Ambrose alum, Robert (Bobby) Marsland III, is now a post-doctoral scholar at Boston University, after successfully defending his PhD thesis in late May at MIT. Prior to joining the lab of Jeremy England at MIT, Robert spent a year at Oxford University studying the logical structure and historical origins of the core areas of modern physics. Robert obtained his bachelor’s degree in physics at Princeton University, where he carried out experiments in the statistical physics of atomic gases.
In his research, Robert uses the insights of contemporary physics to unpack the molecular-level observations that are being carried out with ever increasing precision in living cells. By combining the latest developments in theoretical statistical mechanics with numerical simulations of model systems and analysis of high-resolution microscopy data, he hopes to contribute to a deeper understanding of the physical mechanisms of life, opening new pathways for medical intervention and biotechnology.
Robert cites his St. Ambrose Academy (SAA) education as instrumental in shaping his scientific intrigue and pursuit:
“My love for natural science flourished at SAA, starting with those awesome experiments in Mr Gillett’s physical science class. The best one was making hydrogen from water with electricity. We took apart some D cell batteries and stuck the graphite cores into a milk jug, to make conducting electrodes that wouldn’t corrode. Then we plugged the jug into the wall, and collected the gas bubbling from the two electrodes into flasks. Finally, we lit the hydrogen flask on fire, proving that we had obtained the desired products. I had read about this reaction many times, but was amazed to see it actually work!
Another stimulus was Ms. Lesperance’s advanced Biology class. My mind was blown by the incredible complexity of the cell, and those memories stuck with me all through my physics training at Princeton.
But what I’m most grateful for is the solid training in Catholic doctrine I received at SAA, along with abundant opportunities to deepen my personal relationship with God. I think one of the main obstacles to the advance of science in recent decades has been the error of confusing our abstract scientific models with reality – thinking that quarks and electrons are more real than trees and rocks. This places a severe constraint on scientific creativity that especially limits the development of the life sciences. Faith forces us to recognize our littleness before the mystery of reality, and keeps us open to new ways of looking at things. I’m thrilled to now be working at the cutting edge of theoretical biology, where my job is precisely to come up with these new and hopefully more powerful perspectives.”
Given his mature devotion to our Catholic faith, it’s not surprising that in addition to his scientific work, Robert serves as assistant director of Elmbrook Center near Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. Elmbrook is an educational center for young men; helping prepare them to become dedicated professionals who thrive in work and life and who advance their profession as a service to persons and society. The Center is entrusted to Opus Dei, a personal prelature of the Catholic Church. Robert’s role as assistant director will make a lasting impact on these young men that will reach far beyond work and this life. His time as a Guardian is now leaven for the East Coast as well.
The Overture Center’s Tommy Awards Program has named the St. Ambrose Academy production of Hello, Dolly! an Outstanding Musical! This award is considered to be the highest honor a school can receive within the Tommy Awards Program, as it recognizes the achievement of excellence within all aspects of the production. As recipients of this award, the entire Hello, Dolly! cast has been invited to perform a four-minute medley featuring several musical numbers from the show on the Overture stage during the Tommy Awards Show on June 11th!
We’re also thrilled to announce the following individual awards. Each of these four students will be honored for their individual achievements in additional musical medleys during the Tommy Awards Show on June 11th.
Junior Natalie Davies has received an Outstanding Leading Performance Award for her portrayal of Dolly Levi.
Junior Sam Galvin (Barnaby Tucker) and Junior Therese Klingele (Minnie Fay) have been honored with Outstanding Supporting Performance Awards!
And, Sophomore Marcianna Wanta has been named our school’s 2017 Spirit Award recipient.
Congratulations also to the following individuals of the Hello, Dolly! Production Team who will be honored at a special Outstanding Director/Designer Tommy Awards banquet on June 2nd:
- Diane Marsland – Producer, Costume Design, Set Design
- Angela Hineline – Direction, Set Design
- Dani Binzak & Jane Voegeli – Vocal Direction
- Jenny Marsland – Choreography
- Melissa Ludois – Orchestra
- Andy Manke – Light Design
- Kyle Spradling – Sound Design
- Senior Jaimee Prado & Junior Kate Krebs – Student Stage Management
- Steve Krebs – Backstage
- Sophomore Marcianna Wanta – Hair & Make-Up
We are very proud of our entire cast, crew, and production team. It takes incredible dedication, hard work, and commitment to achieve these honors. We thank God for the gifts and provisions that He provided during our journey. He made this show the parade we hoped that it would become!
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The Tommy Award press release will be posted here as soon as it is available.
Coming Soon! We will also share a video clip in coming days featuring director Mrs. Angela Hineline and cast and crew sharing their reflections and exuberance on receiving this most happy recognition.
Ambrose alumnus Thomas Carey (Class of 2008) has been a busy man since he and his fiancé Sonia graduated from the University of Wisconsin in May 2012, and married the following week. After an adventuresome honeymoon of backpacking in the Rocky Mountains, the newlyweds moved to Colorado, where Thomas began graduate school in organic chemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Sonia started work on a nursing degree.
Now in the fifth year of his doctoral studies, Thomas teaches chemistry and works in a university lab researching molecular systems that could someday aid in solar energy conversion. He and his team members recently published an article in The Journal of Organic Chemistry summarizing the work of the last few years. The title, “Synthesis of Geometrically Well-Defined Covalent Acene Dimers for Mechanistic Exploration of Singlet Fission,” may not communicate much to the uninitiated, but it contributes toward understanding a very particular way that light and molecules can interact, known as “singlet fission.”
“In the paper,” said Thomas, “we describe the synthesis of two tetracene-based products and outline a general strategy where structural variation can be used to tune the electronic properties of these dimers. These molecules are studied by others in our group as part of our project to systematically analyze the mechanistic details of a photophysical process called ‘singlet fission’ (wherein a single photon absorption gives rise to two excited states), which has applications in developing more efficient solar energy technologies.” In simpler terms, Thomas said, “we are trying to understand how a certain photophysical process works. Our group doesn’t work on the actual design of solar cell devices, but what we do could contribute to increasing their efficiency down the road.”
After full days in the research laboratory and teaching, Thomas comes home to a busy home
life. Sonia has finished her nursing degree, and the couple now has three sons: Benedict (3), David (1), and newborn Nicholas, who made his appearance within a week of the publication of Thomas’ most recent article. Being “first author” is a major step toward earning his PhD, which Thomas hopes to complete in another semester or two.
We admire the productivity and holy ambition of this young couple, whose hard work in academia has not precluded them from living out God’s plan for sacramental marriage and the family so generously. Thank you for your Christian witness of sacrificial love and excellence in virtue!
For the technically literate or the brave, you may like to read Thomas’ article here (please know, access to the full text requires a paid login).
Dolly with Waiters at the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant
The judges that nominate and award Madison-area high school theatrical productions to recognize excellence through the TOMMY Awards came to Hello, Dolly! They saw an incredible display of theatrical talent in the St. Ambrose ensemble. They came. They saw. As far as nominations go, St. Ambrose’s production conquered… the hearts of the audiences and in every category that the judges considered. Yes, Hello, Dolly! really swept the nominations, garnering the highest praise in every category. One judge commented:
“St. Ambrose Academy’s production of Hello, Dolly! was a joy from beginning to end. There was an absolute comfort and ease to this production. The performers went above and beyond learning their individual roles. They created lively characters in a specific time and place, developed strong onstage relationships and were given time and space to blossom. This level of confidence invited the audience to sit back and enjoy a marvelous afternoon in the theater. Congratulations to St. Ambrose Academy’s entire cast, crew and staff.”
The number of nominations are too many to list. But, click here for the complete list. Just a few notable nominations included: “Outstanding Musical,” “Outstanding Ensemble,” “Outstanding Lead Performance,” “Outstanding Supporting Performance,” “Outstanding Direction,” etc.
Given the hard work put into the musical by our students and parent volunteers, we know that they deserve the recognition. Now, we look forward to the actual award announcements!
Class of 2017
With graduation coming up quickly, the time has come to determine and joyfully announce the valedictorians, salutatorian and the winners of the Christian Virtue Award. Every St. Ambrose senior has put in a lot of hard work and effort and certainly poured a lot of faith into his or her schoolwork and formation. Each can expect great fruits in college or in his or her next endeavors. We are pleased to especially recognize:
- Justin Hineline and William Donohoe, Valedictorians
- Jaimee Prado, Salutatorian
- Sarah Mills and Grace Gansers, Christian Virtue Award Winners
You are warmly invited to celebrate these incredible accomplishments along with the entire class of 2017 on Sunday, May 28, 2017 for St. Ambrose Academy’s Graduation. Mass is at 1:00 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, and the graduation exercises will follow at 2:00 p.m. in the social hall (617 Everglade Drive Madison, WI 53717).
Indoor Winter Hitting League — Spring Training!
It’s official: St. Ambrose will debut a baseball team this spring! Add another sport to the growing list of extracurricular activities to complement what students learn in the classroom! The baseball team will be a partnership with Abundant Life Christian School (ALCS), the Championship International Baseball Academy (CIBA) and the Diocese of Madison. Luis Abreu, CIBA president and trainer, played Major League Baseball and will bring his expertise to player and leadership development. The Diocese has offered outdoor space at Holy Name Heights (formerly the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Center) for home games and practice. Players from St. Ambrose and ALCS will play their first game today, April 3, 2017, in Evansville after completing an indoor winter hitting league — their very own spring training! Play ball!
Tim Heiney from Relevant Radio stopped by rehearsal for Hello, Dolly! and recorded wonderful interviews with director Angela Hineline and many of the main characters. If you’re not familiar with the show, this radio piece is a great way to learn the basic storyline. You’re sure to be excited for the show after hearing song clips and students talk about the musical in their own words! Click here for the radio piece.
Ready to order your tickets?
Senior Justin Hineline just received word that he is a National Merit Finalist, meaning that St. Ambrose Academy has had a National Merit Finalist in each of the last 6 years — what a streak!
In order to be a Finalist, Justin had to have been among the top 15,000 seniors in the nation according to a judging team that considers test scores, grades, curricula, school recommendations, activities, leadership qualities and the candidates’ own essays. There are a lot of hoops through which to jump!
We are proud of Justin and look forward to learning which college or university he will select for next year!
Matt Marsland, Class of 2015, founded the St. Ambrose Model United Nations team, which racked up a number of honors his senior year. Now, as a Notre Dame sophomore, Matt was part of the secretariat for the first-ever Notre Dame Model UN conference. Matt acted as “Head of Simulation” to lead the Notre Dame conference also attended by his younger, former compatriots from St. Ambrose.
Senior “Best Delegates” in front of the iconic golden dome
The St. Ambrose delegation won honors, including “Best Small Delegation” and “Best Delegate” awards for two SAA seniors, one in the Security Council and one in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes.
Congratulations, alumnus Matt Marsland and the St. Ambrose Model UN delegation!
Kellie Raddell, Apostolate for Persons with Disabilities; Deb Krebs, SAARI director; Michael Lancaster, Superintendent of the Office of Catholic Schools; and Grant Emmel, St. Ambrose board director.
At the 10th Annual Benefit Dinner on December 10, 2016, Development Director Joe Draves shared the great news that St. Ambrose would partner with the Apostolate for Persons with Disabilities and the Diocese of Madison to form the St. Ambrose Academy Reading Institute (SAARI). That partnership has solidified, and St. Ambrose parent and SAARI director Deb Krebs’ research to address dyslexia in her own family will now benefit children all over the Diocese of Madison. Already, Deb and her tutors, who are all trained in the Barton System for Reading and Spelling, are working one-on-one three hours per week with students in two area Catholic grade schools. St. Ambrose is pleased to offer real assistance to the 20% of students who struggle with dyslexia.
Read the recent article in The Catholic Herald for more information.