One of our alumni traditions is the Senior Reception where our newest alumni learn what it means to be a St. Ambrose University alumnus – and we get to celebrate their accomplishments!
Although we were unable to toast in-person this year, our seniors shared some of their best memories on the SAU campus and told us about their future plans!
Congrats to the Class of 2020!
Major: Criminal Justice
Next Steps: I will be pursuing a career in law enforcement. Specifically, police work.
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite SAU memory was playing football for the university and beating Olivet Nazarene University my senior year after losing to them 3 years in a row.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I would definitely visit the brand new Wellness and Recreation Center.
Next Steps: I will be starting my doctorate degree at Palmer to become a chiropractor!
Favorite SAU Memory? There are so many memories to choose from so I'm going to just say my favorite memories are the ones I made in the activities I was involved in. I loved every Dance Marathon event, every choir trip (specially overseas), every ResLife memory, and so many more. I can't believe the four years went this fast, but the memories I made here are ones I will always have with me.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? If I came back to campus for just five minutes I would want to spend all five minutes with my friends that I miss so much. I want to laugh and make five extra minutes of memories playing games in the dorm rooms, reminiscing on funny moments, crying tears of joy that we all made it. I would want to simply see all my friends in one place one last time.
Next Steps: After graduation I will be working at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in the Medical Intensive Care Unit.
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite SAU memory is being with all my friends and just enjoying college, especially all the long nights playing Euchre!
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? If I had 5 minutes on campus I would visit my professors from the Nursing Department. I never thought I would miss sitting in class for six hours a day and being able to walk to their offices to get candy and rant in between classes. They are truly amazing and have helped me follow my dreams of becoming a nurse!
Major: Industrial Engineering
Next Steps: Work
Favorite SAU Memory? One of my favorite SAU memories would be the basketball games. It was very fun and exciting.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? That's a tough question. I would go to two of my professors to thank them for what they taught me, as well as saying goodbye to them in person because they helped me a lot.
Major: Multimedia Communication
Next Steps: I'm looking into finding a job in my field, somewhere I can build a career, and not just pay the bills (though I'm looking for that as well!) My first goal is probably an entry level job in either broadcast TV, behind the scenes editing video hopefully, or maybe working somehow in radio. Since the Quad Cities has so many opportunities, it's likely I'll try to find work there, even though it's a bit of a drive from where I live. But if I love what I do, it'll be worth it.
Favorite SAU Memory? Honestly, there are so many. The band trip to Ireland, the choir concert, faith journey, and chilling with Comm. dept. friends in Rogo making microwavable lunches. But I think one of the most powerful memories I've had at Ambrose was when the Fighting Bee Marching Band performed its last full halftime show. We worked hard, we played harder, and it all came together. I was so out of breath, tired, sweaty, but so incredibly proud of everything we put into that 8 minute performance. I wanted to scream and punch the sky. It was amazing, and only those involved would really understand. Band was a family, gave me friends, and supported me when school was rough. I wouldn't have come to Ambrose without the promise of the marching band. I had lots of amazing experiences at school, but that was definitely a highlight of my time here.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I would go to Galvin for sure, and run through the front doors into the music hallway. Then walk briskly past Dr. Enz's door and say hi, chat for like 30 seconds. Then on to Dr. Windt's door, same thing. Say hi to Terri before running down the stairs to TV. There I'd check in on Duke, and now I'm down to only a couple minutes. Go through the studio to see it one more time, and then stop and wave at Dr. Fenn and on the other side of the floor, Dr. Preston. Finally, I'd stop by Alan Sivell's office, where I'd catch up until my 5 minutes were up. Is that cheating? Haha, but they're all great. Sivell has known me the longest, so if I really can only see one person, I'd pick him.
Next Steps: I plan to work on a Labor and Delivery unit.
Favorite SAU Memory? Cheerleading Nationals 2019 at St. Ambrose University. The crowd was unreal. I'll never forget the excitement and energy there was surrounding our team that day.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? Danelle Langeneckert because she brought me so much joy in the three years she was my cheerleading coach.
Major: BA Psychology and Women and Gender Studies
Next Steps: I will continue on with the Master of Social Work program at St. Ambrose! I am also going to be an incoming intern for the summer at Chicago Catholic Charities working with their CC Heals program. After I get my MSW at St. Ambrose, I am planning on getting my license to become a clinical social worker and provide therapy to survivors of trauma.
Favorite SAU Memory? I think one of my favorite memories being at SAU was being involved with the Sexual Assault Awareness Team. I was lucky enough to serve as the Vice President for two years, along with being a student advocate for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. I met some of the most amazing people on the team who became some of my best friends, so I am very thankful that I was a part of the organization.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? If I had 5 minutes on campus, I would visit a few of my friends who will be back on campus in the fall. I felt that I wasn't able to have closure with them, so I would love to go back and tell them how much they meant to me!
Major: Accounting & Marketing
Next Steps: I will be starting in the Accounting department at Caterpillar!
Favorite SAU Memory? Putting on and having a very successful Granger Smith concert in the WRC.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I'd visit Jason Richter and Jill McNamara, as they helped me so much throughout my four years!
Major: Human Performance and Fitness
Next Steps: After graduation I will be working in a cardiac rehabilitation center in a hospital.
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite memory from SAU is my junior year Homecoming. My friends and I had our families come to Davenport and we had a tailgate at Brady Street Stadium, and it was the best time.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? If I had five minutes on campus I would visit the Admissions Center. I worked there for three years, and I had a wonderful time each time I went to work. I would want to see my boss, Randall, because she has been a big part of my time at SAU.
Next Steps: I have officially accepted a position through the nurse residency program at the University of Iowa on the Postpartum Unit.
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite SAU memory would be gathering in our friends' apartments for games and music and going downtown and having a good time. I was also a cheerleader at St. Ambrose and really enjoyed cheering on the football team at all the home games, especially Homecoming.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I would visit my close friends that I got the pleasure of meeting at St. Ambrose: Abbie Fuller, Annie Nuygen, Ali Strittmatter, Bridget Schill, and Jessica Fenske.
Next Steps: My next steps after graduation are to work as a nurse in Pediatrics, Neonatal, or Critical Care/Trauma in Colorado! I plan on volunteering for Special Olympics, environmental cleanup, and join a hiking club in my free time! In a few years, I would like to either begin working as a travel nurse or enroll in a Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner program.
Favorite SAU Memory? It's really hard to choose one favorite memory at SAU, but I would say either the team bonding activities on the soccer team or my study abroad trip to Italy. I also really enjoyed the Antioch retreats! Something I enjoyed every day was walking through campus and taking in all its beauty.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? If I had five minutes on campus, I would be sprinting to cram in all my visits. First I would visit Father Bud just so I could have my mind blown by his infinite knowledge one more time. I would also stop in to say thank you to Neil Aschliman for being the best Anatomy & Physiology professor ever and setting me up for success. Lastly I'd run into the Office of the President to get my last hugs from Jan, Jana, Kim, and Sister Joan.
Favorite SAU Memory? There are so many memories to choose from so I’m going to just say my favorite memories are the ones I made in the activities I was involved in. I can’t believe the four years went this fast, but the memories I made here are ones I will always have with me.
Mitchell Thilges '20
Major: Elementary education
Next Steps: After graduating, I will be a Behavior Program teacher at Hopewell Elementary [in Bettendorf]!
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite SAU memory is probably the nightly walks my roommates and I would go on. It was amazing to see Ambrose at sunset while enjoying the hustle of campus! I also loved being the President of the ADAPT club and all of our events!
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? If I had 5 minutes on campus, I would visit my professors in the Education Department. They have been so supportive throughout my journey and have truly led me to my adventure. I would love to thank them in person!
Next Steps: I plan to join the nurse residency program at the University Of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics working in the Emergency Department
Favorite SAU Memory? During a clinical simulation, Jenny Atzen called our supply cart a crash cart.... my classmates and I worried the whole time wondering if our patient would code.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? Kurt Sturmer! His witty attitude and smile has the ability to turn any day into a good one!!
Major: Forensic Psychology
Next Steps: I will be attending SAU for one more year to finish getting my Master in Criminal Justice.
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite memory at SAU is probably working with the inmates at the Scott County Jail during my internship.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I would visit Dr. Andy Kaiser because I am so happy that he is doing well and I would want to hear his jokes that he starts every class with.
Next Steps: I will be starting Mortuary Science school in the fall with hopes of pursuing a career in the Mortuary Science field after my post graduate studies.
Favorite SAU Memory? Some of my favorite memories from SAU include spending late nights out with friends, and competing on the SAU Women's Golf Team!
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I would go back and visit two of my favorite Business professors - Dr. O'Connell & Merredyth McManus. They were two very influential people during my time at St. Ambrose who always supported me both in and out of the classroom. I feel very lucky to have learned from them.
Major: Music Education (Vocal Endorsement)
Next Steps: I have officially moved back to my hometown where I have accepted a teaching position for the 2020-21 school year. I will teaching 5th and 6th grade general music at Hazel Point Intermediate in the Linn Mar Community School District. This school is one of two brand new intermediate schools in the district and will be welcoming students for the first time next school year! I am excited to begin my career as a music educator! Over the summer I will also continue to help raise and train Image, the current service dog in training with Pawsitive Hearts.
Favorite SAU Memory? I think it would be impossible for me to choose a favorite memory from my past four years at St. Ambrose. If I had to choose it would be between traveling internationally with my music ensembles or having the opportunity to raise/train the first service dog on campus through Pawsitive Hearts. My freshman year I traveled to Italy and Austria with Chamber Singers. I will never forget the beautiful venues we sang in, singing on the streets of Vienna, and exploring so many beautiful cities with my friends. My junior year I traveled to Ireland with the Symphonic Band and it was one of the most unforgettable adventures of my life. I will never forget our flight getting cancelled at 2 a.m., having to fly through London and almost missing our connecting flight, and getting to explore the beautiful sights of Ireland and play music with my friends. My second favorite memory I have from SAU includes being able to raise and train the first future Canine Companions for Independence service dog at SAU through Pawsitive Hearts. Having the opportunity to raise Magpie, and now Image, has been such a memorable and rewarding experience. I will never forget training Magpie every day, taking her to classes, and of course getting to attend her matriculation in Ohio. I cannot wait to attend her graduation as a Hearing Dog later this year and Image's matriculation as well. The Canine Companions for Independence family is incredible and I am blessed to have gotten to be apart of it during college, and get to continue puppy raising after college!
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? If I had 5 minutes on campus I would spend it in the Galvin Music Department visiting my professors. Each music professor at St. Ambrose has been influential to my development as a musician, and I could never thank them enough for always believing in me. I have always felt as though my professors genuinely cared about my success and growth as a musician and if I was struggling with a concept would be more than willing to help. There is something truly special about the music department and I am so thankful to have called it my home for the past four years. I can't think of a better place to spend those 5 minutes then with the professors that have made me the music educator that I am.
Next Steps: My steps after graduation is to find a job at a zoo. My dream is to specialize with otter.
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite memory from SAU is studying and playing UNO in Rogo with my friends.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? If I had 5 minutes on campus, I would visit Neil Aschliman because he always believed in me and always boosted my attitude with his upbeat positivity and smiles!
Next Steps: I will be continuing to work as a Staff Accountant at Group O. I was fortunate to be able to start as an intern, be offered a part-time position, and take on a full-time position upon graduation, all in a matter of six months.
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite St. Ambrose memory is after living with 3 random roommates my sophomore year I met my best friend and roommate for the next three years. She then introduced me to the missing third piece of our trio. We have been inseparable ever since.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I would go back to visit Dr. La Corte and share coffee over conversation. He has been a tremendous mentor of mine over my four years at St. Ambrose. He truly cares about his students, and I am honored to have been one of them.
Major: Industrial Engineering
Next Steps: I have a job lined up at an engineering company, Hanson Professional Services.
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite memory was freshman year living in Cosgrove because that is where I made life long friendships.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I would meet with Merredyth McManus because whenever I needed help with something even if it wasn't school related she was there for me.
Major: BS Biology & BS Behavioral Neuropsychology
Next Steps: I will be attending the Masters of Physician Assistant program here at St. Ambrose as a part of the 2022 cohort in hopes of becoming a Pediatric Physician Assistant in just a couple more years!
Favorite SAU Memory? Is it possible to just pick one?? (Actually, it really isn't). I think my favorite memory of my 4 years of St. Ambrose will be the Dance Marathon 7 Big Event where I was surrounded by my best of friends as we revealed a total of over $270,000! Any moment I was with my best friends that I met through Dance Marathon, in the dorm halls, or in my Biology classes (shout out to them - we truly saw the worst of each other at times) was a blessing.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I would stop into Lewis Hall to quickly say hi to all of my Biology professors who made me fall in love with my major and career path, and then run over to the Rogalski Center to say hi to Sophia Pierce and Jason Richter, who were always so supportive of Dance Marathon's crazy ideas and plans! (Can I actually do that all in 5 minutes?)
Next Steps: I will be attending the Master of Accounting program at St. Ambrose University.
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite SAU memory is attending all SAU and Quad City events with friends and family!
Madeline B Aguilar
Major: Marketing with Applied Ethics minor
Next Steps: Many personal ventures after graduation would include working for a company that is driven to contribute to society and the environment. Also, volunteer at soccer clinics abroad for young girls in sports. Ultimately, continue to travel the world and meet people and learn other cultures and norms.
Favorite SAU Memory? Traveling with my soccer team to Jamaica and Alaska and studying abroad in Croatia and eating meditarranian cuisine in Bosnia. Lastly, living in the Quad with my roommates/ best friends creating memories.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I gotta link up with Professor [Joe] Miller just because he is a cool, smart professor that I had the chance to be in his first class he taught at Ambrose to my last class as a senior.
Major: Multimedia Journalism
Next Steps: After graduation I will still be working at WHBF-TV in Rock Island, a job I've said since last December. I'm hoping to get involved in radio broadcasting doing news or sports, something I was able to do at SAU.
Favorite SAU Memory? There's quite a bit of memories I've really cherished. The first was doing a triple-header at Robert Morris University for KALA Radio, with Carter Foley, calling SAU women's and men's basketball during the day, and SAU football later on in the evening. The football game was tough, not because our voices had been worn down from the previous games, but calling it outside in the freezing cold! But overall, it was a fun day, something I wish I could do again.My other favorite memory was going out to New York City this past March for the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System awards. My sports radio show I do with Logen Howell was a finalist for the "Best Sports Interview" category. Going out to the Big Apple, learning from people in the radio/broadcasting field was very special. Hearing from professionals on how they got to where they're at gave me a great insight on what I need to do in order to succeed.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I would go back to the Communications department to visit Duke Schneider and David Baker. Duke is a great instructor but also a really good friend. It's unfortunate how things went with COVID-19 shutting down SAU because I couldn't help out with Dateline SAU something I enjoyed doing but I would just thank him for everything he did for me. Letting me host coaches shows, anchoring sports, and doing broadcasting for SAUtv, Duke's teachings have helped me a lot. I've been lucky to work outside of school in my field and if it wasn't for him, I'm not sure I would have those jobs. David Baker gave me the opportunity to host a sports radio show "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" a show that had been hosted by previous SAU students. David is an expert when it comes to radio and really has helped me come a long way with doing on-air stuff. When COVID-19 shut down SAU, we were still able to do Unsportsmanlike Conduct but over the phone, something we wouldn't prefer, but it was the only option and David has been there every step of the way being back in the studio to make it possible. The awards we've been able to bring him, none of those would've been possible if it wasn't for him.
Major: Exercise Science
Next Steps: I would like to pursue a job in my field, gain experience teaching nutritional and fitness programs, and possibly give back to my community by offering nutrition lessons in my spare time. I am exploring the options of graduate school, but have not yet set my future in stone.
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite SAU memory is probably hanging out with my friends during midnight breakfast! It's such a fun way to relieve stress during finals, and seeing all my favorite professors late at night serving us is such an awesome experience.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? The student activities office to say hello to Jason, Sophia, and Fritz! Those guys are the most compassionate people on campus. Whenever I needed guidance, they always knew the path to take. My SAU experience would not have been the same without any of them!
Next Steps: This fall I will start my graduate education in the pursuit of a PhD in Molecular Medicine and the University of Iowa. Graduate school and working in research wasn't always my plan, but I am so excited for where I am headed and what my future has to hold. My goal for the future is to be a professor so I can continue my love of teaching and provide the education for new generations of Biology students, like my professors did for me.
Favorite SAU Memory? Picking just one is so hard because there are so many to choose from. Campus Ministry activities always end up being what comes to mind when I think about my favorite times on campus. That might just be because I spent most of my time doing something within the walls of the chapel, gathering space, or lower chapel. I even had my designated spot in lower chapel where people knew where to find me. Wednesday night masses are something I will always remember from Ambrose and take with me because we all were so close and had such a good time every Wednesday night. Anytime canned whipped cream came out for Mass and More, you could be assured we would be attempting the whipped cream challenge that night. We even got Fr. Thom in on it one night. Mass in the Grotto is something special to Ambrose that I will really miss. Everyone coming together outside for mass was incredible. Nothing beats the feeling of the first grotto mass of the year. Hangouts in lower chapel will always be some of my fondest memories as well. We really should have been studying or working on something, but Lauren's office became a hangout spot that was almost never empty. The family I had found in the campus ministry staff will forever be something I miss.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? I have two places to see people I would have to stop. First, I would have to go see Dr. Ritu Gurung from Chemistry department. She was my Biochemistry professor and helped first spark my love of metabolism (which is part of the PhD I am pursuing). She also became something of a friend. She was my boss for 3 semesters as I was her lab prep for classes. She helped me through the grad school application process and was always there for advice. She was one of the first professors to truly get me to believe in myself as a student and scientist. I would have a lot to thank her for. I would also have to stop into lower chapel to see Fr. Thom, Lauren, and Tammy. I was really involved in Campus Ministry; one of the biggest parts of my involvement was in Music Ministry. I loved my music ministry family, and Lauren was our leader of that. Campus Ministry staff had become a big part of my faith family. Coming into Ambrose, my faith life wasn't that strong, and growing a family at Ambrose really helped that. These three helped to push me and help me grow into the best person I could be, both in my spiritual life and in all other aspects. With the help of this family, I was able to grow my faith, and Fr. Thom celebrated my confirmation last year; which was a really special day for me. From conversations at Wednesday night Mass, during Antioch trips, and randomly throughout the week, these three were a big part of my faith family. Talking with them was always one of the highlights of my day. Even if both weren't for that long, these are the people I would absolutely have to stop and see.
Next Steps: For my next steps, I will be working at RSM US LLP in Davenport, Iowa, as an audit associate. I am currently studying to obtain my CPA license.
Favorite SAU Memory? My favorite SAU memory was moving in my senior year. Move in day is always extremely fun to see your friends that you did not get to see as much over the summer. I was especially excited to live with the group I had my senior year.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? If I had 5 minutes on campus I would visit my advisor Mike Cipriano. Mike helped me immensely to get to where I am today career wise. Without Mike, there is no doubt that I would not have such a great landing spot after graduation. I visited Mike's office often for questions about accounting or just to chat if I was passing by his office in Ambrose Hall.
Major: Business Management & Marketing
Next Steps: Taking the LSAT in August, and working full time as a Law Clerk!
Favorite SAU memory? My favorite SAU memory was this year's homecoming. Despite the rainy weather, it was a lot of fun to be with all my classmates, and celebrate homecoming one last time! It was bittersweet knowing it was my last homecoming, but enjoying the moments with my close friends will be a memory I'll have for a lifetime.
If you had 5 minutes on campus, who would you visit and why? If I had 5 minutes on campus I would visit Merredyth McManus. She was my advisor, so I'd like to visit her just to thank her again for all her wonderful help. Merredyth has been such a wonderful advisor, always made herself available for me, and was always so caring whenever I went to visit her.