Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing class notes submitted in the last year by graduates in 2014
Rachel Wilmoth ’14 has been selected as a Fulbright fellowship alternate. If funded, Rachel’s project will be research into the mechanical and structural properties of sea urchin teeth on the nano-scale to understand their self-sharpening technique. Tests available at the Nanomechanical Research Lab at the University of Auckland in New Zealand will allow Rachel to investigate ways to replicate self-sharpening on the macro-scale to improve the sharpness of tools such as knives or drill bits.
Stepanus Widjaja ’14 writes, "Got a job offer at Lumenous Device Technologies in Sunnyvale, providing high-precision medical device fabrication services."
Lia Vosti ’14 was recently profiled in the St. Helena Star. Vosti plans to move to Minneapolis, Minnesota, a hub for biomedical device companies, and work in the biotech industry. She says that one of her most cherished memories at SCU was being part of the swim team. "While my degree in bioengineering can summarize, to some extent, what I have learned in the classroom," she says, "there is no way to quantify what I have learned from my relationships, travels, independence, and so much more these past four years."
Derek Vo, S.J., M.Div. '14 has been ordained a Jesuit priest. Vo, one of 10 siblings, grew up in Vietnam. At 21, seeking to flee the hopelessness of his war-ravaged homeland, he left Vietnam in search of economic opportunity. His quest for a new life took a detour when the boat he was on broke down and he wound up in a refugee camp in Thailand, where he spent the next three years. Arriving in America in 1988, Vo joined family in Oklahoma and enrolled in college, earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Oklahoma in 1994. After several years working in computer science, he took a new job just outside Dallas, where he joined a Christian Life Community and was exposed for the first time to Ignatian spirituality. Although Vo had considered a vocation to the priesthood when he was young, the events of September 11, 2001, had a profound effect on him. As he watched the Twin Towers fall and feared a similar attack against his hometown, Vo resolved to live a more meaningful life by serving God. After several years of spiritual direction, he joined the Jesuits in 2003. Following the novitiate, Vo was missioned to Saint Louis University for philosophy studies. For his three-year regency assignment, he taught math and computer science at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado, while also supervising the school’s photography club. His formation has included three trips back to Vietnam to teach English and philosophy, work with the poor and offer retreats. For the last three years, Vo has been studying at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree while also serving as a chaplain at San Quentin State Prison. The work at San Quentin was particularly gratifying because it allowed him to encounter “Christ the prisoner” in the men who help him strip away judgment, prejudice and fear to discover gentle forgiveness. Following ordination, he hopes to work in pastoral ministries.
Gina Stroud ’14, of Los Alamos, graduated magnum cum laude and completed the University’s Honors Program. She was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Society. Stroud will begin her first year at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.
Christopher J. Schroeder, S.J., M.Div. '14, 32, has been ordained a Jesuit priest. This summer, he will serve at St. Martin de Porres Parish in Belize before returning in the fall to Berkeley to finish his Licentiate in Sacred Theology.
He is the nephew of a Jesuit brother and two diocesan priests, and was born and raised in St. Louis. A product of Catholic education, he attended his local parish grammar school and De Smet Jesuit High School, where he came to know and appreciate Jesuits as teachers, mentors and friends. The Jesuits at De Smet were some of the happiest, most successful people he knew, so after graduating from high school in 2000, Schroeder headed to Saint Louis University, where he started actively discerning his call to the priesthood. Recognizing very early that his call to the Society of Jesus was so strong that he didn’t want to wait a moment longer, Schroeder left college after finishing his sophomore year and entered the Jesuits in 2002. After two years at the Jesuit novitiate in St. Paul, Minnesota, he returned to Saint Louis University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and humanities and, later, a master’s degree in philosophy. During this time, he also spent five months in El Salvador for intensive Spanish language study and to work for Fe y Alegría, a Jesuit network offering education, training programs and development services primarily in Latin America. It was an unforgettable and soul-nourishing experience. For his three-year regency assignment, Schroeder taught theology at Arrupe Jesuit High School in Denver, where he also directed the school’s Kairos retreat program. Missioned next to the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California, Schroeder earned a Master of Divinity degree while serving as a deacon at San Quentin State Prison. The experience of providing spiritual direction to incarcerated men has been transformative, he says, and has helped fortify his own spiritual life.
Nathan W. O’Halloran, S.J., M.Div. '14, 32, has been ordained a Jesuit priest. He grew up on The Lord’s Ranch, a Catholic lay community founded in 1975 in a small, rural southern New Mexico border town. The son of Catholic missionaries who met and married at The Lord’s Ranch, O’Halloran and his seven siblings were home-schooled, which provided the opportunity for the children to help milk the cows, feed the livestock and cultivate the vegetables on the working ranch. Frequently, O’Halloran would cross the border into Mexico for prison ministry and to distribute produce from the ranch to the poor of Juarez. Profoundly influenced by the work of Jesuit Father Richard Thomas, founder of The Lord’s Ranch, O’Halloran began considering a vocation to the priesthood at an early age, although his vocation to the Society of Jesus remained unclear until later on. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, where O’Halloran earned bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and theology, he entered the Jesuits in 2003 at the Jesuit novitiate in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. Missioned next to Fordham University in the Bronx, New York, O’Halloran earned a master’s degree in philosophy in 2008. For his three-year regency assignment, O’Halloran taught Greek and theology at Jesuit High School of New Orleans while also coaching the school’s Ultimate Frisbee team to the state finals. O’Halloran was then missioned to the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology while also working as a chaplain at an AIDS hospice and serving as a deacon at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Oakland, California. O’Halloran credits the pro-life work of The Lord’s Ranch with saving the lives of many babies, including his two adopted siblings, Caleb and Rebekah. He hopes to continue this work in his future ministries.
Erik McAdams '14 has been selected as Fulbright fellowship alternate. If funded, Erik's project will address rural poverty in earthquake-prone Ecuador by analyzing the structural characteristics of houses in remote villages. He has been an active team leader for an engineering project in Uganda on solar panels and very involved in SCU's chapter of Engineers Without Borders, where he helped design a water distribution grid for a rural town in Honduras.
Natalie Lays ’14, has won a Fulbright fellowship to be an English Teaching Assistant in Brazil, where her passion for other cultures and interest in global medicine will enrich the new experiences as a teaching assistant. After interning for five weeks in Brazil this past summer, Natalie was inspired by the dynamic culture and forward-looking mentality of the Brazilians she worked alongside. She anticipates that the Fulbright experience will help her pursue her vocation.
Claire Kunkle ’14 is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Research Fellowship Award. Claire, who was trained in the lab of Dr. Hohyun Lee in the SCU Department of Mechanical Engineering, will be attending UC Berkeley in Fall 2014 to pursue a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Energy and Thermal Science. She is interested in designing energy systems to benefit developing nations and hopes to use the fellowship to participate in local and international research. Ultimately, Claire wants to use her Ph.D. in academia as a professor and inspire future engineers towards their dreams.
Joey Eisenberg '14 is the new assistant director, Chapters & Groups, Alumni Relations, at Santa Clara. He graduated from this past June with a degree in political science. He and his family are from Bellevue, Wash., so he is eager to hit the ground running with our Pacific Northwest Chapters! Eisenberg studied journalism and news media at American University while interning for a semester in Washington, D.C. (another chapter he will manage). He was an orientation leader, search retreat leader with Campus Ministry, and a member of Associated Student Government during his time on campus.
Benjamin Damaree ’14 received a 2014 West Coast Conference Postgraduate Scholarship. To be eligible, a student-athlete must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25, demonstrate significant athletic contributions to his or her sport for a minimum of two years, and have a record of participation in campus or community activities. He or she also must submit a personal statement of intention to attend graduate or professional school for which this scholarship would be awarded.
Sara Broyles '14 writes, "I can't believe I just graduated! I'm so thankful for my amazing experience at SCU. Now it's time to enter the 'real world.' I move into my new apartment at the end of June and I start my full-time job in July—I'll be working at a PR agency in San Francisco. I couldn't be more grateful for all that Santa Clara has done for me. I feel confident in myself knowing that I have a solid foundation that will prepare me for the workforce and the rest of my life! Even as an official alumna, I know it's always a great day to be a Bronco."
Sara Broyles email@example.com www.linkedin.com/in/sbroyles/
This summer, Jack Bird '14 traveled to Mexico, where he created an agroforestry program guide similar to one he produced the summer before in Zambia. He then went to Korea, where he presented a paper on the guide that he produced in Zambia.
Bird double majored in environmental science and political science at Santa Clara. He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa national honors society, a participant in the honors program, and a Pi Sigma Alpha, a political-science honor society. He had the honor of being the recipient of the Nobili Award for outstanding male student.