erika Port continues to run her new business, Erika Port Consulting Group (erikaport.com), a digital marketing firm that helps small to midsize businesses appear online through search engine optimization, social media, content strategy, etc.
Since May 2013, Sarah Horan has been working as an intern at Olympic Steel. This January, she accepted the position of corporate human resources representative. Working full time, she’s responsible for the company’s internship program and onboarding process and travels among the corporate headquarters in Bedford Heights, Ohio; Streetsboro, Ohio; and Latrobe, Pa.
Madeline Parsell Schultz ’12G received the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy Fellowship. She was selected based on providing evidence of a solid science background and displaying a strong interest in developing as a professional science educator. Congratulations to everyone on your accomplishments.
I hope everyone had a wonderful spring. Don’t hesitate to contact me with your updates. Also, please update your contact information with the alumni office.
Thanks to those who sent updates. I’m proud of our class and all that has been accomplished.
Lauren Bajda returned home from Anchorage, Alaska, after serving one year at Covenant House Alaska. She spent her time serving as a case manager for at-risk/homeless youth.
Closer to our JCU home, Nicholas Bottiggi became a staff accountant in the audit and accounting services department of Ciuni and Panichi. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Carroll and a master’s degree in taxation from the University of Denver.
Erika Port started a digital marketing consulting business, Erika Port Consulting Group, based in Novelty, Ohio.
In Chagrin Falls and Kent, Ohio, Michael Murray is a yoga instructor while he works at Gamekeeper’s Taverne. He’s in the midst of applying to various Master of Fine Arts programs throughout the country.
Taylor Ieropoli is the legislative assistant to State Representative Nan Baker, Ohio 16th District. She’ll be back in Cleveland in June to chair Representative Baker’s re-election campaign.
Shalesha Andrews is pursuing sites where she can complete her internships toward her mental health counseling license. In September, she became involved in the JCU WMN: Women’s Mentoring + Networking Program.
We have another JCU love story: Taylor Greene and Patrick Dillon are engaged. Pat popped the question the day before their five-year dating anniversary, which was homecoming freshman year. The couple met on their second day on campus.
JCU’s advancement division is looking for enthusiastic members of our class to be class agents – volunteers who help increase awareness about the needs of the University and maintain a peer-to-peer relationship within the class. Class agents remind a group of their Carroll friends a couple times a year to give back to Carroll. If you’re interested, contact Rory O’Neil ’06, ’08G, assistant director of annual giving, at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you had a wonderful holiday.
I’m excited about our class and what it’s been up to one year after graduation. In the Cleveland area, Alyssa DiGeronimo has been working as a project assistant in the litigation department of the Cleveland office of Squire Sanders and began law school at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
Jacqueline Wyman, who returned from Germany, is the graduate assistant in Campus Ministry at Notre Dame College. She’s pursuing a master’s degree in security policy studies.
Lindsay Royer is the project manager at Yours Truly Restaurants and Shibley Properties.
After graduating with a master’s degree in education in school counseling, Shalesha Andrews ’12G is pursuing a post master’s license in mental health counseling at Carroll. She’s working as a housing specialist to help those who were previously homeless maintain their housing.
John Daily finished his BSN and graduated with honors from the University of Akron. He’ll sit for his licensure exam in October.
D’Von Gay started a business called Exponential Learning Solutions, which is a math teaching and financial consulting company for adults and students in high school, and college.
Kennan Killeen, who graduated with an M.Ed. in May 2012, was hired as an English teacher at Butler Senior High School in Western Pennsylvania.
Alyssa Fligge is beginning her second year teaching English at Cardinal Ritter High School in Indianapolis. In August 2014, she’ll earn her master’s in education (concentrating on interdisciplinary studies) through the Lalanne Program at the University of Dayton.
Jeff Hatgas, Lauren Halladay, John Mastracco, Emily Herfel, Sarah Stanley, and Marybeth Stucker got together in August to enjoy an Indians game. Since graduation, John has been working in the business management development program at the Kenan Advantage Group. Lauren will finish her master’s degree in nonprofit administration at Carroll in May 2014. She’s a graduate assistant for the We The People program in the Center for Service and Social Action at JCU.
Love is definitely in the air. Lauren Halladay and John Mastracco became engaged on campus May 27. They plan to marry Dec. 20, 2014, in Saint Francis Chapel.
On April 13 John Daily became engaged to his girlfriend of five years, Alison Dain, who’s a doctor of physical therapy candidate. They plan to marry Sept. 19, 2014. Congratulations to those who married. With Aug. 10 being a popular wedding day, Allissa Moore married fellow alumni Mike Schmitt ’11 in Cleveland, and Scott Divoky married his high school sweetheart, Lauren Sterle.
The class of 2012 is up to exciting things. Elena Cotton and Kevin Comiskey were married Sept. 8, 2012, at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church in Fairview Park, Ohio. A few JCU friends were in the wedding, including Bill Comiskey ’14 as best man and Frances Csarny ’13 as a bridesmaid. Members of JCU’s Pershing Rifles fraternity presented a saber arch after Mass.
Brittany Danilov is the pitching coach for the Cleveland Heights High School softball team, whose field was newly improved in spring 2013.
As mentioned before, Cierra Perry, who’s a graduate student in the master of arts program at Carroll, is teaching English literature.
This past March, The American Institute of CPAs named 39 winners of the 2012 Elijah Sells Award, given to outstanding performers on the uniform CPA examination. Stephen Hruby, with a BS in business administration – accounting, received the high honor. He’s employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Cleveland.
In another part of Ohio, Megan Hamlin is working hard to build up the club rowing team in Hilliard, Ohio. Helping out with the team last year, she’s in her first season coaching the Hilliard club program.
Mary Semenczuk moved a few hundred miles to Richmond, Va., and works full time for the Catholic diocese as a campus ministry intern on the campus of Radford University. As part of her two-year internship program, Catholic Extension Society granted her a full-ride scholarship to Fordham University in New York City. Mary plans on graduating with a master’s in religious education and youth and young adult ministry.
Can you believe this May will mark one year since our graduation? I hope the year has been filled with many blessings and adventures. Our classmates are up to wonderful things. John Daily is seven months away from finishing his BSN at the University of Akron.
Alex D’Auria works full time at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital as the research coordinator and program assistant of the Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program. Her next goal is to obtain a doctorate degree in pediatric psychology.
Michael Murray, who’s training to become a certified yoga instructor at Chagrin Yoga, published his first poem through Clockwise Cat, an online literary journal based in Atlanta. This helps keep him on track to become a professor of creative writing.
Taylor Ieropoli started a new job as the legislative aid to Nan Baker of District 16 in the Ohio House. She got the job as a result of numerous resources and the powerful networking capabilities our alma mater offers.
Our class also is working important jobs abroad. Jacqueline Wyman is a translator, marketer, and outreach liaison for the International Society for Human Rights in Germany. She’s in Germany as part of a yearlong fellowship, Parlementarisches Patenschafts-Programm, sponsored by the U.S. Congress and German Bundestag that started 29 years ago to develop better relations between the U.S. and Germany through civil diplomacy.
Congratulations on all your accomplishments. Enjoy the warmer weather, and remember to send your updates.
The newest alumni have been busy. Many stayed in Cleveland:
Chanel Smit balances being the head coach of lacrosse and field hockey at Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, attending grad school at JCU for a master’s in professional teaching licensure, and working toward certification as a personal trainer.
Kiara McCarroll spends a lot of time with her 1-year- old son and just began a new career with Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio as a membership volunteer and program specialist.
Howard Regal stays busy as the station manager of WJCU and attends grad school in the communications management program at Carroll. You can hear Howard’s voice broadcasting high school basketball games for WEOL 930 AM.
Lauren Jakubowski, also at JCU, takes part in the clinical mental health counseling master’s program. She’s a graduate assistant in the Department of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Effectiveness.
Cierra Perry is a graduate student in the master of arts program at JCU.
D’Von Gay, who attends Cleveland State University, is working on a master’s in mathematics and teaching license.
Lauren Kotmel serves as the development coordinator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
In Columbus, Ohio, Taylor Ieropoli is employed by Capital Partners Ohio and Cox Consulting Group as a lobbyist. She splits her work time between the offices and the State House and loves the fast pace work of Ohio politics.
Dmitriy Yarovitsky is in dental school at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. Lauren Grzegorzewski started a job in Grand Blanc, Mich., teaching kindergarteners.
William (Bill) Worms, who’s in New York City pursuing a master’s in media management at Fordham Graduate School of Business, is the personal assistant intern for Sonja Morgan, a star of the Real Housewives of NYC. During the summer, Bill worked at Deloitte doing audit work. He’ll return to Cleveland full time in September 2013.
In California, Jon Hatgas is doing a year of service through The Jesuit Volunteer Corp as a youth minister at Dolores Mission Parish.
Allison Gase moved to Germany, where she worked as an editor for the developmental psychology department at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum for several months. This fall, she started a master’s program in cognitive science at RUB. During her free time, Allison travels throughout Europe and is learning the German language.
I hope you enjoyed the holidays. Don’t hesitate to send your updates. If your email has changed, please inform the alumni office.
Congratulations, class of 2012 on becoming JCU alumni. I hope everyone had a relaxing and adventurous summer and your transitions to new jobs, graduate schools, and volunteering are off to a good start. I intend to keep our class united even though we’re scattered throughout the world. Please send me your updates – weddings, success stories, new jobs, etc. – so we can celebrate as a community. Don’t hesitate to contact me. I look forward to hearing wonderful things and being your class columnist.