Lead

All eyes on academics

At first glance, it would seem that these four incoming Loyola students have little in common.

One loves politics and hopes to someday work as a campaign strategist. Another plans to study communications and run on the track team. The third wants to become a doctor and help senior citizens. And the fourth would like to be an emergency room nurse in the city.

But despite their different goals and aspirations, the four do share some common ground: They all attended Loyola Weekend in April, and they all plan to enroll here to make their dreams a reality. And each of them can’t wait to get started.

Read more about these four members of the Class of 2017 below. 


Pari Cariaga 

East Ridge High School (Woodbury, Minn.)

What brought you to Loyola?

“It was important to me that I have a religious education. When I was younger I went to a non-denominational Christian school, and then when I moved to Minnesota I went to a public school—and I realized that I really missed that religious aspect.”

What do you plan to study and what would you like to do after graduation?

“Political science. I would like to be some sort of strategist. I love watching the news, following politics, reading books.”

What was your favorite part of Loyola Weekend?

“I loved attending Mass on campus. Both my mom and I started tearing up when we realized this was going to be my new home. And then later in the Mass my dad whispered in my ear: ‘Peace be with you. Welcome to your new home away from home.’ ”

How does it feel to officially be a Rambler?

“It’s great. I’m just so excited to start a new chapter in my life.”

Any hobbies or things you like to do outside of school?

“I’m president of my school’s drama club, and I also do some community theater. So I hope to continue doing that when I come to Loyola.” 


Nicholas Prajka

Carl Sandburg High School (Orland Park, Ill.)

What brought you to Loyola?

“I’ve always wanted to go to Loyola. My uncle went there years ago, and that got me interested in the school. Then they recruited me for track—and that was it.”

What do you plan to study and what would you like to do after graduation?

“Communications, either journalism or public relations. I’m not sure what I want to do when I graduate, but I’ve got a few years to figure that out.”

What was your favorite part of Loyola Weekend?

“Everything was great, but my favorite part was the food. I can’t get enough of it. Seriously, I didn’t eat breakfast that morning so I could load up when I got there.”

How does it feel to officially be a Rambler?

“I remember how cool it felt to wear my high school track jersey at a meet for the first time, so I can’t even fathom how it’s going to feel to put on a Rambler jersey and run for Loyola. I’m sure it’ll be way better than I can even imagine.”

Any hobbies or things you like to do outside of school?

“I play a lot of ultimate frisbee, and I’d love to keep playing at Loyola. But with track practice and school, I doubt I’ll have the time—or energy—to do it.”


Maddie Stonis

Lincoln-Way Central High School (New Lenox, Ill.)

What brought you to Loyola?

“I was looking for a Catholic school because I wanted to meet people with the same interests that I have. I like that Loyola has small class sizes because that’s how I learn best. And I like the location, too. I like that it’s close to home.” 

What do you plan to study and what would you like to do after graduation?

“I want to major in biology and minor in Spanish. I plan to go into the pre-med program and then go on to medical school and maybe specialize in geriatrics. It seems like a lot of people forget about senior citizens, and I don’t think you should.”

What was your favorite part of Loyola Weekend?

“I really liked meeting so many new people throughout the whole weekend. And the new Damen Center was amazing. I can see why everyone is so excited about it.”

How does it feel to officially be a Rambler?

“It feels great because a lot of my classmates at this point aren’t sure where they want to go to college. I like the fact that I know where I’m going to school, and I’m confident that I made the right choice.”

Any hobbies or things you like to do outside of school?

“I do a lot of extra-curricular activities at my school, and I also volunteer for the Lions club. And then in my spare time, I like to read, crochet, and make cupcakes.”


Karissa Wappel

Carl Sandburg High School (Orland Park, Ill.)

What brought you to Loyola?

“I really liked the nursing program and how it was direct admit. Then when I visited, I fell in love with the campus. The lake is beautiful, and I just felt at home. It’s really nice and everyone is very friendly.” 

What do you plan to study and what would you like to do after graduation?

“I’m going into nursing, and after I get my degree I’d like to work in an emergency room at a hospital somewhere in the city. I don’t mind the blood and guts.”

What was your favorite part of Loyola Weekend?

“We got to see the simulation lab that I’ll be using in nursing school. It was really nice to see where we’ll be practicing our nursing skills before we work on real people. It was really neat to see all that.”

How does it feel to officially be a Rambler?

“I’m so excited. I can’t wait to be part of the student body.”

Any hobbies or things you like to do outside of school?

“I do traditional Chinese dance. I’ve done it since I was three, and it’s sort of a combination of ballet and theater. We perform at fund-raisers and things like that. I also like to read, and I run with my dad.”