April 3, 2020
Catching up with 2018 Classmates Margaret O’Brien and Jacob Mazur.
Fenwick Graduation: 2018
Hometown: Oak Park, IL
Grade School: Ascension
Current School: Saint Louis University
Major: Public Health
Summer Internship: This summer I will be at Rush, participating in an internship that allows students from inner-city high schools to earn a certification in EPIC, the software for the electronic medical record. This training provides students with in-demand, marketable skills that can greatly influence their path and their future.
Career aspirations: I hope to finish SLU with a Master’s of Public Health and go to law school. Ultimately, my only goal is to be impactful and effect positive change.
Fenwick achievements/activities: At Fenwick, I ran cross-country and track for four years and was a captain for two of those years. I was also fortunate enough to lead and rector Kairos.
Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: There were so many teachers who left a lasting impact. It has been three years since I took physics, but I still think about Mr. Kleinhans' Feel Good Fridays all the time. I don’t remember any actual physics, but the lessons from those five-minute stories will always stick with me!
Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: It’s hard to pick just one! Senior year English with Mr. Brooks was a fun, tight-knit class. It was a class where I was learning without realizing it, and it made 11th period feel a little quicker.
Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: Kairos, without a doubt.
What Fenwick experience changed you the most: The objective right answer is Kairos! However, running cross-country and track at Fenwick permanently affected the course of my life. Not only did I make my best friends on that team, but I am now a DI collegiate athlete, a unique experience that has taught me more and worked me harder than anything before. Looking back from where I am now, I realize I owe so much to this sport.
Fenwick Graduation: 2018
Hometown: Elmwood Park, IL
Grade School: Elm Middle School
Current School: University of Notre Dame
Major: Computer Engineering
Summer Internship: I spent the past summer doing a six-week study abroad program through the College of Engineering in Rome. I took a computer science class and a quantum engineering class, but in my free time I was free to explore the city and the surrounding areas, which were full of so many amazing landmarks and beautiful views. Definitely one of my favorite college experiences so far!
This summer, I’ll be staying on campus at Notre Dame and participating in a research program with the Wireless Institute in the Department of Electrical Engineering. I’ll be working with a professor here on a project that uses machine learning to study RF information leakage in low-cost Bluetooth chips.
Career aspirations: I’m currently debating whether I want to go to grad school directly after graduation or wait and go into the industry first, but I’m hoping to work somewhere in the field of computer hardware, potentially in chip design, but obviously that’s all subject to change.
Fenwick achievements/activities: Math Team Captain, BFG Sound Manager, WYSE, TEAMS, Friar Mentors, Kairos Leader (June 2017) & Rector (September 2017), Valedictorian
Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: There’s no way I could pick only one, so here’s a handful (in no particular order):
- Mr. Kleinhans, for constantly encouraging students to pursue careers in STEM and for providing great real-world advice and anecdotes -- both from his wealth of experience and through dinners with recent graduates in engineering.
- Mr. Finnell, for spending hundreds of hours after school every year coaching math team practices and producing BFG productions, through which I learned so many invaluable skills and made some of my best friends during my time at Fenwick.
- Mr. Richied, for teaching me to be rigorous in my pursuit of knowledge, to never be satisfied with a cursory understanding of anything, historical or otherwise.
- Mr. Arscott, for instilling in me his passion for mathematics and his unique approach to the subject matter (I still use Ultraviolet Voodoo and Uncle Albert).
- Mr. Farran, for his great compassion toward the students and his incredible stories during lecture that accidentally taught you chemistry along the way.
There are so many more that deserve recognition, but if I gave them all the proper credit, this paragraph would pretty quickly become a novel.
Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: Again, it is difficult to choose only one, but probably AP Physics 1 & 2 with Mr. Kleinhans. I mentioned him in the previous section, but this class gave me so many fundamental skills that I still use and really fueled my interest in engineering. AP Physics showed me not only that free donuts are a fantastic motivator to do anything, particularly a physics lab, but also that the world around us can be measured, modeled and analyzed in such a way that can aid us in solving problems and improving the way people live their lives.
Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: Banua senior year. I’m not sure if this was necessarily my favorite production that I was a part of during my time at Fenwick, but something about it was just incredibly special. Being able to both serve on crew for and perform with some of my best friends was insanely memorable and an absolute blast to participate in. Honorable mention here goes to Kairos, but I figure others will talk about that sufficiently.
What Fenwick experience changed you the most: My time on stage crew in BFG. I joined a year late, so I only participated in nine of the 12 productions (sorry, Mr. Finnell). The (many) hours that we spent in the auditorium working to make sure the shows got done on time made for some of my most enduring memories of my time at Fenwick and resulted in some of my best friends over the years. I had the privilege to work with some incredible mentors: Mr. McCauley and Ms. Dactilidis on the faculty/staff side, as well as the student managers in the classes above me. All of them inspired me to put everything I could into my work and taught me so many invaluable lessons that I carry with me to this day.
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