Stritch Alumni in the News

Know a Stritch alumnus who has been featured in the news? Please send the info to

March 17, 2020
Love of basketball deepens Donarski family bond
Alumni Pam (Besch), ’93, ’95, and Dave Donarski, ’92, ’95, are raising their daughters Lexi and Macy to love the game that brought them together on the Stritch campus. Dave is the head coach for Lexi and Macy's Aquinas High School team in La Crosse. The Blugolds have won the last two Wisconsin Division 4 state titles under Dave's tutelage. Lexi was named the 2020 Miss Basketball by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and is the fourth girls' player in the state to be chosen to participate in the prestigious McDonald's All-American game. Pam is a mathematics teacher at Aquinas.

March 5, 2020
Waunakee Tribune
Tribune Profile: Lea Zwettler: This literacy coach helps teachers
Leah Zwetter, '06, serves as the Literacy Coach for the Waunakee School District. In that role she identifies best instructional practices and share them with her colleagues.She focuses on reading, writing and vocabulary instruction.

February 28, 2020
Raquel Filmanowicz, '03, has been named CEO of Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Milwaukee July 13-16.
Journal Sentinel 
Milwaukee Business Journal 

Feb. 27, 2020
Milwaukee Business Journal
Poeschl and Hostad driven to grow Milwaukee’s talent pipeline
Michael Hostad, '10, and Joe Poeschl founded The Commons, a skills accelerator for college students. Participants address real work challenges in a collaborative, creative approach. In a little over six years, thousands of students from 24 Wisconsin colleges and universities have participated. The initiative is expanding to include high school students.  

Jan. 7, 2020
Shepherd Express
Visual Arts Preview: Jan. 9-15, 2020
Darrel Payne, '13, will display his cast ceramic work in a show titled "D.N.A." short for Discovering New Ancestry at 5 Points Art Gallery and Studios, 3514 N. Port Washington Ave., Milwaukee, from Jan. 10 through Feb. 23. 

Dec. 12, 2019
Jacqueline Oraedu’s Non-Traditional Pageant Victories Encourage, Inspire and Empower Everyday Women
Jacqueline Oraedu, '03, '08, is establishing a unique and positive role model as a pageant participant. She has broken traditional stereotypes and shares her story through pageantry.

November 25, 2019
Renton Reporter
Rotary honors Renton’s educators
Emily Moe-Lobeda, '11, was recognized by the Rotary Club of Renton (Wash.) as a Teacher of the Month for November 2019. Moe-Lobeda has served as a special education teacher at Lakeridge Elementary School for eight years.

November 23, 2019
Anoka County Union Herald
Anoka County director earns statewide honor
Brad Thiel, '93, Anoka County economic assistance director, received outstanding program achievement award from the Minnesota Family Support and Recovery Council, an association of child support and collection professionals.

October 21, 2019
Business Journal
Deep Dish: Jason Alston develops barbecue destination at Heaven's Table
Jason Alston, '17, has turned his lifelong love of cooking into Heaven’s Table BBQ, a popular destination inside the Crossroads Collective food hall in his hometown of Milwaukee. Alston's aspirations include developing a stand-alone restaurant and expanding to Green Bay and Madison.

October 10, 2019
‘Two traditions; one school’
Emily Berg, '10, explains how she is using the theme "We are one!" to create community at Burlington Catholic School.

August 1, 2019
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Her son and father were both killed. Now she devotes her life to helping grieving families in Milwaukee.
Karin Taylor, '11, provides an important and compassionate voice for victims as a violence prevention coordinator for the City of Milwaukee. She also founded the Sisters of Love community group that supports family and friends of victims of violent crime. Karin's perserverance after the deaths of her son and father is inspirational.

July 26, 2019
'Light the Hoan' organizers aiming to finish project before DNC
Michael Hostad, '10, is leading the Light the Hoan effort to illimunate the bridge that spans the Milwaukee River and is a notable Milwaukee landmark. 

June 16, 2019
Sun Prairie Star
Pop culture perspectives
Silk-screen artist Donald Topp, who earned a Stritch master of arts degree in visual arts, blends familiar characters with pertinent issues of the day in his artwork. His work is in studios across the world and he also sells his creations at art shows in the Midwest.

June 13, 2019
Business Journal
$60M St. Louis hotel from Iron Horse's Tim Dixon preps debut: Slideshow

Stritch alumnus Tim Dixon, '89, renovated the International Shoe Co. building in St. Louis and the new The Last Kitchen & Bar will open in July. Dixon owns Fe Equus, which has developed Milwaukee's The Iron Horse hotel (Milwaukee) and the Hewing Hotel (Minneapolis). 

June 7, 2019
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Ringling brothers' century-old mansion is now a historical B&B in Baraboo
Stuart Koehler, '02, and his fiancee, Julie Hearley, have restored the Ringling House Bed and Breakfast in Baraboo, Wis. The property is on the Wisconsin and national registers of historic places and was home to one of the most famous Wisconsin families that was responsible for "The Greatest Show on Earth."

May 14, 2019
Milwaukee Business Journal
Evers appoints Town Bank executive Joaquin Altoro to lead WHEDA
Joaquin Altoro, '02, '14, has beeb named executive director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) by Governor Tony Evers. WHEDA is a state agency best known for lending to support homebuyers and administering a tax credit program that developers use to build affordable housing. 

May 8, 2019
Fox 6
‘I didn’t expect this:’ Milwaukee teacher named ‘Wisconsin Teacher of the Year’
Chad Sperzel-Wuchterl, '03, '10, was named Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year at a May 8 ceremony. The award was presented by Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford Taylor. He is an art teacher at Ronald Reagan High School in Milwaukee. Sperzel-Wuchterl has served as a cooperating teacher for Stritch education majors who are student teaching and completing field experience. 

April 9, 2019
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Marcy Elementary principal Michele Trawicki was named Wisconsin Elementary School Principal of the Year
Michele Trawicki, '95, who was named 2019 Wisconsin Elementary School Principal of the Year by the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA). She has served as the principal at Marcy Elementary School in Menomonee Falls, which is part of the Hamilton School District, since 2008. She was recognized as "an effective school leader who is known for her ability to form strong teams of teacher-leaders who relentlessly work to raise student achievement and engaged parents and families in the learning process," by Jim Lynch, AWSA executive director.Trawicki is a member of the Stritch Principals' Center Board. 

March 25, 2019
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
This Milwaukee mom's 6-year-old has autism. Here's how she's using her Tosa yoga studio to raise awareness for the disorder
Denna Haslett, '12, is teaching free yoga classes at her Grounded Soul Yoga in Wauwatosa during April, which is National Autism Awareness Month. She will collect donations for the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin. Haslett's son TJ was diagnosed with autism in 2012, the same year she earned an associate degree in nursing from Stritch.

March 5, 2019
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Lifelong love of barbecue called experienced chef to set Heaven's Table at the Crossroads Collective
Jason Alston, '17, opened Heaven's Table BBQ in Milwaukee's new Crossroads Collective. After a successful career in local establishments, Alston has fulfilled his dream of launching a restaurant that is "all about barbecue." The brisket is a top seller and look for a German sausage on the menu ( soon! 

January 21, 2019
UW Scholar Creates Black, Dyslexic Superhero
Dr. Shawn Anthony Robinson, '15, and his wife Inshirah wrote Dr. Dyslexia Dude, a graphic novel intended to inspire children with disabilities. Proceeds from sales of the book are directed to the International Dyslexia Association.

Jan. 17, 2019
Waunakee Tribune
Air Force veteran has a new mission
Chris Neitzel, '08, '15, is a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and is responsible for overseeing the conversion from C-130 planes to larger C-17 models for the 911th Airlift Wing based in Pittsburgh. Neitzel has devoted more than two decades of service in the Air Force and is committed to helping families of those who are deployed.

December 8, 2018
The Golf Channel
Junior golf spotlight: The inspiration behind Harris Park
Former men's basketball player Chris Harris, '98, was featured in The Golf Channel's Junior Golf Spotlight for his work in his native Kansas City, Mo. Chris is transforming the area around his youth home into a facility that teaches the basic of life through sports. The Harris Park Golf Course at the Midtown Sports & Activity Center features two pitch-and-putt courses. Chris is removing his childhood home to expand the site. The project is a 2018 First Tee Design Excellence Recipient.

Nov. 30, 2018
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Jagler: Environmental, financial sustainability can coexist, QuadPackaging executive says
As QuadPackaging's senior director of sales strategy and business development, Paul Nowak, '07, is convinced that it's necessary for packaging and sustainability to be a part of the same conversation. He shares insight on what is needed to create a sustainable work environment.  

November 16, 2018
Finance & Commerce
Top Women in Finance: Christine Cordell
Christine Cordell, '06, is currently the Senior Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness at Hiway Federal Credit Union, where she has served in a variety of roles since 2013. She shares that one of her proudest professional accomplishments is the creation of the Hiway Credit Union Foundation, which is dedicated to passionately improving resources to enhance the overall wellness of the community.

November 12, 2018
Milwaukee Business Journal
Weins using JDog Junk Removal to empower veterans 
Andy Weins, '16, expanded his JDog Junk Removal & Hauling franchise headquarters to open a workforce training center for veterans and members of the general public. The expansion was possible after Weins won the $10,00 cash award on Project Pitch It, which Stritch sponsors. Weins is a U.S. Army veteran and served in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay. He is involved in a variety of veterans efforts throughout the community.

November 6, 2018
Shepherd Express
Rocket Paloma Takes Center Stage
Joey Kerner, '09, and the band Rocket Paloma released their first album, Mother Mountain, in September and are making a name for themselves with their progressive-folk style of music. 

October 10, 2018
Catholic News Service
Brewers chaplain finds joy in connecting his love of priesthood, sports
Very Reverend Jerry Herda, '86, has served as a chaplain for the Milwaukee Brewers since 2006. In this Catholic News Service article he shares insight about his role and how he is able to his loves of the priesthood and sports intersect.

October 4, 2018
Milwaukee Business Journal
Denise Thomas helps Milwaukee businesses communicate
Denise Thomas, '06, shares how she analyzed her communication skills to see how area businesses and organizations would benefit. She also explains why communication is no longer a "soft skill" and how it is essential for any business to succeed.

October 4, 2018
Lodi Enterprise
‘This is a super fun job’
Mike Pisani, '05, was named principal of Lodi Elementary School in July 2018. He considers one of his chief priorities to instill a love of school and learning in his students in this central Wisconsin town. He has previously taught and served as principal in Johnson Creek, Middleton, Verona and Sun Prairie.

August 30, 2018
Kenosha News
Guida Brown - Getting to Know You
The Kenosha News introduces readers to Guida Brown, '95, in this feature. Note that Guida's favorite thing about living in Kenosha is that it is a caring community - one of our Franciscan values!

August 28, 2018
Madison Magazine
CEOs of Tomorrow gives kids a taste of entrepreneurship
CEOs of Tomorrow, founded by Roxie Hentz, '01, '09, provides an opportunity for school-aged children in the greater Madison area to learn about social entrepreneurship through practical activities and experiences. Hentz also serves as an instructor for Stritch's Mission Fuel initiative.

August 5, 2018
Wisconsin State Journal
On View: Donald Topp Pop Art
Artwork created by Donal Topp, '04, will be featured in an art show at Yahara Bay Distillers in Fitchburg, Wis. Topp deconstructs pop culture images and his work has been displayed in San Diego, Denbver, Chicago and Manchester, United Kingdom.

August 3, 2018
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
How a Milwaukee millennial used LinkedIn video to start a company
Izzy Lugo, '16, and former Stritch roommate Quentin Allums, along with partners Eric Didier and Brema Brema have launched, which provides storytelling, marketing and branding services and is dominating social media platforms.

July 16, 2018
New marketing group throws launch bash at Ugly's 
Israel Lugo, '16, Quentin Allums, Eric Didier and Brema Brema launched a new marketing and media company in Milwaukee. 

July 3, 2018
Rocket Paloma wonders if it’s the victim or the crime in “Ghosted”
Joey Kerner, '09, and her band Rocket Paloma will release a full-length album in September and played twice at Summerfest. 

June 25, 2018
BizTimes Milwaukee
JDog puts $10,000 prize toward entrepreneur training
Andrew Weins, '16, and his brother Isaac operate the Butler, Wis., based franchise of JDog Junk Removal & Hauling. They were contestants on the second season of Stritch-sponsored Project Pitch It television program and earned a $10,000 prize that they used to implement a training program. 

June 13, 2018
Yale News
New Haven sixth graders visit Yale for the first time with their undergraduate mentors
Marquita Taylor, '12, '18, oversees the Jones-Zimmermann Academic Mentoring Program (J-Z AMP™), which  connects college mentors with 6th grade mentees in Connecticut with the goal of preparing the young students for a successful high school experience. The program, which creates a supportive, nurturing environment, was founded in 2000 and has had a significant impact on the high school graduation rates in the Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford school districts.

June 15, 2018
BizTimes Milwaukee
Greater Milwaukee Foundation honors community leaders at annual meeting
Melissa Goins, Anselmo Villarreal recognized at ceremony

Anselmo Villarreal, '14, received the Doug Jansson Leadership Award from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. Anselmo is the President and CEO of La Casa de Experanza, which is based in Waukesha, Wis., and provides opportunities to achieve full social and economic participation in society, with emphasis on the Hispanic population.

May 31, 2018
Waunakee Tribune
Tribune Profile: Dave Hineline: A retired math teacher, a computer pioneer and Lion
Stritch alumnus Dave Hineline, '91, is featured in this article. Dave had a storied teaching, administrative and coaching career at Waunakee High School and remains active with the Waunakee Lions Club. 

May 16, 2018
Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter
Yes, Wisconsinites care about the royal wedding. Here's why.
In advance of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the USA Today Network-Wisconsin explored the fascination with all things royal. David Price, '07, '13, a native of Lancashire, England, and former Stritch men's soccer player, is co-owner of Three Lions Pub and Red Lion Pub in Milwaukee with fellow Brit and former Stritch teammate Chirstopher Tinker, '06, '10. The pubs reflect Price and Tinker's homeland with varied memorabilia, food and a sense of community. The pubs will open at 5 a.m. Saturday, May 19, to show the royal wedding and offer a Royal Tea Service.

May 9, 2018
Milwaukee Business Journal
Valerie Daniels-Carter, Randy Crump honored by African American Chamber: Slideshow
Valerie Daniels-Carter, '83, received the 2018 Business Champion Award from the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin. She is the President and CEO of  V&J Foods, Holding Companies, Inc. (VJ Holdings), a multi-brand/multi-state operation that is the largest female owned franchise organization in the country.

May 11, 2018
Now News Group
Menomonee Falls High School to induct three into Hall of Fame
Andrew Hacker, '13, will be inducted into the Menomonee Falls (Wis.) Wall of Fame May 16. He currently serves as the instrumental music director at Hartford (Wis.) Union High School. Hacker was honored as the 2015 Civic Music Association of Milwaukee's Teacher of the Year.

May 5, 2018
Dairyland Peach
Woman of the Month, Nadine Schnettler, willing to try anything
Nadine Schnettler, '91, has been named the Dairyland Peach Woman of the Month for May, She serves as the director of the Rocori Senior Center in Cold Spring, Minn., where she "transformed the center into a viable part of the community" and plans many events and fundraising activities to keep the facility in the black.

April 16, 2018
Facility Executive
Put Mosquitoes Out Of Work, Not Your Staff
Peter Teska, '02, shares tips with employers who facilities management staff members may encounter mosquitoes in the course of their work. Teska is a global infection prevention application expert at Diversey.

April 5, 2018
CBS News This Morning
Art collectors sell works to help Milwaukee housing project​
Former Stritch professor Tony Busalacchi, '80, and his wife Pat were featured in the CBS News This Morning's 'A More Perfect Union' segment. The Busalacchis celebrated Tony's 85th birthday by donating 85 pieces of artwork to Capuchin Community Services to assist in furnishing the St. Anthony Apartments in downtown Milwaukee. 

March 26, 2018
Urban Milwaukee
St. Thomas More High School Teachers Earn Statewide Awards
Alumna Jodi Brzezinski, '07, has been named Wisconsin Art Educator of the Year for the second consecutive year. She accepted the award, presented by the National Art Education Association, at a national convention in Seattle on March 23.

March 15, 2018
Milwaukee Business Journal
Eve Hall, Paula Penebaker receive 2018 Sacagawea Awards: Slideshow
Eve Hall, '09, received a 2018 Sacagawea Award from Professional Dimensions in recognition of her professional achievements and community accomplishments. Hall is the president and CEO of the Milwaukee Urban League.

March 2, 2018
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Stingl: Raised in West Allis, young woman returns to Vietnam to find her birth mom
Brittany Hawley, '17, shares her fascinating journey to Vietnam to visit her birth mother and the impact the reunion had on her.

Feb. 26, 2018
Business Journal
Valerie Daniels-Carter brings seafood chain Captain D's to Milwaukee
Valerie Daniels-Carter, '83, is behind the effort to bring Captain D's, a national restaurant chain serving quality seafood at reasonable prices to the midwest. The first Milwaukee location (not far from the Stritch campus!) opened recently and another site is projected to open soon. 

Feb. 21, 2018
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Stingl: Couple donates art from a lifetime to pay for furnishing apartments for the homeless
Former Stritch professor Tony Busalacchi, '80, and his wife Pat will sell framed paintings, religious icons, stained-glass panels, sculpture and etchings from their personal collection to help furnish new apartments in downtown Milwaukee. The affordable housing will be located on the site of the former St. Anthony Hospital where Tony was born. Tony is cited for following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, who preached through his actions, not just words. 

Feb. 12, 2018
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin filmmaker creates documentary of WWI female telephone operators
Jim Theres, '06, shares the story of female telephone operators who played a key role in World War I by serving in the Army Signal Corps in the documentary "The Hello Girls." The one-hour film will debut March 1 at Arlington National Cemetery's Women's Memorial.

Feb. 12, 2018
Racine Journal Times
DeMatthew embraces the challenge: Former star player for St. Catherine's works in Bucks front office
Former high school and college basketball standout Jamie DeMatthew, '12, is senior group acount executive for the Milwaukee Bucks. DeMatthew earned a master's degree in sport management, which helped prepare him for a transition from the hardwood to an adminsitrative position. 

Feb. 9, 2018
Today's TMJ4 
Brookfield native NBC photojournalist working in PyeongChang
Marcy Weinsheim, '57, provided an update on her son, John, who coverered the luge, bobsled and skeleton at the 2018 Olympic games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Feb. 8, 2018
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Northwestern Mutual honors local nonprofits through new art exhibit
Shelby Keefe, '81, is one of the artists whose work is featured in the new Northwestern Mutual Foundation Giving Gallery: Community in Process, located on the first floor of Northwestern Mutual Tower & Commons, 805 E. Mason St. The gallery is open Monday-Friday and admission is free. The exhibit includes work by 17 Wisconsin artists and is in tribute to 25 nonprofit agencies and organizations that have received support from the Foundation over the last 25 years.  

Feb. 1, 2018
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Books from Milwaukee's Pabst, Uihlein families pulled from trash, given to Pabst Mansion
Historic books belonging to a woman from two of Milwaukee's most iconic beer families were recently donated to the Pabst Mansion where John Eastberg,'93, serves as executive director. The early 20th century books belonged to Ida Pabst, daughter of August Uihlein of the Schlitz Brewing Company, and wife of Frederick Pabst, Jr., of the Pabst Brewing Company.  

Jan. 22, 2018
Milwaukee Business Journal 
Unlocked: Meet the entire 2018 class of 40 Under 40 winners
Marisol Cervera, '16, and Benjamin Haas, '00, were named to the Milwaukee Business Journal's 40 Under 40 list, recognized professionals who are making a difference throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Jan. 7, 2018
WTMJ Radio
Pettit National Ice Center hosting Olympic trials
Kevin Butler, '07, the Pettit National Ice Center marketing director, discusses the impact the U.S. Olympic Long Track Trials will have on the Pettit Center and the greater Milwaukee community.

Nov. 15, 2017
Wauwatosa NOW
Local math teacher opening 'Mathnasium' learning center in Wauwatosa to help kids learn
Derek Pipkorn, '15, opened a Mathnasium franchise in Wauwatosa to help local children with math. Pipkorn believes "... we can we can all be math people if we have the right resources." 

Nov. 9, 2017
KPMG Women's PGA Championship
Jacquelyn Endsley Named Championship Director for the 2018 KPMG Women's PGS Championship
Kohler, Wis., native Jacquelyn Endsley was named the Championship Director of the 2018 KPMG Women 's PGA Championship, one of the four major tournaments on the LPGA Tour. The tournament will be plaed June 26-July 1 at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer, Ill.

Nov. 8, 2017
Beloit Daily News
District to host Veterans Day event
The School District of Beloit featured Sergeant Major Tanya M. Hudnall, '08, '09, '11, at its Veterans Day event that was open to the community. SGM Hudnall has served for more than 25 years, including during Operation Iraqi Freedom III from 2004-2005. She has received the Combat Action Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Good Conduct Medal. 

October 2017
Chicago Tribune
College teacher wrote kids’ nonfiction books
College of Lake County (Ill.) English professor Mary Dunn, '68, began a career authoring nonfiction children's books in her late 60s and imparted a love of writing in her students. Mary was the recipient of the 2011 International Latino Book Award for "I Want to be a Chef" and frequently spoke at national and international literacy conference. Mary died in Ocotber after being diagnosed with bile duct cancer. 

Know of a Stritch alumnus who has been featured in the news? Send the info to