Catching up with Friar young alumni Karina Banuelos ’18 and Luke Cahill ’16.
Fenwick Graduation: 2018
Grade School: St. Richard
Current School: University of Illinois at Chicago
Major: Pre-Med Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology
Summer Internship: I had originally planned to intern as a part of the “Women in Science” Field Museum summer program, researching plant and fungal interactions in their lab, but due to the ongoing pandemic, these plans had to change. Instead, I currently volunteer at the UI Health Hospital in the Inpatient/Outpatient Pediatric Center, helping children and their families before their appointments, reading to babies, and trying to bring the most fun, interactive engagements I can to patients, even with COVID limitations. Additionally, I volunteer in the Surgical Services Department of the hospital, assisting nurses by providing pre-op and post-op patients with warm blankets, informational take-home folders, and contacting families after surgery. This experience has allowed me to make connections within medicine and view firsthand the intensive work and passion these women and men put into what they love. I also had the opportunity of completing two neuroscience courses offered through Harvard University this summer!
Career aspirations: Ever since I took Ms. Lilek’s [now Mrs. David] Psychology course senior year, I realized my love and fascination of the human brain and its complications, making it more invigorating to learn about! She made the class interactive, challenging us to create our own experiments, testing them out, and then sharing our unique results with the class. These research experiments peaked my interest into what is now my focus in college and career aspiration for the future! After touring the University of Illinois College of Medicine, I was offered the opportunity to be recently placed with a medical student who is now my Neurology mentor throughout my undergraduate career, which I could not be more thankful for! After undergraduate school, I would love to go onto medical school and accomplish my long route dream of becoming a future neurosurgeon.
Fenwick Achievements/Activities: H.O.L.A Club, Medical Club, German Club, Girls’ Water Polo, Girls’ Bowling, St. Catherine/St. Lucy Tutoring
Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: I had a couple of faculty members who had much influence on me throughout high school, such as my German teacher, Frau Strom, and my counselor, Mrs. Docherty. They both immensely aided and guided me when I had several questions about the college process and financial aid, needed help with tutoring, or was just someone to help me catch myself when I felt overwhelmed. If it wasn’t for my sophomore chemistry teacher, Ms. Timmons, I don’t believe that I’d be where I stand today. When there was something I didn’t understand, she always offered to stay late and give extra help before class until I confidently understood the lesson, which later led me to my love of science to this day. Even outside of academics, Ms. Timmons made a memorable impact on me that I will always cherish: When I joined water polo my freshman year, I had absolutely no experience competitively swimming and playing sports in the water. From day one, Coach Liz asked me to set goals for myself and constantly pushed me to achieve my best. In the pool and in the classroom, she made me realize that there is no shame in struggling and making mistakes, because that’s how we learn to build that greater version of ourselves and grow into what we want to accomplish. We should also never be afraid to ask for help, because there is probably someone else out there who has the same question as you!
Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: I had the fortunate and beautiful chance of taking Fr. Joe’s theology class my sophomore year. Fr. Joe is someone you can never forget — always happy, laughing and loving life, and putting others first before himself. He didn’t care who you were or where you came from; just that he loved each one of us individually, and that’s how he went about his teaching. With the same passion and love he had for God, he displayed it onto the students in an interactive way: By dancing, praising and singing to the Lord, and always praying for one another. Much like Kairos, Fr. Joe’s theology class incorporated the Dominican Catholic pillars of prayer, study, community and preaching into our academic and personal lives, which has allowed me to deepen my relationship with God and remind myself to take each beautiful day as it comes.
Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: My freshman year at Fenwick, I knew no one going in. Keeping this in mind, I decided to join clubs that I’d thought would help me meet new people. Joining H.O.L.A (Hispanic Outreach and Latino Awareness Club) was probably one of the best decisions I made early on and would love to live again. I was able to connect and share my story with incoming freshmen during open houses and fortunate enough to meet many families from all backgrounds who were interested in learning more about our culture! Mrs. Gallanari also made this club a safe, inviting, fun and informational place where I was able to meet students from similar backgrounds, take part in food drives and Day of the Dead celebrations, learn more and inform others of the Latino culture within the Fenwick community, and ultimately create relationships with the people who are now my closest friends to this day.
Fenwick experience that changed you the most: I am blessed and forever grateful to have gone to a school that allowed me to open myself to new surroundings, people and experiences, while having an extensive support system to creating my own path. Attending Kairos was the experience that motivated me to grow into the woman I want to be and realize that we should not take our everyday interactions for granted. Life can be simply based on how you perceive it: “Is your glass half full or half empty?” In other words, never be afraid to compliment or share a smile with that random stranger or to just give your family member an extra- long hug or even check up on your loved ones. Be happy and always spread that love around you, because you never know when someone could be needing it. I also learned that we tend to get ahead of ourselves and become so preoccupied with the world around us, that sometimes we need to hit “pause” on our life, and be thankful for what and whom we have. So, to everyone at Fenwick who has watched me grow as a student, friend, athlete and, now alumna, and to those who have helped me when I struggled, a huge THANK YOU for everything you’ve given me those four years and now!
Fenwick Graduation: 2016
Hometown: Naperville, IL
Grade School: Washington Junior High
College: Graduated from Regis University (Denver, CO) in May 2020
Major: Finance & Accounting
Summer Internship: 2019 internship – Marathon Petroleum Corporation
Career aspirations: I started a full-time position in June 2020 working for Prologis, a real estate investment trust, as a Capital Expenditure Specialist in Denver.
Fenwick Achievements/Activities: Golf, Football, Basketball, Debate Team
Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: Although I never had him as a teacher, Coach Borsch had the greatest influence on me while I attended Fenwick. Coach had higher expectations for me than I had for myself and would constantly push me to do my best. His motivation and passion have played an integral role in my development and success, as well as many others.
Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: AP Gov. (Ms. Logas) & AP Economics (Mr. Holmberg)
Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: Freshman year football
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