Honors Program Alumni Stories

Maia Pappadakis, Class of 2022

Maia was a Biochemistry major, with Mathematics and Quantitative Sciences minors. While in Marymount’s Honors Program, she conducted research with a number of faculty members, which she presented during her freshman, junior, and senior years at the Virginia Collegiate Honors Council Conferences. She served on the Honors Student Organization Board as the Vice President and later President, and participated in an Honors Summer Study Abroad Program at Oxford University. She is currently earning her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Microbiology at Penn State University.

Jasmine Roy, Class of 2021

Jasmine was a double Biochemistry and Mathematics major, with a History minor. She said when reflecting on her time at Marymount, “I will 100 percent remember all of the professors that I had in the Biochemistry and Math departments. I have never met humans that are so dedicated to making a student experience the best if can possibly be!” She was an Honors Student Leader for two years and presented her Honors thesis at the Virginias Collegiate Honors Council Conference. In addition to being an Honors Scholar, she was also a student-athlete who won two championship rings for her role on the Women’s Volleyball team. Jasmine plans on attending medical school.

Courtney Stephens, Class of 2020

Honors Program Alumni Stories

Marymount University alumna Courtney Stephens is among the nation’s top scholars to receive a 2021 Fellowship from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, awarded to students pursuing their first year of graduate or professional study. Stephens joins only four other students across the country to earn the Society’s competitive Walter and Adelheid Hohenstein Fellowship of $8,500.

“I would like to thank all the Marymount faculty members who have helped me along the way, as well as the individuals who I have worked closely with in the medical field that have helped me find a passion in anesthesia,” Stephens expressed.

As an undergraduate Honors student at Marymount, Stephens completed a major in Biochemistry and two minors in Mathematics and Quantitative Science. Looking for the best way to enrich her professional network, Stephens was proud to accept an invitation to the University’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi in April 2020. She balanced the prestige of being a member of the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society with her academics, Honors coursework, and as a member of the Saints Women’s Soccer team.

After graduating from Marymount in 2020, Stephens enrolled at South University in Savannah, Ga., to pursue a master’s degree in Anesthesia Science as part of an Anesthesiologist Assistant Program. “I was elated when I found out I was the recipient of the Hohenstein Fellowship,” Stephens said. “This fellowship will allow me to focus on my studies and be able to have the necessary funds to be as successful as I possibly can be in this program.” The Hohenstein Fellowship is awarded to the top-ranking nominees and is named in honor of former national Phi Kappa Phi president Walter Hohenstein and his wife Adelheid.

Stephanie Downing, Class of 2019​

Honors Program Alumni Stories

After graduating from the Honors Program with a B.S. in Criminal Justice, Stephanie received a prestigious, fully-funded Critical Language Scholarship offered by the U.S. Department of State to study Hindi in Jaipur, India this summer. “I want to fully immerse myself in the language, one that is uncommonly taught in the U.S., yet it is an asset for the future of a global world and my career,” Downing said. She looks forward to learning more about Indian culture firsthand, and teaching others about her Hawaiian upbringing. After returning from India, Stephanie will begin her job at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Maria Camarca, Class of 2017

Honors Program Alumni Stories
As an undergraduate Biology major and Honors student at Marymount, Maria worked with Dr. Eric Bubar on two research projects: one on stellar spectroscopy her freshman year and the other on 3-D printing of prosthetic arms her sophomore-junior year. After thoroughly enjoying a PSY-101 class with Dr. Stacy Lopresti-Goodman, she added a Psychology minor so she could continue to interact with the department. For her Honors thesis, she worked with Dr. Deana Jaber to test the use of card games in organic chemistry education. She had her thesis paper published in a peer-reviewed journal. After graduating from Marymount’s Honors Program with her B.S. in Biology, Maria began a summer internship at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the Center for Astrobiology. As an intern, Maria learned how to use infrared spectroscopy as a tool to study the chemical profiles of comets. The unique molecular abundances in comets are helpful for understanding the evolution of the Solar System. She continued her project at NASA Goddard as a full-time research assistant in the Solar System Exploration Division until she was accepted to a Ph.D. in Astronomy Program at CalTech.


Emilia Larach, Class of 2015

Honors Program Alumni Stories

Emilia’s experiences studying overseas informed the topic of her honors thesis, which investigated the extent to which study abroad participation was associated with a student’s self-identification as a member of the global community, and how this correlated with the dimensions of global citizenship. Emilia’s research utilized psychological and sociological theories to explore the role of universities, and the need for “lived experiences of otherness”, during the developmental period of emerging adulthood. Following graduation, Emilia presented her honors research at a national conference for international education in Boston, MA. Emilia recently completed her Ed.M. in Prevention Science and Practice from Harvard University, where she studied acculturation and student development during the study abroad re-entry transition. Emilia worked at Northeastern University’s Global Experience Office as their mobility coordinator and has served as a staff assistant on a Marymount University Honors Program study abroad program to Girona, Spain. She is currently a full time academic advisor at EducationUSA in Barcelona, Spain. She enjoys supporting young people and their families during periods of transition, and serving as a resource as they pursue their goals and navigate new environments abroad. 

​Chelsea Ritter, Class of 2014

Honors Program Alumni Stories

Chelsea earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. In her first year at UC, Chelsea implemented academic and behavioral interventions to Kindergarteners in urban schools and engaged in five different research projects with faculty and peers, working towards her goal to conduct research and teach psychology at a Research I university. While at Marymount, Chelsea started as a communications major, but changed to Psychology after taking PSY 101. Chelsea was a member of the Honors program and worked with Dr. Stacy Lopresti-Goodman as a research assistant. Her work with Dr. Lopresti-Goodman led to a publication and a desire to pursue research as a career choice. Chelsea’s advice for current MU students is to be open to all opportunities and experiences. In Chelsea’s own words:  “I love what I am doing. I know that I am doing the right thing with my life and the experiences I am getting are incredible. All of these experiences and skills that I have are because of professors at Marymount who took the time to talk to me inside and outside of class and write detailed feedback on all of my assignments. I cannot stress enough that Marymount prepared me so much for this Ph.D. program.” Chelsea is currently a School Psychologist and an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama.

Regina Ball, Class of 2012

Honors Program Alumni Stories

Marymount Graphic Design and Honors Program alumna Regina Ball recently had her work for Phone2Action, a grassroots advocacy software, showcased on the Capital One Arena in DC. She was hired as Phone2Action’s first Graphic Designer in September 2016 and was recently promoted to Creative Manager. In this role she not only designs the creative for the company, but also creates and orders client gifts, branded swag, manages social media and website content, and provides photography and videography for internal and external events. Ball said. “Few companies actually live their mission of making the world a better place, but at Phone2Action I can see tangible differences our clients are making by using our tools.”

“I learned so much at Marymount in a variety of areas, but one of the most important things I learned from my Art & Design classes was being able to accept critiques gracefully,” Ball said. “Many people do not have experience working with designers and providing constructive feedback, so having a thick skin to accept the feedback and being able to work with that person to really draw out their reasoning and reactions has been invaluable.”