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Alumni Feature - Allison Trendle '18

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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

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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

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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 industries in Toronto, says this field has always fascinated her. nuclear energy companies in Toronto, says the energy and nuclear industry was a profession that always peaked her interest. 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 re…

Alumni Feature - Bryon Baxter '12

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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

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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…

Alumni Feature - Peter Kim '17

As working adults, we change jobs or titles – but what about when we want to start a new career? The thought of going back to school or changing a career path can be daunting. For Peter Kim ’17, it was no different – until a chance encounter with an interview by a Lewis professor.
“For many years, I was eager to switch careers into data science but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. It had been a good deal of time since my undergraduate degree in business, so I had a lot of self-doubt about whether a master’s degree was a viable path.”
When Peter came across an interview on a career website given by Lewis University Assistant Professor and Director of the M.S. Data Science program, Dr. Piotr Szczurek, he contacted the Lewis admissions office.
“There was an admissions person who was really great about addressing my questions, and she encouraged me to apply! I was so happy that day I was admitted to Lewis. I worked really hard at Lewis, but I was also managing the demands of a full-tim…

Alumni Feature - Kristle Lowell '12

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UPDATE 11/2018:

Lewis alumna and gymnast Kristle Lowell ’12 recently won a bronze medal for the United States in the World Championships in St. Petersburg Russia! Kristle was competing for Morgan Park sports center under coach Chris Walker where she made the national team for 2018.

“I qualified for the national team in Greensboro, NC, and went to the World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan. I wanted to definitely make the competition team, which is decided there, and I won both of the two verification competitions and made the competitive team! I got to work with a coach while I was there, Chelsea Rainer, and she was incredible.”


For the World Championships, five athletes go but only four compete – so it was a constant competition to prove herself.

“I did the performances of my life going into finals to get into the top eight. It’s extremely difficult to make finals with the current two per country rule. We went to this early-morning training session in Russia, where the World Championshi…