Friday, December 2, 2016

Flyer Friday: Nicole Carella ’15

In honor of Special Education Day, we would like to introduce you all to Nicole Carella ’15, a dedicated young woman empowering students with disabilities at Grand Prairie Elementary School in Frankfort. During her time at Lewis, she studied the dual certificate program in elementary education and special education. In addition to being a Peer Minister and a member of Theta Kappa Pi and Relay for Life Committee, Nicole was also highly involved in the Best Buddies, an organization that promotes one-to-one friendships between students and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a committed member of this organization, Nicole worked hard to make her buddy feel loved and included in everything they did together. She is a fun, loving individual who is devoted to making others smile. Way to go, Nicole!

Do you know an alumnus we should feature for Flyer Friday? E-mail us at

Friday, November 18, 2016

Flyer Friday: Elaine Karabatsos ’90

In an industry in which the sky is the limit, Elaine Karabatsos ’90 arrived at her final destination after a hard-fought journey. Elaine received a job with The Coca-Cola Company in 1992 after working at Rusk Aviation for about one year after graduation. As an Aircraft Manager, she is responsible for the maintenance of the corporate fleet and safely preparing those aircraft for departure.

Growing up as a tomboy unafraid to get some dirt under her fingernails, Elaine felt inspired to work in the aviation industry from a very young age. It was not an easy journey, though.

“It has been a very eye-opening career filled with unique experiences,” she says with a smile. “My family wanted me to go to school for a more female-oriented career, because a woman working in the aviation industry was just unheard of. With a lot of hard work and determination, I can now say I have accomplished something that only one percent of women have accomplished.”

Having graduated with a degree in Aviation Maintenance, Elaine gained a lot more than just an extensive education at Lewis University. Making lifelong friends and important professional contacts, Elaine loved every minute of her college experience.

“Lewis is known to have an elite aviation program, and the fact that I can say I went there and put it in writing is a huge accomplishment,” Elaine adds. “Never give up; the sky is the limit!”

What's your story? Email us at and you could be our next #FlyerFriday!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Flyer Friday: Improv with Jo Slowik '88

It's #FlyerFriday! Philip Lynch Theatre Lewis University Manager Jo Slowik '88 recently presented an acting workshop to the drama students at Lincolnway Central High School. Accompanying her were 10 Lewis students. The two-hour workshop explored improv and the Meisner technique aimed at developing truthful acting.

Would you like to return to campus and volunteer your time and expertise? Find our alumni volunteer opportunities at

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Alumni Speakers on Campus

One of the things we love about our alumni is their willingness to come back to campus and share their insights and stories with our current students. Being an alumni speaker is a very short time commitment and provides our students with a better understanding of topics from the alumnus’ real-life experiences.

Here are just a few of the talented alumni who have returned to campus as alumni speakers:
  • Alumna Samantha Rinehart '14 returned to campus in September to speak with students about the next steps on their educational path.
  • Faris Ziadat '12 (Business Administration) spoke at Professor Rich Burke’s and Professor Bob Bergman’s Salesmanship classes in September. Faris shared his personal experiences with students, and emphasized the importance of asking customers open-ended questions. Faris serves as the Vice President, Field Sales Representative at Citi; he credits his degree from Lewis in being able to take the next step in his career.
  • Lewis University launched its successful Girls Take Flight in Aviation camp the week of June 27. The camp brought together 23 middle and high school aged girls who came to campus to experience a week of learning about the science of flight, meteorology, and unmanned aircraft systems. Several aviation professionals volunteered their time to talk with the girls about how they shaped their own aviation careers, including Elaine Harris '03, MBA '08 from Ingredion; Tim Radigan '92 from Baxter; Elaine Karabatsos '90 from Coca Cola; and Margaret Naughton and Jessica Plascencia '15 from Vulcan Materials Company. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the camp was flight time for each girl in the University’s fleet of Cessna 22 aircraft. Departing from the Lewis University Airport, each girl got a flying lesson from a licensed flight instructor.
  • Lewis was pleased to partner with the community organization Girls4Science to recruit the participating girls. Many of the girls’ families noted how appreciative they were to be able to offer their daughters this experience, as it was provided without cost to the participants thanks to support from corporate partners.
  • Tom Drez '88, the CIO, CPO, CSO, and Managing Director at Christian Brothers Services, recently gave a talk entitled "Cyber Security, Cyber Risk, and Data Breaches. Oh My!" to Lewis students and others in the Computer Science division of the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area (ACCA).
  • Former WFLY-TV News Director and General Manager Shane Gustafson '15 now works as a reporter for WMBD-TV in Peoria, Ill. Shane recently visited campus to speak with the Field Production class taught by Tracy Hemmingway, assistant professor of Communication, about his career in reporting and offer advice to current students in the Radio/TV Broadcasting program.
  • Bill Storie '69 returned to Dr. Dennis Cremin’s class on October 18, 2016 to present on “The Rise of the American Colossus.”
  • Artist and alumna Jane (Caldwell) Stiker '56 visited campus and brought a copy of the program from one of the first plays on campus.
  • Richard Joyce '73 spoke on September 20 to Dr. Dennis Cremin’s class on “A Community in Turmoil.”

Are you ready to join our list of successful alumni who have returned to campus as an alumni speaker? You can fill out the online form to express your interest at

If you have questions or need more information on volunteering as one of our Flyer Alumni Volunteers (FAVS), contact Margaret Grabowski '10, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, at

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Celebrating Our Outstanding Educators on World Teachers' Day

Today is the United Nations' World Teachers' Day, which celebrates the role teachers play in providing quality education at all levels. Lewis University's College of Education faculty are committed to Saint John Baptist de La Salle’s purpose and vocation, creating critical educators who have the knowledge to transform education to meet the needs of a diverse population of students and to advocate for social justice in the school and community.

Education alumni like Takiyah Olatunbosun have been honored with numerous awards and distinctions, most recently including the Joliet Great Teachers and the PBS Learning Media Digital Innovators program, while also leading the educators of the future as school district superintendents. Rebecca Deang has always felt inspired to work with young children and their families and now serves as a Community Health Educator, and Tony Pena is a math teacher at Stagg High School who believes in giving back.

Have a faculty member who made a difference in your life? Tell us at

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Today is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day

Today is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, and Lewis University is taking great strides to educate and empower women on campus to take control of their health, not just today but all year round.

Director of Student Recreation, Fitness & Wellness and Lewis alumna, Jill Siegfried ’85 says “It is important to take control of your health, make smart choices, and make time for physical activity despite all we are trying to balance in our lives. With exercise, 30 minutes a day makes huge difference. You can sneak exercise in as well: take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a walk during your lunch break, or park far from entrances. Three 10-minute bouts of physical activity have the same health benefits as a 30 minute session.”

According to Jill, everyday exercise is especially important for women because of these five reasons:
  1. Decreases risk of osteoporosis
  2. Prevents muscle loss (which keeps metabolism high, giving women the strength to complete everyday tasks)
  3. Reduces stress, depression, and anxiety
  4. Enhances mental performance and work productivity
  5. Reduces risk of diseases such as cancer or diabetes

Friday, September 23, 2016

Flyer Friday: Natalie Manley, MA ’15

Editor's Note: For #FlyerFriday, we would like you to meet one of our speakers at our Celebrating Women in Leadership Conference. Representative Natalie Manley, MA ’15 will be presenting on "Women in Public Service." You can register for the October 7 conference on our website at

Representative Natalie Manley, MA ’15 has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 2013 and represents Illinois’ 98th House District which includes parts of Joliet, Crest Hill, Romeoville, Bolingbrook and Plainfield. Representative Manley is also a Certified Public Accountant and has been on staff at Wermer Rogers Doran & Ruzon, Will County’s oldest public accounting firm, for nearly 20 years. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Francis, her Certified Public Accountant certification in 2004, and her Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership with a focus in Public Administration from Lewis University in 2015.

For the past two decades Natalie has been working in public accounting conducting audits for private corporations, governments, and non-profit organizations, reviewing, analyzing and preparing budgets for individuals and businesses, and preparing tax returns for individuals, trusts and estates, and businesses. For many years Representative Manley has been actively involved in community service by volunteering her time with local non-profits serving in an official capacity as a board member and helping to raise funds.

Manley is newly married to Alan LaVeille and has one daughter that she raised as a single mother. She has been doing a live talk radio show for 13 years on a local radio station, WJOL 1340 AM, on Friday mornings called the Lynne, Mary & Natalie Show. Manley has taken her knowledge as an accountant to local area high schools to teach financial literacy and budgeting to students as well as mentoring young people both in high school and at the college level that are considering careers in the accounting field or in public service.