Jessie Gómez ‘18 graduated from the Honors College at Marquette University with a double major in psychology and biology. While at Marquette, Jessie traveled to a national research conference and currently is in the process of having her research published. She was also very involved in community service at Marquette, including work with the Global Dental Brigade. Jessie was accepted at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics and will officially start her dental journey this fall. It is Jessie’s dream to work with lower-income/ disadvantaged patient populations. She believes that every human deserves accessible, adequate, and affordable dental care.
Please note, this page was published in July 2023
Hispanic Heritage Month
During Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15), members of the Latinas Lead Club partnered with the Alumnae Department to conduct interviews of our Latina Mighty Macs. These women are champions in their careers, and shared their insights with our McAuley community.
Yaitz Noriega ‘17 graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology with a minor in Health Studies from Marquette University in 2021. She continued on at Marquette to receive her Master of Science in Speech- Language Pathology, and graduated in May 2023. During her undergrad at Marquette, Yaitz was a Chick Evans Scholar and continued to assist the program as a Graduate Resident Advisor. She was also a Graduate Assistant for Dr. Maura Moyle’s Early Language and Literacy lab during the 2021-2022 school year, and helped conduct research surrounding early language, literacy, and cultural diversity. Yaitz grew up Bilingual which gives her the ability to communicate freely with Spanish speaking clients and patients.
Melissa Zeilner Marx ‘06 attended the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minored in Chemistry and Spanish. She worked at the Consulate of Mexico in Chicago as a Cultural Attaché. She completed a Masters in Public Health Program at DePaul University. Melissa currently is the Associate Director of Pediatric clinical trials office at the University of Chicago, where she oversees all clinical research in pediatrics at University of Chicago. Melissa is the daughter of McAuley Spanish Teacher Señora Laura Zeilner.
Jessica Pedroza ‘15 graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2019 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management from the Quinlan School of Business Honors Program. She received her Master’s degree in Project Management & Project Management Professional from Georgetown University. During her master’s program, she worked as an Artistic Operations Intern, then a Community Relations Assistant, at the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. Jessica currently works as the Marketing Creative Project Associate at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Jessica credits McAuley for allowing her to pursue her passions in performing arts while also fostering her educational background.
Did you know...
Only 6.2% of speech-language pathologists in the US are Hispanic, and only 5.9% of dentists in the US are Hispanic?
Our Mighty Macs are trailblazers in their fields!
Black History Month
This Black History Month (February 1 - March 1), our Black Student Union and Alumnae Office partnered to create a Q&A series connecting students with notable Black alumnae.
Sparkle Whitaker ‘18 attended Washington University in St. Louis and currently works as a Business Technology Analyst for Deloitte. She is the founder and driving force behind two game-changing initiatives, “The Onyx Incubator” and “The Onyx Label”. “The Onyx Incubator” is a non-profit educational collective dedicated to empowering at-risk youth through design workshops and mentorship. The program offers young people the chance to develop their creative and social skills, helping them build a brighter future. “The Onyx Label,” on the other hand, is a fashion brand founded and led by Sparkle, which is committed to sustainable, on-demand production and the implementation of zero-waste techniques. By offering stylish and accessible fashion while reducing its impact on the environment, “The Onyx Label” is making a significant contribution to a more sustainable future. She is a leader in her field, inspiring others to follow her example and make a positive impact on the world.
Karen Spears ‘13 is a lettering artist, creative director, and founder of Kareracter, based in Chicago. At McAuley, Karen was a Daniel Murphy Scholar and after graduation she continued to the University of Missouri and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Business. Early in her career, Karen had the privilege of working for Google & Leo Burnett and served as a programming advisor for the Obama Foundation. In 2015, she founded Kareracter Creative Studio in her dorm room, a creative firm specializing in hand-lettering and graphic design. In 2018, she was named Emerging Designer by the Professional Association of Design in Chicago, IL. Soho House recognized her as one of Chicago’s Rising Stars in 2021, and more recently, she has been featured on WGN, WGN Radio, NBC, Fox, and WTTW. Kareracter’s most recent project is The Wintrust Mural, in collaboration with The Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund. Today, Karen can be found managing the personal brands of media personalities and non-profit leaders, running a team of creatives, conducting mind-mapping strategy sessions with business owners, mentoring young designers of color, and supporting causes that champion the advancement of women and girls.
Jessica Jones ‘09 graduated from Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School in 2009. After McAuley, she attended the University of Notre Dame, graduating in 2013 with her Bachelor of Arts and her Masters in Education in 2015. She is currently working as a Senior Educator in the Education Department at the Museum of Science and Industry. In this role, Jessica provides professional development experiences for teachers and administrators throughout the Chicagoland area. She also works as adjunct faculty for the University of Notre Dame, Alliance for Catholic Education, teaching and mentoring aspiring and new classroom teachers. Jessica attributes much of her drive and confidence to her time as a student at Mother McAuley. As a young McAuley woman, she learned to strive for her goals while trusting and collaborating with her peers.
A leader in the Entertainment and Marketing industry for 20+ years, Nikki Jennings ‘88 has a passion for marketing, live events, branding, consumer engagement, TV event production logistics, project and talent management. Her attention to detail, professionalism and savvy executions has allowed her to work with major corporations, media, and select government agencies. Nikki worked at Black Entertainment Television (BET) for 15 years, starting in an entry-level marketing position and working her way up to Senior Director of Off-Channel Marketing and Promotions for the network. She oversaw the development and implementation of Award Winning Marketing campaigns for BET programming and specials. One of Nikki’s proudest accomplishments while in this position was creating, managing and overseeing the development of BET’s College Marketing Representative Program in colleges and universities across the United States. The program was so successful it was implemented by over 48+ colleges as part of its internship curriculum. Nikki mastered her marketing skills and garnered a vast network of stakeholders that became the lever to open the doors of Jennings Global Media Group, LLC; a woman and minority-owned boutique agency with over 20+ years of experience. Nikki is committed and has a strong desire to help aspiring young adults seeking a career in the marketing and entertainment industry.
Ted Lasso - A Connected Foundation
At their 50th reunion in December 2022, sisters Gina Reynolds ‘70 and Sheila Reynolds Trainor ‘70, and Loretta Wendt Jolivette ‘70 found out they have something unique in common - their nephews are both stars and creators of the popular Apple TV+ show, Ted Lasso.
Turf Field of Dreams
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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