Loyola University Chicago

Division of Student Development

Damen Individual Award Finalists


Name, Major(s), YearBioHeadshot

Amanda Levigne

Amanda Levigne is Vice Chair of Spring Events for the Maroon & Gold Society.  She is a third-year RA, on the Executive Board of her sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma, and has led a “Loyola 360” Retreat.  Two of her nominators cited her work in developing a three-credit course called, "All Things Ignatian: Living and Learning in the Jesuit Tradition" as a vivid example of Amanda embodying the mission of our University.  In addition, she volunteers at two local hospital and works at the Northside Catholic Academy in the after school program.
Breana Barak
Breana Barak is President of Habitat for Humanity LUC, Loyola4Chicago Leader, intern at LIFT-Chicago, Loyola representative to Jesuit University Humanitarian Action Network Conference, leader on both the 360 and Start the Fire Retreats, Green Living-Learning Community Mentor, academic coach through Loyola’s Target New Transitions Program, and studied abroad at the John Felice Rome Center.  She was selected for Alpha Sigma Nu, The Maroon and Gold Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.  She was recently accepted to AmeriCorps and will be doing post-graduate volunteer service in Denver next year.

Edgar Perez
Environmental Science

Edgar Perez is an international student from the new Institute for Environmental Sustainability.  He was one of nearly 200 students inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society, in October 2013, and was selected to receive the Fr. Ferguson Award which goes to the most outstanding new inductee.  He is a Council of Regent’s Scholarship recipient and was awarded both the 2012 & 2013 Summer Biodiversity Internships at LUREC and contributed substantially to ongoing research and restoration work taking place there.  He plans to pursue graduate studies and return to Belize as its first eco-toxicologist. 

Ellen Hamel

Ellen Hamel’s nominator writes “she is intellectually agile and dedicated. Aside from succeeding glowingly in the classroom, Ellen speaks Nepali and volunteers with Nepali-speaking Bhutanese refugees in Chicago where she is known as the blonde woman who speaks the language.”  She earned a competitive Gilman Scholarship to study abroad and has submitted a Fulbright application to conduct research in Nepal next year. Ellen writes “Through my relationships with the refugees, especially the Bhutanese, I have become intensely aware of the beauty and dignity, as well as the challenges and injustices, of humans. I incorporate these lessons into my classwork with passion, drawing inspiration from life experiences and relationships. I believe that my passion for understanding the divinity and variation of human cultures is evident in my work and demeanor.”  Ellen also serves as Captain of the Women’s ultimate frisbee team.

Erin O'Neill
Communication Studies

Erin O'Neill has been heavily involved in Campus Ministry while at Loyola, serving as Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, Loyola Students for Life, the March for Life in Washington, D.C. and participating and leading an Alternative Break Immersion to Nazareth Farms, Doddridge County, WV, and attending World Youth Day in Brazil.  She has served as both the National Communications Coordinator and the President/External Affairs Coordinator for the Residence Hall Association.  In addition, she currently served on the Executive Committee of the Unified Student Government Association as secretary.  She also served as an Orientation Leader for the Office of First Year Experience and is currently the Manager of Felice’s Roman Style Pizza. 

Foram Patel
Advertising & Public Relations

Foram Patel's involvement on campus ranges from serving as a Resident Assistant for first year students in Mertz Hall to being Co-Chair of Leadership on the board of Alpha Phi Omega. She attended the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference last summer and writes, “I realized that leadership is something that is not about a position or a title, but instead about making positive social change. It is a collaborative process, and is most effective when it is based on collective action.”  She returned and became a Peer Leadership Team Member in Student Leadership and Second Year Initiatives.

Gustavo Arreguin Mendoza
Spanish, International Studies
Gustavo Arreguin Mendoza's experience as a first generation commuter student inspired him to become an Orientation Leader.  He is also Vice President of the Student Alliance for Immigration Reform, and a Peer Mentor for the Men of Color Initiative.  He also works as a Student Office Assistant in the Office of International Programs, and a Student Facilitation Intern for the Office of Outdoor Experiential Education. 
Katherine Geusz
Economics & Finance
During her time at Loyola, Katie has been an RA, and involved with Women in Business, peer tutoring, the Ricci Scholars program, as well as study abroad in Lima, Peru.  She states, “The outstanding friends and mentors I’ve been fortunate to know at Loyola have shown me that leadership means empowering others to become leaders themselves. …Today, as a member of Enactus, I’m privileged to follow in the footsteps of some of Loyola’s finest student leaders as we attempt to help students (at Cristo Rey High School) learn about personal finance.” 

Kristin Ignozzi
Business Administration in Sport Management

A nominator writes of Kristin, “she lives out the Jesuit ideals through participating in extensive hours in nonprofit management serving at risk youth in our community (through the Israel Idonije Foundation) through social and emotional platforms, participating in service projects in Winnipeg and Western Africa…” She is a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority, Women in Business, Sports Management Club, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.  Another reference writes “she is a very driven and goal oriented person. I believe this determination will serve her well in her career. . . she is a very bright young lady.. . .She is an outstanding and hard working student who will conclude her Loyola experience on a very positive note.” 

Marcella Perez
Biology & Forensic Science

Even as a commuter student, Marcella is involved in the Maroon and Gold Society, an actively, involved sister holding positions such as Co-President, Vice President of External Affairs, and co-philanthropy chair of Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc., past President of the Multi-Cultural Greek Council, a member of AfroDescent, the African dance team, Vice President and a spirit leader for the Band of Wolves, the pep band, and a member of various clubs such as KAPWA, BCC, AMSA, and the African Student Alliance. From her experiences at Loyola, she has become a motivated individual and encourages others that they can be that one person to make a difference in this BIG world. 

Maureen Lauer

Maureen will begin as a Chicago Teacher Resident in the Academy for Urban School Leadership after graduation. Maureen states “Loyola’s emphasis on social justice has given me the drive to commit myself to teaching in underserved schools.” During her time at Loyola she served as Panhellenic Delegate for Alpha Delta Pi and serves as Vice Chair of Senior Initiatives for the Maroon & Gold Society. Referencing Maureen’s three years as a Peer Advisor, a faculty member wrote, “As an ambitious, knowledgeable, adaptable and contiguous individual with a good sense of humor, Maureen was able to positively support students during their college transition.” 
Michelle Peters

Through Michelle's involvement with the retreat programs, Alternative Break Immersions and Christian Life Communities, she seeks to live her faith. However, that dedication was truly highlighted this year when she, along with ten other students started an intentional community, Faber House, just off campus. Prior to co-founding Faber House, she served on the Campion Hall Council, and Vice President and Financial Coordination for the Residence Hall Association.  More recently, she has been active on the The Green Initiative Fund Advisory Council. 

Natalie Duthoy
English, Secondary Education

A former teacher states “she frequently asked penetrating and important questions. Natalie has a lively curiosity that makes her dissatisfied with superficial explanations. That curiosity frequently led our class down avenues and into areas that, otherwise, would have remained unexplored.” Natalie was inducted into Alpha Sigma Alpha where she acted as the Scholarship and Sisterhood & Standards Chair and later served as Executive Vice President on Panhellenic Council.   She has been an active member on campus throughout her four years, as a member of the Damen Student Center staff, Alpha Sigma Nu, Golden Key International Honour Society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, where she served as President for a term, and the Maroon & Gold Society. 

Nuhie Faheem
Elementary Education

Nuhie Faheem is a member and now President of Students for Education Reform, member of Future Teachers Club and LUCES- Loyola University Chicago Empowering Sisterhood.  A nominator states “Nuhie spends her time working at the Asian Human Services tutoring children from low income families. She has been committed to this organization for over three years now and her mission is to never leave a child behind.”  Nuhie explains, “In the Islamic faith, serving your community, especially those in need, is one of the foundations of the religion.”  Nuhie is passionate about creating life-long learners in her future classroom. 

Pauline Tolentino
Advertising & Public Relations

Pauline Tolentino is an Honors Program student who has served as an RA, Peer Leadership Team Leader, Learning Community Mentor, L4C leader, NJSLC volunteer, retreat leader, and is a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary.  Pauline is committed to excellence, meaningful reflection, service, and transformative education. She is a servant leader who is informed by her values. 
Pedro Guerrero
Political Science & International Studies
Pedro currently serves as the President of the Unified Student Government Association, where he has championed immigration reform, support for undocumented students, and campus diversity.  He has also been heavily involved in advocacy for Down Syndrome.  During his time at Loyola, Pedro has been a member of Loyola4Chicago, USGA Senate, Acafella, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and an Orientation Leader.  He recently served as the Emcee for the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice at Washington, D.C. and currently serves as an intern for Rep. Danny Davis and a member of The Maroon & Gold Society. 

Rachel Patterson
Political Science 

Rachel wrote, “As I approached my senior year, I knew that I wanted a leadership position with two organizations that were important to me-LUCES and the Interfaith Advocates team. Both organizations reached out to me when I transferred to Loyola and I wanted to be a part of that for other students. LUCES brings women of color together to achieve personal and academic excellence… As the chairperson of our first annual Women of Color Journal, I am reaching out to all women of color on campus to share their writing or their artwork… The Interfaith advocates combine faith in God, religious expression and service to the community.”  Rachel serves as an Interfaith Advocate.   Her nominator wrote, “Rachel is the epitome of what a student leader should be. She is resilient in the face of adversity, has a bold and bright personality, and serves as an excellent role model for all women of color. She has left her mark at Loyola and has inspired a new generation of diversity leaders while doing so.” 

Robert Olson
History, International Studies

Robert will be graduating this Spring and attending Law School in the Fall.  He and currently serves as the Chief of Student Organizations on the Executive Board of the Unified Student Government Association.  His reference wrote “Mr. Olson’s charismatic attitude, exceptional education, and tireless work ethic make him an ideal candidate for a Damen Award. . . . I would describe Mr. Olson as gentleman of character and poise, who always searches for ways to empower the students he represents by always staying connected to our student organization community.”  Even as a commuter student, he studied abroad in Rome, was active in his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and this year served as the student representative to the Enrollment, Retention and Assessment Committee of the Board of Trustees.    
Sarah Frank
Sarah “Frankie” is founder and President of Loyola’s Chapter of Amnesty International, Attorney General of the Unified Student Government Association and Chair of the USGA Elections Committee.  One nominator stated “I cannot fathom the amount of work she has dedicated to USGA . . .She is the rock that holds the group together with unfailing passion, strength, encouragement, and support of anyone who asks for her help.”  A faculty reference wrote “I give Ms. Sarah Frank my highest possible recommendation for a Damen Award…(she) is an exceptional student…and has gotten involved in the Illinois Sociological Association, and … was awarded second place in the Student Paper award competition. She is also a Gannon Scholar and member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society.    
Stephanie Morrow
Stephanie states “Four years ago I was inspired by the tradition of Hunger Week at Loyola and its mission to stand in solidarity with those who hunger. I immersed myself by learning about hunger in our world and fought alongside current and former students to raise awareness and funds for over twelve organizations.  This year…we raised over $12,000.”  One of her nominators wrote, “Stephanie Morrow has spent the past four years contributing to the planning of Hunger Week. That culminated this year in her role as student team leader, where she developed a true team environment and empowered the group to collaboratively put on the most successful Hunger Week in years.”  She has also been a four-year big sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters Chicago, a member of Oxfam Loyola (VP), the Student Environmental Alliance, and the Vice Chair for Public Relations in the Maroon and Gold Society.  In addition, Stephanie is a Loyola4Chicago Leader, a former Welcome Week Leader, Loyola Vietnam center alum and was able to take an Alternative Break Immersion to Immokalee, FL through the office of Campus Ministry.  Stephanie is a true example of servant leadership and a person for others. 

Steven Patzke

Through Steven's time as the Co-chair of the Maroon and Gold Society, three-time Orientation Leader, Resident Assistant, Companion, Retreat Leader, and Christian Life Community Leader Steven has exemplified Jesuit values at Loyola.  He also studied at the JFRC in Spring 2013 and participated in Alternative Break Immersions to both the Jonah Catholic Worker House in Baltimore and Bethlehem Farm in West Virginia.  He was instrumental in developing a three-credit Engaged Learning course “All Things Ignatian: Living and Learning in the Jesuit Tradition,” which will be a lasting legacy at Loyola. 

Thomas Serena
Psychology of Natural Sciences

In the past year, Thomas has served as Vice President of USGA, on the Executive Board of University Senate, was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa, and The Maroon and Gold Society.  Prior to that he was activate with Sigma Alpha Epsilon and USGA serving as President of the Campus Activities Network, USGA Chief of Student organizations and Chair of the Safety and Wellness Committee of USGA.  He has also been inducted into Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology and Order of Omega, the Greek National Honorary Society, and served as a Student Representative on the Board of Trustees Student Development Committee, Campus Coalition for Alcohol Initiatives, Coordinated Community Response Team, and Loyola Budget and Finance University Policy Committee.   For the past three years, he has been involved in research on the Precedence and Recency Effects on the Basis of Interaural Differences of Time, resulting in research that will so be published.  He will be attending medical school in the fall in the hopes of becoming a pediatric oncologist.