Alumnae NotesPlease note, this information was published in July 2023

A Full Circle Moment

The water polo team won second in state this year, marking the program’s 14th state appearance since the team was first formed during the 2001-2002 school year. With three first place finishes and, now, three runner up finishes, the water polo program has been an impressive force through the years.

In 2021, McAuley welcomed Maggie Wood Bax ‘07 as the head water polo coach. A four-year starter on the Mighty Mac team, Maggie competed at the state tournament every year, ending her career as a Mac with both the state championship title and Player of the Year recognition.

Maggie then played water polo at Iona College (now University) in New York, where she was a four-year Division 1 starter. In 2011, her senior year, she became Iona's first 100 goal scorer and led the nation with 119 goals, helping Iona secure the MAAC Championship and its first NCAA Championship berth that season. She was the first Iona player to eclipse 100 goals in a season and first to eclipse 300 in a career

Now, as coach, Maggie has had the opportunity to encourage and train a new generation of water polo players. Her hard work and dedication have paid off - not only has her team won second in state this year, Maggie was recognized as Illinois Water Polo Coach of the Year, MCAC Conference Coach of the Year and the Lyons Sectional Coach of the Year.

When asked how she feels about these accomplishments, she says, “Besides incredible, I think the first word that comes to my mind is proud. I am so proud of the commitment this team put in during the season. The effort with which they put in to improve and to get better makes me so incredibly proud.”

As for her coaching awards, she continues, “It is not something I went into conference, sectionals or state thinking about. My main focus was the team and how we could be the best team we were capable of being every game. And although my name is on the award, it truly takes a village to get where we did. I am so grateful for my assistant coaches Tammy Stelnicki, Mary Kate Duffy ‘14 and Katie Kopale ‘09. The strategy of each practice, the constant back and forth communication every day, the brainstorming drills and plays show how much we all truly cared about this team.”Maggie has always loved coaching because she knows the positive impact she can have on an athlete. On a more personal note, she shares, “When our daughter Charlotte Bax passed away in 2021 after losing her battle with Congenital Heart Defect, I told my husband I wanted to find a job that made me truly happy because Charlotte made us realize there is so much more to life. I googled water polo coaching positions and saw McAuley's Head Coaching position was open.”

Pictured left to right: Maggie, Mac, and Tim

Since becoming coach, Maggie and her husband, Tim, have welcomed their second child, Cormac (or Mac, for short). Their angel baby, Charlee, and Mac are notable mascots and inspirations for Maggie, her fellow coaches, and the team.

“There is no other feeling quite like helping the girls of McAuley water polo develop their passion, dedication, work ethic and respect for others, not only in the pool but also in life,” she continues. “There are so many things I try to instill in the girls… if I really have to pick one I would say sportsmanship. Because good sportsmanship teaches the girls to be gracious and respectful towards others.”

With Maggie at the helm, it is clear the athletes are learning how to become champions - both as water polo players and as people.

Rosemary Wolf Rehak ‘67

Rosemary Wolf Rehak ‘67 was presented with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Indiana University School of Education. This award is the highest honor bestowed upon an alum by the School. The award was founded in 1977 to recognize alumni who have enhanced the reputation of the school by distinguishing themselves in their careers and have made significant contributions to their community, state and nation through professional service, public service and civic activities.

  • 1960s
  • 1967
Nadine Martello Shepard ‘73

Since 2016, Nadine Martello Shepard ‘73 has been involved with the Women’s Board of Catholic Charities, Lake County Services. The Women’s Board is getting ready for the return of their big fundraiser, the Art of Caring. The revenue raised from this event supports the numerous Catholic Charities services and programs that serve those most in need throughout Lake and Cook counties.

  • 1970s
  • 1973
Patricia McShane ‘77

Patricia McShane ‘77 retired from her practice of gynecology, but recently started a YouTube channel, Women's Healthspan: News and Views. The channel is intended to offer postmenopausal women the best information about healthy lifestyle to maximize their healthy longevity.

  • 1970s
  • 1977
Marianne Rowan Leslie ‘79

Marianne Rowan Leslie ‘79 was the Chairwoman of the 2023 South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This parade is the largest community based parade outside of Ireland. We had over 1,000 marchers. The Grand Marshals were the Chaplain Ministries of the Chicago Police and Chicago Fire Departments, whose outreach affects many people in the Mother McAuley community.

  • 1970s
  • 1979
Tricia O’Connor Zuber ‘87

Tricia O’Connor Zuber ‘87 spent 31 years on the Chicago Police Force, retiring as the first woman Commander of the First District in July 2022. Tricia fills her retirement days by spending more time with her family and as a “full-time” volunteer. She is a Minister of Care for St. Cletus Parish, active in the promotion of Girls’ High School Wrestling, and was recently inducted as an officer for the Mother McAuley Mothers’ Club. Tricia and her husband Mike have twin daughters who are rising McAuley Juniors and a son, Matt, who is a rising senior at Northern Illinois University.

  • 1980s
  • 1987
Bridget Hobson '90

Bridget Hobson '90 launched a digital card company called Greetigram! Bridget founded Quiplip (paper) cards 20 years ago and sold her cards in 1,000 boutique stores. Greetigram offers a premium video card experience that's worthy of your friendships. Find hip, engaging, personalized digital cards from top indie brands that you'll actually want to send. Text or email cards instantly or scheduled, so they arrive on time, include a personal message and attach photos or a video to make it extra special. It’s like having the best boutique card store in your pocket. 

  • 1990
  • 1990s
Maegan Kirby Murphy ‘95

Maegan Kirby Murphy ‘95 recently accepted an amazing new role as the Senior Vice President of Operations for the Missouri-based organization, Relearnit, Inc. Relearnit is an online program management firm assisting universities to create programs that deliver success for their students as well as growth for the university. Maegan's daughter Maggie graduates from St. Barnabas this year and took her entrance test at McAuley on December 3rd! She will be the third generation of Mighty Macs in their family! 

  • 1990s
  • 1995
Kelley Widerstrom '96

Kelley Widerstrom '96 received her BS in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from Elmhurst University!

  • 1990s
  • 1996
Melissa Gutierrez-Kapheim ‘98

Melissa Gutierrez-Kapheim ‘98 earned her PhD in Public Health from the University of Illinois Chicago (2022) and accepted a new position at Sinai Chicago as the Director of Health Equity and Assessment Research.

  • 1990s
  • 1998
Katie Soso '00

St. Xavier University nursing instructor Katie Soso '00, MSN, RN, CPSN-R, CNE, ISPAN-F, was honored with the President's Award at the 2022 Meeting of the International Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Nurses (ISPAN). Katie has been a Certified Plastic Surgical Nurse since 2011. She is a former member of the ISPAN Board of Directors and chair of the Scopes and Standards Task Force. She has served as a chair of the Clinical Practice Committee and a Peer Reviewer for its journal, Plastic and Aesthetic Nursing (PAN), since 2016. In 2019, she was designated as an ISPAN Fellow in recognition of her demonstration of exceptional leadership and her commitment to the plastic and aesthetic nursing specialty.

  • 2000
  • 2000s
Julie O'Heir '02

Julie O'Heir '02, Director of the Prison Education Program at Saint Louis University, was recognized as one of the Women of the Year Awardees at Saint Louis University’s Women’s Commission annual luncheon. 

Read more about Julie's award from Saint Louis University

  • 2000s
  • 2002
Megan Tole ‘02

Megan Tole ‘02 graduated Athens State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. Magna Cum Laude on April 29th, 2023.

  • 2000s
  • 2002
Mary Mitsdarffer ‘07

In the fall of 2022, Dr. Mary Mitsdarffer ‘07 accepted an academic appointment as an assistant professor in the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware.

  • 2000s
  • 2007
Melissa Tumpich ‘08

Melissa Tumpich ‘08 recently graduated (Class of 2022) from Loyola University with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

  • 2000s
  • 2008
Michelle Madaras ‘10

Michelle Madaras ‘10 is now the Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer of WingXpand, an aerospace startup. WingXpand is expanding what's possible with aerial intelligence with a 7ft autonomous airplane that expands from a backpack. It helps farmers grow more yield, public safety officials respond to disasters faster, and keep soldiers safe.

  • 2010
  • 2010s
Amara Janae Brady ‘12

Amara Janae Brady ‘12 was recently named one of five playwrights selected to be a part of WP Theater's (Bright Half Life, Milk Like Sugar, Smudge) Pipeline Lab and designated as a Devised Theatre Working Group member at The Public Theater (Hamilton, A Chorus Line, Hair).

  • 2010s
  • 2012
Tara Leslie ‘12

Tara Leslie ‘12 received her MSIS /Masters In Information Systems Management from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2018. Upon graduation she began her career at Wayfair, LLC in Galway and has held various positions in supply chain management. Wayfair has 8 offices across the globe in Europe, Asia and North America. 

  • 2010s
  • 2012
Yasmeen Rodriguez ‘14

Yasmeen Rodriguez ‘14 recently became the Program Manager for the Spanish DUI Program with Rogerian Solutions. She provides state licensed drug and alcohol evaluations as well as facilitate outpatient substance abuse groups.

  • 2010s
  • 2014
Jamia Jackson ‘16

Jamia Jackson ‘16 graduated from NIU with Bachelor's in Psychology in 2021. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Social Work at Aurora University and intends to graduate August 2023.

  • 2010s
  • 2016
Jessie Gomez ‘18

Jessie Gomez ‘18 is a featured author in the next volume of the Today's Inspired Young Latina series. This series focuses on stories of success in Latina women who have also suffered through adversity.

  • 2010s
  • 2018
Katharine Pytel ‘18

Katharine Pytel ‘18 graduated with a bachelor’s in Management Information Systems from Iowa State University, and began a position with KPMG in Des Moines, IA.

  • 2010s
  • 2018
Grace Trippiedi ‘18

Grace Trippiedi ‘18 started a new role as a mechanical engineer at Burns & McDonnell in their downtown Chicago office. She works on the design, engineering, planning, and construction of life sciences and technology facilities.

  • 2010s
  • 2018
Gabby Blahusiak ‘19

After working on an independent research study for the past year at the University of Memphis, Gabby Blahusiak ‘19 presented her research at the Society for Neuroscience 2022 Conference in San Diego. While she was working on publishing as a main author on the project, she was accepted to the Tulane University's School of Science and Engineering Neuroscience Doctoral Program in New Orleans and will be attending this fall! She will begin lab rotations in the fall, but ultimately  would like to go into research on Neuroinflammation related to pathology, specifically in traumatic brain injury, and develop novel drugs in order to modulate neuroinflammation & improve recovery rates and prognosis for people with TBI. Ultimately, Gabby would love to work for a national sports league helping treat and prevent brain injury. 

  • 2010s
  • 2019
Catalina Delgado '19

Catalina Delgado '19 was selected to serve on the 2022 Homecoming Court at the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign based on her academic achievements, campus leadership, and community involvement. Catalina is studying Advertising and Public Relations at the College of Media. On campus, she is involved in the American Advertising Federation which helps local small businesses with their advertising efforts. She is also a student representative on the College of Media’s Academic Misconduct and Capricious Grading Committee and works as a student grader for the Masters of Strategic Brand Communication program. 

  • 2010s
  • 2019
Julissa Gomez '20

Julissa Gomez '20 is currently enrolled in her first year of pharmacy school at the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Pharmacy.

  • 2020
  • 2020s

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The installation of the new turf field in the summer of 2022 is the latest example of Mother McAuley's commitment to provide state-of-the-art, equitable facilities, opportunities, and funding for all students.

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