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Seniors awarded Sisters of the Holy Cross awards

and | Friday, May 15, 2015

Four Saint Mary’s graduates from the class of 2015 were honored with unique C.S.C.awards for service in a variety of disciplines. The C.S.C. awards are given by the Office of Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) to students who are devoted to community-based learning and volunteering.

The mission of the College is to discern needs and respond, and each award is a tribute to the mission of the founders of Saint Mary’s, according to a press release. Appropriately, five of the seven C.S.C. awards are named for Sisters of the Holy Cross.

The Sister Christine Healy, C.S.C. Award for Service with Women was awarded to political science major Kaitlyn Rabach (Editor’s note: Rabach served as Saint Mary’s Editor for The Observer from 2013-2014).

According to Laura Elder, assistant professor of global studies and intercultural studies, this award is given “to honor Saint Mary’s College Students who provide significant support to women in the community.”

Rabach began serving women as soon as she came to Saint Mary’s, Elder said.

“Just after she arrived [on campus], she was interested in human trafficking and organized a series of sessions on what you can do here on campus and at the international level,” Elder said. “She volunteered at three different organizations throughout her time here. What she was doing was citizenship classes, language classes and general support for women and children.”

Even with her heavy course load and extracurriculars, Rabach was dedicated in everything she did, Elder said.

Elder also included Rabach’s dedication to The Observer in her nomination.

“I consider that service to women as well which is education, information, and thoughtful articulate dialogue,” she said. “It’s getting the word out there.”

Rabach said she was honored to received the award.

“I was really honored to get this award because throughout my time at Saint Mary’s, I really focused on this idea of a feminist education,” Rabach said. “A lot of my service work as well as my course load has been tailored towards women’s issues … and helping others find their own agency.

“This award was really meaningful to me in the fact that my work has been recognized as having some sort of impact on women’s issues in both the South Bend and the larger global community,” she said. “It was a great honor to have two of my professors recognize the work I’ve been doing over the past four years.”

Nursing major Sarah Hossfeld received the Sister Olivia Marie Hutcheson, C.S.C. Award for Service in the Health Field.

Associate professor of nursing Annette Peacock-Johnson said she believes Hossfeld deserves the award because of the service she provided through raising awareness and creating programs regarding healthy body image for young girls at St. Margaret’s House in South Bend. Hossfeld organized events for the Girls’ Club and engaged young girls in activities to give positive reinforcement and good role models as they grow up.

“Sarah is a true trailblazer,” Peacock-Johnson said. “She did not wait for others to come forward and create a program where she could volunteer. Instead, Sarah identified the need and created a program in outreach to the local community.”

Associate professor of nursing Ella Harmeyer said Hossfeld’s drive, initiative and expertise were evident and obvious in her nursing clinicals.

Additionally, Harmeyer said it was an honor to present her with this award because of “Sarah’s well-rounded science knowledge base in nursing, her compassionate care of patients and families and especially her vision for what is public health nursing at its best.”

Hossfeld said she was humbled to win the award.

“I love all the work I did in the community, and I think it’s safe to say that, in most cases, I learned more than I taught other people or gave back to the community,” Hossfeld said. “I think I gained a lot from my experiences. I felt very blessed that the nursing department and those who nominated me felt that what I had done was important enough for this award.”

Hossfeld said winning the award gave her a sense of validation in knowing her work made a difference in the lives of other people.

“Service work is just so needed,” she said. “It’s something that I hope to continue to do in my life, whether I’m recognized for it or not.”

The Sister Olivette Whalen C.S.C. Award for General Service was awarded to Jaclyn Voltz, a biology major. This award is given to a Saint Mary’s student for her exemplary service involvement in the areas of civic engagement, environmental concern, animal welfare, criminal justice, hunger, homelessness and community development.

As the president of the service club, Circle K, at Saint Mary’s, and a resident advisor in Le Mans Hall, Voltz has experience serving the community both on and off the Saint Mary’s campus.

“I make sure girls get to have the opportunity to leave the Saint Mary’s bubble and go to South Bend to do service,” Voltz said.

Amy Gillan, assistant professor in the education department, and Kimber Nelson, newly-appointed Circle K president, both nominated Voltz for the award.

Gillan met Voltz in her secondary education science methods course this past fall. They worked together, along with two Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) secondary science education students, in support of the local Green Bridge Growers social justice initiative to create a curriculum on aquaponics — a water purification system intended for autistic students.

During this time, Gillan said she was able to see Voltz’s devotion to the community as well as her desire to get others involved.

“I am impressed with Jaclyn’s boundless energy when it comes to sharing her strengths and passions with those in the Saint Mary’s community and beyond,” Gillan said. “Jaclyn clearly thrives on serving others and reflects leadership and optimism in doing so.”

After Voltz’s two years as Circle K president, Nelson will take over for the 2015-2016 school year. Before leaving, Voltz had a significant role in helping Nelson create a plan for the club next year, she said

“I have super huge shoes to fill; Jackie has been awesome all year,” Nelson said. “I definitely look up to her.”

Voltz said she did not expect to receive the award at all.

“I was very surprised,” Voltz said. “Doing service is more of a fun stress-relieving activity for me; I was surprised to receive an award.”

She attributed her achievement to her Saint Mary’s education.

“Saint Mary’s definitely gave me the confidence to pursue these leadership roles,” Voltz said. “I don’t think I would’ve been able to do this without my Saint Mary’s education.”

After graduation, Voltz will be headed to Komga, South Africa, to work with 57 children in a home that was started by Notre Dame alumni. She will be there for a year to work on starting an after-school tutoring program for the children.

While she is in South Africa, Voltz is hoping to stay in touch with Nelson to begin a pen pal program for the children with the help of Circle K, Nelson said.

Senior education major Angelina Lazovich received the Sister Maria Concepta McDermott, C.S.C. Award for Service in Education.

Lazovich was nominated by Dr. Nancy Turner, the chair of the education department, for her work with the new organization Students Supporting Autism at Saint Mary’s.

Lazovich has been working with Turner since the end of the 2013-2014 school year to establish the club. According to Lazovich, it was Turner’s idea to begin the club at Saint Mary’s. Turner asked for volunteers to help, and Lazovich was eager to join.

The mission of Students Supporting Autism is to spread awareness of autism to the local community and to raise funds for two local autism organizations.

“I loved the idea of spreading awareness to the campus community and raising funds that would go to local centers to support families,” Lazovich said.

Turner, Lazovich and Students Supporting Autism managed to raise over $1,300 for those affected by autism in the first year of the club.

“It is very important that people be educated on the topic and that we do what we can to help families who might not know much about autism yet themselves if they have a family member who is just being diagnosed,” Lazovich said. “I think Dr. Turner and the College recognized our efforts to increase awareness and raise funds for the families in the community and gave me this honor because of the work I was able to do with the club this year.

Lazovich said her long-term goal is to get her master’s degree in special education and become a special education teacher so she can directly help students with autism. Until she can attend graduate school, she hopes to continue to spread awareness.

“I hope to inspire my students in the same ways that Saint Mary’s has inspired me, by teaching them that their dreams can come true,” Lazovich said. “I also want to continue to spread awareness about autism and teach my students to be respectful and accepting of everyone.”

Lazovich attributed her achievement to both the education and opportunities Saint Mary’s provided her.

“Saint Mary’s has helped turn me into a better leader, listener, student, teacher, friend and overall person,” Lazovich said. “I am so grateful to the College for their support in our endeavors all year.”

Lazovich said she is proud of everything Students Supporting Autism has accomplished.

“I wish that I could share the award with all of the members, because without them, none of our success would have been possible,” Lazovich said. “I am so sad to see my time here end, but I will keep all of the lessons that I have learned here in my heart forever.”

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About Nicole Caratas

Nicole is a senior English Writing and Humanistic Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. Now a senior news writer, she previously served as the Saint Mary's Editor. She was born in real Chicago but grew up in the suburbs, and she currently lives in Opus Hall.

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