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As John Carroll University continues to celebrate the 50th anniversary of co-education on campus, we honor the Women of Carroll through different events and initiatives. In March and April, coinciding with International Women’s Month, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf program was launched. Faculty, staff, student, and alumni participants wore one of four custom-made scarves for a day, and then passed it along to the next person. In doing so, they created new connections on campus while sharing stories of their JCU experience. Each woman was asked to reflect upon their role as part of the larger history of our community.

The project was sponsored by the Boler College of Business, and spearheaded by Lauren Fraser, Assistant Director for Signature Scholarship Programs. “There is no better way to mark this historic anniversary on campus than to celebrate the diverse experience and perspectives of the women who serve, lead, and learn at JCU,” said Fraser. “This community building campaign was a chance to reflect and foster new relationships.”

For more, search for #JCUTravelingScarf on Instagram and Twitter, and view our album on Facebook at

What did wearing the scarf mean to you?

“When I put on the scarf, it was a beautiful and overwhelming feeling. I literally felt the presence of every women who had worn it before me. As I wore it and walked around campus, I was reminded of all of the women who had walked before and those who will walk after me. It was a humbling feeling and one which overwhelmed me with strength and love.” – Megan Bolin ’13, Lecturer, Boler College of Business

“Wearing the scarf reminded me of all of the many opportunities that I have been blessed with, and how lucky I am to be able to attend JCU! It really was not that long ago when JCU became a coed school, and there have been some truly amazing women who have attended our school throughout the years!” – Alana Okuley ’22

“When I went on my immersion to Honduras, most girls weren’t able to even graduate high school, and the scarf reminded me how grateful I am to be getting my education. Wearing the scarf also allowed me to think about all the amazing women on this campus.” – Kaylee Bowersock ’20

“It was a huge honor to wear the scarf and a great reminder of the legacy of women at John Carroll that we are helping to create.” – Meghan Graeca ’22

“I loved having the opportunity to wear a symbol representing the strong, talented, and capable women at Carroll. To me, the scarf tells the story of many beautiful journeys coming together through this unique movement.” – Julia Ruggiero ’19

“I was very proud of being part of this history. Alana (Okuley) stopped by and we talked about her first year at John Carroll. She has such a wonderful energy!” – Selen Zarrelli, Administrative Assistant, Center for Diversity

“As I was walking around I wondered how many people were even aware that this scarf had a special meaning. One of my professors stopped me after class and asked if I was wearing the traveling scarf. She was wearing it the week before so it was great I was able to connect with her in a different way. She shared how she was able to meet an alum as well as a current student during her experience. … I’m proud to be a woman of Carroll … I know so many empowering JCU women who have come before me, who I currently go to school with and who I know will be here in the future. I can’t wait for the legacy to live on.” – Clare Tirpak ’20

“Being a small part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf Project was a reminder that while we all come from different experiences and perspectives, there’s a thread binding us all together, the desire for community over competition and conversation in its purest form. Seeking out new connections between fellow Blue Streak women will only strengthen the greater community of JCU and beyond.” – Chelsea (Gerken) McTigue ’14

“It was really cool because I realized how one item unites so many woman, and through it we have shared thoughts and stories.” – Guadalupe Leon ’21

“Wearing this scarf primarily filled me with so much gratitude – gratitude for the first women at Carroll, gratitude for all that have come before me, gratitude for those women that surround me and build me up day in and day out, and gratitude for all those who have fought and continue to fight for women to be welcomed into all parts and positions of society. I felt empowered and loved, a part of something bigger than myself.” – Regina Sullivan ‘20

“It was a physical representation of the past 50 years of women who have come before me and how lucky I am to be at JCU without a second thought about if my gender would have prevented me from attending as a full-time student.” – Caitlin Matthews ’19

“Carroll has done so much for me these past two years. It gave me a Sisterhood. Not just my sisters in Chi Omega but all of the women here that have and continue to inspire me. Carroll has given me opportunities to expand and grow as a person, and I’m so proud to be a part of the community!” – Brooklynne Elliot ’21

“I felt very empowered while wearing it because I felt that many people knew what it was and what it symbolized. To me it represented the strength of women and my strength as well!” – Erin Ahern ‘20

“To me, this scarf means opportunity. It means that I am blessed to be at a University that fosters education, community, and growth.” -Nicole Mlakar ’19

Where do you hope to blaze the trail for the future?

“I hope to become a CEO or CMO who shatters the glass ceilings that many women face!” – Roslyn Ng, ’21

“I hope to watch the rise of women at JCU. To see them thrive, grow, and succeed.” – Colleen Sommerfeld, Assistant Dean for Graduate Admission and Retention

“I still feel like the athletic/sports world is dominated by men. We have many alumni that have achieved great things and are in high places. Working in athletics, I want to inspire other women to pursue this path as a career.” – Dana Funyak ’12, Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing, Special Events, and Community Engagement

“I hope to blaze a trail for women in business. We have a come a long way, but we still have a ways to go. I hope the business outlook for my sons and daughter is much more diverse, inclusive, and strategic than it is currently.” – Christina Moran ’07

“I will be attending the Nonprofit Administration master’s program in the fall and I can’t wait to learn more and be inspired about this passion of mine. I want to end up in a career where I love my work and end up helping others. I want to inspire the ones around me to work for love and hopefully one day this love can spread across the world” – Corbyn Martz ’20

“As an activist and advocate for social justice, I hope to continue my work not only here at JCU but also in the city of Cleveland. Since it is my hometown, I am very passionate about the wellbeing of the people. Being a student here at John Carroll has given me the chance to enhance my knowledge and broaden my experience as an activist. I hope to only grow from where I am now.” – Naudia Loftis ’20

“I hope to support women in roles as leaders and change agents, and to blast through any ceilings present and help women to see their limitless futures, especially in the male-dominated roles in the business world.” – Brandi Mandzak, Director of External Relations, Boler College of Business

“I am preparing to study abroad in Lima, Peru for the next four months and was so happy to be able to be one of the first to wear the scarf before I depart for South America. When I gave the scarf to the next wearer, Melanie Moss, I found out through conversation that her son had spent time in Cusco, Peru and thrived there!” – Lillia Smyers ’20

“Continuing to live by the Jesuit ideals that John Carroll instilled in me including respect for the world, its history and mystery, contemplative vision formed by hope, Development Of Personal Potential, Appreciation Of Things Both Great And Small, and Commitment To Service.” – Michelle Spangler ’12, Budget Analyst, Finance and Administrative Services

“I’ll be doing a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps at Homeboy Industries, the largest gang-intervention and re-entry organization in the world. After that, I plan to continue living out my passion for social justice and use the tools and lessons I learned at JCU to make a true difference in the systemic inequities in our country and in our world.” – Caitlin Matthews ’19

“I hope to encourage women students that they are strong and absolutely capable.” – Debby Rosenthal, Chair, Department of English

“I hope to be a role model for female students interested in business.” – Stacy Astrove, Assistant Professor of Management

“I am a biology major, and STEM is typically a male-dominated field. I hope to blaze the trail by becoming a veterinarian and inspiring other young women to enter the medical field.” – Lauren Philip ’20

“I hope to become a female leader in business and show other women that they can do it too.” – Anna Masica ’19

“I hope to blaze the trail through the Center for Service in Social Action to learn how to serve others more freely, educate myself to be a teacher to love my students, and hopefully put this all together to build my own social enterprise someday!” – Delaney Burns ’21

“More women in leadership positions on campus. Currently, I am part of the board for the Italian Club, along with several other hard working women. It is an awesome place to start.” – Valentina Powell ’19

What are your hopes for the next 50 years at JCU?

“Over the next 50 years at JCU, I hope women will continue to support each other in all of their endeavors. Whether in academics, athletics, or other extracurriculars, I hope to see females sticking together as they work to achieve their goals. In addition, I hope they continue to celebrate in each other’s successes and the legacy they are creating at this amazing institution.” – Kristen Jesberger ’22

“I hope women continue to be high achievers and leaders at the University. I would like to see a women having occupied every rank within the University at some point in time by 50 years from now.” – Christina Moran ’07

“That women continue to use their power for good in this world and empower other women to do the same.” – Molly Killeen ’20

“I hope the women of JCU find the confidence to hold bigger roles in on-campus organizations, to feel powerful enough to speak their mind, and to bring attention to social issues going on in that time to the future students of JCU.” – Amanda Cheravitch ’20

“That women feel empowered and inspired like I did while attending JCU” – Corbyn Martz ’20

“I believe it is crucial that as we increase our presence on campus. We need to increase opportunities for women coming from different backgrounds and representing diverse ethnicities, identities, and traditions.” – Aysegul Zeren, Lecturer, Peace, Justice, and Human Rights

“I hope that starting as freshman, or even earlier, that the women at JCU can come together to spark a journey of collaborating their beautiful gifts and talents to create amazing experiences throughout their time at Carroll and beyond.” – Julia Ruggiero ’19

“My hope is that John Carroll is continued to be filled with genuine, passionate, fiery women who are willing to stand up and speak up for what they believe in. This place has been made so special because of the women who have added so many great contributions. My hope is that they never lose sight of the wonderful things they are destined to accomplish.” – Kendall Miller ’20

“I hope that women continue to lead the way in using their talents and insights to make the world a better place for everyone.” – Lisa Catalano ’07

“I am hoping that women of color are recruited and retained to enrich our community. I am hoping that it becomes commonplace to have women in positions of senior leadership and that our assertiveness is respected and our contributions be given significance.” – Donna Byrnes, Assistant Dean of Students

“I hope that women continue to exceed expectations and challenge stereotypes at JCU.” – Lauren Philip ’20