Honors Program Alumni Stories
Stephanie Downing, Class of 2019
After graduating from the Honors Program with a B.S. in Criminal Justice, Stephanie received a prestigious, fully-funded Critical Language Scholarship offered by the U.S. Department of State to study Hindi in Jaipur, India this summer. “I want to fully immerse myself in the language, one that is uncommonly taught in the U.S., yet it is an asset for the future of a global world and my career,” Downing said. She looks forward to learning more about Indian culture firsthand, and teaching others about her Hawaiian upbringing. After returning from India, Stephanie will begin her job at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Maria Camarca, Class of 2017
As an undergraduate Biology major and Honors student at Marymount, Maria worked with Dr. Eric Bubar on two research projects: one on stellar spectroscopy her freshman year and the other on 3-D printing of prosthetic arms her sophomore-junior year. After thoroughly enjoying a PSY-101 class with Dr. Stacy Lopresti-Goodman, she added a Psychology minor so she could continue to interact with the department. For her Honors thesis, she worked with Dr. Deana Jaber to test the use of card games in organic chemistry education. She had her thesis paper published in a peer-reviewed journal. After graduating from Marymount's Honors Program with her B.S. in Biology, Maria began a summer internship at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the Center for Astrobiology. As an intern, Maria learned how to use infrared spectroscopy as a tool to study the chemical profiles of comets. The unique molecular abundances in comets are helpful for understanding the evolution of the Solar System. She continued her project at NASA Goddard as a full-time research assistant in the Solar System Exploration Division until she was accepted to a Ph.D. in Astronomy Program at CalTech.
Emilia Larach, Class of 2015
Emilia's experiences studying overseas informed the topic of her honors thesis, which investigated the extent to which study abroad participation was associated with a student's self-identification as a member of the global community, and how this correlated with the dimensions of global citizenship. Emilia's research utilized psychological and sociological theories to explore the role of universities, and the need for "lived experiences of otherness", during the developmental period of emerging adulthood. Following graduation, Emilia presented her honors research at a national conference for international education in Boston, MA. Emilia recently completed her Ed.M. in Prevention Science and Practice from Harvard University, where she studied acculturation and student development during the study abroad re-entry transition. Emilia currently works at Northeastern Univeristy's Global Experience Office as their mobility coordinator. In this role, she provides visa guidance and support to students and faculty traveling abroad, and is able to utilize her research to improve current practices and enhance office programming.
Chelsea Ritter, Class of 2014
Chelsea earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. In her first year at UC, Chelsea implemented academic and behavioral interventions to Kindergarteners in urban schools and engaged in five different research projects with faculty and peers, working towards her goal to conduct research and teach psychology at a Research I university. While at Marymount, Chelsea started as a communications major, but changed to Psychology after taking PSY 101. Chelsea was a member of the Honors program and worked with Dr. Stacy Lopresti-Goodman as a research assistant. Her work with Dr. Lopresti-Goodman led to a publication and a desire to pursue research as a career choice. Chelsea's advice for current MU students is to be open to all opportunities and experiences. In Chelsea’s own words: “I love what I am doing. I know that I am doing the right thing with my life and the experiences I am getting are incredible. All of these experiences and skills that I have are because of professors at Marymount who took the time to talk to me inside and outside of class and write detailed feedback on all of my assignments. I cannot stress enough that Marymount prepared me so much for this Ph.D. program.”
Regina Ball, Class of 2012
Marymount Graphic Design and Honors Program alumna Regina Ball recently had her work for Phone2Action, a grassroots advocacy software, showcased on the Capital One Arena in DC. She was hired as Phone2Action’s first Graphic Designer in September 2016 and was recently promoted to Creative Manager. In this role she not only designs the creative for the company, but also creates and orders client gifts, branded swag, manages social media and website content, and provides photography and videography for internal and external events. Ball said. “Few companies actually live their mission of making the world a better place, but at Phone2Action I can see tangible differences our clients are making by using our tools.”
“I learned so much at Marymount in a variety of areas, but one of the most important things I learned from my Art & Design classes was being able to accept critiques gracefully,” Ball said. “Many people do not have experience working with designers and providing constructive feedback, so having a thick skin to accept the feedback and being able to work with that person to really draw out their reasoning and reactions has been invaluable.”