Senior Initiates at Santa Clara University (2009)
Brandon Ashby. Brandon is a Philosophy major and Religious Studies minor. He is valedictorian of the class of 2009. Brandon wrote his thesis on the implications of underdetermination for the philosophy of science. He has also worked with Professor Larry Nelson to co-author a paper on the ethical implications of physician participation in lethal injection. He has authored several short fiction pieces and is currently attempting to publish one with the help of Professor David Pleins. Brandon studied abroad in England and in Germany. After taking a year off, he will pursue a doctorate in philosophy.
Jennifer Babaie. Jennifer, a Political Science major and Middle Eastern Studies minor, served as an SCU orientation leader and spent a semester in Athens working with refugees and asylum-seekers. Jennifer also studied international law at American University where she wrote a thesis on the legal implications of the current violence targeting ethno-religious minorities in Iraq. She currently works at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) as a Job Development Intern. Her work at the IRC will be honored at this year’s World Refugee Day Event. She plans to attend law school in the fall of 2010 after some more travel.
Kaitlyn Bailey-Findley. Kaitlyn is a double major in Classical Studies and Political Science. She played on the women’s rugby team for four years, ultimately serving as the team captain. She participated in the University Orchestra as a principal, and the Bronco Pep Band as secretary. Kaitlyn studied in Athens and volunteered for the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative which provides after-school activities for young girls in less fortunate communities. She will attend law school with the goal of working in art conservation and property.
Lindsay Braun. Lindsay, a member of the University Honors Program, is a Biology major with a Spanish minor. She studied abroad in Barcelona and taught ESL to migrant workers in the city of Mountain View. Lindsay also tutored Chemistry and Biology at SCU and worked in Professor Jim Grainger’s lab researching sea urchin fertilization and development. She will return home to Seattle and work in a hospital while applying to medical schools.
Mary “Tessa” Brown. Tessa is a Math major and Religious Studies minor hailing from Los Olivos, California. Some of the highlights of her time at SCU include working as a Campus Ministry intern, studying abroad with Santa Clara’s Casa de la Solidaridad in El Salvador, and participating in the Markkula Center's Health Care Ethics Program. Although Tessa is still unsure of what her long-term future holds, she plans to begin work as a high-school math teacher.
Elizabeth Carter. Lizzie is an Art History and Italian Studies double major. She has been involved in several parts of campus life, including the Summer 2006 Orientation Team, the docent program at the de Saisset Museum, Peer Education for Italian classes, an immersion trip to Appalachia, and work in the Event Planning Office on campus. Her favorite activity, however, was by far her semester abroad in Florence where she lived with a wonderful host mother, studied amazing art, and ate fantastic food. She will continue to work for the Event Planning Office this summer and is looking forward to the path her life will take in the future.
Deborah Caswell. Debbie is a Biology major with a minor in Biotechnology. She researched regulation carbohydrate metabolism in the bacteria caulobacter crescentus with Professor Craig Stephens. Debbie was a member of Club Bio as well as the vice-president of the Biological Honors Society at SCU. She served as a tutor for the citizenship exam in San Jose, and is training for her first marathon, which she will run later this month. Debbie will begin a two-year research position on multiple myeloma at UCSF in July, after which she hopes to pursue a doctorate in Biology.
Kristina Chiapella. Kristina is an English major with minors in Communication and Creative Writing. She has worked as a reporter for The Santa Clara newspaper, is the current nonfiction editor for the Santa Clara Review, and was a founding tutor for the new University Writing Center. She is passionate about promoting education and literacy, and spent last summer writing reading-comprehension workbooks for children with learning disabilities. After graduation, she will be working as a reading tutor with Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes.
Kimberly Davidson. Kimberly, a Political Science and Spanish double major, has developed a particular interest in the role of immigration in developing and changing domestic policies. She also studied in Barcelona where classes allowed her to focus on Mediterranean governments and relations. After interpreting at a local law clinic, Kimberly decided to pursue a law degree and will be attending Seattle University School of Law in the fall. She plans on using her degree to further integrate immigrant groups into their communities and the American political system.
Alison Deknis. Alison is a Psychology major with a minor in Communication. She studied abroad at Bond University in Australia, where she made the Vice Chancellor’s Achievement List of Academic Excellence. Alison has volunteered as a peer health educator on campus, conducted research for the Ohio State University Department of Public Safety, prepared a middle school guidance curriculum under the supervision of Professor Kim Zannetti at John Carroll University, and volunteered at the Maui Mental Health Association. She will be pursuing a masters degree in Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University.
Jill Fitzsimmons. Jill is a Political Science major with a minor in Religious Studies. After studying abroad in Rome, Jill spent a semester studying American politics in Washington, D.C., where she worked as a legislative intern for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. At Santa Clara, she has been actively involved in Campus Ministry as an intern and a retreat leader. Jill received the Michael Shallo Award for Achievement in Political Science. After graduation, Jill plans to return to Washington, D.C. to work for a year before pursuing a master’s degree in Public Policy.
Michael Friesen. Michael is a Political Science major. A native of Livermore, CA, he has worked for the Northern California Innocence Project and has studied in Washington, D.C. and Brazil. During his undergraduate career he has been able to spend time exploring global environmental issues in both the halls of Congress and the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. Michael plans to travel, visit family, and work prior to pursuing graduate study in law or education.
Nicole Giusti. Nicole is a Liberal Studies major with a minor in Urban Education. She has a passion for working with children and has volunteered at St. Clare’s Elementary, and at several urban San Jose schools. She is currently employed as a team leader at an art and science summer camp. Nicole is also active in her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta; she has held several positions including Sisterhood Chair. For four years, Nicole has built homes in Mexico with the outreach organization Corazon. After graduation she will attend St. Mary’s College in Moraga to receive her teaching credential.
Janna Goebel. Janna is a Spanish major. She spent her junior year studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain. Though she loves to travel and study foreign languages, her true passion is working with students. As an undergraduate, she has developed her teaching skills as a tutor, ESL teacher, and student-instructor for pupils of all ages. Outside of the classroom, Janna enjoys volunteering at a local animal shelter as well as participating in philanthropic events such as “Relay for Life.” Janna plans to continue her studies at the graduate level in the field of Education and Social Justice.
Kathryn Gulland. Kathryn is a Liberal Studies Major. She has volunteered at Christ Community Church of Milpitas for seven years as a Sunday School teacher. She has also volunteered in elementary and middle school classrooms. Kathryn transferred from Evergreen Community College where she had a short story and poem published in the college literary magazine. Next year, she plans to complete her multiple-subject teaching credential at SCU’s Graduate School of Education.
Erik Hesla. Erik is a double major in Philosophy and Classical Studies and the recipient of the University’s Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J. Award. He has been a Campus Ministry intern for two years, working in areas of faith formation. He has conducted research for a Homeric encyclopedia with Professor Heath in the Classics Department and research on the historical Socrates with Professor Prior in the Philosophy Department. He completed two senior theses: one on Wittgenstein and the philosophy of universals, and the other on the controversy between St. Augustine and Pelagius. Next year, Erik will begin a masters degree in theological studies at Boston College.
Kelsey Maher. Kelsey is an English major with a minor in Creative Writing. She served as a writing tutor for three years and presented an original work of creative nonfiction at a national Sigma Tau Delta conference. She studied abroad in London her junior year and can’t wait to return someday. This past year, Kelsey served as the editor-in-chief of the Santa Clara Review, the campus literary magazine, where she grew as a young editor and writer herself. After graduation Kelsey plans to move home to Portland, where she’s been accepted to a graduate program in publishing. She ultimately hopes to obtain an MFA in Creative Writing and pursue a career in writing or editing.
Marina Mankaryous. Marina is a Political Science major and Spanish minor. She participated in the Washington Semester program, where she completed her senior thesis on the Patriot Act and issues of privacy. While in D.C., she interned with the Innocence Project, helping the organization aid those who are wrongfully convicted. Marina worked as a research assistant for Professor William Stover co-authoring an article titled "Sovereignty Over Jerusalem: A Legal Solution to A Disputed Capital,” which was published in the International Journal of World Peace in December 2008. Next year, Marina will be attending UC Davis School of Law, focusing on public interest law.
Rebecca Mason. Rebecca, a Political Science major, came to Santa Clara after two years at University of the Pacific, where she played on the intercollegiate volleyball team. Since transferring, Rebecca has shifted her focus from athletics to academics. She studied abroad in Tanzania where she taught English and helped establish a youth dance group for street boys. On her return, she began interning for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. Rebecca plans to pursue her passion for international affairs at the American University in Cairo where she will begin a masters degree in International Relations.
James McCauley. Jamie is a Psychology major with a minor in Creative Writing. He is the recipient of the University’s Richard J. Riordan Award. Jamie conducted research on differences in effective learning between younger and older adults with Professor Simone of the Psychology Department. He was the Education and Mentoring Department Coordinator for the Santa Clara Community Action Program, and spent his summers working with children diagnosed with developmental disorders. Jamie plans on traveling to Latin America and applying to doctoral programs in clinical psychology.
Miranda Melen. Miranda is graduating with a degree in Environmental Science. She has studied rainforest ecology in Costa Rica and the native flora and fauna of Isla Espíritu Santo, in Mexico. Miranda conducted research on the relationship between pollution sites, redevelopment projects, and the distribution of marginalized ethnic communities in downtown San Jose. She presented the results of this work at SCU’s annual Undergraduate Science and Engineering Symposium. Miranda will work at environmental consulting firm before pursuing a graduate degree in environmental resource management.
Annika Meyer. Annika, a Biology major, is a California native who calls Fremont home. She played for the women’s rugby team, served as a physics tutor on campus, and mentored disadvantaged high school students. Annika traveled to Central America, where she worked in the public hospitals of El Salvador and conducted field research on the mantled howler monkey of the Costa Rican rainforest. She will continue to study the behavior and genetics of web-spinning insects with Professor Edgerly-Rooks of the Biology Department as she applies to medical schools during the coming year.
Donald Moe. Donald is graduating with a degree in Combined Sciences and a minor in Biology. He served as a training director for SCU Emergency Medical Services and was honored with the Michele Helms Award for compassionate care. He worked for the Athletic Department during the school year and for McCormick Ambulance in Los Angeles during his summer breaks. He will attend the Keck School of Medicine at USC as a recipient of the U.S. Army's F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship. He will then serve the nation as a physician in the Army Medical Corps and hopes to teach medicine after completing his service.
Alicia Mooty. Alicia is a Minnesota native whose first move was to come out to Santa Clara University. With a double major in English and Communication, Alicia is passionate about creative writing and video production. Last fall, Alicia studied abroad on the Gold Coast of Australia, where she befriended koalas and surfed with dolphins. After graduation, Alicia will be working for both Apple and Wolf and Moon Productions. She plans to enter a creative field, be it cartoons or writing, so she will never have to grow up completely.
Michelle Musgrove. Michelle is a Political Science major with a minor in Communication. A Bay Area native, she studied abroad in London and also with Semester at Sea where she explored the cultural contexts of 12 port cities. With five years experience working with special needs children, she integrated her nonprofit and international backgrounds this year to intern for the International Rescue Committee, an organization that aids in refugee resettlement. After graduation, she plans to dedicate more energy to her musical passion as a jazz and blues singer/pianist.
Grace Nixon. Grace is graduating with a degree in Individual Studies, “The Art and Science of Professional Speaking.” She spent her last two quarters studying with Semester at Sea, traveling to 12 different countries while studying demography, poetry, globalization, and Shakespeare. Before she becomes the next sensation in motivational speaking, Grace will be spending two years with Teach for America in New Orleans, teaching elementary school to under-privileged children and working to close the achievement gap.
Nicholas Obradovich. Nicholas is an Economics and Environmental Studies double major. He is the recipient of the University’s Nobili Medal. During his junior year, Nicholas studied at Oxford University on the University Honors Program Oxford Fellowship. This past year, Nicholas served as a Hackworth Fellow at the Markkula Ethics Center, concentrating on the applied ethics of sustainable development. For the past two summers, he worked at Intel Corporation as an environmental sustainability analyst. He will work at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution as a research assistant before pursuing a doctorate in Environmental Economics.
Kathleen O’Reilly. Kathleen, a member of the University Honors Program, is a Mathematics major with a minor in Latin. She received the Robert Balles Distinguished Scholar Award and the Paul Halmos Mathematics Prize. This year, she served as president of the Math Honors Society and vice president of the Math/Computer Science Society. She attended and led several retreats, participated in immersion trips to Arizona and Ecuador, and studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland. In September, Kathleen will begin the doctoral program in Mathematics at UC Davis.
Kathlynn Peek. Kathlynn is a Sociology major with an Urban Education Minor. She has served as a volunteer with bilingual kindergarteners, special needs high-school students, as well as Alzheimer's patients. She loves working with children and the elderly. Kathlynn plans to gain further experience in non-profit organizations before pursuing a masters degree in Social Work at Boston College.
Robert Pratt. Robert is a Political Science Major. He has sung in the Santa Clara Church Choir for the past four years as well as performing in the school operas "Hansel and Gretel" and "The Marriage of Figaro." For two summers, Robert interned with the New York law firm of Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. He has also run a children's basketball clinic every summer in his hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut. Following graduation, he will attend law school at Notre Dame.
Kathryn Ranney. Katie is graduating with majors in Communication and French. Throughout her college career, she has been involved in several social justice groups such as Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, Santa Clarans for Social Justice, Feminists United, and Meals on Wheels. In her senior year, she led the layout and design team for OneWorld, a student-run social justice magazine. And she established the French Honors Program, which just completed a successful pilot year. After graduation, she will serve with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps as program coordinator of a battered women's shelter in Boston. She then plans to attend graduate school in Communication.
Carina Romo. Carina, a native of East San Jose, will graduate with degrees in Spanish and Liberal Studies and a minor in Urban Education. She plans to earn her masters degree and multiple-subject teaching credential from SCU’s Graduate School of Education. Over the past four years, Carina has served as a peer educator in several Spanish courses, tutored children of all ages, and recruited students for SCU’s Eastside Future Teachers Project. This past year she served as an Arrupe Intern at Scott Lane Elementary and as a YMCA Afterschool Leader at Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary, where she eventually plans to teach.
Allison Rubin. Allie is a Biology major and a Dance minor. She has explored her passion for dance by performing in all major dance productions, including choreographing a piece for Choreographer’s Gallery. Allie also plans to pursue a career in medicine. She spent two summers participating in medical service in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Although medicine and dance seem an unusual pairing, Allie has been able to combine her interests through social justice. In September, Allie will be going to India to teach dance and science courses at a school for underprivileged youth.
Salena Schapp. Salena, a Psychology major and General Business minor, has spent the last two years playing Club Field Hockey for Santa Clara. She studied for a semester in Washington D.C. learning about transformation of urban communities. Salena volunteered at the Santa Clara Tax Clinic and researched ego depletion with Professor Brook in the Psychology Department. She loves children and has spent her college career working at a preschool; she also interned as a Social Coach for St. Clare’s Elementary and Middle School. Salena plans to travel this summer and, eventually, to pursue a graduate degree in Psychology.
Sadaf Siddiq. Sadaf is a Political Science Major with a minor in Middle Eastern studies. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, she migrated to the U.S. with her family at the age of three. She is an officer for the Muslim Student Association at SCU and interns at the Islamic Networking Group. Sadaf studied at the American University for a semester where she completed the program in Contemporary Islam. She devotes her time to the Children of Afghanistan Hope Project, an organization that builds schools and orphanages in Afghanistan. She hopes to earn a masters degree in Public Policy and work on initiatives to help immigrants coming to the United States.
Lisa Smith. Lisa is graduating with degrees in History and Political Science, the latter with an emphasis in Public Sector Studies. While at Santa Clara, she worked at the Law School in the faculty support office. She has also been active in Model United Nations, serving as chair of the organization for the last two years. As a native of the Bay Area, Lisa has enjoyed serving her community through volunteering at the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office. She will attend Santa Clara University School of Law in the fall, continuing her interest in criminal law and the public sector.
Shelby Smith. Shelby is a Psychology major with a minor in German Language. A native of Scottsdale, Arizona, she studied abroad in Vienna, Austria as well as in Freiburg, Germany. While at Santa Clara she researched predictors of drinking and driving among college-aged students with Professor Haas of the Psychology Department and had the privilege of presenting the research to the American Psychological Association. After graduation, Shelby will volunteer at the Palo Alto V.A. Hospital before embarking on graduate studies at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology / Stanford Consortium.
Benjamin Snyder. Ben is majoring in Political Science, German Studies, and History. In addition to running for three years on the SCU Cross Country and Track and Field teams, he has also been active in various community organizations. Ben has worked for the Red Cross as a community disaster educator, tutored recent immigrants in vocational English, and served as a research assistant for Professor Brown in the English Department. He will spend next year in Germany on a Fulbright Fellowship teaching English in the German state of Sachsen. He is considering graduate study in either Public Policy or Public Health.
Elizabeth Storelli. Beth is an Environmental Science major with minors in Biology and Anthropology. Beth founded SCU’s Swim Club and competes in triathlons. As an intern for the Santa Clara Valley Water District, she walked countless rivers in chest waders in search of threatened trout. Beth has done research with Professor Sean Watts on endangered plant species. She is searching for a job where she can apply her knowledge of plant ecology to restoration and conservation projects.
Elizabeth Tellman. Beth is double major in Individual Studies (Sustainable Globalization) and Environmental Studies. She has been a social justice intern with Campus Ministry, and worked with the Santa Clara Community Action Program as the program coordinator of the Labor Action Committee. A year of study abroad in Thailand and El Salvador, as well as a Donovan Fellowship and Hackworth Grant in Applied Ethics, have enabled her to study trade and development in El Salvador with a focus on coffee. She will continue this research next year as a Fulbright Scholar in El Salvador.
Phung Truong. Phung, a double major in Psychology and Ethnic Studies, is graduating after three years. She has interned at the Asian Law Alliance assisting marginalized minority groups in Santa Clara County and taught English to orphans and disabled children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She has also worked in the Santa Clara Law Alumni Relations Office and has volunteered as an ESL tutor. Phung will continue her education at Santa Clara University School of Law where she plans to study public interest law.
Benjamin Vick. Ben is an English major with a Pre-Professional Writing specialization. Last fall, he interned at an international law firm in London where he drafted labor contracts for workers in the European Union. An avid drummer, Ben performs with various musical groups throughout Santa Clara, and played at the 2008 San Jose Jazz Festival with the SCU Jazz Combo. He will spend next year working at the San Mateo Labor Council while applying to law schools.
Elena Vizzini. Elena graduates with a major in Communication and minors in Art History and Italian. She spent her junior year studying in Rome where she interned at Feltrinelli International Bookstore and pursued her interests in Italian language, art history and cinema. For the past three years Elena has worked as student assistant for the SCU Alumni Association. She is thankful for her experience in the office which has brought her closer to the University and provided her with wonderful friendships. Elena will continue working at the Alumni Office while exploring career options in publishing and international travel/exchange programs.
Andrew Vu. Andrew is a Chemistry major and native of San Jose, CA. He has researched Type II Diabetes at Santa Clara and worked with a Stanford School of Medicine Professor in Hepatitis B & C clinical research. He has also volunteered in community programs for the homeless and free clinics in the South Bay, notably as a former coordinator for the Stanford Hep B Free Clinic. Andrew enjoys music and sports in his spare time, playing guitar and piano for a jazz band, performing with the Chamber Singers, and swimming for the Swim Club. In the fall, Andrew will be starting medical school at Creighton University.