Santa Clara University

Casa de la Solidaridad

Current Students

Fall 2014


Back row (L-R): Jill Murray (Santa Clara University), Elizabeth Orem (University of Notre Dame), Matthew Smith (College of the Holy Cross), Joseph Bartoletti (Marquette University), Alec Kwo (Santa Clara University), Nicholas Endo (Fordham University).

Second row (L-R):Stephanie Maniglia (Loyola University Maryland), Jessica Dworak (Saint Louis University), Theresa Martin (Saint Louis University), Caroline Belden (Saint Louis University), Emily Haas (Saint Louis University), Elizabeth Hughes (Saint Louis University), Andrea García (Santa Clara University), Mikael Stovarsky (Santa Clara University).

Front row (L-R): Sydney Groll (Loyola University Maryland), Hannah Olsen (Saint Louis University), Hannah Morin (Marquette University), Alyssa Crooke (Santa Clara University), Melissa Lundberg (University of San Francisco), Jazmin Maya (University of San Francisco), Gianna Carleo (Regis University).


Current Student Bios


Joe Bartoletti

Marquette University

My name is Joe Bartoletti and I am studying Biomedical Sciences and Spanish for the Health Professions at Marquette University. I love being active outdoors in a variety of ways from biking, running, slacklining, and exploring new trails. While studying abroad, I hope to learn through immersion into new communities. I feel as if the best lessons learned in life come from people and experiences. I look forward to walking alongside and learning from those around me. Learning amidst the realities of others will be one of the most important aspects of this shared experience.


Emily Haas

St. Louis University

Hello! My name is Emily Haas and I am a Junior at Saint Louis University studying Psychology, Spanish, and International Studies with a minor in Urban Poverty Studies. I like sunsets and long walks on the beach…just kidding. I actually do like those things but less for the romantic aspect of a dating website and more because I see God in nature ☺ Other than climbing the volcanoes and riding waves in the ocean here in El Salvador I love getting to know the people- both the people I live with in the casas and the people of this country. I’m from the beautiful city of Milwaukee, WI (seriously I really love it there) and this semester I will be accompanying the people from Santa Maria de la Esperanza. Cheers to a semester of learning, living, and loving more fully than ever before!


Nick Endo

Fordham University

Hola! My name is Nick Endo. I am currently a junior studying International Political Economy, Theology, and Spanish at Fordham University.  Fordham Inspires! Go Rams! I’m originally from Southampton, Pennsylvania, but since no one knows where that is, I usually say I’m from Philadelphia. My favorite pastimes include reading, making pasta, lying in hammocks, breaking it down on the dance floor, and finding God in all things. This semester, I am blessed to be accompanying the people of La Valencia, San Ramon. I am so very grateful for this opportunity to live, learn, and love here in El Salvador.


Beth Hughes

Saint Louis University

Hello! My name is Beth Hughes and I am a junior at Saint Louis University studying Physical Therapy. I am originally from the town of Fox River Grove, a small suburb of Chicago. I really love to be active in sports, hiking, biking or anything outside really. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to be here in El Salvador and am looking forward to live in the unique culture here and grow and be challenged in many ways. Besides hoping to meet a fellow red head, I am excited for my time here accompanying the medical clinic of FUNDESO and the community of San Bartolo. From a sign I saw at the UCA, "entramos para aprender, salimos para servir" !


Caroline Belden

Saint Louis University

Hola! My name is Caroline Belden, and I am a junior at Saint Louis University studying Theology and African American Studies with minors in Spanish and Urban Poverty Studies. Some of my favorite things to do include writing, reading, going to concerts, and eating macaroni and cheese. During my time in El Salvador, I hope to learn more about the art of storytelling. Through my relationships with the other students in the Casas and the Salvadorans, I want to better understand what it means to love by sharing stories. I will be spending my semester in accompaniment with the Mariona community, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from and share in their realities. So here’s to many adventures to come!


Elizabeth Orem

University of Notre Dame

Hello hello, I’m Elizabeth Orem and I’m a junior at the University of Notre Dame, studying Spanish and English with a minor in Latin American Studies. I am SO happy I decided to study abroad with the Casa program, because my Spanish is improving every day and I’m building such incredible relationships with my fellow students, with the wonderful Salvadorans, and with God. My praxis site is Las Nubes, and though we have to trek up a volcano to get there, every day is an amazing experience.


Theresa Martin

Saint Louis University

Hello! My name is Theresa Martin and I’m a junior majoring in Theology and International Studies. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Casa program in El Salvador this semester! Originally, I am from San Francisco, but I’m currently studying at St. Louis University in Missouri. When I’m by the bay, I enjoy biking through the fog, journaling on the beach, and singing anytime anywhere. I aspire to write like Hafiz, to speak like Andrea Gibson, and to love like Mama T. I’m looking forward to accompanying my community in San Antonio Abad, and, as a sage once said, “Cool runnings!”


Sydney Groll

Loyola University Maryland

Hola, my name is Sydney Groll! I am currently in my third year at Loyola University Maryland, studying Psychology and Spanish. Originally from Minnesota, I am happy to be in a warm climate far from snow this semester. I'm very blessed to be spending my time at La Valencia and can't wait to get to know more of my favorite people--KIDS! My passions include service, social justice, soccer, learning, and just being with those around me. I look forward to creating another home for myself in El Salvador and sharing the love every step of the way... Please feel free to follow me on this incredible journey by checking out my blog at


Melissa Lundberg

University of San Francisco

Hi, Im Melissa Lundberg I am in my third year at the University of San Francisco studying sociology with a focus on Latin America. I love learning about different cultures, and the warm people and climate of El Salvador provide the perfect place for that! I decided to come to El Salvador with the CASA program to learn in a more focused community living setting. It has provided a whole new perspective on learning in the class room and learning on site, you are able to see what you are reading—how it affected people, and continues to affect people of El Salvador today. It is a great opportunity and a learning experience unlike any other!


Jessica Dworak

Saint Louis University

Hey there, I'm Jessica Dworak. I am a junior studying Physical Therapy at Saint Louis University with a minor in spanish. I'm from Rochester, Minnesota. I enjoy spending personal time with friends. I love everything outside; I find so much peace in nature. I can't wait to see how I am going to grow and be shaped during my time here in this loving casa community. My praxis site this semester is Zacamil, where I will be speeding time with my beautiful new Salvadoran family who have more than welcomed me into their lives.


Andrea Garcia

Santa Clara University

Hi! My name is Andrea Garcia, and I am a sophomore at Santa Clara University majoring in English. This term, however, I am not in sunny California, where I was born and raised, but in the land of the pupusas… El Salvador! I am fully me in spaces of warmth and creativity, like a lively kitchen cooking and sharing a meal or a playground. I am excited to be here in El Salvador where I have found a space to share stories, hold others' stories, and be gentle with my own, as it unfolds amidst a community much greater than I ever imagined.


Jill Murray

Santa Clara University

My name is Jill Murray. I am a junior at Santa Clara University. I am majoring in Psychology and minoring in Spanish and Urban Education. I am from San Francisco, California. I love cooking and spending time with family and friends. While in El Salvador, I hope to form new relationships and continue finding myself. Through my classes and time at my Praxis site, Santa Maria de la Esperanza, I hope to learn more about the Salvadoran people. I am excited to see what the rest of my semester in El Salvador brings!


Hannah Olsen

Saint Louis University

Hi! I’m Hannah Olsen, a junior at Saint Louis University and am studying Economics and International Studies. My hometown is Naperville, Illinois which is a little bit south of Chicago. Although I miss the seasons back at home, I am absolutely thrilled to spending my semester here with the wonderful people of El Salvador. Every day through this program I am learning something new, from anything as little as new words in Spanish to as big as the history of the people in the campos. This has already been an incredible journey and I am so excited to see where the next couple of months take me.


Alyssa Crooke

Santa Clara University

My name is Alyssa Crooke. I am a junior at Santa Clara University. I am majoring in Psychology and minoring in Spanish and Sociology. I'm from Portland, Oregon and I love hiking, biking, swimming and travelling! While here in El Salvador I hope to improve my Spanish speaking skills, build lifelong relationships and learn about the realities of everyday life in El Salvador from the incredible people in my praxis site in La Javia, Tepecoyo. Casa de la Solidaridad has already been an incredible experience and I know it will continue to be for the rest of my four months here!


Alec Kwo

Santa Clara University

Hello there, my name is Alec Kwo, and I guess I'm a junior now at Santa Clara University, originally from Indianapolis, Indiana. I am a sociology and music double major, and I'm missing my instruments (piano and bass) greatly this semester. I love to do anything outside really whether it's soccer, backpacking, rock climbing, slacklining, etc. This semester I'm excited to take a holistic approach in learning about El Salvador through our classes and praxis site. I'm ready as I'll ever be to dive into this new experience.


Gianna Carleo

Regis University

I'm honored and grateful to be in El Salvador with the people of this country and the sojourners I am meeting. My name is Gianna but I go by Rosa here in El Salvador. I'm from southern Colorado and go to school at Regis in Denver where I study Political Science, Religious Studies and Peace and Justice Studies. I love dancing, music, the earth, family, friends and the weirdest things that make life worth feeling. That's what I'm here to do: feel a shared life as real as I can with the friendship and love of the Salvadoran's and their guests. I eagerly continue to learn from this place and these people. Godspeed.


Hannah Morin

Marquette University

Hi! My name is Hannah Morin and I am a Junior studying Social Welfare and Justice at Marquette University. I'm originally from Excelsior, Minnesota which is a suburb right outside of Minneapolis. I love spending time with my family and friends, dancing, listening to music, and experiencing different cultures! I am very grateful and excited for this opportunity to learn about other people's perspectives on life. This semester, I am very blessed to spend my time in the community of Zacamil with an incredible family and hope to create relationships that will last a lifetime!


Matt Smith

College of the Holy Cross

Hi, my name is Matthew Smith and I am from College Park, Maryland. I am currently studying Political Science at the College of the Cross in Worcester, MA. I am one of six children with two sets of twins in my family. However, my twin and I are the best out of the two. I like to play basketball, golf and hang out with my friends in my free time. I love Harry Potter and listening to country music as well. My favorite soccer team in Southampton FC and my favorite basketball team is the Washington Wizards.


Jazmin Daniela Maya/em>

University of San Francisco

Hello, my name is Jazmin Daniela Maya and I am a student at the University of San Francisco. I am a junior majoring in International Studies with a focus in peace and conflict studies and a regional focus in Latin America , also hoping to minor in Child and Youth Studies. I am from Santa Barbara, CA and decided to move to San Francisco because of the diversity and culture but, also because I want to "Change the World from Here" which is my school's motto. I want to attend a graduate school in a diverse city or maybe another country, but get my master's or doctorate's degree in non-profit administration or social work or maybe both? My hope after schooling is to have the opportunity to work with low-income families and children, as well as to travel the world working for non-profits or maybe someday running my own non-profit.


Mikael Stovarsky

Santa Clara University

I am a sophomore at Santa Clara University studying Biology. So far in El Salvador I've been enjoying making new friends in both English and Spanish. I love singing, reading, and Ben and Jerry's ice cream.