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Dana Gatziolis '10

1: What have you been up to since graduation?
Since graduation, I’ve been up to a LOT! I had a huge medical crisis that really shattered my world and then built me back up again. But, that’s a whole other story. Besides that, I’m currently getting my Masters in Elementary Education at Loyola University in Chicago. In addition, I started my own online business last summer. It’s really my passion work, and allows me to bring all of my gifts together to serve women from all over the world. Through my site, I teach women how to create a life that they love with a body to match – this unique path is paved with yoga, fitness, nutrition, and LOTS of fun. You can visit me anytime at http://yogababelife.com/.
           
2: What is your fondest memory of USD?
The greatest decision that I have made so far in my life was to transfer to USD during my junior year. It was a huge leap of faith that I took, moving from my hometown of Chicago all the way to California where I knew no one! It taught me an incredible lesson about how life opens up once we can face our fears head on.

As a transfer student, I had a difficult time making friends. Everyone was super nice, but I never felt like I was at “home,” and desperately missed my friends back in Chicago. Shortly after I transferred, I decided to go on the Search retreat. This was the 2nd best decision I’ve ever made! I met some amazing people who have become my core contacts. Being involved in University Ministry, especially through the Search retreat, gave me an incredibly abundant experience at USD. 
 
3. What is your favorite place on campus, why?
I used to love studying on the west terrace of SOLES. That view can’t be beat! I also am just in love with Founders’ Chapel. So many memories were formed there, and each time I think of it, I can feel the warmth and love that surrounds that place. I loved being part of the Founders’ Chapel Choir and attending Mass for Peace. Talk about good church right there!

4. Who was your favorite USD professor or class?
Oh my gosh this is a tough one! I honestly had so many favorite professors. I was a Theology major, so since there weren’t too many of us, I really got to know my professors pretty well. We spent a lot of time together. The ones that come to mind the most are Msgr. Dan (I loved his Christian Moral Theology class!), Dr. Babka (the Problem of God class changed my life!), and of course, Dr. Pascuzzi.  Dr. P isn’t on the faculty any longer at USD, and although I might have cried over her class or out of fear of her assessments, she is absolutely the one person at USD who carved a lifetime learner out of me. In the end, I can laugh at how stressed out I was over her mentorship with my final thesis, and be grateful that I had guidance from such a strong woman who never gave up on me.
 
5: How have you remained involved with USD since graduation?
I’ve since moved back to Chicago, but I have been able to visit my friends in San Diego and visit campus a few times. Being back on campus feels like coming home. I still try to stay involved in the Search community, as well.

6: If you could offer a current USD student advice, what would it be?
Go on the Search retreat if you haven’t done so yet! Besides that, don’t ever miss a sunset. Run outside and catch it before it sinks. Each day at USD is a blessing. So be sure to look around, drink it in, and be present. Take your classes seriously. If you put the work in, this university will stretch you beyond your expectations. But, that doesn’t mean that you should spend all day and night in the Harry Potter room of the library. Only during finals week. Oh, and if you haven’t learned to surf yet, do yourself a favor and hit the waves. What are you waiting for?!

Interested in contacting Dana? Email her at dana.gatziolis@gmail.com.

Interested in being a future Featured Torero? Email your own answers to this questionnaire to alumni@sandiego.edu along with a photo!

 

 

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