Collegiate Friars: July 2020

Catching up with 2019 classmates Laura Durkin and Samuel Saunders at the University of Illinois and Syracuse University, respectively.

LAURA DURKIN

Fenwick Graduation: 2019
Hometown: Riverside, IL
Grade School: St. Mary’s
Current School: University of Illinois (Gies College of Business)
Major: Finance and Information Systems

Summer Internship: A summer internship I am currently pursuing is branching off of the Venture Capital Association club that I participated in my freshman year at U of I. This internship involves working with private equity firms across the United States to provide financial analytics and exit-strategy consulting. This summer I will be continuing research and performing quantitative due diligence to identify potential target investments for a private equity firm that I have been on a project with since the beginning of my second semester. This internship will be paired with an internship through COVID-19 Business Fellowship Program where I will help small businesses throughout the Chicago area to reimagine and redefine how they reach customers, achieve business objectives, and help them to adapt to the new normal by mobilizing in the face of adversity.

Career aspirations: I will be a sophomore in the Gies College of Business, still mainly exploring my career options and aspirations. I am looking into a career potentially involving computer science and finance.

Fenwick achievements/
activities: National Honors Society, Latin Club Dictator, Cross Country 4 years, Track 3 years, Cross Country and Track captain 2019, Freshman soccer; Varsity soccer sophomore year, Girls Bowling record holder, Kairos Leader November 2019.

Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: I was taught AP physics by Mr. Kleinhans and AP Econ by Mr. Gallo. A mixture of both the enthusiastic, heartfelt, and informational lessons I learned that apply both in and out of the classroom by these two teachers is what has been guiding me to find my interests and career aspirations so far in college. I was also blessed to be taught by Mr. Rodde, Mr. Roche and many more influential teachers while at Fenwick High School.

Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: Moral Theology my junior year with Mr. Slajchert and Dominican Spirituality my senior year with Fr. Peddicord. I was lucky enough to have Mr. Slajchert my freshman and junior year. By the time I had him for moral theology my junior, I was very comfortable with his teaching style, and I was able to explore the material of moral theology with his guidance and see the importance of the theology class at Fenwick first hand. My senior Dominican Spirituality class, led by Fenwick President Fr. Peddicord was influential because it was a perfect conclusion to my time at Fenwick learning of the history, pillars, and virtues of what living as a Dominican truly means.

Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: I was recently reflecting on this answer this past weekend as I was updated with my one year memories on snapchat of my senior track state and senior prom weekend. I would relive this Fenwick experience in an instant surrounded by teammates, coaches, friends, and family celebrating the culmination of my four years of training and closing out my highschool experience with a sunny weekend out of a fairytale book.

What Fenwick experience changed you the most: My participation on the cross country team changed me the most through my four years at Fenwick. I had never run before high school, but before my first day of classes even began I had already met a group of driven, talented, compassionate, beautiful girls that would be my best friends even after graduation. I learned innumerable hard lessons and built a strong character and culminated my highschool running career by qualifying for state individually. I am now taking the love for the sport that was formed and developed through highschool and currently training for the Chicago Marathon in the fall.

SAMUEL SAUNDERS

Fenwick Graduation: 2019
Hometown: Wheaton, IL
Grade School: St. Petronille
Current School: Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)
Double Major: Finance & Entrepreneurship

Involvement on campus: I’m currently a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, NYA chapter where I’m on the Finance Committee. This is a great experience because I get the opportunity to manage a $100,000 budget. Last year, I was elected to be the RHA (BBB) Director of Administration and Finance where my role was to govern student life for the 730 students in my hall and oversee Syracuse’s housing budget. I’m also an active member in Cuse’s Entrepreneurship Club where we bring in prosperous entrepreneurs such as Kenneth Langone Sr. — investor, philanthropist, and co-founder of Home Depot — to guest speak at our business school.

Summer internship: During this summer I’m working as a Marketing Intern at Matrix Home Solutions, a home remodeling company. I’ve been really enjoying this experience because although Matrix is a $50 million business, it is considered to be in a growth/expansion phase. This startup style atmosphere has allowed me to work closely alongside the CEO and other core leaders of the company to completely rebrand Matrix’s image. The ultimate goal for my main project is to successfully launch an emerging product division within the company by the end of the summer. To accomplish this, I’ve been working with the CEO of an outsourced marketing company weekly to design an advanced branding approach, contacting distributors to create a concrete supply chain, and leading the research to reinvent the Matrix website. So far, this has been the most valuable business experience I have had as an intern; and I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to take part in making major internal company decisions.

Career aspirations: I’ve always dreamed of starting my own business and becoming a successful entrepreneur. However, I would first love to begin my career in either the private equity or investment banking field and then eventually pursue my dream of starting a successful business.

Fenwick Achievements/Activities: NHS Member, Presidential Scholar, Scholastic Hockey Scholar 2015-2018, Student Body Treasurer, Class President 2015-2018, Best Buddies Volunteer. Fenwick Sports: Ice Hockey 2015-2018, Tennis 2015-2018, Wrestling 2015 & 2018, Rugby 2019

Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: I really wish I could single out one teacher that influenced me the most but in all honesty it’s simply impossible. Every single teacher I had so greatly influenced me in their own unique way to shape me into the person I am today and I’m so thankful for that. However, I would like to acknowledge Father Joe Ekpo for showing me how amazingly unique and fun Fenwick was when I was an anxious shadow visiting high school for the first time. He lit the candle for me that day which commenced the incredible journey Fenwick held in store for me.

Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: This one for me is easily speech class sophomore year with Mr. Arellano. Sometimes it’s not the class in particular that makes the biggest impact, it’s the teacher. Not only was he one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had, he was also an extremely genuine and compassionate man outside of class. Public speaking was one of my biggest fears, and he is the reason why it doesn’t bother me much at all anymore. He was THE BEST at pushing everyone to their absolute limits, getting them out of their comfort zone, and molding them into confident speakers/people who have the mindset that they can conquer the world. His class wasn’t just a speech class, it was a class to help students use courage they always had but never knew existed. I’m indebted to Mr. Arellano forever because he gave me a bold mindset that helps me whenever I’m in a stressful situation.

Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: If I could turn back time and relive my senior year again, I would do it in a heartbeat. I loved every moment at Fenwick, don’t get me wrong. I’d relive all four years of Fenwick again if I was able to. But, nothing really compares to the euphoric feeling that builds up exponentially the entire year, peaks when you walk across the stage at graduation, and never really dissipates at all that entire summer until you say your final goodbyes before college. The memories we all made senior year are ones that will last a lifetime. As Andy Bernard once said, “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them.”

What Fenwick experience changed you the most: Kairos. I could just leave it at that, but it deserves more. It legitimately made me a better person and it made our whole class extremely close. After that life changing experience, I started to grasp a new understanding of the world and how lucky we are to be loved. Education aside, Kairos is one of the best things Fenwick gifts their seniors.

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