“Rising Stars” is a regular feature in Reflections. It profiles Siena Heights alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years and who excel in their careers, occupations or community service accomplishments. To be considered for “Rising Stars” in an upcoming issue of Reflections, fill out the online form at www.sienaheights.edu/risingstars. Those who are selected to be included in an upcoming issue of the magazine will be contacted by the Reflections staff.
Graduation year (from SHU): 2014.
Current title/position: Assistant Executive Director, Downtown Development Authority, Van Buren (Mich.) Township.
What Lisa is doing: She is responsible for all marketing and community outreach for the Downtown Development Authority. She works to promote the businesses within the DDA boundaries, build relationships with neighboring municipalities and strengthen the sense of community. Lothringer also takes part in and organizes trade events to showcase and introduces the opportunities within the township to businesses locally, regionally and nationally.
My favorite moment/story while a student at Siena Heights was: Realizing that even with balancing family and working full-time, I was able to graduate cumma sum laude.
My favorite person at Siena Heights was: Julie Edwards.
Ultimate goal in life: “To enjoy what I do for work each and every day so it does not feel like a job.”
My best piece of advice for SHU students is: “Never stop reaching for your goals. Returning to school to finally finish my degree was a promise I had made to my dad just before he died. Fifteen years later, I know he was smiling down from heaven as I crossed that stage and received my degree.”
Graduation year (from SHU): 2012.
Current title/position: Medical student, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lansing, Mich.
What Peter is doing: After Graduating SHU in 2012, he studied pre-medicine at Northwestern University. He then served with City Year Detroit, an Americorps program fighting America’s high school dropout crisis by providing mentoring to Detroit youth, focusing on school attendance, behavioral intervention and course performance. After City Year, he worked with Hope Network’s DART program, a child caring residential facility for children with various developmental or psychiatric conditions, often with a severe history of trauma. Sarnacki began medical school at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in June 2016. He and his wife, Alexandra, are raising their daughter, Zara.
My favorite moment/story while a student at Siena Heights was:
“My dad will always talk about my first college basketball game; in the first few minutes, I had a two-hand slam dunk that bent the rim. The referees needed to pause the game until the rim could be set back in place.”
My favorite person at Siena Heights was: Drs. Mark Schersten, Tom Wassmer, Jeff Lindstrom and Peggy Motsch, and his coaches, Al Sandifer, J.O. Owens, and Bobby Plumer.
Ultimate goal in life: “Give everything I can to my family and those who need help.”
My best piece of advice for SHU students is: “Question and scrutinize everything, even if it is held emotionally close or assumed to be a first principle. Ask yourself, ‘Where is the evidence for this? What does the evidence really suggest?’ Also, you are paying to be in a room with experts at SHU; learn everything you can and take advantage of this opportunity.”
Graduation year (from SHU): 2013.
Current title/position: Doctor of Physical Therapy, Athletico Physical Therapy, Columbus, Ohio.
What Brandon is doing: He is currently employed by Athletico Physical Therapy as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in the Columbus, Ohio, area. Athletico is an outpatient, private practice physical therapy company based out of Chicago. On a daily basis he treats patients who range in age from elementary school children to senior citizens that include a variety of diagnoses. He also serves as an injury analyst for Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider and The Orange and Brown Report for the Cleveland Browns.
My favorite moment/story while a student at Siena Heights was: “While I was at Siena, I spent three years as an orientation team leader. I really enjoyed working as a group with the other O-Team leaders in order to aide first year students with their transition to life as a Saint at SHU.”
My favorite person at Siena Heights was: Michael Orlando.
Ultimate goal in life: “I aspire to eventually obtain a job working with baseball players, with a focus on injury prevention, rehab and performance enhancement.”
My best piece of advice for SHU students is: “Get involved. SHU may be a smaller institution, however, the university doesn’t lack opportunity. Between the numerous clubs/organizations, athletic teams and theatre/art, there are opportunities for all students to get involved at Siena. Embrace your time at SHU and don’t take it for granted, you’ll graduate before you know it.”
Graduation year (from SHU): 2009.
Current title/position: President, On-site Operations, Wilson-Bennett Technology.
What Kim is doing: For seven years she has worked for Wilson-Bennett Technology, Inc., an industry leader in providing fundraising services to educational institutions and nonprofit organizations. Starting as an entry level employee, and has since advanced into several new positions. She is currently responsible for overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations.
My favorite moment/story while a student at Siena Heights was: “Shouting offbeat and out-of-tune the intermittent words, mainly the chorus, of ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ with my Saints’ soccer family. The most impactful and life-altering memory: a semester in Merida, Mexico offered through the Spanish Department. My experience abroad was nothing short of all the clichés on the benefits of cultural immersion. I lived the eye-opening, yet mentally and emotionally challenging, venture in which you learn to appreciate the vast differences between the foreign way of life and that of your homeland, including the language, food, daily commute, the environment. It unfortunately included befriending the sugar ants and suffering Montezuma’s revenge, but the best of all, amazing friendships and exploration! … (Note: I learned in retrospect some of these escapades should not be divulged to your mother until after the trip). Bottom line: study abroad!”
My favorite person at Siena Heights was: “Dr. Patricia Wallace, former program director of the McNair Scholars Program. Dr. Wallace was strict, demanding, and held high expectations of her students which earned her a great deal of respect, and moreover, motivated and empowered us to set lofty goals and stop at nothing to achieve them! Her unwavering resolve and genuine belief in the scholars’ success, both academically and personally, embedded in us a sense of pride, determination and certainly a higher level work ethic. I admire her intellect, value her thoughtful and fun-loving demeanor, and will be forever grateful for her many life lessons which have undoubtedly helped shape who I am today.”
Ultimate goal in life: “To live happy, travel often, love much and die with more memories than dreams!”
My best piece of advice for SHU students is: “Hard work breeds good luck. Don’t stress over knowing what you’ll do after graduation; instead, listen intently, be diligent, take chances and then pour your heart into those opportunities. And above all, live your journey with passion.”