Alumni Feature - Dawn '12 and Greg '94 Zibricky

Dawn Zibricky ‘12 grew up outside of Quincy, Illinois, more than 300 miles away from the first home she shared with her husband, Greg ‘94 in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood. She never dreamt that living in Chicago was for her until she made a trip with some friends years ago to Billy Goat Tavern on Lower Wacker Drive in the Loop.
When Dawn arrived, she saw first-hand the homeless that lived on the streets, ailing and begging for money. She witnessed how dire the need was for quality health and human services for the people of the city. What was initially a night out with friends became a moment of higher-calling for Dawn.
She would go on to earn her bachelors and masters' degrees in Nursing, a doctorate in Educational Leadership, and teach at Lewis for some years before taking a position to teach at Elmhurst College. She felt drawn to administer care, heal, and teach others to do the same. Education and health sciences were Dawn's passions, something she used to propel her throu…

Alumni Feature - Sarah Kuczek '18

Sarah Kuczek ’18 career can change the lives of more than a dozen people per day. Some she tells their cancer has returned; if their unborn child is gaining weight; if mom’s body is handling pregnancy well. It is a career that is both exciting and daunting at the same time, but one that she loves.
Sarah is an OBGYN sonographer at Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group. She is also qualified to assist with sonohysterogram and endometrial biopsies. She graduated from Lewis with her bachelor's in Diagnostic Medical Sonography with honors in 2018. 

Sarah says sonography blended her love of many things, including people, technology, and anatomy, and allows her to give her patients the help they need – similar to what she experienced herself early on in her life.
“When I was younger, I had an echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart. I also had ultrasounds when I was pregnant at 16. That pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage; however, that experience only made my passion for sonogra…

Alumni Feature - Allison Trendle '18

Inmates are humans, too.

That’s the conclusion Allison Trendle ‘18 came to after she spent her years as an undergrad communicating with various inmates, including Debbie* (name changed for anonymity) at Logan Correction Center in downstate Illinois. Allison began correspondence with Debbie through Faith Behind Bars, a course facilitated by Lewis University Professor Dr. Christie Billups. The course explores practicing faithful justice and explores communication with those incarcerated and those affected by crime using a Catholic perspective. Throughout their correspondence, Allison learned that Debbie held deep regret for the crime she committed, and witnessed Debbie’s humanity in the letters she wrote about her family and the day-to-day details of her life, albeit behind bars.
“I started with Faith Behind Bars my sophomore year and it opened up an entirely new world for me. As a society, we are all too willing to cast aside the incarcerated population and think about them as less than …

Alumni Feature - Jared Dayton '08

If Jared Dayton ’08 knows one thing, it’s how to accommodate people and make them feel welcome. It’s actually his specialty as General Manager of The Dossier Hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon; but Jared’s commitment to support and hospitality doesn’t just stop with his guests and clients.
“The best part about my job is my ability to impact every one of my employees’ daily lives as well as shape the future of our guest experience. I am proud to set a culture of employee first and have the power to shape that destiny,” says Jared. “The hotel industry also offers a very unique vibe and company culture because you have a fair amount of entry-level positions and nice growth opportunities. The biggest aspect of the job that reeled me in was the people. When you work with people who are passionate about making guests happy, the environment is engaging and fun. With the right people, the right attitude, and a lot of hard work, you are able to quickly climb the ranks!”
While Jared’s path into …

Alumni Feature - Carol Barajas '07

In the most recent Global Energy Talent Index report which surveys the renewable energy and  nuclear energy fields, it’s estimated that women make up about eight to 14 percent of professionals in these fields. Carol Barajas is one of these women.
For nearly thirty years, Carol has been breaking the mold in the energy and nuclear fields. Carol, who got her start selling electronic panel and test equipment to a variety of nuclear energy companies in Toronto, says the industries always fascinated her. She was later promoted to branch manager and relocated to the Chicago area. Carol was offered a position in Instrument and Control at ComEd's Nuclear Station in Morris, Illinois after landing a major contract with ComEd (now Exelon) to supply panel and test equipment. She became the first licensed nuclear operator during her time at Exelon’s plant in Morris, an achievement she recalls fondly. But she notes the difficulty of excelling in the field as a woman.
“It was a very male-dominated …

Alumni Feature - Bryon Baxter '12

Bryon Baxter ‘12 has a motto: “Be open to change and be adaptable. The world is always changing and opening yourself up to being challenged is truly important.”
On average, about 3.5 million people work in the fast food industry in the United States every year. As a teenager, Bryon Baxter was one of them, working part-time at a Burger King in Indiana. He says it’s one of the many things that drew him to the food manufacturing business. “I started looking into the company and saw products like Kraft foods and Coca-Cola drinks and took a liking to the process – now, I’m working for these companies.”
Bryon always had a mind for numbers and science. He knew early on he wanted to take a path that involved analytics. He says it was his part-time job at Burger King, his mom, and a few accounting and career-preparedness courses in high school that inspired him to set a goal and reach it. By the time Bryon graduated high school, he had been accepted to Purdue, Michigan State, and Indiana Univers…

Alumni Feature - Kayla Ryan '15

Washington School in south suburban Joliet serves hundreds of children in Joliet Public Schools District 86. Many of the children who attend Washington have experienced serious challenges outside of the classroom and Language Arts teacher Kayla Ryan ’15 says she spends quite a bit of time worrying about their futures.
“Many times my students have experienced more hardships than most adults in their short time here on Earth, and it effects their academics immensely. One of the best pieces of advice that I got in my undergrad came from Ann O’Brien and she said, ‘There will be no learning going on if a child’s basic need of sleep, food, and love are not met.’ I try to remember that every day, and this is where growing and forming the relationships that I have with my students is the most important part of my job.”
For Kayla, becoming a teacher was a no-brainer. The second oldest of five children in her family, she spent many nights and weekends babysitting her siblings. She realized quick…