Pauline Gilmore is an exemplary presence on Ave Maria’s campus. As a New York native, Pauline has spent her summers bringing her love for Christ to young adults by attending and working for Camp Veritas as a counselor. This summer, Pauline plans to set off on a missionary journey with Camp Veritas in the UK and is excited for the chance to truly encounter God’s children and tell them how loved they are.
An essay exploring the biological effects of hormonal birth control on multiple generations of humans
Diana West, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, FL
Vicki Thorn, Founder, Project Rachel and Executive Director, National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
In 1930, Pope Pius XI reaffirmed the Church’s two-millennia teaching on contraception in Casti Connubii (1). A generation later, Bl. Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae defined and predicted the consequences of a contraceptive mentality and explained why acceptable methods such as Natural Family Planning/Fertility Awareness respected the nature of the marital act (2). Subsequent Pontiffs have continued to contribute to deeper theological understanding for marriage and human dignity, most notably, St. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Despite the Magisterium’s clear instruction on appropriate means of family planning, a Guttmacher survey (3) reported that among self-identified Catholic women (between ages 15-44 and sexually-active), 83% used contraceptive methods not sanctioned by the Church. As a significant proportion of women, Catholic and non-Catholic have used birth control over the past several decades, several scholars have delved into the social and spiritual consequences of a contraceptive society (4-8). This essay will instead explore the history and multi-generational biological fallout of hormonal contraceptives.
In 1936, Dr. Elizabeth Hunt published a medical editorial raising concerns over using natural estrogens to treat human skin disorders. Knowing that estrogens induced tumors in laboratory animals, Hunt asked, “…should not a woman be informed of the possible risk to which she is exposed[?]”(9). Shortly thereafter, two synthetic estrogens were developed by competing scientific teams: diethylstilbestrol (DES) (10) and ethinyl estradiol (EE2) (11). DES was prescribed to women to prevent miscarriages and premature births. While male workers occupationally exposed to DES developed breasts (12), few recognized this harbinger of future’s disturbing side effects. Decades later, vaginal cancer (adenocarcinoma) was linked to patients whose mothers’ used DES (13), and subsequent evidence of DES-induced cancer and fertility disorders led to its ban in 1971. By then, millions of women worldwide had taken DES; their children, exposed to DES in utero, were termed “DES daughters and sons” (14, 15). DES children later had children of their own, and “DES grandchildren” also experienced side effects of their grandmothers’ prescription (16,17). These observations implied that DES induced inheritable changes, and experimental evidence of DES-altered DNA via epigenetic modifications supports this hypothesis (18,19).
EE2, developed at the same time as DES, showed potential as a birth control hormone. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger backed a team of researchers to formulate the first birth control pill with mestranol, a derivative of EE2 (20,21). First available in 1960, the drug was quickly nicknamed “the Pill,” a general moniker used since then for most oral hormonal contraceptives. In 1969, Barbara Seaman, a pro-choice journalist-turned-activist, summarized her research on Pill-induced blood clots, mood disorders, and cancer in The Doctor’s Case Against the Pill (22). Senator Gaylord Nelson subsequently organized congressional hearings on Pill safety that were interrupted by young feminist protesters shouting questions such as: “Why are 10 million women being used as guinea pigs?” (23, 24). Like DES, EE2 was a recognized occupational hazard for pharmaceutical workers; male breast development and female fertility disorders were documented symptoms (25). Four decades after the Pill was first prescribed, the World Health Organization classified the combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptive as a Group 1 carcinogen (26, 27), a ranking shared with tobacco and asbestos. The Pill’s elevated risk of breast and cervical cancer was strong enough to warrant Group 1 classification, despite evidence of lowered ovarian/endometrial cancer risk. Some of today’s contraceptive formulations, with lower EE2 doses than the first Pill, still have a significant association with increased breast cancer risk (28, 29). Similar to DES, EE2 is also an environmental epigenetic DNA modifier (30) that may produce inheritable risks for Pill user’s children and grandchildren. Altered epigenetic DNA markers and increased cancer incidence were observed in EE2-exposed female rats and two subsequent generations of offspring (31). Dr. Craig Roberts and others have demonstrated that Pill-users were attracted to different men compared non-Pill-users (32,33), implying an unknown biological mechanism that may alter human evolution and mate choice. Some of the first Pill proponents became concerned about the unintended effects of synthetic hormones on human health and evolution. Dr. Carl Djerassi, nicknamed “father of the Pill,” admitted that the Pill’s use over several decades served as an incidental longitudinal side-effect study (34). Djerassi ironically suggested that pharmaceutical companies develop Natural Family Planning methods as the future for birth control (35). Dr. Alexander Sanger, Chair of International Planned Parenthood Council, wrote that Pill-users “…are taking reproductive risks that cannot be seen or measured” (36). Therefore, as we begin to understand the biological consequences of the synthetic hormones in contraceptives, the contraceptives upon which our society purportedly relies, we can’t help but think of the early whistle-blowers: should not a woman be informed of the possible risk to which she is exposed? Why are millions of women and men being used as guinea pigs?
1. Pope Paul VI. (1968). Humanae Vitae.
2. Pope Pius XI. (1930). Casti Connubi.
3. Jones R.K.; Dreweke J. (2011). Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use, Guttmacher Institute.
4. Smith, J. E. (1993). Why Humanae vitae was right: A reader.
5. Grabowski, J. (2003) Sex and Virtue: An Introduction to Sexual Ethics.
6. Eberstadt, M. (2012) Adam and Eve after the Pill.
7. Klaus, H.; Cortes, M.E. (2015). “Psychological, social, and spiritual effects
of contraceptive steroid hormones.” The Linacre Quarterly, 82 (3), 282.
8. Klaus, H. (2017). “Fertility is Not a Disease.” Church Life Journal.
9. Hunt, E. (1936). “Oestrin in Toxic Goitre.” The Lancet, 1302.
10. Dodds, E.C. (1938). “Oestrogenic Activity of Certain Synthetic Compounds.” Nature.
11. Gaudilliere, J. (2005). “Better prepared than synthesized: Adolf Butenandt, Schering Ag and the transformation of sex steroids into drugs (1930–1946).” Stud. Hist. Phil. Biol. & Biomed. Sci. 36 612–644.
12. Scarff R.W., Smith C.P. (1942). “Proliferative and other lesions of the male breast in stilboestrol workers.” Br J Surg 29:393–396.
13. Herbst, A.L.; Ulfelder, H.; Poskanzer, D.C. (1971).“Adenocarcinoma of the vagina. Association of maternal stilbestrol therapy with tumor appearance in young women.” N Engl J Med. 284:878–881.
14. Hoover R.N.; Hyer, M.; Pfeiffer, R.M.; et al. (2011). “Adverse health outcomes in women exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol.” N Engl J Med. 365:1304–1314.
15. For a summary of DES research, see the NIH DES Fact Sheet: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/hormones/des-fact-sheet
16. McLachlan, J.A. (2006). “Commentary: Prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES): a continuing story.” Int J Epidemiol, 35 (4): 868-870.
17. Kalfa, N.; Paris, F,; Soyer-Gobillard, M.O., et al. (2011). “Prevalence of hypospadias in grandsons of women exposed to diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy: a multigenerational national cohort study.” Fertil Steril. 95(8):2574-7.
18. McLachlan, J.A. (2016). “Environmental signaling: from environmental estrogens to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and beyond.”Andrology. 4(4):684-94.
19. Newbold, R.R.; Padilla-Banks, E.; Jefferson, W.N. (2006) Endocrinology. “Adverse effects of the model environmental estrogen diethylstilbestrol are transmitted to subsequent generations.”
20. Lednicer, D., ed. (1969). Contraception: the chemical control of fertility.
21. Marks, L. (2010). Sexual Chemistry: A History of the Contraceptive Pill.
22. Seaman, B. (1969). The Doctor’s Case Against the Pill.
23.Kling, W. “Senate Pill Probe Disrupted by Groups of Women Hecklers.” Chicago Tribune. 24 January 1970.
24. Seaman, B. “The Pill and I: 40 Years on, the Relationship Remains Wary”, New York Times. 25 June 2000.
25. Harrington, J.M.; Stein, G.F.; Rivera, R.O., et al. (1978). “The Occupational Hazards of Formulating Oral Contraceptives – A Survey of Plant Employees.” Archives Of Environmental Health: An International Journal Vol. 33, Iss. 1.
26. IARC. (1999). IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, volume 72, hormonal contraception and post-menopausal hormonal therapy.
27. IARC. (2006). IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans,
volume 91, combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives and combined estrogen progestogen menopausal therapy.
28. Beaber, E.F.; Buist, D.S.; Barlow, W.E.; et al. (2014). “Recent oral contraceptive use by formulation and breast cancer risk among women 20 to 49 years of age.” Cancer Res. 74(15):4078-89.
29. Beaber, E.F.; Malone, K.E.; Tang, M.T.; et al. (2014). “Oral contraceptives and breast cancer risk overall and by molecular subtype among young women.” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 23(5):755-64.
30. King, O.C.; van de Merwe, J.P.; McDonald, J.A. (2016). “Concentrations of levonorgestrel and ethinylestradiol in wastewater effluents: Is the progestin also cause for concern?” Environ Toxicol Chem. 35(6):1378-85.
31. de Assis, S.; Warri, A.; Cruz, M.I.; et al. (2012). “High-fat or ethinyl-oestradiol intake during pregnancy increases mammary cancer risk in several generations of offspring.” Nature Communications. 3: 1053.
32. Cobey, K.D.; Little, A.C.; Roberts, S.C. (2015). “Hormonal effects on women’s facial masculinity preferences: the influence of pregnancy, post-partum, and hormonal contraceptive use.” Biol Psychol. 104:35-40.
33. For a review see: Alvergne, A.; Lummaa, V. (2010). “Does the contraceptive pill alter mate choice in humans?” Trends Ecol Evol. 25(3):171-9.
34. Djerassi, C. (2001). This Man’s Pill: Reflections on the 50th Birthday of the Pill.
35. Djerassi, C. (1990). “Fertility Awareness: Jet-Age Rhythm Method” Science. 248:4959, 1061-1062.
36. Sanger, A. (2004). Beyond Choice.
Gabriella Forte, a sophomore from Jacksonville, Florida, exemplifies what it means to be a dedicated student. Majoring in Politics and minoring in Theology, she has a lot on her plate, yet carries the load with grace and poise. Gabriella spent last summer as an intern for the U.S. Attorney in Jacksonville, and looks forward to the exciting opportunities that this summer holds.
How do you usually go about getting a summer job?
All of the jobs that I have had so far have been given to me. Each boss I have had has come to me and asked me if I want the position, which is not normal. This past summer, I was not sure if I wanted to go into law after college, so I figured that an internship would show me whether or not that would be the right path. I was looking for different legal internships but no one wanted me because I was a freshman, undergraduate, undeclared political science major, with no experience at all in the field. I was starting to get really frustrated. I called my sister during the process and I was telling her that I was really struggling to find an internship. She said, “Well, my AP calculus teacher’s husband is a U.S. Attorney, and she mentioned in class that he was hiring interns”. She offered to put in a word for me, and he got my number through her. He called the next day at 8pm saying that if he could have my resume and cover letter by that night, he would put in my application. Unfortunately, at that time, I did not have a resume, but I stayed up until 4am writing a resume and cover letter and I submitted it to him and got the job!
What was it like to work for a U.S. Attorney?
Overall, it was incredibly exciting. I got to meet FBI, Homeland Security, and Secret Service agents. I was able to tour government facilities and go through a lot of exciting cases with my supervisor. Some were very gruesome because the man that I did most of my work for worked on child exploitation cases. Going through those cases was very hard and, at first, I did not like them at all. Over time, however, those became my favorite cases because it gave me something to work towards. I was able to see the effects of these peoples horrible acts and help to put them away for it.
What was the highlight of your experience?
I think the highlight of the internship was my boss’ trial at the end of the internship. The case’s subject was a man that thought he was communicating with a 14 year old girl, who, thankfully, was an undercover officer. I had to transcribe his interview with the police, which was over 100 pages long! That was a lot of fun to do. It was really neat to see my work being projected on the screen during the trial in front of the entire jury. The trial was very difficult because all I had known about the case was preliminary, and at the trial, a lot of nasty details came out that I was not expecting. It really broke my heart and made me realize how much darkness there is in the world. That is definitely one of the scarier things that came out of the internship.
If an Ave student was interested, could they apply for this same internship?
Absolutely! My boss is Catholic, and the joke around the office is that he favors Catholic students, even though the work environment is not at all conducive to the Catholic faith. I know he would be very pleased to have another Ave Maria student!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I really would love to do something with religious liberty, but I’m not exactly sure where God is calling me. I’m still discerning.
What are your plans for this year to get closer to your goal for the future?
Right now, I am applying for two internships – one with with the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in DC, and one with the Family Research Council, also in DC. I applied for a couple of study programs as well. I submitted an application for Alliance Defending Freedom Arete Academy, and by tomorrow I will have submitted an application for the Hudson Institute. All of them would be amazing opportunities so I will be happy no matter what happens, but I am really hoping to get into the Arete Academy because it integrates politics and the Christian faith.
What is the highest honor/ award that you have ever received?
My high school was named “Bishop Schneider” after a bishop we had two bishops ago. He founded three schools in my area and started two summer camps for individuals with mental and physical disabilities. In addition to that, he volunteers on death row all the time and comes to the high schools in the area regularly for sporting events and to say mass. He has so much humility, peace, and joy and just exudes the love of Christ. There is an award given to a senior each year that, in essence, says, “You represent the qualities that Bishop Schneider exhibits”. I received that award when I graduated and it was very humbling. I definitely don’t think that I deserved it. He’s such an amazing man!
Do you have a favorite space in your home?
My favorite spaces are the kitchen and my bedroom. I love to cook. My sisters and I will go to Publix at one in the afternoon and not be finished cooking until my parents come home at 7pm. When we are home together, that is what we love to do…just be in the kitchen and cook homemade meals and desserts. Also, my bedroom at home is my favorite place to be if I get stressed out. Last year, Father Dunn told me about perpetual eucharistic adoration on the computer. I pull that up on my tablet and set it up so when I walk into my room it is like a mini adoration chapel.
What has been your happiest moment?
Two summers ago, my family and I took a vacation to South Carolina and stayed in the mountains. We had never done anything like that before. We went white water rafting and zip-lining. My family usually likes to plan everything out to the smallest detail, but this vacation was not planned out, so it was just spontaneous fun the whole time! There was a lake that the cabin we were staying at was on, so we did some activities on the water, which was amazing. We also found out that there were waterfalls nearby, and being from Florida that was so exciting and so bizarre. Being outside together, laughing, and tripping over sticks was such a joy.
Why did you choose Ave Maria University?
I wanted to come to Ave because I was going to study theology. I started looking for Catholic universities in the state of Florida, so Ave Maria stood out immediately and I fell in love with it. I wanted to make a prudent decision though, so I put Ave aside and looked at other places like CUA, Franciscan, Villanova, and Belmont Abbey. When it came down to the end of senior year, I decided that maybe I wanted to study politics instead. CUA had a great politics program, and it was right in the heart of American politics, but it had two barriers. First, the distance from home, and second, the cost. However, they had a Presidential Scholarship, which I met all of the qualifications for except for the ACT; I had a 29 and I needed a 30. I took the ACT again, and super-scored, it was a 30. Unfortunately, CUA doesn’t superstore the ACT, so I didn’t make the cut. About an hour later, Mary Reed, from Ave, called me and said, “We just got your new ACT score and it bumps you up into the next scholarship bracket!”. I was looking for a clear sign, and there it was.
Three graduating or rising seniors share the unique advantages AMU provided
Lucy Schlink, a Biochemistry 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 Barbosa 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 also graduating in May, works three full days a week as a paid intern in a public accounting 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 a Masters of Accounting degree at Texas Christian University, 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 liberal arts through the core curriculum. “With this preparation, AMU students gain the means and the precious opportunity to bring Christ’s light into the secular world of business and finance.”
Tanner Church will graduate in May 2018 with a double major in Theology and Nursing. 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 pursue 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”