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Collegiate Friars: December 2019

December 4, 2019

Catching up with Fenwick young alumni Kirsten Livingston '16 and Jack Vomacka '18.

Kirsten_Livingston_2016
Ms. Livingston at the annual St. Andrews-sponsored fashion show that raises money for charities in Scotland.

KIRSTEN LIVINGSTON

Fenwick Graduation: 2016
Hometown: Hinsdale
Grade School: St. Isaac Jogues
Current School:  University of St Andrews, Scotland
Major: Environmental Earth Science

Summer Internship: I took a semester off this last school year to work as a Government Relations and Development Intern at the Shedd Aquarium. I was on a three-member team tasked with restructuring the government relations department. I set up and attended meetings with aldermen, state senators and the governor, and helped create relationships between the Shedd and Chicago government officials. On the development side, I created the foundational itinerary, theme and game plan for the first Environmental Conference that will be head at the Shedd in the next year or two.

Career aspirations:  After graduation, I am seeking to go into environmental consulting in Washington, D.C. My goal is to work with private-sector actors, as well as leverage public partnerships, to help transition the U.S. economy to a green-energy focused system.

Fenwick achievements/activities: President of the Environmental Club, four-year member of the Latin Club and French Club, prose editor for Touchstone, two-year member of the Book Club and one-year member of the Broadcasting Club.

Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: Mr. O’Connor had a significant impact on my debating ability. In senior year, one of my favorite parts of the school day was attending his English class last period and having him assign me and the other argumentative student in the class contrasting opinions to debate.  The other teacher who had a strong impact on me while at Fenwick was Mr. McKinley. He really developed my love of science from just an interest to a passion. His Chemistry and Environmental Science class solidified my desire to pursue science at university. His encouragement to question ‘why something is’ has stayed with me at university and will definitely remain once I enter the working world.

Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: The environmental science class offered in the summer when I was at the school is what actually piqued my interest in studying it at university. I then took the AP environmental class and it further confirmed my belief that this was, and still is, a true passion of mine.

Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: Cliché to say, but the entirety of senior year was honestly amazing. The whole grade became one large friend group and the teachers had so much more banter with students in their classes.  

What Fenwick experience changed you the most: The Kairos retreat really was a unique experience. However, it wasn’t necessarily my experience on the retreat, but seeing the whole grade change after each monthly iteration was amazing.

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JACK VOMACKA

Fenwick Graduation: 2018
Hometown: Riverside, IL
Grade School: St. Mary’s
Current School:  University of Southern California
Major: Computer Science (Minors in Economics & Screenwriting)

Summer internship: Currently TBD. A year from now, I’ll be studying abroad in New Zealand, and their fall semester starts in early July. It’s quite hard to find a company that will only hire me for half of an internship, so there’s a lot that’s still in the air.

Career aspirations: I sort of hate this question because I always have to answer it twice. Everyone loves to hear that my career goals involve climbing to the top of the company ladder at some big tech corporation, but that’s not exactly true. Since I go to USC -- pretty much the only school in existence where something like this is even remotely possible -- I can at least fantasize about my actual dream job: writing and producing for film and/or television.

Fenwick achievements/activities: Member of state-qualifying Math Team, WYSE and TEAMS. Member of Cross Country and Scholastic Bowl teams, but never in a state-qualifying capacity. Kairos Leader (April 2019) & Rector (June 2019). Project Manager for Fenwick’s brand-new Engineering Lab.

Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: Oh boy, too many to pick just one. Ms. Marcotte, for leading me from “don’t tell anyone I’m writing my college apps about my work-in-progress fantasy novel” to “can I teach a class or three on my work-in-progress fantasy novel after the AP test” in six short months. Mr. Richied, for teaching me how to think for myself and making it clear that I’m allowed, even encouraged, to approach things in ways that others don’t. Mr. Kleinhans, for showing me how to play to my own strengths and finding ways for me to keep coming back to Fenwick long after I’ve graduated (to whom it may concern: Engineering Lab 2.0 this summer?).

Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: It’s probably the only class that manages not to fit into any of my three fields of study, ironically, but Mr. Richied’s APUSH [Advanced Placement, U.S. History) class definitely prepared me for college to the greatest extent of any I took. It was the Fenwick class that was structured the most like a college course -- with the goal of the teacher not being to tell you what you needed to know, but to tell you how to learn it yourself -- and probably the first time I was ever aware of there being more than one way to find the right answers to questions.

Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: I’d do just about anything to perform in Banua again. There’s a part of me that still can’t quite believe that I sang, rapped and attempted a Mr. Kotty impression in front of a thousand people, but I did and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Sorry, Cross Country, but my short-lived BFG career was definitely the most fun I had participating in Fenwick activities.

Fenwick experience that changed you the most: The answer to this question is objectively Kairos, but everyone says that, so let’s get creative. When I took the entrance exam and got into Fenwick, I could barely run a mile. I wanted to quit the cross country team so badly for my first year (maybe two), and I’m so glad I didn’t. Cross country gave me some of my best friends and memories from high school in addition to a uniquely weird sense of humor -- none of which I would have without it -- and I’m pretty sure most veterans of the team would tell you the same.

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