Featured Alumnae: from the Class of 2015

Convent of the Sacred Heart alumnae Emily Hirshorn ‘15 and Priscilla Valdez ’15 are pursuing new opportunities in their first year away from the heart. 

Emily Hirshorn is a freshman in the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame. She is planning on majoring in Arabic and minoring in Collaborative Innovation. 

Emily's memory project from her 2D Foundations class. Courtesy of Emily Hirshorn '15
Emily’s memory project from her 2D Foundations class.
Courtesy of Emily Hirshorn ’15

“I really loved taking Arabic at Sacred Heart and now I am enjoying Arabic in a larger class setting, where I can learn from my professor as well as my peers,” Emily said. “In Arabic class, we often have conversations in Arabic, work in groups to complete exercises, and write blog entries that we present in front of the class.”
In her Collaborative Innovation minor, her favorite classes are Intro to Design Thinking and 2D Foundations. She is also involved in a club called Design for America, which uses design thinking and working together on interdisciplinary teams to help solve issues on campus and in the Notre Dame community.

“The key to design thinking is to not assume that we know how to solve someone else’s problems. Rather, through research, shadowing, and empathy, we can learn how to serve the needs of people who need help,” Emily said. “I have come to realize that everyone has the ability to be a design thinker and that anything in our world can be reimagined and redesigned.”

This summer, Emily will serve as a Music Mentor-in-Faith for a program called Notre Dame Vision. The program helps high school students respond to the way God is calling them in their lives. After the Vision program, Emily will travel to Ireland for Notre Dame’s Inside Track study abroad program. The program will give students insight into the culture, economy, and politics of Ireland.

Next year, Emily will serve as a Spirituality and Fellowship Commissioner for her dorm, Breen-Phillips Hall.

“The hardest part about the transition was probably being new to a school for the first time, especially at a school much bigger than Sacred Heart,” Emily said. “But, being involved in the Catholic community here on campus and my awesome dorm community of Breen-Phillips Hall made it easy to make friends and feel part of the community.”

Priscilla Valdez is a freshman at Boston University (BU) and is majoring in Journalism. After 13 years at Sacred Heart, Priscilla found BU to be a difficult transition.
“In the very beginning it was hard transitioning from having friends who I’ve known for 13 years at Sacred Heart to not knowing anyone at an entire school. Making friends as close to the ones that I had at home was tough in the very beginning,” Priscilla said.

At Sacred Heart, she first realized her passion for journalism when she was the Arts and Entertainment Editor for the King Street Chronicle last year. Priscilla always knew that she wanted to participate in a communications-related field, but decided to pursue journalism because she loved the journalistic writing style. 

“My Introduction to Communication Writing class has been really interesting because I’ve had to go out of my comfort circle and write more than just articles,” Priscilla said. “In addition to writing News, Features, and Profile articles, we’ve practiced writing screenplays and putting together videos.”

Priscilla has also started writing for the Daily Free Press, BU’s independent student-run newspaper.

Priscilla and some classmates at a Boston University soccer match. Courtesy of Priscilla Valdez '15.
Priscilla and some classmates at a Boston University soccer match.
Courtesy of Priscilla Valdez ’15

“My favorite experience thus far has been covering the Red Sox’s marketing strategies for an article a few weeks ago,” Priscilla said. “I got to interview the team’s Chief Marketing Officer, take a private tour of Fenway Park, and even stand on the field to watch batting practice. It was such a cool experience as a huge Red Sox fan and it was just a really cool experience that I wouldn’t have had if I was not a journalism major.” 

This summer, Priscilla plans to lifeguard at home and hopes to cover college fashion at New York University (NYU) for CollegeFashionista. During her sophomore year of college, she will continue writing for the Daily Free Press and focus on finishing her general education requirements before turning her studies solely to journalism.

– Arielle Kirven, Co-Arts and Entertainment Editor