Since bidding farewell to Oakcrest, Laura Cermak (‘15) has accomplished a lot and she’s just getting started. Fresh out of Christendom College after having graduated as Valedictorian of her class, Laura is set to begin work as an Associate at DC-based Saffron Ventures. Her future looks bright, and Laura credits Oakcrest with giving her the foundation to thrive in life post-graduation.
Laura treasured the many learning moments and good times she experienced as an Oakie. She loved how Oakcrest provided a strong, vivacious community where she and her peers could laugh, study, compete, and strive for virtue together. “At Oakcrest I was surrounded by inspiring women who took to heart St. John Paul II’s words about the feminine genius,” she says. Laura deeply appreciated the many opportunities at Oakcrest to develop her relationship with Christ as well.
Laura studied politics and economics at Christendom College, where she was the recipient of the Padre Pio Full-Tuition Scholarship. Her interests encompassed government and statesmanship and specific areas of study included American history, constitutional law, classical political theory, the philosophy of liberalism, and the functions of a free market. Not only was she able to dive into these things in the college curriculum, but she also got the chance to explore political philosophy outside of the traditional classroom setting. Throughout college, she was actively involved with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which gave her the resources to run a political reading group and the chance to attend conferences around the country. She also learned much from her internship at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, working with Dr. Ryan Anderson. All these experiences gave her a familiarity with policy and law that she hopes to apply to a career down the road.
In the meantime, she begins her position as an Associate for Saffron Ventures, a DC-based organization that helps develop new businesses. Laura will work on everything from business strategy and sales to marketing and operations for new ventures in Saffron’s portfolio. She will help design and organize international programs for students and young adults, such as seminars, business trainings, and fellowships.
Laura has many fond Oakcrest memories. She recalls Mrs. Larsen’s middle school English and history classes—how they made her a much stronger writer and gave her the chance to act out scenes from The Secret Garden, Little Women, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in class. In high school, Ms. Nussio gave Laura a love of debate and a passion for history and philosophy. Laura feels deeply grateful to her mentors as well, who she says walked her lovingly along a path of growth in maturity, wisdom, and love of God. “I believe one of Oakcrest’s greatest strengths is the example of the teachers, who make each girl feel known and valued,” she says. “I am forever grateful to my teachers and advisors for teaching me what it means to be a servant-leader and a professional woman in the modern world.”
Laura assures newly graduated Oakies that their education has prepared them well for the rest of their lives. “Know that graduating from Oakcrest has prepared you well for whatever mission God has in store,” she states. “Be confident, because as Father Ron Gillis of blessed memory used to say, ‘There will never be another you’... A warm smile and a grateful attitude absolutely set you apart as a leader. Beyond that, I think the classic advice holds true. Show up on time. When you fail, own it. And when by grace you succeed, give God the glory.”