CLASS OF 2014
Tamica Mora graduated from Ave Maria University in Spring 2014 as one of seven Accounting majors in her class. She received a four-year athletic scholarship and was captain of the women’s Basketball team her junior and senior years. In her senior year, she started in 33 of 36 games and averaged 12.1 points per game. Tamica won the 2013-2014 Female Athlete of the Year Award her senior year. “I attribute my current and all future successes,” she reflected, “to AMU, my family, and friends. Being a student-athlete has shaped me to be the best version of myself.”
When asked about her time at Ave Maria, Tamica replied: “AMU is unlike any university out there. It is a place where I grew in academics, athletics, and in my faith. It is so unique, and I wouldn’t trade my time at AMU for anything in the world. It has made me who I am, and I left that place with so many wonderful memories and lifelong relationships.”
Tamica recently accepted a job as a Staff Accountant, joining the Finance Team at Infilaw Corporation in Naples, FL. “My main focus right now,” she said, “is to do the best job I can with the role I am given on the team.” As Staff Accountant, Tamica will offer payroll support, general ledger reconciliations, month-end closing and bank reconciliations.
Tamica said that the courses she took in business and accounting prepared her for her professional work. “They pushed me to work harder,” she said. Not only did the academic challenge drive her to become a better student, but it also prepared her, she remarked, for whatever her professional work has in store.
Tamica mentioned one professor in particular that had an impact on her during her time at Ave Maria University. Assistant Professor of Business Dorothy Thompson, she said, “goes above and beyond her job description. She is always there for help and she is so passionate about what she does. Her passion lies in seeing her students succeed beyond the classroom and she does all that she can to make sure that we set ourselves up for success. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for her.”
Tamica is originally from Clermont, Florida. When asked about what the future holds, she replied: “My hopes and plans for the future are simple: Whatever God has planned for me.”
CLASS OF 2009
Raymond Christopher Lazowski graduated from Ave Maria University in 2009 with a double major in History and Politics. He was on Ave Maria’s first golf team, and played in the first intercollegiate golf tournament, led by coach Fr. Robert Garrity (known around campus as “Fr. Bob”).
After graduating from AMU, Ray went on to receive his Juris Doctorate degree at Ave Maria Law School. “My undergraduate studies taught me how to read and to comprehend what an author is saying,” Ray recalled. “That prepared me well for law school. It all comes down to being able to think independently, and that’s what a liberal arts education was able to give me.”
Ray graduated magna cum laude from Ave Maria Law in December 2011. He left Florida, after being here for more than six years, in order to take over his family’s oil business in Canada. He gained a lot of experience working the family business. But after a little over a year in the oil patch, Ray decided to return to the sunny southwest. He moved back to the Naples area and practiced law for a year at a firm in Ft. Myers. Recently, he began working for Audit Analytics as a Research and Public Filing Analyst. “I ended up in the stock market, which isn’t what I studied in college,” he said. “But an education at Ave Maria University teaches you how to think, not what to think. Once you know how to think, your opportunities are endless.”
Ray and his wife, Christina (AMU, 2008), live in the town of Ave Maria with their three children. When asked how he likes being back, Ray replied: “I love it. Many graduates have stayed in the area, and lots of them, if they haven’t stayed, come down to visit. I get to live in town with my former professors, and I can sit around talking with them at the pub. It’s great. Here, you have a wide and diverse array of thought, particularly on the intellectual level. There’s something to be said for that.”
In his future, Ray wants to continue learning, and a liberal arts education has given him the tools to do so. “I’m continuing to educate myself, and in a career sense, I want to monetize my ability to innovate and think. I want to strive professionally, and believe that I’ve been given the groundwork to make that happen.”
CLASS OF 2013
Eileen Gallagher graduated cum laude from Ave Maria University in 2013 with a major in Politics and a minor in Family and Society. She was Vice President of the Student Government Association her sophomore year, a resident assistant for two years, and Conference Director for the student-run genuine.feminine annual conference from 2011-2013. She won the Class of 2013 John Paul II Culture Award and was a nominee for the President’s Award.
“I can’t think of certain classes that helped me more than others,” Eileen explained. “I can’t say that there are particular classes that shaped me the most, but I can say that my classes at Ave shaped me. I think my whole experience at Ave for four years really prepared me to face the challenges ahead. It had to do with having to balance classes on top of all my student involvement. The intensity of classes helped in that way, because they forced me to set aside the necessary time in each area of my life to achieve both excellence and balance.”
Eileen is currently a member of the Teach for America program. Through Teach for America, Eileen has been hired to teach 6th grade ESL (English as a Second Language) at a low-income school in the Providence Public School District. She is completing a two-year master’s program at Rhode Island College, focusing on education policy with regards to ESL students. Her work with students of recent immigrants has inspired the focus of her postgraduate studies.
One of Eileen’s favorite aspects of teaching is that it is incredibly demanding on her time, energy and creativity. “You never get bored,” she said. “And you never feel like you’re done getting better. Every time you get better at one thing, there are a million more things to get better at.”
Reflecting on how her Ave Maria education has influenced her professional work, Eileen brought up the core curriculum: “The core curriculum, the whole approach Ave has toward learning and the liberal arts, has helped me in thinking about education in the public sector. The education system now is so focused on test scores, on data, on student outcomes. My education at Ave has given me criteria to judge that by and to see that it’s not the most effective type of education, since it fails to consider the whole person.”
Eileen better understands the demographics of the students she now works with because of the Family and Society course she took with Dr. Catherine Pakaluk. Dr. Seana Sugrue’s Public Policy class prepared Eileen to think about the education policies that shape where she’s currently working. These two, together with Dr. John Colman, are the professors who influenced Eileen’s ideas of American culture and the philosophy of education. They prepared her, she said, both for her professional and for her postgraduate work.
When asked about the future, Eileen replied: “I definitely want to stay in the education field, but I am undecided as to my next steps. I think that education is a really powerful tool that can form people, shape culture, the country, and the world. But I think our education policy and education system right now is not focused on the whole person and on what’s important when forming people. I just want to be able to have a role in trying to change the focus of the education system towards what is more important.”
CLASS OF 2008
Anthony Jay graduated from Ave Maria in 2008 with a double major in Biology and Theology, and a double minor in Classics and Chemistry. During his junior year, he worked as a research intern for Dr. James Peliska, professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at AMU, developing assays for inhibitors of Reverse Transcriptase for the treatment of HIV and characterizing novel drugs for HIV. Anthony was recipient of the 2008 Senior Academic Departmental Award in Biology and Chemistry.
In spite of his academic achievements, most students remember Anthony for the reputation he earned as “wild boar bow-hunter extraordinaire.” Over the course of his undergraduate years, Anthony hunted a final tally of fourteen wild boars. Students would often gather afterwards for a boar-feast luau. “Even Tom Monaghan,” Anthony said, “ate some of my “just-off-campus” wild boar. Some college students eat pizza—we ate hog.” And shark, he added. Anthony was the president of the Fishing Club and frequently went fishing for sharks on the Naples area beaches. He also went fishing for Peacock Bass, drove down to the Keys with friends, camped on the beach and went snorkeling. Key Largo’s underwater ‘Christ of the Abyss’ reef area was his favorite.
“My years at Ave Maria,” Anthony recollected, “were literally some of the best of my life, where I met my wife Allison, and I met many other lifelong friends who remain dedicated to the Splendor of Truth. I regard Ave Maria as one of the top orthodox Catholic universities in the country. I derive this judgment from the tremendous, voluntary, daily Mass attendance and from the overall quality of the culture—especially of the professors. You can virtually succeed in any career or future with a degree from Ave Maria.”
After graduating from Ave Maria, Anthony worked as a research technician with Dr. Peter Morin in Bedford, MA, where he developed protocols for Lentiviral production and infection of cultured cells, isolation of exosome vesicles, and confocal microscopy. After his work with Dr. Morin, Anthony founded “Anthony Jay Consulting Company,” making use of his laboratory experience as a scientific assistant and consultant to principle investigators in Veteran’s Administration research laboratories.
In 2012, Anthony graduated with an M.A. in Biochemistry from Boston University School of Medicine, where he is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Biochemistry. He expects to graduate in Spring 2015, after which he plans to go into scientific intellectual property law.
Mary is currently enrolled in a one-year Masters Program in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She wrote her Master’s thesis on the seventeenth-century English and Scottish, both Catholic and Protestant, reception of Francis De Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life.
“AMU’s intensive writing requirements,” Mary said, “and the liberal arts core were great preparations for my graduate studies. All the practice and instruction in writing helped prepare me for the standards expected in graduate-level courses. The liberal arts core helped me engage the interdisciplinary aspects of my masters. AMU’s extensive core equipped me with the tools and confidence I needed to succeed in my graduate classes in history of art, cultural history, and literature. I was able to excel in disciplines that weren’t requirements of my major in literature.”
For her work at Edinburgh, Mary earned the Global Master’s Scholarship and the Scotland Saltire Scholarship. She has published an article, “Beyond the Cloister WallsExternal link” (Open House, Sept. 2014) which summarizes a portion of the research she did on De Sales while at Edinburgh.
In January 2015, Mary will be commencing a three-year History Ph.D. at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Her upcoming project is based on the Scottish Catholic Archives, which have just passed into Aberdeen’s custodianship. Mary will be studying the character of 17th century Scottish Catholicism and its influence in the early American colonies by way of devotional literature and practice. Professors Colin Barr and Peter Davidson of Aberdeen will be supervising her project.
Mary will be attending the University of Aberdeen on an Elphinstone Doctoral Fellowship, a new initiative of the University to support specific research projects via full tuition waivers for the entirety of the PhD. Additionally, she has been chosen as an H.B. Earhart Fellow by the (American) Earhart Foundation.
Mary picked out Junior Poet, also known as Early Modern Poets, as a course at Ave Maria that was particularly formative in her education: “In this class, each student chose a Renaissance poet and studied a selection of his/her verse. The focused nature of the class is similar to the intensity of graduate studies, in which one’s studies and interests become more and more refined.”
She recalled Ave Maria’s literature professor, Dr. Michael Raiger, with the words: “His enthusiasm while teaching, seminar discussions, and his unique essay prompts inspired in me a lasting love of literature.”
When asked about her plans for the future, Mary replied: “I hope to continue studying, researching, writing, and inspiring others to do the same.”
CLASS OF 2011
Rose Helen M. Tomassi graduated from Ave Maria University in 2011 with a major in Literature and a minor in Theology. She was the recipient of the Departmental Award for Literature and the Magnificat Scholarship. Rose is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in English at the City University of New York Graduate Center.
“I remember my time at AMU, and particularly my courses and professors, with great fondness,” Rose said. “I think that one of the most beautiful things about Ave Maria is the sincere love that many of the professors have for their students as well as for their research.”
For her postgraduate work, Rose received the Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellowship, a five-year fellowship that includes a stipend and tuition remission, and mandates one year as a research assistant, three years teaching writing and/or literature at a CUNY campus, and a one-year service appointment. She is focusing on British Romanticism and the Long Nineteenth Century.
As regards her academic advisor at Ave Maria, Rose recalled: “What made Dr. Raiger stand out as a professor was his passion for the pursuit of the truth, in all of its beauty and complexity. Simplistic or ideological answers were never adequate in his courses. This summer, I had the great pleasure of reuniting with Dr. Raiger at the Friends of Coleridge conference in Cannington, England, where he served as the moderator of my panel.”
Rose presented a portion of her project on Thomas de Quincey at the Friends of Coleridge Conference in July 2014, and presents another portion of her project at the International Conference on Romanticism in Minneapolis in September 2014. She is also working on a paper on George Eliot’s Middlemarch, which she hopes to present at the British Women Writers Conference in June 2015.
“My classes and professors at Ave Maria provided me with excellent preparation for graduate school,” Rose said. “I think that the rigorous liberal arts core at AMU gives students a unique benefit at the graduate level. Being required to take courses across several disciplines in the sciences and humanities allows for a process of cross-fertilization to occur, in which students begin to make significant connections between seemingly disparate bodies of knowledge. This is a skill I often find lacking in my own students, many of whom have been subjected to an excessively compartmentalized and narrow education. To be able to see how, for example, developments in science in the nineteenth century had an unmistakable influence on the language of, and ideas dealt within, poetry and fiction as well as political and economic theory, is extremely helpful when trying to understand the milieu of the period, and the specific literary and philosophical works themselves.”
Rose is in the third year of a graduate program that will take a total of six to seven years. She is not certain of what the future holds, but she intends to pursue a career in academia at a liberal arts college or university. She is considering applying for a post-doctoral research fellowship in the United Kingdom.