Who better to help you get to know Saint Mary's than students who once stood where you are now?

Whether you are looking for the inside scoop on Gael life or could use some help finding your way around campus, Student Ambassadors are here to show you all the ins and outs of Saint Mary’s. That’s the Gael way of “friending” someone.

Sophia Anguilla, ‘15
Portland, Oregon

Sophia Anguila

Major & Minor: Liberal & Civic Studies (Civic Track) minors in French and Justice & Community

Most thought provoking seminar book: Machiavelli's The Prince

Favorite Jan-term experience: Working with the underserved community in San Francisco's Tenderloin during my Lasallian Service Internship at Saint Anthony's. This experience showed me what it takes to work in the non-profit sector and the true meaning of community service.

Student involvement: Co-chair of Colleges Against Cancer and member of PRIDE

What is a Gael: A Saint Mary’s student that demonstrates the ability to follow our motto, Enter to learn, leave to   serve.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Bianca’s deli

Super power: Having a skeleton made of adamantium and skin that regenerates.

Hidden Hobby: Knitting hats and headbands to rid the world of cold ears.

How will you leave to serve: Better the city of Portland by starting an integrative non-profit to uplift both the homeless and impoverished that addresses issues related to poverty such as food, shelter, education, life skills, child care and health care.

Ariana Alvarez, ‘15
Clayton, California

Ariana Alvarez

Major and Minor:  Sociology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  Lysistrata

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  Inspired by volunteering at Casa de Los Angeles in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. The women and children at Casa de Los Angeles have overcome domestic violence, economic struggle, and other issues.  Being granted the opportunity to experience how hard these women fight for their students’ and children’s well-being has completely transformed my lens on life.

Student Involvement: Orientation Leader, Weekend of Welcome Leader, Student Representative for College Committee of Inclusive Excellence, Hermanas Unidas Community Service Chair, Ballet Folklorico, Guadalupano DOC Representative, Workers Appreciation Co-Chair and ESL Tutor for Campus Workers

What exactly is a Gael?

A Gael is full of spunk, attitude, creativity, pride, and determination!  A Gael challenges itself, yet knows how to have a good time!  I am a Gael; God is a Gael; everyone should be a Gael!

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Mt. Diablo State Park

Super Power: Avid Thrift Store Shopping

Hidden Hobby: Daily attempts of achieving the craftiness of Martha Stewart

How will you Leave to Serve?  Inspire others to go beyond what they believe they can achieve.  Pursue activism that promotes literacy, education, self-esteem and empowerment for women locally, nationally, and globally.

Michael Blackburn, ‘16
Monterey, California

Michael Blackburn

Major and Minor: Politics & Music (minor)

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  Art Spiegelman’s Maus. 

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  Children’s show Princess & the Pea.

Student Involvement:  SMC Glee Club & Chamber Singers, 8pm mass choir, Sacred Music choir, Honors Program

What exactly is a Gael? An Irish warrior, a.k.a. the most formidable mascot in the WCC!

Favorite East Bay Attraction: C.R.E.A.M. (Cookies Rule Everything Around Me)

Super Power: Perfect Pitch (You can play or sing any note and I will tell you what it is)

Hidden Hobby: Go-Kart racing

How will you Leave to Serve?  Have a career in public service, either as an elected representative or an attorney and give back to the community through music.

Shane Blunk, ‘14
Sacramento, California

Shane Blunk

Major and Minor:  Integral Liberal Arts

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  Playing soccer and teaching English to orphans in Mexico City.

Student Involvement:  Intramural Sports, Club Soccer, Gael Force

What exactly is a Gael? A Saint Mary’s Gael is a scholar, a leader, and most importantly an active member of service in the community and abroad.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Tilden National Park; Berkeley Botanical Garden

Super Power: Infinite Wisdom

Hidden Hobby: Walking backwards and spotting planets in the night sky

How will you Leave to Serve?  Go the medical route. With all that I have learned about humanity I’ve been inspired to serve through the health care industry.

Melissa Dahl, ‘14
Bellevue, Washington

Melissa Dahl

Major and Minor: Environmental Science

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  The Aeneid by Virgil

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  Natural History and Conservation of South Africa

Student Involvement:  Project Green, Honors Program

What exactly is a Gael? A Gael is a person who exemplifies the passion and spirit of the Saint Mary’s community and our beliefs.  So in other words a wonderful person!

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge

Super Power: The power of flight

Hidden Hobby: My whistling ability

How will you Leave to Serve?  Enter the world as an Environmental Engineer and aid in the restoration of dilapidated habitats.

Taylor Elliot, ‘15
Citrus Heights, California
Taylor Elliot

Major and Minor:  Business Administration and Economics Double Major

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  Symposium

Favorite Jan Term Experience: Math in Sports. Being able to take statistics and probabilities methods I learned in class and apply it to something I enjoy as much as sports was pure joy.

Student Involvement:  Republicans Club, Economics Club, Honors Program, Rec Sports

What exactly is a Gael? Any person who embodies the spirit of Saint Mary’s through the pursuit of learning and giving back to your community.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Oakland Coliseum/Oracle Arena

Super Power: Super speed

Hidden Hobby: Fishing

How will you Leave to Serve? Perform charity work such as free financial advising or tax filing for low-income families.

Patrick Harrington, ‘15
Fullerton, California

Patrick Harrington

Major and Minor:  Integral Arts

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  Hamlet

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  A History of Harry Potter: What Bathilda Bagshot Never Got To Tell You

Student Involvement:  Saint Mary’s League of Legends club, APASA, Engineering club and Chairmen of Activities for Relay for Life.

What exactly is a Gael? A Gael is one of my ancestors, both historically and spiritually.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Ike’s Sandwich shop

Super Power: Being really good at board games.

Hidden Hobby:  Cooking. I love to fire it up in the kitchen.

How will you Leave to Serve?  By remembering to help out those less fortunate than I every single day.

Megan Keohane, ‘16
Yokohama, Japan


Major and Minor:  Health Science Major

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  The Odyssey by Homer

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  “The History of Rock and Popular Music.” Mind blowing that my professor was able to find music videos from the 1950’s on Youtube! Even more fun when everyone would start to sing along!   

Student Involvement:  International Club, International House Community Leader

What exactly is a Gael?:  The official definition is an Irish Warrior, but a Saint Mary’s Gael is someone that is caring, dedicated, driven, and passionate about being an SMC student.

Favorite East Bay Attraction:  La Boulange Bakery in Lafayette

Super Power:  Rolling my tongue to three loops.

Hidden Hobby:  Doing Nail Art!

How will you Leave to Serve?:  My dream job is to become a Physical Therapist for a professional sports team.  Because of my experience and love for sports, I want to help injured athletes fully recover so they are able to perform in the sport they love. 

Nicholas Kinda, ‘15
Napa, California
Nick Kinda

Major and Minor:  3+2 Engineering

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  On the Nature of the Universe by Lucretius

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  Introduction to Electrical Engineering at Washington University

Student Involvement:  Co-founder and President of the Engineering Club and participating in intramural sports

What exactly is a Gael? God, his right hand man J.C…. and Mel Gibson

Favorite East Bay Attraction: San Francisco Creamery

Super Power: My metabolism

Hidden Hobby: Competitive eating

How will you Leave to Serve?  Use everything I have learned through my education to improve upon the everyday tools that people use as well as build a better bay area for the next generation.

Jeffrey Klink, ‘15
San Jose, California
Jeff Klink

Major and Minor: Health Science

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  Dante's Inferno

Favorite Jan Term Experience: Lasallian Service Internship: Nicaragua

An elderly woman entered the hospital and was crying due to a fear of death. I did not know what was wrong or what we could do to help. I simply stood by her, held her hand and let her know that we would do all that we can. She looked up to and said "God bless you." At that moment I understood my role as a servent to the community in Nicaragua. 

Student Involvement: SMC Glee Club, Chamber Choir, Academic Honor Council, Latino American Student Association Officer

What exactly is a Gael? A Gael is someone who stands out in the crowd. They take on a form of leadership in their own way and do not turn back. We are the few, the proud, the future.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Solano Drive-In Movie Theater

Super Power: Ability to stop time

Hidden Hobby: Drawing

How will you Leave to Serve? I will serve as a volunteer medical doctor to assist local, underprivileged communities that struggle with Spanish language barriers.

Alex Kummert, ‘15
Woodinville, Washington

Alex Kummert

Major and Minor: Communication  

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  The Prince by Machiavelli

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  Comparing Modern American Theatrical Dramas to Modern American Family sitcoms in “Staging America’s Family’s”.

Student Involvement:  KSMC 89.5 FM, The Collegian

What exactly is a Gael? By origin, an Irish Warrior.  As a student, it is someone who is willing to not just work hard to better themselves academically, but better the world as well.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Morucci’s Si Magna Bene

Super Power: Spider Man powers to match my borderline encyclopedia knowledge base of Spider Man.

Hidden Hobby: I write and tell jokes a lot. Sometimes in front of crowds, and sometimes on street corners.

How will you Leave to Serve?  I will Leave to Serve in pursuit of becoming a professional funny person.

Michael Leland, ‘16
Manteca, California

LelandMajor and Minor:  Politics Major

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  Epictetus, The Handbook

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  "Math In Sports" where I learned to use random number generators in combination with statistical analysis of current baseball players to simulate games against other peers in the class. My team of Oakland A’s players won both games!

Student Involvement:  Orientation Leader, Weekend Of Welcome Leader, Intramural Sports, Gael Force

What exactly is a Gael?  Gaels are members of the Saint Mary's Community: Students, families, faculty, and anyone else that is positive and works to make their communities stronger. 

Favorite East Bay Attraction:  Oakland Coliseum to watch the Oakland A's!

Super Power:  Incredibly loud voice which can travel through walls and allows people to hear me from any spot on campus. 

Hidden Hobby: Juggling. Learned it in the 7th grade and haven't stopped.

How will you Leave to Serve?  Run for a political office one day where I would be able to serve all those I represent. 

Taylor Machado, ‘15
Turlock, California


Major and Minor:  Business Administration Major with a concentration in Marketing

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  The Handbook by Epictetus

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  My quarter credit Chocolate Confections class where we were able to taste and sample chocolate.

Student Involvement:  Portuguese Club Chair, SEBA Student Advisory Board Secretary, “Be Mine” Service Project Leader

What exactly is a Gael?  A Gael is someone wanting to pursue their dream for the purpose of changing the world around them.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Sideboard Café in Danville

Super Power: Flying

Hidden Hobby: Playing Basketball

How will you Leave to Serve?  Serve through a profession as a recruiter by helping college students find their dream profession.

Andee Mckenzie, ‘16
Burlingame, California
AndeeMajor and Minor:  Communication Major, Creative Writing Minor

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  The Odyssey: I’ve always appreciated the tales of the gods and their interactions with mortals. I wonder if demigods are really among us.

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  Introduction to Fiction class with Lysley Tenorio. My favorite memory was rewriting the story of Cinderella and turning her into a happily ever after attorney. 

Student Involvement:  Collegian Staff Writer, BASH Executive Chair member, PRIDE (People Rallying for Identity Diversity and Equality) Diversity Organization Representative & Co Community Relations Manager.

What exactly is a Gael? Exact definition is an Irish warrior. A Gael is someone who has passion in everything they do, the courage to stand up for what is right, and willing to work hard to turn any dream into a reality. 

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Crepes Ooh La La in Walnut Creek. You can never go wrong with a dessert pancake to solve all your troubles!

Super Power: Feminism aka super strength. Watch out.

Hidden Hobby: Writing plays and short stories in my spare time.

How will you Leave to Serve?  Utilize my Pixar screenwriting career to bring awareness to various social justice issues. Spark the younger generations into a life of activism and to create characters that break through the status quo and lead to a more accepting world.

Joe Murphy, ‘14
Glendale, Arizona


Major and Minor: Physics

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book: The Prince by Machiavelli

Favorite Jan Term Experience: Food, Culture and Society in Italy
Student Involvement: Tutoring physics and math, playing any and all intramural sports, spending time with the international club.

What exactly is a Gael? A Gael is an exceptional mascot for an exceptional school.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Mushroom and swiss burger with sweet potato fries at The Habit in Walnut Creek.

Super Power: The power to mimic other people's powers. Run as fast as Usain Bolt. Swim as fast as Michael Phelps.

Hidden Hobby: I love exploring by walking around abandoned building or hiking in the hills around Moraga.
How will you Leave to Serve?  Get involved in government research with DARPA. They specialize in creating technology that changes the world. 
Jules Perez, ‘14
Rodeo, California

JulesMajor and Minor: Psychology

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  The Prince by Niccolo Machiavell

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  My class: What is Social justice? It was an eye opening experience because we had speakers from the Tenderloin (one of the poorest parts of San Francisco) share their struggles about poverty, hunger and depravation of basic needs. I genuinely appreciate the opportunities I am given through my education.

Student Involvement:  Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church Confirmation & Youth Ministry

What exactly is a Gael? A Gael is someone who represents the traditions of Saint Mary’s College through their daily lives. It is someone who tries to change and impact lives through their service and presence.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: The Oracle Arena, Home of the 2014 NBA Champion’s, The Golden State Warriors

Super Power: I turn into Colin Kapaernick when I lift.

Hidden Hobby: Rapping , freestyling and reciting verses from Tupac during my tour.

How will you Leave to Serve?  Through both hip-hop and education I spread positivity and love. Every time I’ve gripped a microphone or had a teachable moment with my youth group, it has translated into service. Whether it is in the classroom or on stage, I will share the Lasallian enthusiasm with the world.

Chelsea Pratte, ‘16
Bay Point, California


Major and Minor:  Business Administration with a Minor in Communication

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  Maus by Art Spiegelman 

Favorite Jan Term Experience: Serving the homeless and meeting a man named Lee. I witnessed both his passion and happiness through his harp playing. He inspires me to be both present in the moment and to be happy with the little things in life.

Student Involvement:  Chemistry Lab Assistant, Campus Activities Board (CAB) coordinator and Gael Sisterhood member. 

What exactly is a Gael? A Gael is someone who cherishes friendships, surrounds themselves with positivity; fights to the last breath, and genuinely cares about making a change in our world.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Greek Theater 

Super Power: Finding out tour dates of artists before they are actually released to the public.

Hidden Hobby: I love collecting rings! Etsy always gets me in trouble because I can never have enough rings.

How will you Leave to Serve?  I will open a music venue in the Bay Area and create a friendly place for all to gather as a community and to jam out to some great bands. I can’t wait to help people turn their dreams into a reality on stage

Kayla Riley, ‘15
Elk Grove, California


Major and Minor:  Business Administration with a marketing concentration

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  Dante’s Inferno

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  Read a vast collection of short stories and meeting the author at the end of the course. It inspired me to launch my own short story.

Student Involvement:  Black Student Union Secretary, Sexual Assault and Dating Violence Peer Mentor

What exactly is a Gael? A Gael is a person who comes in all shades, from all backgrounds, and all parts of the world. A Gael is that person who has a strong desire to be educated and is willing to go the extra mile. 

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Catching the BART to Berkeley and exploring all of the little shops.

Super Power: Be a fairy and grant my own wishes. 

Hidden Hobby:  Golfing.

How will you Leave to Serve?  Attend law school and open a center for young girls that will help them know their worth and push them to further their education.

Ardi Samonte, ‘16
Vallejo, California


Major and Minor:  Communication with a music minor.

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  Maus by Art Speigelman

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  A course called, Inspired by Oakland, where we learned about both Oakland’s history and culture. My favorite moment was when we saw the Oakland Redwoods. It completely changed my perspective on Oakland. It’s pretty amazing.

Student Involvement:  IT Services, Vice President of Finance for APASA, Asian Cultural Night Set Director, Weekend of Welcome Leader and Photographer for the Collegian.

What exactly is a Gael? A Gael is an Irish warrior. It is also a student who is concerned about the community and serving others. I strive to be a Gael minus the Irish warrior clothing.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: All the shopping in Walnut Creek, especially my favorite, True East on Newell Ave.

Super Power: Invincibility

Hidden Hobby: I play 5 instruments and sing, so sometimes I record all the parts to a song like a one man band. 

How will you Leave to Serve?  Becoming a film producer and advocating for positive change around the globe.

Lucas Shimizu, ‘14
Hagåtña, Guam

LucasMajor and Minor:  Integral Liberal Arts

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  St. Thomas Aquinas’ De Ente et Essentia (On Being and Essence)

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  Working with members of the Saint Mary’s College Chamber Singers on exciting sacred and profane repertoire.

Student Involvement:  SMC Music Ministry

What exactly is a Gael? A Gael is a seeker of truth, who will pursue knowledge with integrity and fierce tenacity. A Gael acts selflessly as a shining example of excellence and Christian virtue.

Favorite East Bay Attraction:  Saint Mary's College Chapel

Super Power:  Extraordinary Foresight and Understanding.

Hidden Hobby:  Hunting, Fishing, & Camping.

How will you Leave to Serve?  The gift of a Saint Mary’s education is unlike anything else. We are trained to go out into the world; unafraid of the challenges we face in the future, bringing a voice of reason and compassion to every corner of this world. Learning is a lifelong activity and continues long after we leave the majestic hills of Moraga.

Aleysha Thomas, ‘16
Hayward, California

Major and minor: Business Administration and Economics  

The most thought provoking seminar book: The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. 

My favorite Jan Term experience: An engaging discussion on American Beauty where we talked about societal norms. Though we are all of different shapes, shades and sizes we are still victims to it. This class opened my mind to see the hardship women and men face in this world and how rather than take a stand and fix we have become submissive.

Student Involvement: BSU (Black Student Union) and APASA (Asian Pacific American Student Association)

What is a Gael? A gael is someone who not only learns to better themselves, but they also strive to help others along the way. A gael is kind, friendly, intelligent, humble and knows how to lend a helping hand.

Favorite East Bay attraction: Downtown Walnut Creek

Superpower: Electrifying smile. It blinds people.

Hidden Hobby: Playing the piano for fun.

How do you plan to Leave to Serve? My plan in life is to become an attorney and to serve my community by being the voice of the unheard.

Mitchell Woodrow, ‘16
Kailua, Hawaii


Major and Minor:  Business Administration with a Digital Media Concentration

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book: The Ones Who Walked Away From Omelas

Favorite Jan Term Experience:  Writing a play in Playwriting called Puer and Puella: an adaption of Wife of Bath’s Tale and sort of a Romeo and Juliet-esque play, except you know….with a happier ending.

Student Involvement: Lasallian Community Leader, Mission and Ministry Lector, Peer Health Exchange Leadership Council Member, and The Collegian Staff Writer.

What exactly is a Gael? Like a warrior, a windstorm, and a bird, a Gael is strong and doesn’t really have boundaries when it comes to making a difference in the world. A Gael is someone who loves the world, not always for what it is, but for what it could be.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: Those rolling hills, we don’t have a ton of those in Hawaii.

Super Power:  Spidey-Sense….enough said.

Hidden Hobby:  Googling Taylor Swift every day. No seriously.  

How will you Leave to Serve? Making projects such as movies, which includes the whole process of writing, directing, acting, and editing. It would be cool to work in the movie business doing one of those things, while, as cheesy as it sounds, inspiring and supporting efforts to make the world a better place.

Sarah Woolston, ‘14
Sacramento, California
Sarah Woolston

Most Thought Provoking Seminar Book:  Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

Favorite Jan Term Experience: Indulging with fresh pastries and gourmet coffee beverages twice a week as part of “research” for my Café Culture class. Saint Mary’s generously covered the cost of this research, and I was always hungry for more data.

Student Involvement:  Honors Program and Intramural Sports Player

What exactly is a Gael? A Gael is a passionate, proud pupil who chants “SMC” when necessary, casually reads Homer, cringes at the mention of a “Bulldog” or “Bronco,” and has a perpetual stamp on their hand from dining at Oliver Hall.

Favorite East Bay Attraction: C.R.E.A.M. Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwich Shop

Super Power: Flying. However, this power is only activated when I am alone so you will have to take my word for it.

Hidden Hobby: My love for graphic novels and comic books. My interest began after taking a class on comic books when I studied abroad in Rome, and has since allowed me to channel Wonder Woman confidence into every tour.

How will you Leave to Serve?  Pursue a career in law serving and defending both clients and others in need of legal representation. My law school education will be made possible with the support of my future husband Justin Timberlake.

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Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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