Young Alumni

OLLU alumni who have graduated within the last 10 years are classified as "young alumni." Many of OLLU's recent graduates have established their careers and are making a major impact in their communities. Read the stories of some of OLLU's young alumni below to explore how their time at OLLU has influenced their work after graduation.


Multimedia journalist, Telemundo New Mexico

Telemundo viewers in New Mexico often see Sarai Bejarano, microphone in hand, reporting on major news across the state. What they don’t see is Sarai with a camera, shooting video, and later editing it. They don’t see her back at the station, writing a story to be posted on the website. But this is what she does: report, write, shoot, edit and tell stories in front of or behind the camera.

“I love my job,” she says. “I wake up every morning, thankful and excited that I get to do something I am truly passionate about. Every day is an adventure. I don't know of many other jobs where people open up their homes, hearts and share their personal thoughts to you. It's truly a humbling experience.”

Sarai came to Telemundo in December 2014 from KFOX-TV in El Paso, where she was a producer and assignment editor. During her last semester at OLLU, Sarai interned with Telemundo San Antonio. There she met a producer who later moved to Telemundo New Mexico. With the recommendation of the producer, Telemundo New Mexico hired Sarai. “Meeting so many people during my internships at OLLU definitely helped open doors for me.”
 
Rehab clinician, The Harris Center For Mental Health and IDD

Nicole Curtis uses her social work training to serve a distinct and overlooked population in Houston. She helps probationers and parolees with severe mental illness transition back into the community.

At The Harris Center for Mental Health, Nicole provides case management, education, skills training and psychosocial rehabilitation for her clients. “The best part of the job is being able to see them make progress, transition out into the community and complete the stipulations of their probation or parole,” she says.

While pursuing her MSW, Nicole interned for Child Protective Services in San Antonio, and continued working for in Houston. She places high value on her training at OLLU. “The Worden School of Social Service stresses practice with Hispanic children and families,” she says. “Learning to work with a population whose cultural background differs from mine helped me to become culturally competent and tolerant of those who differ from me.”
 

Meetings and events specialist, National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry

Antonia Garza practices her faith on the job in Washington, D.C. As an events specialist for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, Antonia helps the non-profit advocate for the needs of young people in the church. Her current focus is preparing for the National Catholic Youth Conference, a three-day event that will draw 25,000 to Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center in November.

“My work includes everything from contract creation for speakers and performers to assisting with bishop correspondence and participation tracking to database work to getting information on our website and in our program book for the conference,” Antonia said. “The thing I love about my position is I get to continue to serve the young in church in this very concrete way.”

OLLU prepared her well. “My most active years at OLLU consisted of planning for multiple events in multiple organizations,” she said, “whether it was through the University Programming Council in the Student Leadership and Development Office, or through the Providence Retreat Outreach Program through University Ministry. The leadership skills and opportunities I received from Catherine Fragoso, Mary Scotka, Gloria Urrabazo and Debora Guzman-Perez have definitely impacted the way I live my life.”
 

IT Specialist, United State Conference of Catholic Bishops

Since April, Gabriel has used his information technology skills to serve the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in the office of National Collections. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the USCCB supports the ministry of bishops with an emphasis on evangelization.

“My role as technology specialist is to support and create the databases used for the National Collections and distribution of National Grants around the world,” said Gabriel, husband of Antonia Garza (‘11). “Working here has been a blessing. Working here has also given me great opportunities to understand more about my faith. The conference offers daily Mass and working with lay people and clergy is a great dynamic in the office.”

OLLU provided a strong spiritual foundation. “Throughout my years at the Lake, I learned about Divine Providence,” he said. “Gloria Urrabazo (vice president of Mission and Ministry) has been a spiritual mentor. At the Lake, I was able to work in Student Leadership and in the Development Office with Catherine Fragoso and Marty Scotka. They are the people who first believed in me as a leader, the people from whom I have learned many leadership skills.”
 

Sales, Spurs Sports & Entertainment

It was the most thrilling job start ever. On June 2, 2014, Jordan Gillhespy-Edison joined Spurs Sports & Entertainment as a sales representative. Fresh from May graduation (BBA ‘14), Jordan walked into an AT&T Center office, preparing for the Spurs-Miami Heat NBA Finals. Thirteen days later, he stood in a rocking, thunderous arena, celebrating an NBA championship.

“The championship brought celebrations in the office after wins,” Jordan says. “There were dinners, parties. It was overwhelming. Very quickly, I realized I want to be here a long time.”

A native of London, Jordan didn’t know much about the Spurs growing up in Europe. But after joining the Spurs organization, he quickly understood what a sweetheart job he had landed in selling season tickets.

“The Spurs are so loved in San Antonio,” he says. “When you call and speak to someone and tell them where you are calling from, there is automatic excitement. Then on game night, after you’ve worked so hard on the phone to bring people in and you hear the noise in the arena, it’s great knowing you were part of filling all those seats.”

Jordan belongs to a sales crew that has done record-breaking work. More than one month before the 2015-16 opener, the Spurs sold out of their allotment of 13,200 season tickets for the first time in history.

At 6-foot-7, Jordan -- nicknamed “Air London” -- came to the U.S. in 2010, hoping to secure a college scholarship. He played for Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, and transferred to OLLU. After two seasons, Jordan earned an academic scholarship and left the team to focus on his major.

With an eye on a sports industry-related job, Jordan began networking. Hard work and hustle landed him a job with the Spurs. “A lot of people in this business work for teams that never make the playoffs,” he says. “I bypassed all that, went straight to the NBA Finals and won.”

 

IT Specialist, Defense Information Systems Agency

A stand out in OLLU’s cyber security program, Carlos Gonzalez parlayed summer internships with the Defense Information System Agency (DISA) into a full-time job in 2012. Working out of the Washington, D.C. area, Carlos specializes in Knowledge Management for DISA.

“The goal of Knowledge Management is to connect people, process and technology to help everyone on the team be more efficient,” Carlos says. “I’m currently a team lead. We directly support more than 700 individuals with the solutions we build. Additionally, I’m recognized as a subject matter expert for certain technologies in our agency.”

A former Student Government Association president, Carlos learned leadership skills at OLLU that serve him well at DISA. In addition, he earned Department of Defense scholarships from a program recognized as a Center for Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency. “When I get complimented at work about the great customer service and initiative that I take when working on teams,” Carlos says, “I know it’s a direct reflection on the great lessons I learned from my leadership experiences at the Lake.”
 
Restaurateur, seafood seller

A former soccer player, Gerardo Marquez has become quick on his feet in business. Since leaving OLLU, he has opened two restaurants in his hometown of Campeche, Mexico. He also helps manage his father’s shrimping business.

One establishment, “El Marques,” is a fast-food seafood restaurant. The second, which he owns with his brother Francisco, offers burgers, pasta, pizza and seafood. The name? “Frank’s and Jerry’s.” When he’s not running the restaurants, Gerardo manages the plant and production of his father’s shrimping business.

Somehow, he still finds time to play recreational soccer.

“I was trained to manage two jobs at OLLU by being a soccer player and student. My schedule was always crazy,” Gerardo says. “OLLU prepared me for owning a restaurant by teaching me that having a great work ethic is the key to success. Studying marketing at OLLU also has helped me to grow the business.”
 

QC Associate Scientist, DPT Laboratories

It didn’t take Miranda Olveda long to find employment after graduation. In March 2014, just three months after earning her diploma, Miranda went to work for DPT Laboratories, a leading contract development and manufacturing organization.

At DPT, founded in 1938, Miranda puts to use the skill set she developed in the chemistry lab at OLLU. “I test pharmaceutical products that get released and distributed into stores in various countries,” she says. “The best part of my job is the people I work with and being able to learn how to use different instruments that the tests get performed on.”

An alumna at DPT helped Miranda land a job interview with the company. Miranda, in turn, helped two sorority sisters from OLLU secure work with a company that boasts 1,200 employees in centers in San Antonio and Lakewood, N.J. “DPT,” Miranda says, “takes in many OLLU graduates.”

 

Producer, Univision 41, San Antonio

David Romo is a quick study. Less than three years after leaving OLLU, Romo covered the historic visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. While on papal assignment in Pennsylvania, Romo, a field producer, learned that he and five Univision 41 colleagues had been nominated for a Lone Star Emmy: “Best Newscast” in a medium market.

Romo and his team were cited for coverage of a rain storm and tornado that struck Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, in 2014. “We had just finished recording interviews with a group of San Antonio residents that came on a pilgrimage to see the pope,” Romo said. “We were about to send the station the story that was supposed to air that night when my supervisor called to congratulate me. I was ecstatic.”

A native of El Paso, Romo interned at Univision while carrying 22 hours in his final semester at OLLU. The internship led to a job, which led to an Emmy nomination. “I was the field producer with my reporter Antonio Guillen and photographer Izidio Contreras in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, the day the city was struck by an F4 tornado, killing 13 and leaving thousands homeless,” Romo said. “We worked so hard during the assignment, sleeping in cars, walking for many miles and having to produce multiple stories for our nation’s affiliates about the tragic event. It was such a rewarding feeling, getting nominated for the newscast.”

 

Bilingual ed teacher, Graebner Elementary

After teaching second grade bilingual education at Brewer Elementary for three years, Mayra Salazar moved to Graebner Elementary School this fall to teach first graders. “I am extremely proud of being a bilingual teacher because I believe it is very important that our students keep their native language alive,” Mayra says.

At OLLU, Mayra participated in the Bilingual Education Student Organization (BESO) and Education Club. She served in the Honors Fraternity Education Program for teachers. These extracurriculars enhanced what she learned as a bilingual education major.

“The experience I received at OLLU gave me the opportunity to grow and develop leadership skills,” she says. “Teaching is an extremely challenging but rewarding job. I love teaching the future leaders of tomorrow.”
 

Accountant, Associate -- UT Health Science Center

Only months after securing his accounting degree, Marcus Thompson began working in the accounting department at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Nice fit. Good environment. Daily opportunities to put his education into practice. He reconciles bills, transfers expenses, monitors the distribution of funds and draws down expenses from projects to increase revenue.

“The best part about my job is the atmosphere,” said Marcus, a former basketball star. “Everyone at the UT-Health Science Center enjoys working together to get a common task done. The directors do a great job of making sure there is a great work/life balance.”

At OLLU, Marcus set an NAIA record with 15 steals in a game. He credits athletics and friendships for his career. “OLLU prepared me by establishing a culture of hard work and perseverance,” he said. “Those values I try to reflect in my work ethic every day. Playing at OLLU taught me how to fight through adversity and challenges. Also, the wonderful people I worked with in Institutional Advancement -- Anne Gomez and Patty Constantin -- helped connect me to the right people at the Health Science Center for a job interview.”