Class of 2016 Farewells


“Favorite memory at SMU– Participating in home playoff games for volleyball and hockey. It was fun to see how much the SMU community supports their athletes.
Next steps- I plan to get a teaching job in the Twin Cities.
Words to faculty and staff– Thank you for making this place feel like home for the past four years.
-Macki Fadness”
Favorite Memory at SMU: Having the chance to study abroad in Northern Ireland. Also, going on tour with Chamber Singers to San Francisco and then to Boston and NYC.
Next Steps: Working with Restorative Justice, ideally in the Criminal Justice System on the Education System, and exploring more of this wonderful world!
Words to Faculty and Staff: Don’t give up on your students, no matter how hard they are struggling. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and engage students in important conversations. And don’t be afraid to plan for a day or two outside for class, because why not?? Print your presentations, have the students meet you somewhere else than in the classroom, be ready to enjoy the sun!”
-Becca Carrol

Favorite Memory at SMU: Snowball fights in the plaza with not just my closest friends, but to those passing by and stopping to participate in the fun.  The sense of community was clear as students of SMU gathered to enjoy the snow fall. Many laughs and smiles were shared that day as the word “community” really meant it’s meaning!

Next steps after graduation: I will be moving up North to find a job with my major, as well as travel as much as I can.  I have an adventurous soul and thanks to the study abroad trip to China last year, I am able to grasp the idea of networking with others from all walks of life and to enrich my own life.
Words to Faculty and staff: I am the type of person to thank everyone around me, especially the most humble.  First, I would like to thank the hardworking and friendly maintenance staff members of SMU as they word hard to keep SMU looking beautiful, and I for one would like to recognize their hard work and dedication to maintaining SMU’s appearances.  Their work never goes unnoticed! Secondly, I want to thank all of the faculty in all departments as they work hard to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve great things.  I would like to specifically thank Dr. McCallum and she made a special effort to keep track of all of her students (advisees).  She works hard to make sure that the student’s experience as SMU is one of the best experiences.  I owe her the greatest appreciation and respect and she gave me the proper and professional support to excel in my personal growth.  If ever I find myself in a professional job within my field, then I will owe it all to her! Thank you, Dr. McCallum! Lastly, thank you to all of my student peers as they directly and indirectly aided in my personal growth as a student. I wish the best for the class of 2016. Good luck!” 

-Sabrina Larson

“I am going to graduate school after this to peruse medicine. 
favorite memory at SMU: Spending long nights with my friends my freshman/sophomore year. 
Life is not measured by how many times we fall, but by how many times we get back up after we fall.”
-Rachel Pesota

“Favorite Memory at SMU: Spending time outside with friends

Next steps: Hoping to get a job at a Catholic Elementary school in Minnesota
Words to faculty and staff: Thanks for all you have done for us and for believing in me!”
-Emily Blaser

Favorite memory at SMU:When the Saint Mary’s Women’s bball team made it to the national tournament my sophomore year.

Next Steps: I will be attending Clarke University, in Dubuque, IA for Physical Therapy.
Words to Faculty and Staff: I can’t explain how much the relationships I have built in the past four years mean to me. I have been blessed to learn from so many of you. You all have been such positive and influential individuals!”
-Bridge Pethke
  • Favorite Memory at SMU: Surviving strategies with some of the greatest friends/business majors at this school!
  • Next steps (what are your plans after graduation): Interning at Lifetouch in Eden Prairie, MN as a Business Intelligence/Marketing position.
  • Words to faculty and staff: Thank you for how personable you all are. One of the greatest things about this school is the small class sizes and the honest interest and investment they have in the success of every student. It definitely made college much better”

-Clare Siska

I feel like college is full of memories, from the big ones like TRBD and Towny, to the small ones like laughing at stupid videos with your roommates on a random night. I have made a lot of memories and I have a billion reasons to smile and be happy with what I did here. One that stands out the most is the short-term study abroad trip that I went on to Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is kind of all-encompassing. It combined academics and fun. I had the chance to earn credits, learn about the culture in a new country and then experience it, visit a country I have always wanted to see, meet and become friends with new people, grow closer to old friends, try new foods, research graffiti, and get to know my professor outside of the classroom. It was worth all the work and all the money. 

After graduation I am volunteering for a year with Lasallian Volunteers. I was placed in Concord, California (30 min outside of San Francisco). I will be teaching various subjects in an all boys middle school serving low-income families.

The faculty and staff at SMU are out of this world. I have made so many connections with professors in and out of my major and those who serve this university outside of teaching. The care that every single person at this school has for the students is something that I am so grateful for. An extra thanks to the Spanish and Education department. They have helped me grow from a confused freshman to a confident graduate. 

-Katie O’Leary

Favorite Memory at SMU: Being a part of the golf team and women’s hockey team for 4 years. Made great friends and even better memories! 

Next Steps (after Graduation plans): Continuing job search at home, hoping to find a job with a professional sports organization. Dream job is to work for the Minnesota Wild! 
Words to Faculty and Staff: Thank you to all of my professors that pushed me to be the best I could be. Thank you for helping me every step of the way and helping me realize what I wanted to pursue as a career. I appreciate all of the one on one time that you all put forth when I needed the guidance or someone to go to for advice. Thank you Professor Price for being a great advisor and keeping me on track for four years so that I could graduate on time. Thank you to all of my business professors for believing in me and helping me on my journey to a career that I am now so passionate about. My life at Saint Mary’s wouldn’t have been the same without you all and I couldn’t be more thankful! 
-Haley Jung

Favorite Memory at SMU

Being able to play soccer for three years at Saint Mary’s

Next Steps (Plans after Graduation)

 Working at a hospital helping others and maybe someday managing my own team

Words to Faculty and Staff

Thank you all so much! I would not have made it this far without my professors pushing, challenging, and encouraging me to become the person I am today. My advisor was very helpful and cared about me as a person, as were many of my other professors. It is great to have these relationships with your professors. Thank you to all other staff and faculty that have supported the Women’s soccer team by attending games or asking about them.

-Bri Ashmore

Favorite Memory: My favorite memory is the first time, freshman year, me and my friend Kory decided to go climb the rock in the dark. There were a few other people with us, but I only remember Kory. We sped our way up the steep side. With flashlights it was more difficult to see where we were going, but it was a rush sprinting from tree to tree, trying not to fall. When we finally got up, it was the first time I had seen Winona at night. The lights lit up the bluffs just right, and it was a heck of a sight. 
Next Step: I will be a volunteer at Cretin Derham Hall High School in St. Paul next year. Campus ministry and teaching will be my primary focuses at CDH.
Words to Faculty and Staff: First, thank you. You are all wonderful people and have led me to think about the world, humanity, and my life in ways i did not think possible. Second, always work with love. Your love for us is evident in your efforts and time spent working with and for us. Always make sure the students at SMU know that they are loved because we love you, too.
-Sam Vetch
If you never try, you’ll never know.” -Brett Menton

 Favorite Memory at SMU: It is quite challenging to pick a favorite memory at SMU because I cherish every day I have been able to spend with this community. There are so many things that make this community unforgettable — the acts of kindness to friends and strangers, the intentional environment of learning and faith, the collaboration between students and faculty, and all the opportunities to bond as a community. We are Saint Mary’s. We are one. United, we stand!

Next steps: My immediate plans are to work with the chaplains at Franciscan Mayo in La Crosse, WI, where I served my internship last
summer, and to determine which graduate school I will attend in the fall. I am entering graduate school in the fall and will either pursue
a Master’s in Divinity or a Master of Arts in Pastoral and Spiritual Care, with the eventual goal of entering hospital chaplaincy. The
schools to which I have applied include: Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO; Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary in Collegeville, MN; Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, IL; The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology in Seattle; and Loyola
University in Maryland.I also learned to play the harp during my internship at Mayo. I plan continue to pursue this passion and to help facilitate healing with harp music as a chaplain. “Harp music is like a promise from God; each note lingers in the air after it is played, but instead of fading away, it blends into the next note, symbolizing the everlasting nature of God’s promises.”

Words to faculty and staff: It has been a pleasure to work with you these past four years. Every faculty member with whom I have worked has made my experience at Saint Mary’s so much better. It has been a privilege to collaborate with you as both a teacher and a learner. Thank you for your openness, curiosity, flexibility, and kindness. I would not be where I am today without the support and encouragement of the faculty at Saint Mary’s.Thank you for accompanying me on my journey of growth and learning.

-Kelsi Watters

Favorite Memory at SMU: Too many! but Taylor Richmond Benefit Dances
Next Steps: Marketing assistant for a real estate company in Blaine, MN
Words to Faculty and Staff: Thank you so so much for everything these past four years! Your doors were always open, and I greatly appreciated that!
-Kelsey Petron
A wise soccer coach of mine recently told me that these moments in our lives are so special because they can never happen again. I will forever cherish my time at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and the memories made here, like winning our first soccer game after two years and dog piling on our coach. Thank you to every single person I’ve met at SMU, especially my teammates, friends, and professors, you helped me become the person I am. After graduation I will be moving to Chicago and working for a PR agency. Here’s to the next chapter of our lives!
-Caroline Blackwood

Favorite Memory at SMU

Every morning that started with Kim at Mugby 

Next steps (what are your plans after graduation)

Contracted seasonal employment with the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York 

Pursuing an MFA in Scenic Technology and Design with the University of Virginia

Words to faculty and staff  

Thanks for all that you have done to get us to this point. There were always points of frustration, gratitude, and happiness, but what will last forever is the imprint you’ve had on our lives. Perge! 

-Matthew Kornegay

My favorite memories here are dancing in the SMUMN Ballroom Dance Club Showcase and fencing. After Graduation, I will be working and looking at the possibility of continuing my education, entering the military or both. Thanks to all the instructors who have helped me here, you guys made my experience valuable.  

-Piotr-Krzysz Szyszkiewicz

Favorite memory @ SMU: Hitting the sledding hills on the 2016 snow day – the limitless fun ended in several minor injuries, but was well worth it!

Next steps: Get accepted to Physician Assistant school, in the meantime work as a medical scribe and nursing assistant. 
Words to faculty and staff: Thank you to my science professors for truly taking the time to get to know me. Not everyone can say they’re been told that they look like crap (from being ill) and should get to bed after class from a professor. I would not have had this experience if at another school and am so grateful for the relationships I’ve made!
-Emily Diercks

Favorite memory at smu- towny each year with the greatest group of college students ever.

Next step– supervisor position at Baker’s Square while entering the general management training program (until I land a more career-oriented job)
Words to faculty and staff– love all of you and I appreciate how you shaped me into the person i am today.
-Michael Tabar
After graduation I will be moving to Mexico to teach 8th grade math and science at Colegio Americano de Torreon (otherwise known as CAT). I am very excited for all of the new experiences I will encounter as well as getting to know a new group of students. Learning a new way to adapt to these learners needs is going to be very beneficial to my future classrooms. I am extremely thrilled to be able to experience this wonderful opportunity.
A huge thank you should go out to the math faculty for being amazing professors. Their passion for teaching and learning is astounding. They are always willing to work with their students to help them to both learn and understand the material better. They encourage students to come in if they are having trouble with material because they really do want their students to succeed. They deserve a lot more credit than is given to them! Thank you to all of you!
-Marissa Bay

“Favorite memory at SMU- Driving onto campus and seeing the trees by the entrance wrapped in white and red holiday lights.


Next step– Take a year off to travel / shadow medical professionals and attend a medical graduate program.


Words to staff and faculty– Thank you for giving me a home away from home and taking the time to help me grow.”

-Brittany Friedrich

“Next steps: Financial Analyst at IBM
Words to faculty: Thanks for all the wonderful memories.”
-Thomas Garside

“Favorite Memory at SMU: Although there are countless memories to choose from, I’d have to say that my top memory here at St. Mary’s would be participating in the centennial celebration my freshman year as a part of the concert band. The band members arrived to campus early to prepare for the celebration, and as a result, we were able to meet and form friends before the school year started, premier a new piece of music as a band, and get to know the roots of St. Mary’s at the very beginning of our undergraduate careers. Right off the bat, we were able to become part of and understand the St. Mary’s close-knit community.

Next steps (what are your plans after graduation): With orientation beginning at the end of July, I will be a Lasallian Volunteer in Memphis, Tennessee at De La Salle Blessed Sacrament Elementary School. Tentatively, I will be teaching reading to kindergarten-4th grade and religion to kindergarten-3rd grade in addition to other miscellaneous tasks at the school.

Words to faculty and staff: Thank you for all the work you do–it does not go unnoticed! Although it is daunting at times and we (students) can be difficult, thank you for persevering and believing in our potential. I’d like to give a shout-out to both the education faculty for your care for each student’s growth and passion for life-long education as well as the honors program faculty for pushing us to think outside (sometime very outside) the box and never settling for a single answer. Every extension, soap box tangent, conversation, criticism, smile, and encouragement formed a part of who we are–you helped to prepare us for the future, and for that I can never be thankful enough.”

-Rachel Waltezko


My favorite memory here at SMU is working over the summer at Campus Safety, while rooming in Eks Family Village with two of my best friends. Going to Washington, DC every year with the College Republican Club is a close second!   

After graduation I will be going to University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to get my master of science in Forensic Psychology. 
Words to faculty and staff: I would like to thank both my advisers for always being there to lend a hand when I needed them. A shout out to the Blue Chair gang (you know who you are), I learned more hanging out with you all, at times, than I did in the class room. Also, a special thanks to the Campus Safety staff that I have worked with over the years. I have loved my time with you all in particular, and will always look fondly at the memories we made.”
-Mary Hough

“Favorite Memory at SMU: While I never thought I would say it, I think taking Strategies will be one of my favorite memories at SMU. Although it was very time consuming, it was all worth it. We got to know people we wouldn’t have if it was not for this class. We also gained a lot of real life experience from this course. Also, celebrating with everyone once we were all done was a lot of fun.   

Next steps: I am currently still looking for a job preferably in either the Twin Cities or Rochester, but we will see where my life takes me.
Words to faculty and staff: THANK YOU! I couldn’t have asked for a better university or 4 years and that was because of the faculty and staff. Since we do have small class sizes, we do get to know everyone and the faculty and staff genuinely care about you and your wellbeing. I can’t thank the SMU Business Department enough, along with professors like: Dean Beckman, Dr. Bodsgard, and Dr. Fox. Also, a big thank you to Ward Berndt and Mike Hagarty! You all have not only prepared me for a career upon graduation, but also have given me valuable life skills that I will also be able to carry on.”
-Jase Pater