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Mount Mercy Academy Concludes Career Month

by Pat Burns

Mount Mercy Academy concluded its month of highlighting careers with five additional speakers.  Students had the opportunity to learn about careers in the FBI, counseling, rental property investor and manager, digital media, and employee benefits.

Kimberly Smith has worked for the FBI in Buffalo for 14 years as a tactical analyst.  She works in Crimes Against Children and Human Trafficking.  She is also a member of the FBI's national Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team, and a member of the FBI Buffalo Evidence Response Team. She spoke to the students about all the different career options available within the FBI.  Junior Molly Oar (Lakeview) commented "Mrs. Smith told us that the FBI is not really like how it is portrayed in TV and movies and she informed us of the many different career options available within the FBI."

Two Mount Mercy classmates from the Class of 2012, McKayla Burvid and Emily Nostrant, spoke of their careers as a Substance Abuse Counselor as well as a nurse and a Mental Health Counselor, respectively.  Burvid first worked as a substance abuse counselor after graduating from college and then returned to college for a nursing degree.  She works as a nurse, as well as in outpatient addictions treatment clinic.  Nostrant, who has a master's degree in Mental Health Counseling, works at Best Self Behavioral Health.  Junior Gemma McIlroy (Hamburg) found their talk to be informative.  "One thing that I learned from the two speakers is that hours in the substance abuse field can be flexible, so it is possible to combine another career with working with people who have addiction issues or are mentally ill," McIlroy remarked. 

Diane Kuciel informed students of her unusual career path that led her to owning, maintaining, and managing a solid real estate portfolio.  She is also a top world-wide saleswoman for Mary Kay Cosmetics. Senior Desiree Diaz-Torres (Buffalo) commented "It was very inspiring to hear how Ms. Kuciel worked so hard to get where she is."

Stephanie Kennedy is the founder of Reach Digital Media Solutions, a boutique digital marketing agency in Buffalo.  She earned a bachelor's degree in Strategic Communication and Digital Media from St. Bonaventure University and started her business three months later.  Sophomore Rylee Strefeler (Dunkirk) found Kennedy's talk very uplifting. "As a member of the business academy, it was really inspiring to see a real entrepreneur speak about her local, woman-owned business in digital marketing. Seeing someone improve other people's businesses as well as her own showed me a way to utilize technology as a way of communication, to my advantage" Strefeler stated.

Theresa Roma, a member of Mount Mercy’s Class of 2004, graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree, completed a master’s degree in Adult Education from Buffalo State and obtained her doctorate in Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher College.  Roma has worked in the insurance industry her entire career and is currently a sales consultant for Guardian Insurance. 

All in all, the students were very receptive and appreciative of the opportunity to listen to various speakers. Junior Claire Denning (Buffalo) stated that "I found it reassuring after listening to the various speakers talk about their uncertainty in college about their careers, but then with all the different careers, they found something out there that they enjoyed."

"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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