Alumnae Accomplishments

Ursuline has many accomplished graduates working in a multitude of fields. They continue in the tradition of learning not just for school, but for life. Their accomplishments are a source of pride and inspiration for our community.

We'd love to hear from you! If you are interested in sharing an accomplishment -Did you just get a promotion? Were you given an award? Were you featured in an article?- please contact Ellen Funk Valentine ‘08, Director of Alumnae Relations, at

Olivia Schwartz '14, known in the musical world as Olivia Frances, was nominated in the Story Song Category in the 18th Annual Independent Music Awards. "The Bee & the Rose” a sweeping, environmentally-driven song off her most recent album Orchid (2019), is the song that earned her the nomination.

Celeste Simon '73 went to Stockholm in December 2019 for the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet. Celeste gave a keynote speech for the Medicine or Physiology Award, as a close colleague of the three 2019 Nobel laurates. Celeste is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the Scientific Director and Investigator at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute.

Jessica Harbison Weaver '01 recently accepted a position with the Pacific West Conference as the Associate Commissioner for Compliance/Senior Woman Administrator after completing three years with Concordia University, Portland as the Deputy Athletic Director.

Paige Thompson '16 is a graduating senior at the University of Louisville in the Equine Industry Program. She has received the 2020 Robert G. Lawrence Award which recognizes the Top Senior in the Equine Business Industry program. Paige is also the founder and president of the University of Louisville’s Eventing Team.

Stacy Buschhaus '08 recently returned to Ursuline for the week to teach English to our Japanese exchange students. Stacy is currently an instructor at Conversa Language Center. Prior to her position at Conversa, she was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Germany.

Moira Clark Bonn '83 and Cindy Gilles Bambauer '83 are the new owners of 101 Mobility in Blue Ash, on Kenwood Road. 101 Mobility specializes in helping people age in place by installing accessibility equipment in homes and businesses, such as stair lifts, ramps and wheelchair lifts. The official name of their business, Merici, Ltd. DBA 101 Mobility, is named after St. Angela Merici! Besides being the founder of the Ursulines, St. Angela is also the patron saint of the physically challenged, sick, and disabled. Since Moira and Cindy met at Ursuline, and they are serving the physically challenged at 101 Mobility, they are thrilled to associate with St. Angela Merici.

Lisa Guay '09 defended her Ph.D. on January 10th. She attended graduate school at MIT for Chemical Engineering and her thesis, titled "Pathway and Protein Engineering for Improved Glucaric Acid Production in Escherichia coli." It focused on Lisa's research on improving the biological production of glucaric acid from glucose in engineered E. coli in order to create sustainable and functional detergents and polymers. Here Lisa is pictured with UA science faculty member and alumna Diane Neyer Rose '74.

Three members of the Class of '08, Veronique Allaer, Kerstin Bladh, and Suzy Strachan King, were featured in City Beat's International Women's Day selection of "powerful Cincinnati ladies." Suzy co-owns local shop Handzy Shop + Studio. Veronique and Kerstin are members of Cincinnati own "lush punk" band Leggy and have just released their second album.

Laura Kellison Meyer '00 is the Vice President of Business Intelligence for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. She is one of two female VPs in the NBA and in 2015 led the Lynx and the Timberwolves to be the first teams in the WNBA and NBA to have complete digital ticket entry.

Maria Prysock '05 was recently promoted to Vice President, Director of PR and Social at advertising agency Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago. She leads the Porsche, Corona and Meiomi Wine accounts, overseeing brand strategy for both PR and social media. Maria was also recently engaged to Ryan Frost and the couple will be getting married April 2020 in Sarasota, Florida.

Ginny Walters '07 was recently named a Woman of Courage and Vision at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The President's Commission on the Status of Women distributes this honor to women on campus who have displayed courage and vision in their work. Ginny is the Honors Program Assistant Director and University Fellowship Coordinator. In this role, she teaches, advises, and mentors highly motivated students every day. Ginny established the University Fellowship Office in 2013 as a way to increase awareness of award opportunities for the university's highest-achieving students. Ginny's nominator praised her saying, "Ginny is personally and professionally committed to supporting others, especially those most often overlooked." In the fall, Ginny will begin a doctoral program in Higher Education Administration at St. Cloud State University.

Emily Haglage '06 began Centre Physical Therapy in September 2018 just outside Chicago. She credits the Symposium, a biannual Ursuline event where alumnae come back to talk to students about their professions, as the spark that ignited her interest in the field. Business has been so busy that she and her partner have already hired another Physical Therapist to join the practice!

Emily Balskus '98 was recently awarded tenure and promoted to full professor at Harvard University. She becomes the first woman in her field to achieve this at Harvard. Science News also named her a member of its SN 10 Class of 2018, early- and mid-career scientists who are breaking ground and have been nominated by Nobel laureates and recently elected members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Brigida Meyer Loucks '02 was presented with the Prudential 2018 Team of the Year Award in January 2019. Brigida is a Financial Advisor in the Cincinnati office and leads the regional Investment Committee. This award is given to the group that has the most growth for the year. Brigida is proud of her team and their accomplishments and can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store. She highly encourages any woman who is interested in Finance to pursue it – only 1 in 5 Advisors are women!

Joanna Argus Kirkendall '98 was recently named by the James Beard Foundation as one of 20 fellows for a program supporting female entrepreneurs and had the opportunity to attend the Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership program in September. Joanna co-owns local establishments Pleasantry, 1215 Wine Bar + Coffee Lab, and Money Chicken.

Michelle Phan '08 was awarded the Robert L. Schaengold, M.D. Award at the Cincinnati Pediatric Society's Founders' Dinner. The award is given to a third-year pediatric resident at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center who has shown exceptional dedication to the care of the underserved.

Deborah Dryer Vo ‘02 was inducted into Brown University’s Hall of Fame for rowing on Saturday, October 20, 2018. In addition to the support of her college coaches and family, she had this to say about Ursuline, "UA taught me to be independent, confident, open to the ideas and beliefs of others, and above all, to enjoy the journey of learning, challenges and all - all things that allowed me to be successful at Brown and beyond."

Cate Frank Cammarata ‘79 has been busy recently! A professor at Stony Brook University in NYC, she was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct in Teaching for her work in the Department of Theatre Arts in 2018. Cate also recently published her second book, Contemporary Monologues for a New Theater, an anthology of monologues from new and under recognized dramatists.

Caitlin MacEachen Steininger '05 is appearing on
the 16th season of 'Top Chef' as a contestant. The show will begin running in December on Bravo.

The season preview shows chefs in Kentucky locations like Churchill Downs and a UK basketball game, using ingredients like bourbon and corn, according to the article in The Cincinnati Enquirer. Read more here.

Caitlin owns Cooking With Caitlin Restaurant in Wyoming.

Jenny Neyer Berg ’79 and Mary Stagaman ’71 were recently named “Second Act” Honorees by the Cincinnati Business Courier. The “Second Act” awards are for professionals who begin a new career after having had success in their previous career. Jenny is currently the executive director of the Leadership Council for Nonprofits. Mary is the senior inclusion adviser at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

Read about Jenny here.

Read about both women here.

Kelly Dehan ’79 was honored as a Woman of Influence by the Lead Tribune Media group. The Women of Influence Award honors our region’s leading women who have helped shape the success of their organization and have demonstrated exceptional leadership. The criteria for the Women of Influence Award is based on the individual’s invaluable contributions, professional achievements and continuous dedication to their organization as well as their commitment to cultivating a thriving and progressive community.

Sarah Fitzpatrick ’12 is pictured at the Yale School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony - a ceremony marking the beginning of her journey as a physician and welcoming her into the profession of medicine. She graduated from Ohio State University in 2016 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and then worked in a research lab for 2 years at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital before starting her journey toward a Md/PhD degree.

Colette Tolbert ‘07 graduated from Boston College Law School in May 2016 and successfully passed the Massachusetts bar exam. Colette then completed Officer Development School and Naval Justice School at the Navy War College facility in Newport, Rhode Island. Colette is a Lieutenant Junior Grade in The United States Navy, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, assigned to the Region Legal Services Office Northwest, Bremerton, Washington.

Grace Kelly ‘15 was awarded the prestigious Irving Kabiller Memorial Award for student-athletes from Northwestern University in October 2017. From Grace: “I am studying Biomedical Engineering with a goal of becoming a physician, and I am a member of the Cross Country team. I received this award through the Northwestern Athletics department along with 4 other student-athletes. It is a $5,000 award to explore my career interests. I am attending a conference in December to learn about improving community health for marginalized populations and hope to work with physicians in clinics and on programs to improve healthcare for the poor.”

Meghan Bowers ‘13 at her white coat ceremony at University of Kentucky. She recently graduated from Miami University and started medical school at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

Carolyn Bender ‘10 received her white coat at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in May 2017. As of January 2018, she was in her last year of veterinary school, which consisted of various clinical rotations.

Nancy Eigel-Miller '77 was named the 2018 Jefferson Award for Public Service winner in Greater Cincinnati for her decade-long efforts destigmatizing mental illness.

Congratulations to Olivia Schwartz ‘14 on her success at the 16th Annual Independent Music Awards! Olivia Frances (Olivia’s artist name) was named VOX Pop (Voice of the People) winner in the Love Song category for her original song, “Moon to my Sun.” Written on her dorm room floor, “Moon to my Sun” arose from an ordinary night of guitar practice and turned into the makings of an ethereal love song. This is the second award Olivia has won for “Moon to my Sun” as it won Best Pop Song of Year in the 2017 Ohio Music Awards. Listen to the song at

Olivia currently resides in Worcester, MA where she attends Clark University.

Heather Tholking Lester '98 released her first children's book, titled I Love You For You, in February 2018. The book release party was held at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood. The book was published by For Good Media, which is owned by UA alum Kristen Cardenzana Hausfeld '92 who was in attendance. Check out the book at

Jackie Homan ‘14 recently self-published a book called On The Record: Notes from 20 Powerful Women in Journalism featuring interviews with 20 women in journalism and digital media. She wrote and designed the book herself and created a corresponding website ( that features previews of each interview. The book, which is aimed at students who aspire to work in the fields of journalism and digital media, includes interviews with women who work at places like The Atlantic, The L.A. Times, Slate, Glamour, Vulture, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, USA Today and more.

Jackie graduated form Syracuse University in May with a major in magazine journalism. While at Ursuline, she was co-editor-in-chief of Ursuline student newspaper, Lion’s Roar.

In the spring of 2018, three Ursuline alumnae from the Class of 2011 graduated together from The Ohio State University with doctorate degrees. Erin Wallach and Christie Mauch earned doctorates in Physical Therapy and Grace Reifenberg earned a doctorate in Occupational Therapy.

Anne Dammarell ‘56 has had a prolific career with the state department, working for the US government all around the world. While working with the Agency for International Development (USAID), Anne served in Lebanon and Sri Lanka. She has also worked in Afghanistan as the Afghan Desk Officer and worked to set up an international training project in Arusha, Tanzania. USAID handles our foreign aid program, dealing with international social and economic development. Post-retirement, Anne has volunteered with Maryknoll, a Roman Catholic foreign missionary group. Her volunteerism with Maryknoll has brought her to working and teaching in Cairo, Egypt; Bangkok, Thailand; and Kathmandu, Nepal.

Sr. Rita Geoppinger SND ‘59 lived and worked in Buseesa, Uganda from 2002-2014. There, as a Notre Dame educator, she founded, built and established a single gender secondary school for young women living in the Bush. She was able to teach, which she claims as her greatest passion, and also served as “headteacher” at the school for eleven years.

Currently based in Mexico City, Katie Schlechter ‘07 is a freelance radio and print reporter. She has also lived and worked in New York City and France. Katie reports on a variety of issues, specializing in Mexico and Central American politics related to human rights, migration and international law and policy. Her work has been broadcasted on NPR and printed by NPR, The Huffington Post, and Al Jazeera English.

Kim Thoene Menier ‘80 launched a consumer electronics marketing practice in the Pacific Rim during the dot com boom in the 90s. Since then, Kim has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Beijing, Sydney, Wellington (NZ), Bangalore, Madrid, and Puerto Rico. Now, Kim lives in Blacksburg, VA and runs a software company specializing in text analysis. She has also launched a company that provides low cost ways for medical providers in developing countries to digitize patient records. Through her work, Kim frequently travels to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and various countries in Western Africa.

Living in Australia for most of her working life, Nancy Kasprzycki ‘69 has spent a career working for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in South Australia. She recently took a new position as NAPLAN Transition Lead with the South Australian Department of Education. NAPLAN, the National Assessment Program in Literacy and Numeracy, assesses and supports Australian efforts in curriculum development and student learning. Nancy is working on transitioning Australia’s national student assessment program to online formatting.