3 Alumnae Siblings Share High-speed Internet (and Precious Time)

The Lombard sisters — one law-school student, one med-school student and one undergrad — returned home to Western Springs, IL, for eStudy this spring.

The trio of Lombard sisters came home to Western Spring, IL, this after college campuses shut down earlier this spring. “We haven’t all lived together or studied together for almost 10 years, so it’s been really memorable,” says Lauren, the family’s “baby” and a 2017 graduate of Fenwick.

Elizabeth, the eldest, adds, “In many ways, in sharing homework space, fighting for Wi-Fi capacity and complaining about exams and tough assignments together, it truly reminded all of us of our Fenwick days.”

Elizabeth Lombard ’11 (University of Notre Dame ’15 – Double Major: Accountancy and English) was a Friar cheerleader and earned a varsity letter at Notre Dame as Senior Football Manager. She worked for two years as a certified public accountant at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Chicago), then returned to ND. Earlier this month, she graduated with an accelerated joint degree: a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) in law and Master of Business Administration. Elizabeth soon will head to New York City to take a job in the corporate practice division of law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Here are her and her sisters’ “quarantine” stories:

Elizabeth Lombard ’11

I just completed my third degree at the University of Notre Dame. My last semester certainly did not go as planned with the onset of eLearning. However, I felt lucky to have my family by my side throughout all of the chaos, to tackle this challenge together. We have not all been together, living in our family home in Western Springs, since I graduated Fenwick in 2011.

This semester I was enrolled in Trust and Estates Law, Intercollegiate Athletics Law, an Intercollegiate Athletics Externship, a Venture Capital and IPO Law Seminar, and a Law and the Entrepreneur Seminar. Most of my professors decided to still hold live, discussion-based Zoom meetings in lieu of our in-person classes. I loved these live Zoom meetings, as it made me feel like I was still in the classroom (minus being able to stare at the Golden Dome through the windows).

In addition to complications with moving the actual classroom learning online, I also faced graduation celebration planning complications. This year, I served as the 3L Class Representative for my law-school class on our Student Bar Association (similar to a Student Council). A vital part of my job was planning ‘3L Week’ celebrations, for the week prior to graduation — including a Chicago Cubs game, a winery tour and a massive banquet with our entire class. Obviously, when school was canceled, these opportunities to celebrate our achievements as a class were eliminated. I decided that we still needed to celebrate in some capacity digitally. I created a virtual ‘banquet’ for my class — complete with a digital congratulatory video from our professors and administration and a ‘Class Slideshow,’ with a slide for each student showing their favorite law-school photo, moment, class, as well as a senior superlative. It was very rewarding for me to put this together and know that my classmates felt loved and celebrated. Additionally, I coordinated a “Professor Send-Off” where five beloved professors gave our class some words of wisdom and congratulations. Notre Dame has rescheduled our official graduation for May 2021.

Fenwick has prepared me and my sisters well for our various career paths. I would particularly like to thank Ms. Logas for inspiring my interest in the law from her AP Government class; Mrs. Macaluso for inspiring my passion for writing and analysis in AP Literature; and Blackfriars Guild (BFG) for giving me confidence in my public speaking abilities. My time at Fenwick cultivated in me a hunger for learning and diligent work ethic, without which I would not have been able to excel during the demanding JD/MBA program. I look forward to joining Fenwick’s network of attorneys and continuing to grow my Fenwick family in the future.

Rachel Lombard ’13
Notre Dame ’17

Rachel Lombard completed a degree in Science Business at the University of Notre Dame in 2017. A few weeks ago, she began her fourth year of medical school at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago (Class of ’21). She is the recipient of the Medical Student Council’s Tom C. Reeves Memorial Award, which recognizes a third-year med student who exhibits outstanding leadership, volunteerism and character.

Rachel Lombard ’13

Before the pandemic hit, I had spent my entire third year of medical school completing clinical rotations in the different fields of medicine such as OBGYN, Pediatrics, Surgery, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. While on my Surgical Rotation, the attending physician I worked with was also a Fenwick graduate and we bonded over our time at Fenwick. We both agreed that Mr. Farran was one of the best teachers we ever had and inspired both of us to pursue a career in medicine. It is really amazing how the Fenwick connections can always be found. Clinical rotations have by far been the best part of medical school, so far, because I finally got to work with actual patients and really feel like a part of the medical team.

 I was just about to start my final rotation of my third year in Family Medicine when the pandemic intensified. My medical school, along with almost all other medical schools in the United States, decided to pull all medical students from in-person clinical rotations to help do our part in minimizing the spread of the virus and conserve the already very limited amount of personal protective equipment. Like so many others, my life drastically changed overnight. I went from learning medicine from real-life patient encounters to learning from virtual online patient cases. Additionally, I had online lectures over Zoom from our clinical professors. Some of my clinical professors had just come off treating patients in the COVID unit and would teach us about their experiences firsthand fighting the virus, which was quite interesting.

I finished my six weeks of Family Medicine and took my first medical school exam from home, which also was quite the experience. I had the great luck of there being, not one, but two beeping car parades occurring on my street while taking my exam. I am currently taking a few weeks of dedicated study time in preparation for my second board exam STEP 2 CK, which I will be taking in early June. The faculty at our medical school have done an incredible job staying connected with students during these challenging times. As class president, I also facilitate weekly meetings over Zoom in which all my classmates and the deans and faculty of our school discuss the current state of what is happening in real time.

My school is hoping we will be able to return to clinicals by the middle of June. Until then, I will continue my online studies of medical topics and try to keep my surgical skills sharp by practicing my suturing skills at home.

Lauren Lombard ’17
Junior at Notre Dame, studying Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Biomolecular Engineering

Lauren Lombard ’17

Near the end of February, I sat in my Chemical Process Controls course. My professor noted a change in the syllabus, because today we would be modeling the spread of coronavirus on Notre Dame’s campus. Using his model, he predicted that if only a handful of students returned from spring break infected with the virus, over 40% of campus would likely be infected by finals week.  He asked for suggestions on how we could mitigate this spread. While plenty of suggestions were made (“sit further apart in classes,” “change the dining halls”), not one student suggested that we cancel in-person classes for the semester and close all the residence halls.

About two weeks later, over spring break, we received THE email: the one cancelling classes for the rest of the semester. I thought back to my class less than two weeks prior, and I was immediately struck with the power of this pandemic to disrupt life, beyond what was reasonable thought 12 days prior.

I study Chemical Engineering, a major that is incredibly dependent on group work and in-person lab experiments. I spent the latter half of the semester watching my professors complete experiments for us over Zoom video conferencing, along with completing lengthy lab reports with my two lab partners who live in Arizona and Connecticut. There are definitely plenty of things I miss about being on campus, both academically and socially, that make me eager to return.

And it is easy to think about all the pandemic has taken away from the college experience — but I have also looked to appreciate the things I’ve gained. I think the flexibility and perseverance acquired and practiced by students during this pandemic will be carried into our lives, both professionally and personally, long after quarantine ends. The shift to online learning was definitely challenging, but I was thankful to have understanding professors who were both empathetic and entirely determined to salvage our learning for the semester. Additionally, I was able to live and study with my older sisters.

I finished up my finals last week, so I’m looking ahead to a different kind of summer as well. Back in November, I accepted an offer to intern this summer at Abbvie, Inc., a large biopharmaceutical company located in North Chicago. Months later, I am thankful that Abbvie remains committed to a fully virtual internship experience this summer. I’ll be working in the Parenteral Products division, helping develop safe and effective methods of alternative drug delivery for medicines delivered non-orally. I’m excited to put to practice all the things I’ve learned throughout my education at Notre Dame at a company that is focused on improving the quality of life for its patients. The conviction that I should use my intellectual abilities and strong educational background for good is one that I learned both at Fenwick and throughout college.

I think the ability to find the intersection between engineering, the sciences and the common good is often a difficult one to pinpoint, but I credit much of my ability to do so to three of my Fenwick teachers in the STEM area.  Mr. Farran, Mr. Kleinhans, and Ms. Dactilidis, while teaching Chemistry, Physics and Statistics, respectively, managed to also teach me that even in largely technical disciplines, there is plenty of opportunity to contribute to the common good.

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