SCPS Presidential Medallion Award Nicolette Prpa
Nicolette Prpa has found plenty of inspiration at Loyola. But she’s also provided plenty of it as well.
Prpa, who launched a successful fashion boutique business a decade ago, is now a standout student with a 3.97 GPA. She uses that combination of book smarts and real-world experience to mentor classmates and push them to new heights. “Sometimes all it takes is a little nudge to make someone unstoppable,” she says.
Here, she talks about her favorite mentors at Loyola, the power of positive thinking, and why law school is next on her to-do list.
What’s your favorite Loyola memory?
I’ve had so many amazing memories, but I would have to say my favorite is seeing my teacher Michael Rydel’s face when I showed up for office hours every week like clockwork. I look back now and think he must have thought I was insane, but he never showed that. I will forever be grateful for all the time he spent with me.
Talk a little about a professor or mentor who inspired you.
I’ve truly been inspired by nearly every educator I’ve had at Loyola, so I can’t name just one. Amy Jordan inspired me to believe anything is possible. Chris Martiniano inspired me to dig deep to find meaning in all things I do. And Kevin O’Connor and Charlene Wenc taught me to fear nothing.
Tell us about your volunteer work and/or involvement in student organizations and what it means to you.
I worked as a teacher’s assistant last year, and I also represent Loyola as a student ambassador. Both of these platforms have allowed me to spread one message: “You can do this, you will do this, and it will forever change your life.” Nothing makes me feel more fulfilled than to see a student thrive because of the encouragement I instilled in them.
Any advice you would give students about how to get the most out of their time at Loyola?
Invest in and absorb all of the things Loyola has to offer. The staff here is like nothing you will ever experience again in life, so dive in deep, expand your network, and build relationships. I promise you will get back everything you put in—and so much more.
And finally, what do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
I’ll be a law school graduate running a nonprofit that advocates for and educates women who have lost their power or have been wronged by the system. I think it’s imperative to equip women with enough legal acumen to protect themselves and their families, and it’s something we just don’t learn in grade school. Or, I’ll be running for president. You never know.