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Mount Mercy Academy Holds Career Day


  Mount Mercy Academy’s guidance department and Alumnae Association recently sponsored a career day for the students.  The event featured a panel discussion with eight successful alumnae from a variety of fields. The event was titled “Girls Can Do Anything”.  

    The panelists included Peggy Klavoon Cannan ’06, Claire Kelley ’07, Mary Reidy ’07, Peggy Shea Sherber ’04, Susan Dzierzewski Steblein ’01, Jessica Turner ’02, Susan Anderson Was ’99 and Dr. Megan Wierchowski ’06.

    The alumnae provided a brief synopsis of their educational backgrounds and their career paths and then answered questions for junior Olivia Larson (Orchard Park), the student moderator for the discussion.

    Cannan, a physical therapist for Kaleida Health, spoke of how her athletic background led her to athletic training and then her interests expanded to include a spectrum of possibilities when she added physical therapy.  She told the students to make the best of their opportunities at Mount Mercy to learn to express themselves and to gain confidence in an all-female environment.

    Kelley, an assistant controller at Lawley Insurance, told the students that it was important to realize that their education will never stop, even after attaining a college degree.  Kelley was inspired to follow her mother’s career path.

    Riedy, a clinical staff pharmacist at Oishei Children’s Hospital, knew from an early age she wanted a career in the medical field, but did not have in interest in hands on care.  She followed her interests into attaining board certification in Pediatric Pharmacotherapy. She informed students that her position is a career, not a job, as she takes the experiences of work home with her, particularly the emotional aspects.

    Sherber brought a different perspective to the panel, as she is the chief of staff for Buffalo Common Council Member Chris Scanlon.  She has varied responsibilities in her job, a job that she told students she had not aspired to and initially had turned down. She counseled the students that it was perfectly acceptable not to know what they wanted to do right away and not to feel stressed out if they were uncertain.  She also said “Take every opportunity that is given to you to do your best. Always try to make a favorable impression, because you never know when that will open up an opportunity for you in the future,” Sherber said.

    Steblein, a certified public accountant with Freed Maxick CPAs, PC and a senior tax manager chose accounting after she was unable to find a job in her college major.  She went back to school for accounting because of the plethora of jobs available and she has never regretted that decision. She encouraged students to take advantage of volunteer opportunities and shadow someone in the fields they are interested in.

    Turner, a manager in business development at New Era Cap World Headquarters, found her career path through her interest in athletics.  A standout basketball player in both high school and college, Turner told the students to find something that they are passionate about and to pursue it.  She advised the audience that it is perfectly acceptable not to know what they want to do right away. She also commented, “Be sure to know your worth and to go into all your experiences with confidence.  You don’t belong in a box and you should never be satisfied just to be the only woman in a room.” Turner also counseled the students to turn negative experiences and struggles to push harder to achieve success.

    Was, the director of Human Services at Curbell, Inc. also went back to school after graduating from college.  She was able to advise the students on how to succeed in interviews and body language. She told the students to always remember “The only thing that you can control in life or a job situation is how you represent yourself.”

    Wierchowski, a family practice physician at Primary Care of Western New York chose medicine after helping her uncle through his cancer struggles while she was in high school.  She stressed the importance of working hard in college to achieve career goals. She also advised students to take advantage of volunteer and shadowing opportunities.

    Junior Natalie Redmond of Buffalo appreciated the opportunity to listen to the panel.  “It was very enlightening and it definitely helped me as I prepare for my future,” Redmond commented.

    “It was inspiring listening to so many empowered, independent and successful women,” senior Alana Szumla of West Seneca commented.  “It was awesome to see how they have done so well in a male-dominated society.”

    Maddie Feccio, a junior from Buffalo remarked; ”I found it extremely inspiring to listen to strong Mount Mercy Alumnae and see how successful they are in their chosen fields.”


Caption:  Front: Student moderator Olivia Larson and Susan Dzierzewski Steblein.  Back: Peggy Klavoon Cannan, Claire Kelley, Mary Reidy, Peggy Shea Sherber, Jessica Turner, Susan Anderson Was and Dr. Megan Wierchowski .


"Mount Mercy has positively changed my life forever. Through the inviting community, I was able to grow as a woman, as a daughter, as a friend, and as a member of society. Throughout my time here I have gained an education in both academic areas and life in general through the school's ongoing efforts to educate students on gender inequality, racial injustice, and environmental crisis'. Furthermore, Mercy has given me the space to gain confidence that 4 years ago I never would have guessed I would have. Mount Mercy has helped me take that initial step toward becoming the strong woman of color I am today. At Mercy you are more than just a student, you are whoever you wish to be."

Melina Courtney

Class of 2022

"My future, success, and the ability to be an empowered woman in society come from Mount Mercy. My school is a strong foundation for my role in life. From attending Mount Mercy, I can say with confidence, that I will graduate with the mindset that I can accomplish anything. Mercy is my home and my sanctuary to be whoever I want. Mount Mercy has been bringing forth generations of strong intellectual women into the world, and I am more than honored to be one of them. Mercy teaches girls more than academics, but also about the world around us. As a mercy community, we give back to the world because it is our home. From my four years at Mercy, I have been educated on pushing for equality and peace and the understanding that there is no limit to what I can do. I have the confidence to go out in the world and make a difference because being a Mercy girl has given me that opportunity. "

Cassidy Reid

Class of 2022

"Mercy is more than just a school. Mercy is my second home and a shoulder to lean on. Mount Mercy has given me the confidence and resources to pursue my passions and make the world a more inclusive place, propelling me to take strides into male-dominated fields. Mercy blessed me with an environment to grow intellectually and in the community, giving me the foundation to make a tangible impact while making lifelong friendships."

Adrianna Awald

Class of 2022

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