Alumnae Success Stories



 Kelli KICKERILLO ’99 is the CEO of Kickerillo Companies, a land development and homebuilding firm founded by her father in 1957. She joined the the family business in 2003 and rose to her current position in 2020. Kelli holds a BBA in Marketing from the University of St. Thomas and is deeply involved in the Houston community through various leadership roles and philanthropic work. She has served on boards for the Texas Heart Institute, Retina Research Foundation, and MD Anderson Cancer Center, among others. Kelli is a past trustee of both Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart and St. Thomas University. In her commencement address, Kelli encouraged the class of 2024 to live by the Goals and Criteria of the Sacred Heart. “You have a foundation that is solid because of Duchesne and the education you received here, and it will serve you beautifully in life.”

Nenye OKORO '14


Nenye OKORO ’14 is an Engineering Program Manager at Google, supporting Alphabet’s legal teams with regulatory inquiries. She recently managed the largest location-related privacy settlement in the U.S., involving updates to Google Maps. A former NCAA Division I volleyball player at St. Louis University, Nenye holds a degree in Health Informatics and is pursuing a master’s in Computer Science at USC with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence. In her Athletics Banquet keynote, she credited Duchesne for her foundation in leadership, teamwork, and resilience, noting that the school's Goals and Criteria shaped her personal and professional life.




Monica VALDES Creixell '91 

Living Goal III at Casa Juan Diego 

Monica VALDES Creixell ’91 dedicates significant time to volunteering at ​Casa Juan Diego, a Catholic Worker house in Houston, offering vital support to immigrants and refugees through shelter, meals, legal and medical aid, advocacy, and more.

Her journey with Casa started after retiring from the Spring Branch Independent School District, where she ran the mentor program. Monica's leadership roles at Casa, including on the board of directors and as volunteer coordinator, reflect her commitment to serving others and Sacred Heart Goal III. Her fluency in Spanish and French enhances her ability to connect with Casa's diverse community effectively. Read more here.




Sarah HANNAH '99 

founder and principal designer: four square design studio 

Sarah HANNAH ’99 keeps her American history textbooks on her home office bookshelf. They are the only ones she kept from high school. 

As a residential designer with a focus on historic buildings, Sarah’s passion for the past comes in handy. Her firm, Four Square Design Studio, is celebrated for its careful renovations and new-build additions to Houston’s historic homes. 

Sarah earned a dual B.A. in History and Art History from Rice University, followed by an MFA in Interior Design from the University of Houston. She joined Four Square in 2014, and took over as owner in 2022. Read more.




Sarah HASNANI '03 

Attorney & Founder: Hasnani Law 

After honing her legal skills navigating billion dollar deals with multinational corporations in Dubai, Sarah founded Hasnani Law in 2023, specializing in real estate and commercial law. Her journey from Duchesne to Dubai representing iconic brands like Coca-Cola showcases her dedication to understanding diverse cultures and navigating complex deals. She attributes this delicate balance to the guidance of her Sacred Heart educators who “not only pushed academic excellence but also encouraged active participation in extracurricular activities. Navigating these demands during my school years laid a solid foundation for success in college and, subsequently, in my professional life.” Read more.




Dr. Laila SORURBAKHSH Antenangeli ’01 

Assistant Dean of Academic Programs and Assistant Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School 

Dr. Laila SORURBAKHSH Antenangeli ’01 knew from a young age that her career would be dedicated to advancing the greater good. As she matured, the international affairs scholar “realized that influencing policy would have the biggest impact on the largest number of people.” Duchesne, with its training in critical thought coupled with its focus on global social awareness, was “super influential” in shaping Laila’s perspective. Now, as an educator herself, she shapes the next generation of leaders in her field. Read more about Laila’s journey from plaid to public policy here.






Gira DESAI Wieczorek '05 

Founder: Aleberry

“I was really lucky to start at Duchesne at an early age. I think it gave me a great foundation for independence, confidence, and building strong relationships that I still have to this day.” Duchesne lifer Gira DESAI Wieczorek founded her own company while still in college in 2009. To date, Aleberry has raised over $2B for its clients. Read more here.








Alessandra REY '13

Branded Content Writer at theSkimm

Alessandra REY '13 has made her passion for storytelling into her career. As Branded Content Writer at theSkimm, she crafts the publication’s sponsored content, including branded videos where she sometimes takes center stage.

But Alessandra's journey began on a different stage: from competing in TAPPS and ISAS theater to her position as STUCO Class Historian, “Duchesne gave me so many opportunities to tell stories, and I was encouraged to explore storytelling on a variety of fronts.”

This month, Alessandra let us do some of the storytelling. Read about how Duchesne prepared her for success in the worlds of journalism and advertising here.




Upper School Career Day: Law Panel

November 30, 2023

The third and final of this year’s Upper School Career Days featured a law panel of five Duchesne graduates: Ellen DESROCHERS Conley ’08, Anna BLIZZARD Greenberg ’06, Casey HENDERSON ’02, Dora MARTINEZ Patout ’89, and Elisa CORDUA Tavera ’05. Read their career bios here.






Upper School Career Day: Business Panel

November 8, 2023

The second of this year’s three Upper School Career Days featured four alumnae women in business. Thank you, Elena GIRALT ’07, Meghan PERLEY Leggett ’03, Eva VAN PELT ’18, and Arienne WILLBERN ’08 for sharing your insights with us! Read their bios here.






Kathleen “Beetle” HILLERY Antonatos ‘07

Founder and Creative Director of Palm Orleans

“Duchesne wants kids to be successful in whatever way God has given them gifts,” says Palm Orleans Founder and Creative Director, Kathleen "Beetle" HILLERY Antonatos '07.

A Rosary student since the 2nd grade, Kathleen transferred to Duchesne in 11th grade when her family relocated following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Until Duchesne, Kathleen had never taken a high school art class. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011, and started her own company in 2016.  Read more about her story here.




Jordan STALLINGS '08

Director of creative Advertising at the Walt Disney Studios

Jordan’s love of film started young. She didn't just enjoy watching them; she wanted to know how they were made. In her senior year at Duchesne, Mr. Horne's Film History class introduced her to the world of film marketing. At Boston University, she earned a degree in Film & Television, discovering the imaginative side of promoting movies and TV. Today, Jordan is the Director of Creative Advertising at the Walt Disney Studios. Read about Jordan’s journey from film student to studio receptionist to Disney director.





Upper School Career Day: Medical Panel

September 28, 2023

The 2023-2024 Upper School Career Day series kicked off with a medical panel featuring five Duchesne graduates with different areas of medical practice: Dr. Lynette CROUSE ’90 D.D.S., Dr. Claire ZIEMBA Scott  ’08 M.D., Mary LOHMANN Cavanaugh ’00 APRN, MSN, NP-C, ANP, Dr. Natalie CHAVARRIA Walton ‘05 M.D., and Dr. Susan LAND Dugat ’03 D.V.M. Read more here. 





Elizabeth TRUJILLO '88

National Honor Society Induction Speaker 2023

Elizabeth TRUJILLO ‘88 is the Mary Ann & Lawrence E. Faust Professor of Law and the Founding Director of the Initiative on Global Law and Policy for the Americas (GLPA). She teaches contracts, international economic law, and international business upper-level classes at the University of Houston Law Center. Her research specializes in international economic law, sustainable development, energy, contracts, and international law. Read more here.




Jennifer GRANGER Blankenship ‘94

True Child and Duchesne Lifer Joins Duchesne Faculty as Pre-K3 Lead

As an alumna, parent at two different Sacred Heart schools, and a Sacred Heart educator, Jennifer GRANGER Blankenship ‘94 has a unique perspective on what makes a Sacred Heart environment so special: “There is a serious commitment to educating the whole child.”

We’re so excited to welcome Jennifer home to Duchesne this year, where she joins 10 other alumnae and former students currently on staff and is one of 49 current Duchesne parents who were once students at Duchesne themselves!

Read more about what a Sacred Heart education means to Jennifer.




Andreina PARDEY ‘18

A Duchesne Alum on a Mission! 

Meet Andreina PARDEY '18, a devoted young missionary with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). She aims to lead others to encounter the Lord and find freedom in faith. Andreina will be stationed at the University of Southern Mississippi for two years, beginning this fall. A member of Alpha Delta Pi at the University of Texas - Austin, her ministry at Southern Miss will center on women in Greek life. Read more here




Emily BUERGLER '16

Robotics & A Firewall Block Launch NASA Engineer's Stellar Career

NASA Flight Software Engineer Emily BUERGLER '16 works in the Moon to Mars program at Johnson Space Center. Her concentration is Gateway, the future space station that will orbit the moon.

Long before her software was in space, Emily was a Duchesne freshman, teaching herself to program as a hobby. She never expected it would turn into a career.

In May, Emily returned to campus to share her story with upper school students, in the hopes that it “encourages more girls to consider careers in engineering… to think bigger."

Read about Emily's journey from Memorial Drive to Johnson Space Center and the wisdom she shares on recognizing opportunities and staying open to possibilities.




Jaimie MILLER '13

Upper School Athletics Banquet Keynote Speaker 2023

After swimming for both Duchesne and the Dad’s Club, Jaimie swam for the College of William and Mary, qualifying for the Olympic Trials in 2016.

She is a three-time collegiate MVP and a 10-time conference champion. While swimming as a Duchesne Charger, she held almost every school swim record, and still holds two today.

But she emphasizes that physical activity is just one part of the sport, and that the experience is about people holding each other up. Read more here.




Lilli BEAN '17

“Social Justice was something I was always very passionate about.”

Lilli has been working with City Year in New Orleans since she graduated from the University of San Diego in 2021. 

City Year is a nonprofit organization that strives for equity in education, and places teachers in underfunded and underserved schools across the country. 

Read more about Lilli's work and commitment to Goal III.




Caitlyn MCCONNELL '22

Caitlyn MCCONNELL ‘22 is a freshman at New York University Tisch School of the Arts in New York City studying Dramatic Writing—screenwriting, playwriting, and TV writing. She is directing and independently producing the full-length play she wrote. 

Read More about Caitlyn MCCONNELL '22
Christine MCMILLAN ‘97

Christine MCMILLAN ‘97 is a grateful alumna of Duchesne Academy.  The Sacred Heart education provided the framework for integrating a quiet faith into every aspect of her life and for developing the confidence to pursue a demanding career as a finance attorney, representing financial institutions in commercial loans to corporate borrowers. 

Read More about Christine MCMILLAN ‘97

Alumnae Office

Zoé Belden '07
Alumnae & Community Engagement Director
713.468.8211, ext. 3134

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