St. Edward’s University counts more than 25,000 alumni around the globe. Among them are teachers, artists, entrepreneurs, elected officials, scientists and advocates for justice. Some are making their mark in the job they started right after graduation. Others have excelled in multiple careers. Still others are gaining recognition for a passion project they started that took on a life of its own. They’re all building on the education they received at St. Edward’s — and the university’s encouragement to pursue their own dream, even one that might seem impossible at first.
Doers, Dealmakers and Digital Strategists
Leslie Ward ’01 was named state president for AT&T in Texas, a position in which she works closely with community and business leaders and elected officials to advance the company’s services in the state.
Jessica Martinsen ’18 is a partnerships manager at Chipper, a mobile application that helps student loan borrowers discover the best repayment plan and forgiveness program to enable them to repay their debt faster.
Jay Kuruvilla DMBA ’15 (shown at the top of this page) is a senior product lead – User Experience at Signify Health, a healthcare platform that leverages advanced analytics, technology, and nationwide healthcare provider networks to create and power value-based payment programs.
After completing the highly selective Goldman Sachs internship, Alicia Jude Olivier ’17 accepted a full-time position as a financial analyst at the multinational firm. She is now a wealth strategy associate at UBS.
Giovanni Reyes ’12 is a senior demand ops associate at FreeWheel, a Comcast Company structured to provide a full breadth of solutions to the advertising industry.
Justin Murrill ’02, MSOLE ’08 is the director of corporate responsibility at AMD in Austin, a position that includes leading the company’s sustainability efforts.
Dominick Namis ’17 works in the Global Business Group at Facebook’s Austin office, where he helps ad agencies that specialize in healthcare, ecommerce, technology and other fields understand Facebook’s opportunities for their clients.
Jana Soares ’15 was featured among the “Best and Brightest MBAs from the Class of 2018” by Poets & Quants, a website that covers graduate business education, and now works as a Global Product Marketing Manager, Pixel & Wearables at Google.
Adriana Talancon ’18 is the head of the marketing department at America Trade Corp. in Monterrey, Mexico.
Applying her St. Edward’s education in Graphic Design and her master’s in Educational Technology, Alison Koen ’03 is Amazon’s senior learning experience designer.
Anthony Fragapane ’18 is a senior associate in KPMG’s Financial Due Diligence practice, serving as a consultant in buy-side and sell-side private equity transactions. Anthony previously was a senior associate in KPMG's IT Advisory practice.
Jeff Miner ’11 is responsible for producing new thought-leadership pieces, leading the creative experimentation agenda for the Americas, and directing the content program for the consumer goods organization as the global business lead of Creative Works at Google in New York City.
After interning at software company VMware, Sophie Gairo ’17 was offered a full-time position there as a software engineer. Sophie now works as a software engineering manager at HashiCorp. Adrian Leonard ’18 interned in software development at CDK Global and was hired as a software engineer at the conclusion of his internship.
Shelby Cole ’13, an English Writing and Rhetoric major, worked on the 2020 presidential campaign for Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator for California. She is currently Deputy CMO of Digital Content and Creative for the Democratic National Committee.
Jake Nishimura, MBA ’15, is the head of events marketing at Kiswe, a live-streaming technology that connects at-home viewers with live events and in-venue fans through interactive video experiences that create memorable social experiences and build loyalty.
Emily Dalton ’17 was one of only 15 students accepted to Cornell University’s inaugural Master of Public Health program, as well as one of only six graduate students selected across the U.S. to join the American Journal of Public Health Think Tank. She's now a research specialist at Texas Health and Human Services in Austin.
Andrea Ojeda ’17 won a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Brazil and was one of sixteen finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship in the Texas/Oklahoma region. She now works on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.
To add business skills to her scientific background, Janaeé Wallace ’15 completed the 11-month University of Notre Dame’s Engineering, Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Master’s (ESTEEM) Program. She now works as a manager of Digital & Emerging Technology – Application Systems Engineering at EY, researching, designing, and defining solution strategies through technology roadmaps, operational model design, business case development, and financial modeling.
While attending the University of Pennsylvania Law School on a full scholarship, Victoria Ochoa ’15 has written two opinion pieces about the border and immigration in the past year: one for the Texas Tribune and one for the Washington Post.
In addition to being a second-year medical student at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Katelyn Tate ’17 co-chaired the 6th Annual Out for Health Conference in February. The statewide conference is dedicated to educating current and future health professionals about the health climate within the LGBTQ community and how to best cater care toward their LGBTQ patients.
After earning her doctorate in Developmental and Psychological Sciences at Stanford University, Victoria Rodriguez ’11 is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of San Diego. Drawing on the lessons she learned as a first-generation college student, she mentors other first-gen and underrepresented students at USD.
Jenn Hassin ’12, an artist whose work often employs rolled paper or cloth as a medium, is attending the Columbia University School of Arts MFA program in Visual Arts, her first-choice graduate program. Her work has been shown in numerous galleries; she has also performed in The Telling Project, in which veterans share their experiences of military service.
Christopher Tonnu Jackson ’16 is working toward his PhD in Chemistry at the University of California Berkeley. While at St. Edward’s, he conducted research at the Department of Energy’s Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and at NASA, and he served as a student representative at the 2015 Paris Climate talks.
After earning his PhD in Biology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Leon Venegas ’10 is a scientist at NextCure, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to discovering and developing novel, first-in-class immunomedicines to treat cancer and other immune-related diseases by restoring normal immune function.
After completing a master’s in Accounting at The Ohio State University — where he was chosen by the Ohio Society of CPAs to serve as director of the Accounting Careers Awareness Program for underrepresented students, a leadership position that came with more than $25,000 in scholarship money — Arnold Gonzalez ’18 accepted an offer of employment from Deloitte. He now works as an accountant at Westlake Chemical in Houston, Texas.
Matt Wolski ’13 and Max Kunik ’13, founded Taster’s Table Club, a company that organizes monthly dinner experiences at Austin’s buzziest restaurants, where members get a 6+ course meal with dishes from the daily menu at affordable prices. Wolski is now a principal at Midus Willum Holdings and Kunik is the owner of Wingman Kitchens.
Forbes “30 Under 30: Manufacturing & Industry” 2019 list includes Regina Vatterott ’16, the co-founder and COO of EllieGrid. The company — which Vatterott and her team launched in 2015 — makes a smart pillbox that reminds users when to take their medications and how many to take.
A toast to Ben Sabin ’09, cofounder of Friends & Allies Brewing in Austin, which released the Hilltopper Bock — a seasonal brew that Sabin calls “a tip of the hat to the school that I went to” and its mountain goat mascot. “Bock” is the German word for male goat.
Tara Ferguson Hilliard ’12 and her husband founded surf travel and lifestyle website Lush Palm, which details the best hotels, surfing destinations and gear — and chronicled the couple’s yearlong, round-the-world surf vacation.
Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama are among the celebrities who’ve worn gowns designed by Brandon Maxwell ’08. After spending a month in Marfa creating his Texas-inspired Spring/Summer 2019 collection, he worked with Kia, one of his corporate partners, to facilitate a donation of $100,000 and a luxury SUV by the car company to the Marfa school district. Maxwell recently received the Texas Medal of Arts from the Texas Cultural Trust and is the first person to be honored in the field of fashion.
Mattison Bills '14, is the founder of Three Six General, which sells jowl bacon, ham, various lamb and pork sausages in sheep's casing, liver pate and smoked pork rillettes at the Mueller Farmers Market in Austin, Texas, and Lakeline Farmers Market in Cedar Park, Texas.
Margaret Whitney ’07, is an assistant professor, Department of Women's Health, at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.
Former Teach for America instructor Gladys Karen Hernández ’10 is the director of community impact at SA2929. She previously worked as executive director for Leadership San Antonio Independent School District, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to informing, empowering and inspiring civically minded individuals across industries to become educational advocates in the San Antonio Education community.
Mary Gonzalez, MLA ’09, is a managing partner at Izel Consulting. She formerly served in the Texas House as the representative for House District 75, which includes parts of the El Paso area.
Chelsea Elliott ’12 established the half Helen Foundation, which provides hearing and vision screenings for kids in low-income communities. The nonprofit raised a record breaking $64,100 at Philanthropitch, a fast-paced pitch competition in Austin, plus an addition $5,000 from a foundation in the audience a few weeks later.
In November 2018, Gina Calanni ’05 became the first woman elected to represent Texas House District 132.
Two Hilltoppers won Teacher of the Year for 2018 in the Del Valle Independent School District: Katy Potts ’13, at art teacher at Ojeda Middle School, and Jeff Rasp ’11, a History teacher at Del Valle High School.
Eric Bustos ’12 is the government affairs advisor for Capital Metro, Austin’s public transit provider.
Creatives and Communicators
Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist Marlisa Goldsmith ’11 is an anchor/reporter at KTHV-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas, and won a 2018 Robert L. Vann Award of Excellence in the TV Spot News category from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation.
Fort Worth Report enterprise journalist Jacob Sanchez ’16 won the Texas APME’s first-place award for Deadline Writing. He got his start at Hilltop Views at St. Edward’s.
Sara Ortiz ’09 is the interim literary director for the San Antonio Book Festival and is a Kirkus Reviews reader where she reviews children's literature. She previously worked as program manager for the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute, which publishes award-winning journals including The Believer.
Charles Rogers ’09 is the creator and executive producer of the acclaimed TBS show Search Party as well as the co-writer and director of the feature film Fort Tilden, which won the Grand Jury Award at SXSW in 2014. His short film Men Don't Whisper premiered at Sundance last year, and he has been listed among Variety magazine’s 10 TV Writers to Watch, Forbes’ “30 Under 30” most influential people in Hollywood and entertainment, and Out magazine’s list of 100 most influential LGBTQ people. In addition to his work on Search Party, Rogers has worked as a writer on the first and second seasons of the Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer as well as on the second season of the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle, which won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy.
In 2018, El Paso Times reporter Sara Sanchez ’14 won two Texas Associated Press Managing Editor awards: first place for Star Investigative Report and second place for Feature Writing.
Elizabeth Gonzales ’18 is the operations coordinator at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory. She started her career as the special events coordinator for Camp For All, a unique, barrier-free camp working in partnership with other not-for-profit organizations to enrich the lives of children and adults with challenging illnesses or special needs and their families throughout the year.
Tyler Mount ’13 is a digital strategist and producer who produced a vlog that ran for three years, drew more than 3 million followers and featured appearances by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Gloria Estefan. Then he co-produced Broadway’s Once on This Island, which won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical — making him one of the youngest Tony Award–winning producers in history.
The unstoppable Kaci Beeler ’09 started the American Berserk Theatre in Austin, had a solo show at the campus gallery, was profiled in the Austin Chronicle, wrote and directed the play Killer Girls, and was featured in the film Monday and HBO’s SXSWestworld — all in 2018.
After seven years as the Managing Director of the Fusebox Festival, Brad Carlin ’02 is now a consulting analyst with TRG Arts, which helps creative organizations become more financially sustainable.