SMS Alumni Spotlight
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I went to St. Mary’s from Preschool through 8th grade and graduated in 2011, since then I attended DeKalb High School, graduating in 2015. While in high school I played football, basketball, and track. Also during my time at DHS I was involved in the Graphics Club where I developed multiple skills I use today. Which also ended up getting me a job at a local sign shop, Banner Up Signs, that I held all throughout college. Once I graduated I followed my parents and older sister by enrolling at Northern Illinois University. From NIU I received a degree in Visual Communication (Graphic Design). From my time at NIU I was not just a student, I became very involved on campus. I joined Sigma Nu Fraternity where I became Vice President of the organization. This position lead to me being Executive Vice President of the InterFraternity Council that oversees all Fraternities on NIU’s Campus. I was also drawn to join the Campus Activity Board organization where I had an internship with for Graphic Design. These involvement opportunities allowed me to network with amazing and talented people. The skills I developed and events that I was exposed to while at NIU helped shape me in every way possible. Upon graduation I was quite fortunate that Banner Up Signs offered me a full-time position which started right away. Working all throughout college and accepting a job right away allowed me to buy my first house at the age of 22. In addition to having a full-time job, I also work for my older sister's photography and video company as her main videographer (mackenziemaeder.com). Also in the past month or so I have launched my own graphic design business that I am currently growing and expanding (zacharymaeder.com).
I moved to New York City about 3 months ago. I am pursuing my dreams as a music artist, producer, performer, and writer, indulging in all things creative. I am also working in a Michelin Star restaurant titled Gramercy Tavern.
Reflecting back on my years in school, I feel confident in saying that SMS gave me the strongest foundation for my future. St. Mary School was my home away from home from kindergarten through eighth grade (class of 2005)and for that I will always be grateful. It was in middle school language arts class where I realized that my love for reading, writing, and helping others could all be turned into a career. Ever since then, I made it my goal to make that happen. After graduating from DeKalb High School in 2009 I moved to Illinois State University and studied middle level education with endorsements in language arts, reading, and social studies. In 2013 I began my teaching career in Plainfield School District 202 as a long term substitute which allowed me to gain experience in classroom settings from 5th-8th grades. In the fall of 2014 I found my home at John F Kennedy Middle School in Plainfield and have taught 6th and 7th grade language arts, 8th grade communications, computers, and reading intervention courses across various grade levels. I recently started my seventh year of teaching and have also served as our student council advisor for the last few years. I am forever grateful for the foundation that St. Mary School provided me and how it shaped me into who I am today.
I graduated from St. Mary in 2010 and went on to attend high school at DeKalb High. During my time in high school I played softball , volleyball and basketball, and was able to receive a softball scholarship to attend Judson University. At Judson University I played for the softball team where we were able to make is to the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association National Tournament four years in a row and placed in the top 5 all four years. I graduated from Judson University in 2019 with a Bachelors Degree in Interdisciplinary Communications. During my time in college I coached a young women’s travel softball team for the Wasco Diamonds in Elburn and led a high school girls youth group at Willow Creek Community Church. While finishing up my college courses I worked for Townsend Realty and Management from May 2018-September 2019. I just began a new job at CHS, and I am excited to see where life takes me!
Since graduating from St. Mary in 2011, I attended DeKalb High School where I graduated in 2015. While at DHS, I played baseball, football, performed in the musical Hairspray, and sang with the a cappella group my senior year; all while managing to graduate in the top 3% of my class! After high school, I went to Kishwaukee College to start my Bachelor degree. In 2017 I transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since coming here, I joined No Comment A Cappella, which is a nationally recognized collegiate a cappella group. We've done some incredible things since my time in the group. I am particularly proud of Enlighten Up, a project we spent most of 2018 working on (I'll link and timestamp this from youtube at the end of the email). Earlier this year, I finished my Bachelor degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, with a major in Political Science and minor in Business. Fast forward a little bit, and I am back at UIUC getting a Master of Science in Finance degree! It was a pivot from my original intention of going to law school, but I couldn't be happier with the career prospects I will have with an MS in Finance. I have definitely found my passion (it only took me 8 years of high school and college haha!). I am hoping to take the degree somewhere into the fintech sector, as the finance industry in general is due for some heavy disruption from tech in the coming decades. To watch and listen to Enlighten Up click HERE; to skip to my solo go to 8:48. We also released an album this year on Spotify, Apple Music, etc. (literally everywhere), called No Heart. If you search No Comment A Cappella No Heart on any streaming service, it'll pop up. You can hear me on Devil's in the Details for another solo! Here's a Spotify link just in case you use that: Devil's in the Details
Suzanne Jackiw is a video game lawyer. She attended Northern Illinois University, St. John’s College, and Chicago-Kent College of Law prior to becoming an attorney in November 2015. She is currently Counsel at Epic Games, makers of Fortnite and the Unreal Engine. She also volunteers with an organization that advocates for mental health in the games industry, Take This. She lives near Seattle with her husband and two dogs - and is eternally thankful to SMS for introducing her to computers so early in her education.