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Senior Stories: Outstanding Members of the Class of 2016

Loyola announcement - May 13, 2016

The ultimate goal is for Loyola University New Orleans students to become productive and compassionate participants in a complex world and leaders of conscience who are able to care for both themselves and those around them—locally, nationally, and globally. Loyola is a place where students learn the creativity and courage to choose who they become.

This year, our students went above and beyond both in and out of the classroom. Every step of the way, they’ve carried with them our Jesuit values and served as men and women with and for others.

Here are their stories:

Linda HexterLinda Hexter

Linda Hexter, a mathematics and mass communication major from a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, refuses to waste any time after graduation working in a cubicle. She’s spent her years at Loyola studying the Nielsen Theory for functions of homotopy idempotents defined on a bouquet of circles, the space obtained by joining a finite number of circles at a single point. She’s received Loyola’s Kent Mulhahy Grant for Undergraduate Research, the Loyola Alumni Association’s Graduation Award, the Joseph P. Sendker and Juanita C. Sendker Endowed Scholarship (for journalism), the Sidney and Brenda Bezou Mathematics Scholarship, the Conrad Raabe Research Endowment Scholarship and the Photo Editor Scholarship at The Maroon, Loyola’s award-winning 93-year-old student newspaper.

And after she crosses the stage at graduation, she will start her 4,000-mile bike journey from Portland, Maine, to Santa Barbara, Calif., rebuilding 16 homes along the way with the national organization Bike and Build. Ever since a trip to Haiti when she was 15, she’s had a passion for affordable housing. Linda has spent several summers while at Loyola rebuilding homes in New Orleans’ 9th Ward and Danville and Rocky Mount. She’ll take the Jesuit values with her to the west as she continues to be a woman with and for others.

Richard BustosRichard Bustos

Taking things to another level is Richard Bustos’ standard operating procedure. The physics and mathematics major from North Plainfield, N.J. is a certified pilot and takes any opportunity he can to fly. And when he’s not flying, he’s in the lab at Loyola researching theoretical gravitational physics, orquantum physics, or working as a research fellow measuring pressure, temperature and humidity for the NASA-funded on the “LaACES” Balloon team project. Richard also spent time as a tutor in Loyola’s new Student Success Center, helping fellow students excel in algebra and calculus.

Even though he’s been accepted to Iowa State University’s doctoral engineering program, the sky is calling him and he’s joining the U.S. Navy after graduation. While serving his country as a pilot, Richard plans to continue his studies, earn a master’s and doctorate in aerospace engineering, and, eventually, fly to space as an astronaut.

Alissa YoungAlissa Young

After an internship with the Los Angeles Superior Courts, sociology major and L.A. native Alissa Young discovered her dream job. She wants to be a family court mediator for divorce and child custody disputes. She’s always had an eye for the legal system. In four short years at Loyola, she interned with the Orleans Public Defenders Office, the City of New Orleans Mayor’s Office, and the Los Angeles Office of State Controller.

But it was a trip to Belize with the Loyola Ignacio Volunteers, where Alissa volunteered with impoverished and disadvantaged children, that really lit the fire in her to pursue social work. She hopes her life and career are filled with opportunities to improve national and international political, sociological and economical issues facing many communities around the world. Post-graduation, Alissa plans to attend the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work for her master’s degree and has goals to use her education to open a nonprofit in the community where she grew up, Crenshaw/Leimert Park, California.

Chele de Marigny LandryChêle de Marigny Landry

Chêle de Marigny Landry stands as an example of our Jesuit ideals. In her four years at Loyola, she’s worked with the Loyola University Community Action Program (LUCAP) to prepare and distribute monthly meal service to the homeless and to assist with the operation of monthly brunches at Crescent City Café, a volunteer-run organization where meals are served in a restaurant-style environment with dignity and respect for its patrons.

She’s additionally worked with summer programs for the visually impaired and deaf, and she was recently selected by the Peace Corps through a highly competitive process to serve the next two years in Botswana, Africa, working on a project focused on youth development and HIV/AIDS prevention. She hopes to eventually pursue graduate studies, but is hoping her upcoming experience with the Peace Corps will help her discern what’s next.

Genesis RodasGenesis Rodas

Bon Voyage, Mademoiselle! Genesis Rodas has received the Escadrille Louisiane program’s Teaching Assistantship in France for the 2016-2017 academic year and will be travelling to Rennes, France to teach at the Académie de Rennes. This prestigious award is offered through the Louisiana government and the French Ministry of Education.

Additionally, she is sponsored through the Council on the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) to attend for her Master’s in Teaching degree in French. When she returns to the U.S., she hopes to teach French in southern Louisiana while continuing her master’s degree studies. Félicitations, Genesis!