Alumnae Spotlight of the Month

List of 5 news stories.

  • 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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  • September Alumnae Spotlight, Dr. Angela Booth Wingfield, Sioux of 1990

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

    My Ursuline education prepared me intellectually to succeed in college, paving the way for my career in medicine. The leadership skills I learned while I was a student at Ursuline served me well as I moved into college and prepared me to lead student groups in college and medical school. This has continued as I lead a team of 24 employees at my clinic. I left Ursuline as a confident and accomplished student and leader. I thoroughly enjoyed my years at Ursuline, and I recall it with a warm heart. It was a nurturing environment, yet we were pushed to excel on all levels (intellectually, spiritually, personally). I keep a prayer card of Our Lady of Prompt Succor at my desk at work, and I call on her from time to time when I need fast results.
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  • August Alumnae Spotlight, Jennifer Hayes Bubrig, Sioux of 1993

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

    Having an Ursuline education is an absolute privilege. I did not realize how privileged I was to be part of such rich tradition and academic excellence until my freshman year of college. For many years, I was touched and inspired by educators who had a genuine care and concern for my education, future and most importantly, my spirituality. The faculty and staff went above and beyond to ensure that I was being nourished mentally, emotionally, and physically. In my work in teacher preparation, it is my duty to inspire and lift my teacher candidates to do the incredible work of touching and saving lives by being an educator. I have such distinct memories of instruction time, Masses, retreats, Rally Nights, productions, Father/Daughter dances, being part of the dance team all four years and of course, Sioux sisterhood. Dody Nolan had a significant role in my confidence and ability to now be able to present and publicly speak. This is critical in my current role as I am often presenting and speaking of my research and work. I remember the impromptu speeches, and ironically my role as Priscilla Presley for my senior monologue.  The irony lies in the fact that I have now been a Memphian for almost 15 years. My life was forever changed once I read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby in Lisa Taylor’s class.  Her passion and fire are what I pack when I need teaching content for my education courses. The patience that Sister Elizabeth Susan exhibited in my algebra instruction was a perfect example of how patience ,grounded in love, is essential not only in education but in our relationships and interactions with others.
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  • July Alumnae Spotlight, Amber Randazzo Peskin, Sioux of 1999

    In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now? 
     
    When I think about my time as an Ursuline student, I think about the wonderful teachers and administrators and how each of them helped to prepare me for my career. As a Clinical Nurse Specialist working with Multiple Sclerosis patients, I model Sr. Ann Barrett. I make it a point to know every patient’s name and something about them to make them feel important and understood, just as Sr. Ann did on our very first day of high school. Sometimes my job requires me to be a creative thinker. I credit Sr. Regina Marie with helping me to see things more abstractly sometimes. Listening to patients and their families is a huge part of what I do. Ms. Probst taught me the importance of being thoughtful and quiet while others are speaking. Ms. Robert and Ms. O’Neil ignited my love of reading and writing, and this has been invaluable in writing articles and creating professional presentations for peers and patients. Now, more than ever, I know that good grammar matters! Even though I was not athletically inclined, Ms. Bott always made me work hard in PE class and celebrated my small victories. It was not very often that I actually hit the volleyball over the net or made the basketball goal! Her encouragement meant so much. I encourage my coworkers when days are busy. I also encourage patients when times are difficult so that they feel as positive as Ms. Bott made me feel. As an Ursuline student, I could never have imagined how much my adult life would be influenced by my time there. Twenty years later, I appreciate my Ursuline education more than ever.
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