Alumnae Accolades

Jen Cimino instructing a child at a piano.

Mary Higgins ’69

If all the high school girls, collegiate women athletes, and adult women who benefitted from the vision, determination, and leadership of Mary Higgins were to give her an ovation, the applause would be deafening. In 2014, she left Creighton and returned to her high school alma mater, Marian High School, to become the first alumna in the school’s 59-year-history to be named president. Next year, Higgins has new plans. Retirement. Read the full story here.

Jen Cimino instructing a child at a piano.

Tehillah Alphonso ’16

At just 23 years old, Tehillah Alphonso’s list of accomplishments is enviable. She sang at the GRAMMY®s with Billie Eilish. She sang on the film score for the Disney movie “Encanto.” She sang back-up in an Olivia Rodrigo video. She has been nominated for a  GRAMMY®. A USC graduate, she works as a background vocalist, session musician, songwriter, high school teacher, and arranger in Los Angeles. How did this Marian girl make it in the uber-competitive popular music industry? Read the full story here.

Jen Cimino instructing a child at a piano.

Sarah Fili ’11

As a high school student, Sarah Fili ‘11 had no idea that years later she would be the weekend evening anchor and reporter on Omaha’s KETV NewsWatch 7. She had no interest in journalism. In college, she studied molecular biology and chemistry. After many difficult science classes, Fili decided she needed to find something different. She started an internship at Channel 10/11 in Lincoln, and from there everything clicked. Read more of Sarah’s story here.

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Jen Cimino instructing a child at a piano.

Sarah Mullen ’15

Sarah Mullen is on track to graduate from the School of Medicine at UNMC in 2024, and she will soon decide what residency program she will enter. She recognizes the value of encouraging women to enter the science field and credits STEM programs at Marian for preparing her to explore opportunities in science that eventually led her to pursue a career in medicine. To read more about how STEM led Sarah to medicine, click here.

Jen Cimino instructing a child at a piano.

Collette Gillaspie ’16

Collette Gillaspie ’16 organized a group of Texas A&M engineering students to reinvigorate science for a class of fourth graders. Read the full story from Texas A&M University Engineering News here.

Jen Cimino instructing a child at a piano.

Maureen Gotch Vinton ’78

Maureen Gotch Vinton ‘78 is being honored as the Alumna of the Year for 2021 at the Esprit de Corps Banquet being held on Sept. 9. She addressed the class of 2021 at the Senior Breakfast offering this reflection on the sentiment “be still.” Read her full speech here.

Jen Cimino instructing a child at a piano.

Kellyn Daly ’16

In her freshman year of college, Kellyn Daly ‘16 played in the NCAA softball tournament for the University of North Carolina. Daly medically retired her junior year due to an elbow injury. The next year, as she was on track to graduate, she received a breast cancer diagnosis. Read more here.

Jen Cimino instructing a child at a piano.

Jen Cimino ’00

As a timid, unsure freshman walking into the halls of Marian in 1996, she did not realize just how much her life would change in the next four years. Nearly 24 years later, Jen Cimino ‘00 lives the changed life she couldn’t have even imagined as a freshman. Read more here.

Jen Cimino instructing a child at a piano.

Sarah O’Connor ’09

Sarah O’Connor is a hard working, driven woman who lives out the Marian core values every day. After coming to Marian’s open house as a middle schooler, she fell in love with the atmosphere and community that Marian had to offer. Read more about Sarah here.

Rose Ann Shannon ’69

Rose Ann Shannon ‘69 received the Esprit de Corps Sister Marcella Leadership Award. Rose Ann recently retired from her position as the news director at KETV in Omaha, where she oversaw a staff of 57 and 30 hours of locally produced news each week. She held this position for almost 25 years, rising through the ranks at a time when there were few women in the newsroom.  Read more here.

Lindsey Fauss Simmonds ‘97

“My hope for women is they get over fear and self-doubt to release themselves out into the world. The world needs more feminine-driven ideas,” Omaha native and Wander Puzzle Co. owner Lindsey Fauss Simmonds ’97 said. Simmonds is rounding out her first year of entrepreneurship in the puzzle industry after successfully recognizing gaps in market offerings and following intuitive proddings. Read more here.

Leslie Schwietz ’99

Leslie moved to Seattle after graduating from medical school and completing her residency at UNMC. A 2003 Creighton undergrad who majored in biology and environmental science, Leslie worked with the JVC in Portland providing medical outreach to migrant farmer communities.  Click here to read Leslie’s story.

Tara Holeman ’88

Tara Holeman ’88 has made a business out of doing what’s right. Her work as a corporate responsibility professional has taken her all over the world in a variety of roles. Read more about Tara here.

Kelly Kunkel ’08

Kelly Kunkel is a teacher in Colombia, South America. She graduated from Marian in 2008 and empowerment and community, two of Marian’s core values, are still extremely evident in her life. Kunkel’s two main activities at Marian were campus ministry and swimming. Read more here.

Natalie Navis ’02

The Fold, a boutique in Countryside Village, owned and operated by Natalie Navis ’02 features womenswear by contemporary designers’ that is not available elsewhere in Omaha. Navis personally chooses items and stocks only one of each size, thus ensuring a completely unique style for patrons. Read Natalie’s story here.

Jana Rhodes ’91

Jana Rhodes ’91 began dancing when she was only 3 years old. Her love of dance began at a Kitty Lee Dance Studio and by the time she was a senior at Marian, Rhodes received a dance scholarship to Oklahoma City University. Click here to read more about Jana.

Jen Lukas Landis ’90

Jen Lukas Landis ‘90 is an artist and creative director who has long used her talents to inspire. This tactic pulled her through some tough times in graduate school, when she was plagued by self-doubt as an artist. What evolved was the Pincurl Girls. Click here to read more.

Caroline Nelsen ’10

Marian alum and attorney Caroline Nelsen is the definition of empowerment. After Nelsen graduated from Marian in 2010, she attended Boston College to study pre-medicine with a political science major. Click here to read more.

Marian alumnae Simone Duryea standing in front of a fighter jet in her Air Force uniform.

Simone Duryea ’14

Simone Duryea ’14 attended the United States Air Force Academy and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in management in 2018. She was then was selected to attend Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) at Vance Air Force Base, in Enid, Oklahoma. Read more here.

Sr. Midge Petersen ’59

High school can be an up and down roller coaster ride for many, but for Sr. Midge Petersen ‘59, her experience at Marian was just the opposite. Growing up with five brothers as the middle child, Sr. Midge never imagined she would end up at an all-girls school like Marian. Read more here.