Student Feature: Meet Carrie
Carrie Czajka was an online student and recently completed the MA in Health Care Mission Leadership program this past December. Read our Q&A with her below to see what she has to say about her experience at IPS and how she is going forth and setting the world on fire.
Some of the young guys from my last job called me ‘Old School.’ Hey, if the shoe fits…
Where are you from?
I am from Detroit, MI. I recently saw a sewer cap on a sidewalk in downtown Detroit that had the following names listed on it: The Motor City, Day-Twah, The Big D, and Dee-Troit. It made me chuckle.
A favorite of yours:
I love Detroit Tigers baseball and spend a ridiculous amount of time listening to their radio broadcasts. What I like about baseball are the stories. Every player, every team, every city, and every stadium has its own backstory. Our local broadcasters (as I’m sure others do around the country!) do a terrific job of weaving these stories into their broadcasts.
A quote/motto or prayer/bible verse that has significance to you?
I am a talkative, high energy person by nature. I was well into my 40s before I learned to appreciate what “Be still and know that I am God” really meant. Silent retreats have become an invaluable part of my faith life.
What is your educational background?
I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Psychology. I was so happy to finish my undergraduate degree that I swore I was never going back to school again. Ever. But I was bored in my career and decided to go back to school. I completed a Masters in Healthcare Administration from the School of Public Health at UNC in Chapel Hill. A tidbit about Chapel Hill: the fire trucks there are painted ‘Carolina’ Blue. No kidding.
Anyway, a few years later I completed a Certificate in Leadership Training from Georgetown (the hardest work I have ever done…lots of self-exploration…it’s exhausting!). Then I did an Internship in Ignatian Spirituality at Manresa in Bloomfield Hills, MI.
What were you doing before beginning your IPS journey?
I was working in a large Catholic health care company.
What made you decide to come to Loyola IPS?
I was really fortunate to have a mentor who encouraged me to go back to school. He told me that there are people who have a heart for mission work and specialized training would be useful. He was right.
How would you describe your experience at IPS?
I had an extraordinary experience at Loyola…even as a distance-based student. My professors were first rate, my classmates were engaged, prepared, and committed to their coursework. The shared commitment to learning made for a much more rewarding experience.
What was your favorite class?
I had so many great classes that it is hard to pick one. I had an opportunity to go to Rome with IPS in the summer of 2014. I would highly recommend a ‘Summer in Rome’ session if you are able to attend. It is simply wonderful.
I loved the course I took in Cultural Competency. And I am still talking about a leadership course I took last summer. What I loved most about my experiences during IPS was seeing my faith tradition with fresh eyes. I am grateful for the discussions, readings, assignments etc. that challenged my way of thinking or feeling about a topic.
Do you have any recommendations for future students?
Take a course that seems out there, but sparks your interest. Don’t be afraid to completely rethink how you feel about something. It can be very liberating. Most importantly, take time for good self-care. Rest, exercise, visit with friends, and find some quiet time to be with your own thoughts.
In what way will you go forth to “change the world?”
About a year ago, I started working with with a Jesuit priest in Detroit on the launch of an Ignatian leadership program. The ‘Contemplative Leaders in Action” (CLA) program is up and running in several other major metropolitan areas, but is new to the Motor City. The CLA program has three focal areas: leadership development, spirituality, and service. The target audience is young professionals (mid 20s to late 30s) and I am having a great time with this project. It is bringing a lot of my gifts and talents together in ways I had not anticipated. And I feel really fortunate to working on this effort…particularly at a time in Detroit’s history when there is so much growth and activity. There is a sense of hope in the City that we have not seen or felt in a very, very long time.
In addition, my Capstone project for Loyola included the development of a formation program for emerging leaders working in Catholic health care. I have been brainstorming with some former colleagues about ways in which we can use this program for first line managers working in the local system office. I have a soft spot for the ‘next gen’ of leaders and I am excited to be involved in efforts to encourage their growth and development.
Connect with Carrie:
Part of the reason why some of the young guys at my former job called me ‘Old School,’ is because I have been slow to adopt social media. I can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
***Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.