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Career Days Inspire Juniors to Explore Future Paths

In March, Loyola Academy’s Counseling Department hosted a series of Career Days for junior students with dozens of guest speakers representing a diversity of professions including law, finance, technology, real estate, business, medicine and more. Each speaker provided a unique perspective and a valuable learning opportunity for juniors as they begin to consider their future paths.
"This year we increased the number of guest professionals that allowed for smaller group discussions,” says School Counselor Sheila Blanchfield, who explained that the themes students consistently heard were networking, asking for help and finding the best fit for college and career.
In a discussion format, small groups of students listened as speakers described their career paths and major turning points or milestones. A majority of the presenters were Loyola Academy alumni from the Class of 1977 to the Class of 2013.
“It was amazing to see so many alumni jump at the opportunity to speak with our current students. It speaks volumes to the strength of the Loyola Academy alumni network,” says Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Ashley K. Sanks ’10, who helped select and coordinate the alumni speakers. “We are lucky to have so many alumni who are not only connected to the school, but to fellow Ramblers across all generations.“
One such alumnus is John Nicolau ’77, regional major account executive at ZLan Partners, a Sharp IT company and leading provider of IT services in Downers Grove, Illinois.
“It was great to be interacting with students,” says Nicolau, who is the graduate parent of Christopher Nicolau ’05, David Nicolau ’11 and Patrick Nicolau ’15. “I enjoyed sharing with them the fact that fellow Rambler alums are ready and willing to network and help them with their career questions. I have networked, worked with and referred countless alums to other alums, with pretty fair success, as have my sons as well as other family members who have attended the Academy. I encouraged them to stay connected to the LA network, as it will serve them well in the future, as long as they remember to be women and men for others first and foremost.”
Mackenna Caughron '12 currently lives in Los Angeles, California, where she works in technology consulting for Disney’s consumer products division. A business trip back to Chicago afforded her the opportunity to speak with Ramblers on Career Day.

“It was fantastic to walk the halls of Loyola and see how this institution is transforming itself,” she says. “This school exemplifies a community, and I was glad to contribute for one day and to share the lessons I've learned with our future alumni.”

“The alumni and friends who came to speak to our students were wonderful about sharing their ups and downs on the way to their college educations and current career paths,” adds School CounselorGabrielle Feldman, PhD, LPC. “They helped show the students how networking, perseverance and hard work helped them and gave great advice about how students can begin their process—even starting in junior year. I know some students already have plans to seek out their speakers for further information and maybe even some mentoring.”  
This is exactly the case for junior Jackson Tolnai, who dreams of designing athletic shoes for Nike. Speaking with producer and writer Vince Bolger ’11, Tolnai gained a valuable direct connection to a Loyola alumnus working in the apparel industry here in Chicago. “I learned from Vince that networking is very important when it comes to arranging internships,” he said. For many students like Tolnai, the experience shed new light on the important task of career preparation and planning.
A very special thank you to our career day presenters:
Mehron Beheshti '08
Vince Bolger '11
Barrett Busscher '13
John Candioto '04
Mackenna Caughron '12
Gerry Corcoran
Katherine Bissell Cordova
Tom Craddock '92
Sarah Cutrara
Niki Cuttell (Grzeslo) '09
Tim Devine '88
Will Diaz '02
Patrick Dolan Jr. '08
Vince Duet '98
Bill Holohan '77
Kathy Jefson '96
Brian Kelly '83
Chris Hegg Krackenberger
Cynthia LaCourt
Jim Lyman '79
Kevin Magnuson
Debbie Mokeleba '12
Jack Moysey '97
Ellen Muench '06
John Nicolau '77
John Nimesheim '91
Emily Ocwieja '13
Kristine Paca
Emily Panici '05
Charles Pantoga '08
Mike Pedi '04
Stephanie Fowler Raeke '07
Chris Ruder
Michael Sheresky
Catherine Solmos '12
Alissa Vradenburg
George Vradenburg

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