Leaving the Building with ESTEEM

Author: Emily Tokarowski


Rather than staying on campus and spending another 500 hours on SolidWorks or other homework, our Thursday evening consisted of a handful of activities that, in the words of Sunny, “got us out of the building.” 

Our first stop was at South Bend’s Police Department.  Here, we spent time with Santiago Garces, Chief Officer of Innovation of the City of South Bend, learning about the inner workings of the city of South Bend.  More specifically, we learned how data about the residents, finances, and other utilities help decision makers work to keep this city safe, enjoyable, and prosperous.  However, there is a lot of data that a city gathers and has to keep track of, so that’s where we come in.  Our ESTEEM class will be working with the city of South Bend’s financial data in Professor Lewandowski’s data analytics class to try and find patterns, anomalies, or other unique information that can help South Bend be more efficient.


After our visit to downtown South Bend, we hustled back to campus to get ready for Mass at Notre Dame’s Log Chapel: a replica of the first log chapel that stood in 1842 when Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C. and a band of seven Holy Cross brothers came from France to Indiana as missionaries.  All of ESTEEM, as well as some of our faculty and staff, squeezed into the chapel to listen to a beautiful sermon given by Fr. Sean McGraw, CSC, a professor of Political Science at Notre Dame.  Before he began Mass, however, Fr. McGraw asked each one of us state one thing we look for when joining a new organization.  After all of us gave our answers, each one being different from the last, Father explained that we look for what we want and value. After the Celebration of the Mass, Fr. McGraw blessed a collection of Notre Dame pendants that were then given to each of us as a gift from the University of Notre Dame.

Immediately following Mass, our final event of the evening took place at the lovely home of David and Mary Murphy.  Our Program's Director and his wife generously hosted a dinner at their home, complete with drinks, dessert, and good company.  It was an evening for us all to relax, enjoy good food, and spend quality time with our ESTEEM classmates, faculty, and staff.  Thank you again, David and Mary, for graciously hosting us!  After the night started to wind down and the continuous flow of apple pie, cookies, and chocolates made their way around the house a few times, David said a few closing comments about us and the ESTEEM program, but more importantly, made a toast to Rebekah DeLine, our exceptional Program Coordinator, who recently took up a new position at another local institution of higher education.  Although we are sad to see our ESTEEM “mom” (someone who is so passionate and caring towards us) leave, we are more than happy for her in finding this exciting and rewarding position at Saint Mary's College just a few miles down the road!

Although we had a night packed with activities, it was certainly a time to relax and enjoy the camaraderie that is our ESTEEM program.