Sinai Vespie

Sinai Vespie has served as Executive Pastry Chef for Campus Dining since 2017. In her role, Vespie oversees operations of the pastry and bake shops located in the Center for Culinary Excellence and serves as a member of the Campus Dining Culinary Council.

Vespie brought with her a wealth of experience. She began her career as a junior sous chef at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida. She then moved to the Sweet Treats Cakery in Tampa where she honed her cake decorating skills and wowed customers with her custom cupcake and cake designs. Vespie worked as pastry chef at the the Tampa Marriott Waterside, managing a complete pastry program and staff, collaborating with catering and wedding clients, and creating menus utilizing seasonal ingredients from the area’s local farms.

Vespie is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando, Florida with an Associate Degree in Applied Science from their Patisserie and Baking Program. She has competed in various pastry and decorating competitions, receiving multiple first and second place awards for wedding cake decorating and assorted chocolate confections. In 2020, Vespie competed against 9 other chefs in the Halloween Baking Championship on the Food Network and took home the top prize.

HWOI Fall 2020 Virtual Sessions

Unprecedented: Leadership for a World in Need
Marie Lynn Miranda – Charles and Jill Fischer Provost
Anne Thompson – HWOI Co-Founder and Board of Trustee Member
Cindy Parseghian – HWOI Co-Founder and Board of Trustee Member

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Hesburgh Women of Impact Presents: “You Are Home: Caring for Our Students of Color”
Angie Torain – Senior Associate Athletics Director for Culture, Diversity and Engagement
Pamela Nolan Young – Director for Academic Diversity and Inclusion
Megan Brown – Director, McDonald Center for Student Well-Being
Arnel Bulaoro – Director, Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services

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Hesburgh Women of Impact Presents: “A Fighting Chance: Coronavirus, Catholic Schools, and Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education”
John Schoenig – Senior Director, Teacher Formation and Education Policy
Sr. Gail Mayotte SASV – Academic Director, ACE M.Ed.

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Hesburgh Women of Impact Presents: “The Coronavirus and Navigating Financial Uncertainty”
Jessica McManus Warnell – Associate Teaching Professor of Management & Organization
Jessica Brice – Gift Planning Program Director

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Emma Hayes MS ’21

Emma Hayes is currently pursuing her masters degree through the University of Notre Dame’s ESTEEM program. Prior to joining the University, she completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Saint Anselm College.

Emma is working with the GEO Group on their Continuum of Care Program aimed at reducing the recidivism rate in the United States. GEO focuses on providing in-custody rehabilitation programs which include prosocial classes, one on one counseling, and General Education Development (GED) classes. Despite these current programs offered by GEO as well as other more traditional programs, research has shown that post incarceration, individuals need 200 hours of prosocial programming, which can include counseling, group meetings, and parole meetings, in order to not reoffend. Offenders of more violent crimes need 300 hours of prosocial engagements. The traditional United States system only provides for approximately 120 hours of prosocial interactions in a six month period, falling far under the recommended 200 hours and even farther under the 300 hours for those higher-risk individuals. As it stands, the system is not providing even close to the recommended hours of prosocial programming let alone the minimum 200 hours.

GEO’s goal is to fill this gap with a prosocial game called “Course Correction” to supplement counseling hours, reinforce positive behaviors, and more properly risk assess individuals. “Course Correction” will be an avatar-based video game in which individuals will be able to practice prosocial behaviors in a low-risk environment. Emma will be assessing the opportunities for this type of game in order to better understand the impact that it will make on the community at large. Emma will also be analyzing existing research on gaming in community corrections. By the end of this academic year, Emma will have a business plan for how best to bring virtual reality and gaming into the U.S. Criminal Justice system so that recidivism can be reduced.

Gale Bowman ’05

Gale Bowman, the Managing Director of the IrishAngels investors group, shares her expertise with ESTEEM students in a class on early stage financing. Students hear a series of five lectures and also complete final projects based on real-life companies that they select at the beginning of their time in the ESTEEM program.

Bowman earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing at Notre Dame in 2005 and an MBA in entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago in 2012, the year in which IrishAngels was formed and she became the founding director. The Chicago-based group, which has grown to over 150 investors in size, invests in high-potential startups in which a founder, board member, or active investor is a Notre Dame graduate, student, parent, or faculty member. IrishAngels has already invested more than $10 million across 22 portfolio companies. “They learn about different forms of financing for a startup and how to pitch to investors for funding,” she says. “We talk about bootstrapping, crowdfunding, debt, and equity options that startups have when they need to find capital to grow.”

“We make investments in early-stage businesses across a variety of sectors that are raising $1 million to $3 million in seed and Series A capital,” she says. Bowman, who also developed and teaches an Intro to Early State Investing course to MBA students in the Mendoza College of Business, says the ESTEEM students often raise excellent, questions regarding their thesis projects and business plans that they work on throughout the year as part of the ESTEEM curriculum.

“I think the ESTEEM students are a very entrepreneurial group,” she says. “It was a pleasure teaching them this year, and I look forward to the day when IrishAngels will be able to invest in a business founded by an ESTEEM student.”

Ashley Kalinauskas MS ’13

Ashley Kalinauskas, a 2013 ESTEEM grad, was recently recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 for her work with Torigen Pharmaceuticals. Ashley graduated from the University of Connecticut with an undergraduate degree in Pathobiology. During her time in ESTEEM at the University of Notre Dame, Ashley worked on a Capstone Project with Dr. Suckow, the Director of Freimann Life Science Center and a Research Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Notre Dame.

Her project entailed developing a commercialization strategy for his novel cancer vaccine portfolio, VetiVax. Over the course of the year she developed a full-scale business plan and went on to win second place at the McCloskey Business Plan Competition. Post-graduation, Ashley assumed the position of CEO, working to launch Torigen’s first product VetiVax into the market.

Torigen Pharmaceuticals is focused on delivering affordable veterinary cancer treatment to the general public. With over 2 million companion animals diagnosed with cancer each year, and treatment options exceeding $10,000 per animal, the need for a new type of cancer care is real. The VetiVax treatment that Ashley worked to commercialize boasts a cost of just $1,000 and no negative side effects. VetiVax is a personalized immunotherapy where the animal’s tumor cells are combined with an extracellular matrix which allows it to fight off its own cancer using its immune system. So far, almost 700 animals have been treated.

Isabella “Isa” Di Bono ’21

For Isabella “Isa” Di Bono ’21, the “new normal” of COVID-19 has meant moving home to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and finding ways to make art without a studio.

The ability to explore freely is essential to Di Bono, whose path to an art major wasn’t a straight one, just an obvious one. She enrolled at Notre Dame intending to major in economics but figured out after just a couple of classes that the major just didn’t interest her.

She intended to minor in studio art from the beginning but as she got deeper into her art coursework, it became clear that she needed to switch majors. Until she got to Notre Dame, Di Bono considered art a hobby, a passion she could pursue on the side. She took foundational art courses in her first few semesters. Later on, electives introduced her to different mediums, like photography, ceramics, printmaking, and bookmaking.

Now a senior, Di Bono has a BFA thesis to plan. She is working on a concept around the work she gravitates toward naturally—large-scale abstract paintings. She starts with oils or acrylics and sometimes weaves in spray paint or drawing. Di Bono’s abstracts usually measure five-by-five feet, nearly as tall as she is.

For her thesis, Di Bono will work closely with her mentor, painting professor Maria Tomasula, Michael P. Grace Professor of Art and director of graduate studies. Each BFA student forms a relationship with a professor who mentors them through the thesis process. Tomasula will guide Di Bono through her work, the refinement of her artist statement, and preparation to exhibit on campus next year. On campus, BFA students also make use of studio space for their thesis and receive a stipend for materials when their project is approved.

Maria Tomasula

Born in East Chicago, Indiana, Maria Tomasula is an active part of the Chicago art scene. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and then continued her education at Northwestern University, where she earned a Masters degree in Fine Arts. She is currently Professor of Art at the University of Notre Dame.

Her recent solo exhibitions include shows at Forum Gallery in New York and in Los Angeles, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis and at the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago. Her work was also included in Larger than Life: Women Artists Making it Big at Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg PA (2003); Nuestras Historias, Stories of Mexican Identity at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago (2014); The Female Gaze at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia;Obsessive Drawing at Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts (2001); Timely and Timeless at the Aldrich Museum in Connecticut (1994) and Transitional Objects: Contemporary Still Life at the Neuburger Museum of Art, Purchase College, New York (2006–07).

With striking color and theatrical compositions, Tomasula’s artwork is influenced by an aesthetic of the Mexican diaspora, especially of altar painting, as well as by ‘new materialist’ writers. As an artist she seeks to create images that give visual form to the elusive sensation of being, of embodiment, and of relation with the world. She brings simple objects such as fruit and flowers together to create metaphorical, poetic works. The seemingly inanimate objects take on the vibrancy of evocative, sensual characteristics.

Kathryn Mapes Turner ’95

Turner began studying art in her teens from noted local painters. She then left Wyoming to attend the University of Notre Dame, majoring in Studio Arts. She spent an influential semester in Rome, Italy and then studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. Turner now has a Master’s degree from the University of Virginia.

Having been passionate about painting since childhood, Turner is now nationally recognized with top honors from the American Impressionist Society and the National Academy of Equine Art and the Southeast Wildlife Exposition as the 2017 Featured Artist. Her work has been showcased in the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Charlie Russell Museum, the Buffalo Bill Cody Center of the West, The Phippen Museum, the Brinton Museum and the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. Turner has been recognized as Wyoming Best Watercolor Artist in 2001 by the Wyoming Watercolor Society and was included in SouthwestArt Magazine’s “Annual Profile of Young Artists with Promising Careers.”

Turner believes that growing up in Grand Teton National Park, a place with such dramatic light and natural composition, gave her an intimate appreciation for art. “I believe the valley of Jackson Hole evokes expression,” says Turner. She now travels all over the world to paint. With watercolors and oil paints, Turner responds with visual contemplations of beauty in hopes of sharing this love of the sublime with others through her work.

Turner also owns and features her work at Turner Fine Art Gallery in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – a simple and uplifting space where she shares her own work as well as hosting that of other top artists from around the world.

Notre Dame Women & Endow

Before Claire Fyrqvist (’05), Teresa Hodgins (MTS ’12), Laura Zambrana (MDiv ’13), and Katie Smith (MDiv ’14) worked together to form a community for Endow; they worked together developing community at Notre Dame. Notre Dame’s focus on educating both the head and the heart is engrained in this group of women, and they bring that experience to the mission of Endow. Endow unites the intellectual tradition of the Catholic Church with an intentional community through the creation of study guides and assisting women in finding small groups.

Claire Fyrqvist is a mother of five who got her start with lifelong learning and writing in Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies. She is returning to South Bend from a year in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where her husband grew up, and she is looking forward to plugging back into the university’s Catholic intellectual life. She has loved working with Endow and its mission by women for women in the Church.  Someday she hopes her daughters will be in their study groups!

Teresa Hodgins is a writer and grant manager for Endow. After graduating from the Master of Theological Studies program in 2012, she moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, which is still home base for many adventures with her husband and three small children. While at Notre Dame, Teresa loved all of the opportunities, both in academics and in the community, to engage Theology with other subjects and the secular culture. In many ways, Endow was her chance to continue this engagement–she discovered and joined Endow when looking for ways to deepen both her spiritual life and her connection to her community and loves working to help others do the same. She loves that Endow allows women to take on the rich intellectual tradition of the Church while also helping them to form authentic friendships as they wrestle with these truths. 

Laura Zambrana currently works as the Director of Content at Endow. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s Master of Divinity program. She was delighted to study at Notre Dame, combining both the head and the heart, following in Bl. Basil Moreau’s educational philosophy. Laura is also an avid Notre Dame football fan. During her time at ND she joined the co-ed football team and had the privilege of playing in the intramural championships in the Notre Dame Stadium and winning! Laura has been a member of the Endow family since 2010. When the opportunity to join the Endow team arose in 2018, she was delighted to join a mission so closely tied to her own – formed the hearts and minds of women to be beacons of light in the world. Laura and her husband James have three future Domers – Peter, Helen, and Jane – and live in San Gabriel, CA. 

Katie Smith is the Executive Director of Endow. Before attending Notre Dame, Katie worked as an Operations and Program Manager in technology. After graduating from Notre Dame with a Masters of Divinity, she set out to combine her operations experience with her theological education to serve the Catholic Church. Education of the head and the heart is one of the things that attracted Katie to Notre Dame, and she loves carrying on the tradition through her work at Endow. She and her husband live in South Bend with their little one on the way and their dog, Henri.

To find out more about Endow, and the amazing work these four ND graduates are doing, visit

Megan Leis ’11

Before her appointment in the OMVA, Megan Leis served in the United States Navy. She earned her commission through Notre Dame’s Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps in 2011. During her Naval Service, she served as a Nuclear Surface Warfare Officer, completing tours of duty aboard USS Port Royal and USS Gerald R. Ford, including a deployment to the Arabian Gulf. Most recently, Megan served as an executive officer at the Navy’s largest enlisted engineering training facility in Great Lakes, IL. She continues to serve as a Navy Reservist.

Megan was named Notre Dame’s assistant director for military and veterans affairs in 2019. In this capacity, she formulates, organizes, and monitors inter-connected projects that advance the mission of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs (OMVA). She is also responsible for planning and managing Storm the Stadium, a premier outreach event; the Notre Dame Warrior-Scholar Project, an academic program designed to prepare service members for the pivot from the battlefield to the classroom; and enhances the operations of the OMVA in a way that is strategic and adheres to the University’s priorities and values.

Megan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Technology Management with a Mediterranean and Middle East Studies minor from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master of Engineering Management from Old Dominion University.

She lives in South Bend with her husband, Eric, and their son.