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Loyola students honored with Ignatian Awards

Loyola press release - May 3, 2007

(New Orleans)—Loyola University New Orleans has announced its 2006-2007 Ignatian Awards for Outstanding Senior and Graduate students.

Undergraduate student awards will be presented to Robert Benjamin Clapper, philosophy, religious studies, and political science triple major, and Wilhelmina Peragine, sociology major. Graduate student awards will be presented to Ryan Pastorek, joint juris doctorate and master of business administration, and Kelly Frailing, master of criminal justice.

Recipients are students who have distinguished themselves by involvement in the life of the university by representing Loyola with honor and distinction, by living a commitment, and by maintaining a distinguished grade point average. Commitment to the integrity of life, the demonstration of providing service to others, and contributions to the advancement of religion and citizenship are also important criteria for this award. This is one of the highest awards presented by the university, given annually at the Baccalaureate Mass.

Outstanding Graduate Students:

Kelly Frailing

Kelly Frailing, master of criminal justice student, has a perfect 4.0 grade point average and has been awarded the LaNasa-Greco Endowed Scholarship three times. She serves as a research assistant, even though the position is no longer funded. She has presented papers at professional meetings and published a book chapter and a journal article. Frailing has done scholarly research on natural disasters and crime, conflict and feminist theories, and benefit fraud while at Loyola, but her principal interest is in the intersection of mental health and criminal justice.

Among other activities, Frailing was a foster care worker with Catholic Charities Social Service, supervised an Archdiocese-sponsored group home for mentally-ill adults, was an evaluator and case manager with a children’s mental health program, and has spent many weekends cleaning out houses that were flooded by the breeched levees.

Frailing was accepted into the Ph.D. programs in criminology at the University of Cambridge, University of California Irvine, John Jay College at the City University of New York, and Florida State University. She was offered generous financing at each university and recently accepted the offer from Cambridge. Upon completion of her Ph.D. from Cambridge, she plans to assist in the development and improvement of mental health courts, which she feels have the potential to more fully serve some of the neediest populations.

Ryan Pastorek

Pastorek is a New Orleans native. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Loyola in communications-broadcast production. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles and worked for a year in independent film distribution. He returned to New Orleans and Loyola to pursue a law degree, as both his father Paul Gregg Pastorek (L '79) and grandfather Rene August Pastorek (L '53) had before him. He also pursued an MBA in order to gain the necessary business background to succeed in the entertainment industry.

Pastorek has served as chairman of the BEGGARS Fraternity Alumni Oversight Committee, as president of the MBA Association, and president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society. He has organized many community service events, fundraisers, and social and networking events for MBA students, and he is active in recruiting prospective students for the MBA program.

In the fall of 2006, Pastorek worked with assistant professor and Chase Distinguished Professor of Minority Entrepreneurship Brett Matherne, Ph.D., of the College of Business, on a market analysis regarding the Hopedale/Yscloskey fishing community for the SeedCo. Financial Group, researching the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the small St. Bernard fishing community and assessing and recommending options for rebuilding and boosting economic value. Despite the demands of his JD/MBA schedule, Pastorerk also agreed to teach broadcasting to junior and senior production majors.

“Ryan Pastorek embodies Ignatian values by achieving excellence in his academic pursuits, being a servant leader in many capacities across the university, representing Loyola in the business community with honor and integrity while maintaining a spiritual grounding that allows him to bring a refreshing sense duty and commitment,” said Matherne.

“Wherever life takes me I will be able to take the knowledge, reputation, contacts, and memories of Loyola with me,” said Pastorek, “for that I am truly grateful, and I look forward to promoting and assisting Loyola in the future.”

Outstanding Undergraduate Students:

Wilhelmina Peragine

Wilhelmina Peragine is a senior sociology major from Seattle and co-president of the Loyola University Community Action Program (LUCAP). Peragine, arriving at Loyola as a freshman, felt drawn to campus ministry and social justice activities.

Peragine started by joining LUCAP's environmental action program and participated in LUCAP's annual trip to Fort Benning, Georgia, for a Peace Vigil to protest the “School of the Americas” (SOA/WHISC).

Through LUCAP, she later became involved in house gutting Katrina-devastated houses and investigating the complexities of the public housing crisis in New Orleans. She has been the co-chair of the Environmental Action Project, co-chair of Let's Gut a House, and LUCAP special affairs chairperson as well as co-president. She has volunteered with Children Are Reason Enough and the Hunger Relief Project, and has participated in many on campus events, such as the Peace Vigil for the victims of the War in Iraq, Global Justice Week activities, as well as this year's Ignatian Solidarity Network Teach-In Event, “Rebuilding Communities: Facing Racism and Poverty.”

After graduation, Peragine will be teaching in New Orleans for 2 years with Teach for America. “If my prior experiences working with children are any indicator, the lessons I learn from the children I work with will be invaluable,” Says Peragine.

Robert Benjamin Clapper

After attending his first “March for Life” in Washington, D.C., Robert Benjamin Clapper enrolled at Loyola University New Orleans, and became involved with campus ministry and social action programs. He protested the “School of the Americas” in Fort Benning, Georgia; helped organize bible studies, retreats, and fundraisers for Haitian children; did sidewalk counseling at Planned Parenthood as part of the Loyola Life club; worked with Catholic Charities’ Access pregnancy resource center; and returned to the March for Life.

Pro-life activities remained the priority, though, and Clapper took his activism several steps further than most college students. At Loyola he founded his own non-profit (Louisiana Students for Life) group, sharing resources with students at other Louisiana campuses and helping to start pro-life clubs at Southeastern University, Louisiana Tech, University of Louisiana Lafayette, Ole Miss., and Auburn. He went on the radio as a talk show host.

Clapper helped found the Ignatian Pro-Life Network, a consortium of Jesuit schools which now gather every year at the March for Life.

Clapper, a philosophy major, hopes to begin a career in pro-life non-profit work after graduating this May.

“People have to come to the realization on their own that something is going on and is worth acting on,” says Clapper.

Loyola University New Orleans is a Jesuit-Catholic institution with a total student enrollment of 4,724 including 800 law students.