Three graduating or rising seniors share the unique advantages Ave provided


Lucy Schlink, a Biochemisty and Physics double major graduating May 2017, credits much of her success in obtaining an internship at the prestigious Boston Children’s Hospital to AMU’s size and supportive faculty. “At large universities with thousands of students, undergrads like myself would just wash lab equipment while grad students did the real research. But here, undergrads have a rare chance to work closely with professors who truly care for their students and provide them with opportunities difficult to obtain in bigger schools.” Lucy’s research work at Ave with Dr. Tony Barbossa led to a recommendation which helped her land a summer internship working on neo-natal MRI segmentation in Dr. Patricia Ellen Grant’s lab.  After her second summer as an intern there, she was offered a paid position as Research Assistant for the coming year, where she will continue to work with neo-natal brain imaging. Her future plans are to go to medical school, obtain a Ph.D., and ultimately work as a surgeon or a radiation oncologist for children.

Madeleine Conley, an Accounting major graduating in May, works three full days a week as a paid intern in a tax consulting firm off-campus. “This internship is far more like the kind of job I might eventually have than a regular ‘coffee-run’ internship,” she says, citing her accounting professor as the original source of the opportunity. After graduation, Madeleine has a summer internship at the Burlington Sante Fe Corporation. In the fall, she will begin work on an M.A. in Accounting at a Texas college, where she has received a teaching assistantship. She stresses the value of the education at AMU, where she has acquired a solid grasp of professional accounting as well as a rigorous formation in the core curriculum’s liberal arts. “With this preparation, AMU students gain the means and the precious opportunity to bring Christ’s light into the predominantly secular world of business and finance.”

Tanner Church will graduate in May 2018 as a Theology major with extensive nursing training as well. One of AMU’s first nursing majors, Tanner was inspired by a love of AMU’s liberal-art core, the example of a faculty advisor, and the nursing program’s holistic understanding of healing to also gain a Theology major before graduating. “Our new model in the nursing program is St. Teresa of Calcutta. Like Mother Teresa, the nursing program here emphasizes the patient’s humanity and the complex nature of healing.” In the intersection of nursing with theology, the reality of the human person as a being composed of intricately connected mind, body, and soul comes alive. Tanner hopes to demonstrate this in practical terms after graduation by working as a CRNA (certified registered nursing anesthetist) and later teaching both theology and nursing, with the possibility of spending some time doing missionary nursing.

Baseball Wins Four-Game Series With Saturday Split


The Ave Maria University baseball team claimed a series victory over the Titans of Indiana University South Bend, splitting a doubleheader with a 11-2 victory in the opener before a 9-8 defeat in the nightcap. The Gyrenes won three of four in the series, and concluded the Spring Break homestand with a 7-4 record.

Ave Maria dominated the first game of the doubleheader, hanging eleven runs in a 11-2 victory over the Titans. The Gyrenes scored eight runs in the second and third innings combined, leading to the decisive win.

The Gyrenes jumped out to the early lead with a five-run second inning. Ave Maria loaded the bases on two walks and an error, and Steven Valentine started the scoring with an RBI single. Andy Hernandez then scored on a wild pitch, and a walk to Matt Wiles again loaded the bases. Tully Allen cleared the bags with a three-run double down the left field line, giving AMU an 5-0 lead.

Indiana South Bend got on the board in the top of the third inning, as Chris Mangus lifted a home run, his third of the season, over the left field fence. Mangus’ homer cut the Gyrene lead to four runs, 5-1.

AMU added three more in the bottom of the third, extending the lead to seven runs. Keegan and Hernandez each doubled to start the frame, putting runners on second and third. A one-out walk to Brody Howe loaded the bases. Valentine singled in a run for the second inning in a row, and Matt Wiles supplied a two-run single to push the Ave Maria lead to 8-1.

An error allowed IU South Bend to score one run in the fourth. Tanner Wesp reached base on a fielding error in the outfield, and came around to score when Brandon Papp hit an infield single with two outs.

Rico Soto got the run back almost immediately for the Gyrenes, belting his fourth home run of the season to lead off the inning. Soto’s homer moved the AMU lead back to seven runs at 9-2.

Two more runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the fifth for Ave Maria. The Gyrenes did the damage with two outs, as both Allen and Ryan Cook recorded singles. An error after Cook’s single plated Allen, and Cook scored on an RBI single by Soto.

Austin Comesanas picked up the victory for Ave Maria after six quality innings on the mound, earning his first win of 2017. Soto, Valentine, and Allen were the three Gyrenes with two hits in the winning effort.

Two runs in the top of the seventh inning were the difference in the finale, as IU-SB walked away with a 9-8 win.

A pair of four-pitch walks in the bottom of the first inning helped the Gyrenes take an early lead. Tully Allen and Ryan Cook both scored after drawing the free passes. Allen scored on a Rico Soto groundout, and Cook crossed the plated on a wild pitch.

The visitors evened the score in the top of the second inning. Walks to Zack Lazenby and Brandon Papp resulted in runs when Damon DeJesus doubled, tying the ballgame at four.

For the first time on Saturday, IU-South Bend took the lead with two runs in the top of the fourth. Again, DeJesus drove in the runs with a two-run double, which was set up by a hit by pitch and a single by Brandon Papp.

Ave Maria reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth with five runs, which came on a pair of big hits. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out, and Mason Dinesen doubled to right field to score two runs. After a walk to Brody Howe, Steven Valentine cleared the bases with a double of his own, giving Ave a 7-4 lead after five innings.

South Bend struck back to tie the game in the next half inning, putting three runs on the board. The Titans tied the game with the bases loaded, when Sammy Nieves was hit by a pitch.

Dinesen gave the lead back to Ave Maria in the bottom of the sixth, as a sacrifice fly to right field brought in Keegan. Dinesen’s third RBI of the game provided an 8-7 advantage for the Gyrenes entering the final inning.

Indiana South Bend provided the decisive runs with two in the top of the seventh. A wild pitch and an RBI single by Spencer McCool gave the visitors the needed runs to win the ballgame.

With the Spring Break homestand in the rearview mirror, the Gyrenes will travel to St. Thomas University on Wednesday for a midweek tilt. They return home on Thursday for a contest against Purdue University Northwest.

An Introvert’s Guide to Networking


The pressure of building a solid professional network is already present in the minds of career-seeking students. But it can be difficult to get out of your comfort zone to speak with someone new. You’re not alone if you find networking scary, pointless, or confusing. Here are a few reasons to network, and some tips for doing it well.

Before you enter a professional event or social situation, ask yourself what you want to walk away knowing. For myself, I always want to walk away knowing a person. I desire to know where she is in life, how her past led her there, what brings her joy, and where her hopes lie. In short, I desire to establish a relationship by knowing and being known by another. At the end of a good conversation, I will exchange contact information with the individual in order to maintain the relationship, and BAM! I have inadvertently added a real person to my network..

If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. We typically make friends by falling into conversation about some mutual point of interest, and if we want to keep in touch we will exchange phone numbers. Networking does not just mimic relationship-building; it actually is relationship-building.

If you have friends, you can network.

I would advise introverts (and, well, everyone) not to enter a professional event with the intention of building your network. With such an intention, the people in the room may become “potential connections” rather than people. Conversation goes differently if you are eager to display your resume and inquire about job opportunities. Often, people can tell when they are being used as a means to some end. They do not appreciate it, and ultimately neither will you.

Strengthening a Culture of Success: Ave Maria PhD Students Launch Professional Development Colloquia


Already, the Ave Maria University Graduate Theology programs have had a great deal of success, as evidenced by the placement of our graduates in many positions throughout academia and beyond. However, until recently, the practical wisdom regarding professional development had been passed down from year to year in a rather informal manner. With a very competitive job market and, the requirements and expectations of employers changing and increasing, a group of PhD students came together to start a series of professional development colloquia to help graduate students in all the areas that are important for preparing to enter the job market, from CV and resume writing, to practice interviews, publication tutorials, and conference advice, these colloquia will help ensure that AMU Graduate students are prepared to bring what they have learned out into the world.

A small steering committee of current PhD students, Taylor O’Neill (4th year), Brandon Wanless (4th year), Daniel Lendman (1st year), Sean Robertson (1st year), led by Kevin Clarke (3rd year), got together and formed a plan for the success and content of the colloquia. With the approval of GIV President (the AMU Graduate Theology student government) Sean Robertson, this initiative will be conducted under the auspices of GIV in order to ensure its endurance through the years. Dr. Roger Nutt graciously agreed to be the faculty advisor and sponsor, and at his advice the steering committee reached out to Zachary Crockett at the AMU career center and inaugurated was is hoped to be a long standing and fruitful relationship between the  AMU career services office and the Graduate Theology Programs.

The first meeting was well-attended and the proposal was gladly received by the graduate students. All are eager to build upon the culture of success that is already in place in the theology programs. What is more, through these meetings graduate students will be able to build one another up, aid one another, and foster a stronger sense of community.

Baseball Kicks Off Spring Break With Win


Ave Maria, FL — The Ave Maria University baseball team began a stretch of eleven games in nine days with a victory on Friday afternoon, topping the Cougars of Spring Arbor University, 7-2, at Bowie’s Ballpark. The Gyrenes used a six run sixth inning to give Austin Munn enough support for his fourth win of the season.

After a quiet first inning, Spring Arbor opened the scoring with one swing of the bat in the second. Alex Holley clubbed a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall, hitting his second homer of the season and giving the visiting Cougars an early 1-0 lead.

Ave Maria finally responded in the bottom of the fifth inning. Mason Dinesen singled up the middle to begin the frame, and moved to third base on a pair of Spring Arbor miscues- a passed ball and an errant pickoff throw. Following a walk to Matt Wiles, Tully Allen grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Dinesen. The Gyrenes would threaten to take the lead with runners on second and third, but could not push any more runs across.

The Gyrenes then took the lead in the bottom of the sixth, scoring six runs to claim a 7-1 advantage. Rico Soto led off with a double, and was awarded third base when a pickoff play was ruled interference on the Cougars. AMU grabbed their first lead of the game when Ryan Keegan singled home Soto. From that point, the floodgates opened for the Gyrenes. Dinesen and Allen each lined RBI doubles into the gap, and Brody Howe added an RBI single. Two more runs scored on wild pitches, and Ave had opened up a 7-1 lead after six.

The six-run lead proved to be more than enough for Munn. The senior from Lafayette, Indiana was dominant in his seven innings of work. His sixth strikeout of the game was his 200th at Ave Maria, making him just the third pitcher in school history to acheive that feat. The righty ended with eleven strikeouts, tied for the highest total he has put up this season. Munn has struck out 21 Spring Arbor hitters in his two appearances against the Cougars, dating back to last season. Jesse Crosno relieved Munn, and the two Gyrenes pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts in the win.

Spring Arbor did score the final run of the contest, as Holley hit his second home run of the afternoon, again clearing the left field wall.

Dinesen and Soto were Ave Maria’s offensive leaders in the victory, each recording a pair of hits.

Ave Maria and Spring Arbor will play two more games on Saturday as part of a non-conference doubleheader. The opening game of the twinbill is scheduled for 11 a.m. The doubleheader will consist of two seven inning contests.

Student Spotlight: Nick Pullano


Senior, Nick Pullano, from Mundelein, Illinois, will be graduating this May with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. Nick has the heart of a servant and can always be found going above and beyond what is asked of him. After graduation, Nick plans to attend medical school, with the long-term goal of finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes – a cause close to his heart.

What did you do last summer?

This past summer, I spent my time working at a local golf and country club as well as volunteering as a research assistant at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, which is one of the top research hospitals in the state. While I was at Lutheran General, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with two Family Practioners, one of which specialized in the genetic disorder of Down Syndrome. I was able to assist them in their research projects, which focused on reducing the cost of healthcare for both the providers and patients of down syndrome treatments, based on medical status. By working alongside these physicians, I was able to understand the dire need for affordable healthcare in America and think creatively to work toward a solution for the future.

What do you want to do when you graduate? 

After I graduate from Ave Maria University in May, I will be under review for medical school acceptance. During this time, I will be utilizing my Biochemistry degree by working as a chemist in a research lab either in Illinois or Florida.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Five years from now, I see myself completing my education at one of my top medical school choices and applying to a residency program as the next step in my healthcare career.

What are you plans for this year to get closer to your goal?

I am currently devoting twenty-five to thirty hours per week to my online Kaplan course, which is designed to help me prepare for the MCAT examination. Additionally, I will be finalizing my applications for medical school.

Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?

I chose the medical field because I have always wanted the opportunity to bring joy to others by serving them. Before attending Ave Maria University, I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. While it was initially difficult to adjust to this sudden lifestyle change, I believe that it was God’s way of calling me to the medical field; specifically, to work towards a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

How have you coped with your diagnosis?

Coping with Type 1 Diabetes is, and will aways be, a challenge for me, but I was referred to a phenomenal Endocrinologist down here in Naples by the name of Dr. Todd Brodie. He and his assistants have given me the most up to date information on how to manage Type 1 Diabetes, since I am still a newbie to this disease. The key to managing it, for me, has been to exercise regularly and stick to a healthy diet. Dr. Brodie’s insight on taking the correct amount of insulin and consistently making sure that I test my glucose 4-6 times a day has given me a tremendous blood glucose level (A1C) of 6.9!

What have you learned from participation in extracurricular activities?  

Through my participation in extracurricular activities, I have learned that it is essential to get along with others in order to create strong relationships with teammates and reach a common goal. In addition, by participating in baseball throughout my four years at Ave, I learned that time management is key in order to maintain balance in everyday life.

Who are three people in history you admire most and why? 

I admire General George S. Patton for his bravery and extensive military knowledge while leading our country in WWII, Saint John Paul II for helping to bring an end to communism in Europe, especially his home country of Poland, and Michael Jordan for his tenacity and killer instincts which helped to lead the Chicago Bulls to six championships.

What is the most memorable phone call you have ever received?

The most memorable phone call that I ever received was from one of my close family friends who happens to be former Cubs 3rd basemen, Ron Santo. During this phone call, Mr. Santo personally invited my cousins and I to go see him at the radio booth in historic Wrigley Field. As many of you know, I am a die hard Cubs fan, so this phone call was one of the most exciting moments in my life… besides, of course, when the Cubs won the World Series! It was great to listen to what he had to say about his life, because, like me, he is a type 1 diabetic who plays baseball. He gave me lots of encouragement to keep doing what I love, and told me to always pursue my passion.

What is the one thing you have always wanted but still don’t have? 

As the only child in my family, I have always wanted to have siblings. I always wonder what my childhood would have been like if I had had an older sibling to look up to or a younger sibling to take care of.

What things are most important to you now? Why?  

My relationships with family and friends, my faith, striving to be the best person I can be, and helping others become the best person they can be.

How have your dreams and goals changed throughout your life? 

My childhood dreams and goals were greatly influenced by growing up in Illinois and being a huge Chicago Bulls fan. Because I saw Michael Jordan leading the bulls to many championships, I always envisioned myself being a professional basketball player. I also had an interest in meteorology because I was so fascinated by thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornados. While I do not specifically wish to pursue a career in meteorology anymore, I believe this early interest influenced my choice to pursue a science degree at Ave Maria. When I was diagnosed with Diabetes prior to attending Ave, my ultimate dream and goals evolved into a desire to work in the medical field to find a cure for Diabetes. I want to help other individuals, like myself, live a more enjoyable life.

Where in the world would you like to get lost?  

I am interested in traveling to so many places, but I think I would ultimately like to get lost in Spain. I’ve always wanted to spend time in Spain because it looks like such a beautiful country and is so rich in history.

Do you have any good study habits to pass on?  

Throughout my four years at Ave Maria University, I have found that it is essential to establish relationships with your professors and regularly meet with them for help with material that you do not understand. After learning first hand from your professors, you can then help others understand the material better as well. This will not only help them with their studies, but also help you to solidify your own knowledge.

If you could interview anyone, who would it be and what would you ask? 

If I could interview anyone in history, I would want to interview Jesus Christ. Not only is He the most interesting figure in history, but also our Lord and Savior. It would be absolutely incredible to hear an account of salvation history through the words of Jesus Christ Himself.

Rookie Debate Team Competes in Tournament


Against all odds, members of AMU’s St. Thomas More Debate Club were able to hold their heads high with pride as they traveled home from Colorado in early February after participating in an invitational parliamentary-style debate tournament. This was the first debate experience for the student-run club, which was founded in Fall 2016 and is entirely self-coached.

Augustine Payne, captain of the team, reported back after the event: “Many teams and coaches were excited to see us when they heard it was the first tournament for our team and that we were a student-run team.” Payne is a junior majoring in Economics. “It was a great experience for me and the rest of the team,” he went on. “We learned lots of new things and, as one judge put it, these little things will take us from being in the novice round to being junior debaters.”

Gabriel Hogan, one of the four students who participated in the tournament, likewise found the tournament environment supportive of their efforts: “Once people found out we were a coach-less club team with almost no training, they would give us some quick tips or advice of some kind.” Hogan is a freshman at AMU, and interested in majoring in Exercise Science or Health Science. “This kind of made me the odd ball at the tournament,” Hogan said, referring to his academic interests. He essentially “fell into” the club—agreeing to sit as a judge for one of the club’s debates when his friend, Payne, asked him. “Turns out that the day I went they were also short a few speakers, so I got to participate in a debate.” When the club needed another student so they could go to the tournament as two teams of two, they called on Hogan again. “I figured it would be a learning experience, useful, and a chance to get off campus and see Colorado, so I agreed.”

The four AMU students who participated in the 2017 Values & Capitalism National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Invitational Tournament from February 3-4 divided into two teams and competed in the Novice Division, which was limited to students in their first year of debate. The topics of debate were drawn from policy issues related to the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) Values & Capitalism project, such as anti-poverty policy, education policy, and financial policy. The event was jointly sponsored by AEI and Colorado Christian University.

Since this was the team’s first debate experience (previously, they had only debated against themselves), they were met with many challenges going into the tournament—from facing students from other universities who had much more training, to simply familiarizing themselves with the many technicalities involved. “After the first round, everyone started to get in the groove…and I feel like our game really improved from then on out,” Hogan said. “That was probably my favorite part—knowing that we came in as complete rookies, but we left with a much better sense of how we could improve in the future.”

Hogan—himself a complete rookie—managed to win an award for top speaker in the Novice Round. He received a standing ovation at the awards ceremony. “Among all four of us that went to Colorado,” freshman John Paul Harper said, “no one was expecting to bring home any hardware. So it was that much more of a joy to see a fellow teammate get recognized for his success.”

Harper, who always wanted to join a debate team in high school but never found the time, has found in AMU’s debate club a perfect supplement to his college education. “The ability to think critically and present an argument that is clear is so vital to many of the courses that one will take at AMU—or even to life in general,” he remarked. “Being a part of a debate team helps develop these skills, which is why I greatly value the opportunity to participate in AMU’s St. Thomas More Debate Club.”

Ambrose Bean, a freshman majoring in Politics, came away from the tournament experience with the realization that debate is an art. “Even if you are 100% wrong, you can use the power of good rhetoric and eloquent speech to sound like you’re right, convince those in the room you are right, and essentially win the argument. Unfortunately, I discovered this on the receiving end for the most part. … It was annoying, but ultimately, all it did was hook me.” Bean is eager to continue working with the club and hone his public speaking skills. He, like the other members of the debate club, sees his involvement as going hand-in-hand with his AMU college education. “I think Ave is somewhat at the forefront of educating the Catholic religious freedom warriors of tomorrow. The students graduating from here will no doubt face a whole slew of challenges in regard to their faith’s compatibility with American politics. Debate club is preparing me for that battle.”

The club is still in its first year, but they have big plans for the future. They will continue to practice, train, and grow as a team, and seek out tournaments where they can gain more experience. “Our mission as the debate team,” club captain, Payne, explains, “is for the students to become better communicators, a skill they will use in everyday life. It is our goal to learn what is a sound argument and be able to convey it in a persuasive way.”

Dr. McNulty Co-Authors a Book on Nurse Leadership


Congratulations to Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Denise McNulty, who co-authored a leadership textbook for nurses that was published on February 4th!

This new textbook offers future and current nurses the tools needed for being leaders of positive change in the workplace. Unit III of the textbook features three innovations in nurse leadership development created by Dr. McNulty.

Leadership and the Advanced Practice Nurse: The Future of a Changing Healthcare Environment is co-authored by Diane K. Whitehead (EdD, RN, ANEF), Patricia Dittman (PhD, MSN, CDE), and Denise McNulty (DNP, MSN, RN-BC, ARNP), and is published by the independent nursing, medicine and health sciences publisher, F. A. Davis Company

Let the Public Debate on Sex and Gender Begin


Two thumbs up for President Trump’s sensible decision to reverse the Obama administration’s unprecedented, unlawful edict on transgender students.

Those decrying this decision as discriminatory and oppressive should actually read the letter the Obama administration issued last May if they want to see what discriminatory and oppressive action looks like!

Institutions like Ave Maria University received this federal directive, with the seals of both the U.S. Department of Justice and Education adorning the masthead, entitled, “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students.”  The communication ominously began that the “guidance” it was providing would be the basis for evaluating whether a university was compliant with their mandated interpretation of Title IX’s provisions dealing with sex discrimination.

The new dogma that demanded adherence? “Gender identity refers to an individual’s internal sense of gender. A person’s gender identity may be different from or the same as the person’s sex assigned at birth.”  It continues, “Harassment that targets a student based on gender identity, transgender status, or gender transition is harassment based on sex, and the Departments enforce Title IX accordingly.”  Here the Obama administration was threatening any institution that adhered to an interpretation of what for millennia has been the standard for distinguishing between males and females, with the withdrawal of student eligibility for Federal grants and loans.  The message was clear:  share our beliefs or we will shut you down.

For residential colleges like ours, “the Departments” had more “guidance” to dictate.  “A school must allow transgender students to access housing consistent with their gender identity and may not require transgender students to stay in single-occupancy accommodations.”

This heavy-handed approach of the Obama administration was well known to faith-based institutions like ours.  We had been bullied by his administration’s pontifications on matters of religious liberty, human sexuality, and institutional autonomy for eight years.  That’s why we were among the first in Federal Court suing over the Obama mandate on contraceptive services, including abortifacient drugs, and our health insurance plan.

In my opinion, the Obama administration, in its zeal to advance the LGBT agenda, went too far with its transgender directives and the accompanying threats of federal retribution for those not sharing their point of view.  President Trump’s common sense decision to end the Obama administration’s undemocratic policy is welcome relief.  The Trump administration rightfully pointed out the confusion and undemocratic nature of their predecessor’s overreach, and came out on the side of state and local control.  Makes perfect sense to me.  Perhaps now there can be a public discussion about how to balance the rights of a tiny fragment of the U.S. population with the rights of the overwhelming majority, particularly when what is encroached upon touches serious issues where the American people are not even close to a consensus.  Unelected Federal bureaucrats should not be deciding such matters.

Faith-based institutions like ours concur with the LGBT community view that sex is assigned at birth.  At issue is the question of how this “assignment” occurs.  The Judeo-Christian tradition believes that the One who assigns has done so from the beginning of the human race.  “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).”  Embracing this sincerely-held religious belief and traditional anthropology does not make one a bigot or proponent of discrimination.  Faith and reason are in harmony on this point.

No one on our campus wants to discriminate against transgender students, and this University would not tolerate it.  Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”  Those words were spoken by Our Lord without qualification.  I am proud of how welcoming the AMU campus environment is.

Let the debate begin in America on sex and gender, and let the voice of the faith-based community be heard like all others.  It will be nice to speak in the public square again and have our voice heard without the threat of Federal retribution hanging over our heads.  Good riddance to the Obama-era letter!

TSC Women’s Basketball Awards Revealed for 2016-17 Season


LAKELAND, Fla. — The 2016-17 women’s basketball postseason conference honors were unveiled tonight at the conference tournament final four banquet. Ave Maria’s Lauren Gillingham and Katie Ringdahl both received postseason recognition.

For a second consecutive season, Ringdahl was the recipient of the Champions of Character award. Already recognized this season as a member of the prestigious Allstate WBCA Good Works Team, Ringdahl ministers to the students at Immokalee High School and is now the YoungLife Team Leader for Immokalee High. Katie also works with the Immokalee High School girls’ basketball team and averages between 12-15 hours a week performing community service through YoungLife and other opportunities.

This year Katie was instrumental in adding YoungLife College to Ave Maria University. She made a presentation to Ave Maria’s administration and the director of mission outreach which resulted in YoungLife being recognized as an official club on campus.

Gillingham received First Team All-Conference recognition for her performance on the court. She led the Lady Gyrenes in scoring (16.2 ppg) and assists (89 total). She also ranked 10th in the NAIA in free throw percentage, converting 85.7 percent of her attempts from the charity stripe. Gillingham also received all-academic team recognition.