Alumnae Spotlight of the Month

List of 5 news stories.

  • April Alumnae Spotlight, Amy Johnson Ponson, Sioux of 2005

    In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now?

    When thinking back about how Ursuline has prepared my for the work I do today, I can think of two key areas. One of which is at the heart of Ursuline is the motto “Serviam” meaning ‘to serve." That simple phrase is one that has forever changed my heart and one that I continue to live by each day. As the current Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation of South Louisiana, I serve the church and the people of our diocese every day in a very unique way. Ursuline opened my heart to the understanding how important it is to serve your community. In my current career, not only do I serve the church but more importantly, I serve the people of our community. I work directly with parishioners who want to plan their legacy of giving back to the church. I connect the passions of families to the needs within our community and together make an impact for the greater good. At the core of what I do is to build solid relationships with people built on trust, compassion, and faith. Ursuline taught me how to give back to our community, how to work with different types of people, and how to prioritize within my life.
     
     
    In addition to serving, Ursuline taught me how to work hard and set priorities in life. As an Ursuline Sioux of 2005, I was involved in a number of extracurricular activities. I ran both cross country and track, served on God Squad and Student Council, and at one point I kept stats for the UA basketball team. Being so busy and involved with so many activities, I had to learn to prioritize and put in the work to achieve goals. Nothing in life comes easy, but if you put forth the effort and drive to accomplish your goals you can do just about anything you set your mind to. Running the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux is not an easy task, however it is one that brings great purpose and its fulfilling!

    The teachers at Ursuline and my friends at Ursuline all helped shape me into the person I am today. While I don’t get to see my classmates much anymore, each of them have a special place in my heart and I am so grateful for my time at Ursuline.
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  • March Alumnae Spotlight, Lisa Lavie Martin, Sioux of 1999

    In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now?

    I had always done well in school, especially in math and science, but Ursuline Academy helped me to increase my love for these subjects to the point where I decided I wanted to be an electrical engineer. The core courses helped me build a foundation, but the opportunities provided during electives made all the difference. I really enjoyed the standard computer science course where we learned to program in Pascal. Once complete I decided I wanted to go further, but I was the only one interested in that particular subject. The faculty worked out a plan so that I could take a next level computer science course, C++, in a one-person class. When I wanted to go beyond that, and the instructor was no longer available, they let me explore through independent study. The trust that Ursuline put in me and the lengths they went to help me follow my passion for learning helped pave the way for who I am today.

    I now work for the electric utility in Austin, Texas, and I get to work on innovative projects that involve renewable energy, battery storage, and controlling distributed energy resources. The work we are doing is charting a course towards a more sustainable future. I've recently learned about the enhanced STEM curriculum that Ursuline offers the young women who attend today. How I wish I could take some of those classes. Robotics, Makerspace, programming in new languages: it all sounds so exciting. I am grateful that Ursuline continues to mold the curriculum to meet the needs of its students. Just as she did for me, Ursuline is preparing the next generation of innovators and leaders. No matter where your interests lie or what your future field will be, Ursuline prepares young women for success.
     
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  • February Alumnae Spotlight, Dr. Candyce Williams, Merry Mac of 1973

    In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now? 
     
    My Ursuline education prepared me for a lifetime of studying, learning, exploration, and discipline. My goal to become a physician was realized in no small part, by understanding the importance of academic excellence in college, in medical school and in my residency. The skills and habits that were inculcated during my years at Ursuline served me well as I pursued my goals. Importantly, I learned from my Ursuline teachers’ compassion, lots of patience, humor and support. I believe my patients feel I provide this for them. When people ask me where I learned to type so fast in a new and changing field of electronic medicine, I attribute it to my senior elective of typing at Ursuline. Today, 40 years later, I can take a medical history, look at my patients and never glance at the keyboard as I type!!! Who knew that typing would impact our lives so much in the 21st Century?
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  • November Alumnae Spotlight, 2018 Distinguished Alumna Karen Yuratich Jakiela

    In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now?

    Since my time as a student at Ursuline, my life has always included Serviam. Working in nursing homes for over 12 years doing music therapy and social services was never merely a job. It was daily living our motto of Serviam attempting the make the lives of others a little better because of my presence. Teaching at Ursuline for 21 years, attempting to model Serviam for my students was both a challenge and a total joy. It was a gift to me to be able to pass the values I learned at Ursuline on to younger generations. As a daughter, a mother, and a grandmother, I have lived Serviam in very special and intimate ways. Being an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist has been the greatest privilege of my life, and bringing Eucharist to the elderly and infirmed is a most special way to live out our motto. Serviam can never be merely a motto we learned as students; it is a daily decision. Because it is a decision we all make on a daily basis, as Ursuline Alumnae it is who we are.
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  • October Alumnae Spotlight, Gwen Thompkins, Skip of 1983

    In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now? 
     
    When floodwaters were rising around Ursuline during more than one hard rain in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, when State Street was unrecognizable and the meteorologist Nash Roberts was drawing low pressure systems over his enormous maps on local television, when Sister Mary Patrick and the other administrators were working the phones and the younger girls were crying — not knowing whether they’d make it home that day — I remember feeling pretty wonderful. We were safe. We were among friends. And Our Lady of Prompt Succor was on our side. Ursuline had existed in Louisiana since 1727, I thought. Of course, we could weather the rain. Our school had been built on the faith and grit of committed women and would endure. By then, Ursuline had taught me to take the long view of things, which has helped me enormously as a journalist.

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, one of the most important barometers of the city’s progress to my mind was whether and when Ursuline planned to re-open. I reported on the school for National Public Radio after the hurricane and lassoed my friend Sonya McQuarter (Sioux ’81) to record the school’s hymn at the studios of KERA in Dallas, where she’d relocated temporarily with her family. Sonya sings beautifully. She, Sister Joan Marie Aycock, former high school principal Sylvia Probst and then-president Gretchen Kane were so accommodating, I knew Ursuline would be fine.
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