Alumni Spotlight: where are they now?

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Alumni Spotlight: Rachel Parkey. Photo courtesy of Rachel Parkey

Alumna, Rachel Parkey, class of 2017 valedictorian, teaches history at Frassati Catholic High School in the Houston area, where she is putting her UD education to good use.

Initially hearing about UD through a highschool teacher and an older friend, Parkey was attracted to UD’s Core because she was unsure of what she wanted to major in and was excited about the opportunity to take classes in a variety of subjects.

While a student, Parkey wholeheartedly embraced all the opportunities UD had to offer, becoming a very involved member of the community. 

During her time as a Student Government representative, Parkey helped start a petition to cancel school on Holy Thursday since it is an important part of the Triduum. She worked in the Admissions Office, co-chaired Charity Week and worked as the Academics Coordinator for CAB (previously named SPUD).

Although Parkey started out undeclared, she was originally leaning toward chemistry or physics. But her trip to Rome changed all that. Getting to see so many famous sites she had studied while she explored Europe made a big impact on her, eventually leading her to be a student of history. 

“It’s kind of the best of all worlds, because although you’re focusing on events and people,” Parkey said.You also get to dabble in lots of different disciplines [such as art and literature] along the way.”

Her love for Rome additionally led her to pursue an Italian concentration so she could continue studying Italian.

Following graduation, Rachel returned to the Due Santi campus as a Rome Resident Coordinator. 

“[Being an RC] was a super amazing experience that I would never go back on, but it was probably one of the hardest jobs I’ll ever have,” Parkey said. 

She learned how much really goes on behind the scenes and the importance of organization.  Parkey said she appreciated the opportunity to help UD students have a good time while they were studying abroad.

After a year in Rome, she came back home and applied to graduate school. After finishing her Masters of Arts in History at the University of North Texas, she landed a job at Frassati Catholic High School. Although it is only her first year, she is loving it so far, and enjoys the opportunity to work with great students and supportive faculty members. 

Now, Parkey is teaching Western Civilization I and II to freshmen and sophomores. She enjoys getting to share a lot of what she learned from her Core classes with her students, throwing in a story from time to time about her adventures from studying abroad.

When asked if she had any study tips to share with current students, she said that the most important thing is to ask questions. Asking questions helps you understand the material better, and as a teacher, she loves it when students ask questions because she can tell that the rest of the class was usually wondering about the same thing.

Rachel says that UD broadened her view of the world in a way she “didn’t expect” and allowed her to know her friends deeply. 

“But by the end, it helped make me a better participant in the world.” 

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