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Posts Tagged "Class of 2014"

Meet Isaiah Taylor '14: Leading a Diverse Future for STEM Research

March 18, 2024
By Archbishop Carroll High School

“Stand on the shoulders of giants” is a common phrase to anyone who is preparing to defend research or a thesis to earn an advanced degree. For Isaiah Taylor ‘14, that type of foundational support extends beyond his doctoral studies and into the future of the next generation of learners from underrepresented backgrounds.

Taylor researches the effects of microgravity on bone cells, working towards a PhD in molecular and cellular pharmacology at Stony Brook University. In addition to the challenges of conducting advanced research and maintaining a work/life balance, Taylor is one of the leading voices for diversity and inclusion on campus. Stony Brook’s most recent report says that approximately 12% of all of its students are African American, and Taylor says he is the only one in his PhD program.

Taylor receives the first Vertex Pharmaceutical Biomedical Science Career Scholarship in March 2023.

As president of Stony Brook’s Black Graduate Student Organization, Taylor leads the way in rebuilding the group’s impact on campus as it relaunched this past fall after the COVID-19 pandemic derailed much of campus life. He also works part-time for the DICE (Diversity, Intercultural and Community Engagement) Program in Stony Brook’s Division of Student Affairs. According to their website, DICE’s mission is to “provide programs to maintain an all-inclusive campus community where diversity is valued and celebrated, and where a positive campus climate is promoted. The office helps to foster a campus environment that is welcoming, nurturing, and supportive for all members of the university.” Taylor also served as peer mentor in the Office of Multicultural Affairs as an undergraduate at the University of Dayton.

Building relationships and providing an example for young learners of all races is of the utmost importance to Taylor after experiencing the impact a mentor can have.

“About two summers ago, I got to participate in this program called Scientists in Mentoring. It was a diverse and inclusive program, and I got a mentor from Johnson & Johnson who told me about her path. She helped me figure out where I want to go after graduation. That program helped me realize that no matter where I’m working, I still want to be involved in some sort of diversity and inclusion program. There should be more people of color in graduate schools and professional schools. It’s very important for development starting from a young age. A lot of schools are predominately white institutions, so having representation is important because kids now and in college want to see an example. If there is no representation in these roles, maybe they get discouraged or have impostor syndrome. It’s important for us growing up and even in college to see other people do it.”

Taylor '14 presents research at the American Society for Gravitational Research in 2022.

Providing opportunities to build a network of peers can lighten the burden of managing difficult classes, long days of experiments and research in the labs, and the stresses of daily life. Taylor says his time playing sports and participating in clubs as a student at Carroll provided him with a sense of belonging as a teenager and provided a sense of belonging in the community. Taylor also carries the academic and spiritual foundations of a Carroll education with him to this day. He credits his difficult course load from high school with giving him an edge once he arrived in college. His faith is reflected in the work he does outside the research labs to bring about positive change and a more just society. Ensuring that diversity and representation are present in daily life are critical pillars of Catholic Social Teaching, and Taylor says that all institutions, including the church, must continue progressing with those values at the forefront of their missions.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Spring 2024 Edition of Reflections.  Click here to read the rest of the publication.

Posted in Familiar Voices

Wired for Innovation: Connecting one of Dayton's oldest buildings to a brighter future

March 08, 2021
By Carroll High School
Alek Mezera '04, Dave Mezera '81, and Natalie Mezera '14 of DataYard at the Dayton Arcade Innovation Hub.  Photo by @tayloredsocial/Taylor Hudson Snead

Whenever Alek Mezera ‘04 would drive past the Dayton Arcade in the heart of downtown, he usually thought about the stories from the complex’s glory years that had come and gone before he was even old enough to attend kindergarten.  26 years after the arcade effectively closed to the public, he stepped foot in the vacant, deteriorating building as he prepared to help lead the modernization of one of the oldest and most notable facilities in the region.

Dayton Arcade
The Dayton Arcade as seen from West Third Street

“That was an awe-inspiring visit, just being able to see the scale, first and foremost, of all the buildings involved in the arcade development, but also the potential and history,” Mezera said.  “There’s so many old signs and photographs and pieces of Dayton nostalgia you would see around every corner that were really cool.”

As the Director of Client Partnerships at DataYard, an Information Technology provider founded by Alek’s father Dave ‘81 in the mid 90s, Alek helped DataYard earn the rights to be the sole IT provider for the Arcade Innovation Hub, a joint venture between the University of Dayton and the Entrepreneurs’ Center that occupies more than two thirds of the first two phases of the Arcade renovation project’s master plan.  All office space, classrooms, and retail shops on the upper levels of the checkerboard-floored rotunda are connected to the internet through DataYard.  While plenty of typical renovation work, like replacing windows and walls, were needed to breathe life back into the nearly 120-year-old set of five buildings that comprise the Arcade, DataYard had the unique challenge of not only building the first network, but also concealing all of its infrastructure to comply with historical guidelines.

“For any rehab/reuse project happening downtown, there are a lot of tax incentives involved with taking something old and making it new.  In order to do that, there are a hundred different aesthetic guidelines you have to work through.  As far as IT and historic tax credits are concerned, it has to look like it isn’t there.  We had a challenge in adequately hiding the infrastructure behind the scenes in a way that still achieved all of our goals.  We ran miles of rigid steel conduit which has all been painted to blend in and match the brick ceiling and exposed brick walls.  Some of it is hidden in drop ceilings and wrapped around corners.  It was a challenge but ultimately produced the most aesthetically appealing stroll down memory lane.”

Mezera estimates that the Arcade now holds $1.5 million dollars worth of network equipment, including 100 wireless access points, 20,000 feet of steel conduit, and 142,000 feet of ethernet cable, which is enough to stretch from Carroll High School to the Dayton Arcade six times.  At its peak, the network can serve approximately 700 individuals using up to four devices each.  Mezera says the Arcade project is the biggest and most complex in DataYard’s history.  It is also one of the most meaningful.

DataYard Director of Client Partnerships Alek Mezera '04, Founder and Principal Dave Mezera '81, and Client Partnerships Project Manager Natalie Mezera '14 in a conference room at the Innovation Hub in the Dayton Arcade.  The table in this conference room is a repurposed door upcycled from the University of Dayton's Chapel rennovation project. Photo by Taylor Hudson Snead/@Taylored Social.

“One of the things that everybody has as an intrinsic need is the ability to see the fruits of their labors,” Mezera says.  “Unfortunately, our grandparents and great-grandparents built all the churches and all the bridges and those large scale, masonry types of projects where you have a cornerstone with a date on it and get a romantic, emotional feeling when you think about your contribution to a specific project.  We don’t have a lot of those projects going on at the moment and haven’t in quite some time.  To be a part of a rehab/reuse project of a complex of this physical scale brought its own romantic draw for those reasons, something you can drive past and look at and know that your contributions have directly impacted the success of the project, and more importantly, the advancement of the region and our neighbors.”

In an ever-changing field like IT, DataYard relies not only on its teams’ up-to-date technical knowledge of designing and installing networks, but also on their ability to adapt quickly and think critically while working together.  Even though Mezera grew up with computers, the skills Mezera learned during his days at Carroll prepared him to play a major role in the Arcade project.

Learning how to learn was a big part of what I’ve taken from Carroll, my family, and other places.  Extracurriculars really stuck some life lessons and habits in my spirit.  Working with a team, wanting and needing to produce the absolute best work that I possibly could, and feeling a sense of pride in my work and achievements.

Alek Mezera '04, DataYard Director of Client Partnerships

“I did enjoy those computer classes with Mrs. [Diane McNelly] Keller ‘83 back in 2003, and those gave me an opportunity to practice and develop outside the home.  Beyond that, learning how to learn was a big part of what I’ve taken from Carroll, my family, and other places.  Extracurriculars really stuck some life lessons and habits in my spirit.  Working with a team, wanting and needing to produce the absolute best work that I possibly could, and feeling a sense of pride in my work and achievements.  Whether you’re playing basketball or in the marching band or whatever it is, if you’re with a group of people, and you have a goal and something you have to work hard to achieve and you do it together, I learned early on that it was one of the most rewarding experiences.”

Mezera sees the rebirth of the Arcade as DataYard’s role on a team that lays the groundwork for the next generation of Dayton entrepreneurs to succeed.  

“You get a sense of pride and feeling of an ownership stake in the city,” Mezera says.  “We’ve poured so much blood and treasure into trying to make something better for ourselves and neighbors, and to see it come to fruition, watch other people utilize those services to take themselves to the next level and advance the success of their business, and watch people interact in the space on a human level is incredibly rewarding.  The space has so much energy, promise, and potential that it certainly is a much-needed boost to civic pride.”

DataYard provides Dayton's best IT services and technology consulting including solutions for Cloud hosting, cyber security, disaster recovery, IT management, and more.  To learn more about DataYard, contact Alek Mezera at (937) 610-3525 or email

Posted in Familiar Voices

Three alumni reflect on their Carroll Mathematics experiences

January 19, 2021
By Carroll High School Mathematics Department Faculty

The Carroll Math Department strives to develop students into persistent problem solvers and resilient learners. Carroll students not only learn course-specific math content, but they also learn to collaborate with fellow problem solvers, use constructive feedback to produce better results, and feel comfortable asking for guidance. We want our students to graduate from Carroll with the confidence that when faced with a challenge, they can analyze the situation and produce a meaningful solution.

We are proud of the accomplishments that Carroll graduates have achieved post-graduation. Our graduates are true testaments to the success of our math curriculum. A few recent graduates were asked how their Carroll math program experience prepared them for life after high school and what words of wisdom they have for current Patriots:

Emily Seals ‘14

Emily is a 2018 graduate of The University of Dayton with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics and currently holds the position of Analyst to the CEO and Human Resources Department at SafeAuto in Columbus, Ohio.

The structure of many of my classes while at Carroll has proved helpful to my transition and success into college and my career. They taught me discipline; discipline to pay attention in class, discipline to complete daily homework, and discipline to keep myself accountable for my grades and ask for help when it just didn't make sense.  In college, not all professors collect homework (sounds amazing, right?).  When you find that out, it becomes very tempting to skip the professors’ suggested practice problems. However, with the discipline I took with me from Carroll, I knew that would cost me come test day. That's why I did every practice problem given to prepare me for success come test day. I've brought this discipline and work ethic with me into my career which has helped lead me to success each and every day. I really valued my statistics class with Mrs. Mary Ollier.  Although I struggled with getting it to click for me, the first math course I took at the University of Dayton was statistics, and I remember feeling so thankful having gone through it once at Carroll.  It really helped set the groundwork for building it up at UD.

Words of Wisdom

Ask the question. The biggest thing I learned from my math classes was overall problem-solving skills. Gather information, try to solve the problem (probably several ways), and if all else fails, never hesitate to ask for help. I remember sitting in Mrs. Grosselin's class sometimes feeling silly asking for help but still asking anyway. In my work today, I still often get this feeling, but how can you effectively produce work and do your job if you don't even understand what you're doing? Never feel silly asking questions; no one knows everything, and continual learning is part of being human.

Audrey Marticello ‘18

Audrey is a junior at Loyola University Chicago studying Finance with a minor in Economics. She is a Calculus tutor at Loyola, participates in an Equity Investing club, and just finished a Business Analytics Co-Op where her role was running statistical analysis. Her goals have changed over the years, but she would like to work in a finance role after graduation and attend graduate school. She has an internship lined up for the summer where she will be a commercial banking intern for BMO Harris in Chicago. Her role will be helping the bank with lending decisions, financial analysis, and risk assessments. 

One of my key takeaways from my Carroll Math classes is to not be afraid to ask questions. When I was a freshman at Carroll, I struggled in math and science because I was afraid to look dumb in front of my peers, but my math teachers saw potential in me and pushed me to improve. As I became an upperclassman and felt more comfortable, I began seeking to understand. I would ask more questions in class, start study groups with friends, and pop in after school to review homework answers.  Unsurprisingly, my grades improved. So, when transitioning to college, I committed myself to seek to understand. This mantra has benefited me in all facets of life—from my finance classes to my internships, and it’s all thanks to my time at Carroll.

Words of Wisdom

Practice makes perfect. The Carroll Math department, as a whole, puts a huge emphasis on practice. I distinctly remember Mrs. Ollier, my freshman year assigning many practice problems for homework. I did not understand at the time, but she was instilling in us the fundamental piece of learning—practice. This key to success, that practice makes perfect, has allowed me to be resilient when facing failure and overcome rigorous courses.

Quinn Retzloff ‘18

Quinn is a junior at the University of Notre Dame studying Science-PreProfessional with a minor in Compassionate Care in Medicine. He is a Chemistry and Calculus tutor for the Learning Resource Center and an English literacy teacher for the greater South Bend community. He is involved with the Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine research team, actively seeking techniques to help doctors and other healthcare professionals maintain a caring, compassionate mindset as the foundation of their healthcare practice and as a remedy to the effects of burnout, especially during COVID-19. After graduation, he wants to pursue an MD degree and practice as Cardiothoracic surgeon.

Carroll's mathematics courses and faculty emboldened my confidence to approach math with a unique perspective. Coming from Carroll, where I took Honors and AP courses in Geometry, Algebra, Physics, and Calculus, I was placed at an advantage in comparison with many of my peers. Carroll’s emphasis on the fundamentals of mathematics provided the basis of not only solving complex problems in my STEM courses but more importantly, grasping the concepts that gave me insight into finding the respective solutions. Carroll’s focus on highlighting the theory gave me a step ahead in my ability to ask the deeper questions and analyze problems and patterns with a keen eye, as well as the tenacity to persist when courses became challenging. I also appreciate how Carroll’s difficult courses forced me to grapple with important concepts from proofs to derivatives in a supportive environment.  The ability to learn with peers, receive constructive feedback from teachers, and complete guided assignments both in and outside class, made the courses not only manageable but meaningful. Simply put, my college math courses seemed only supplementary to the Carroll math core.

The most memorable Carroll math experience for me was the TEAMS competition at Ohio Northern University each year. It gave me and my friends the chance to work together to problem-solve a real-world scenario (my senior year was waste management sustainability) and come up with a viable solution. Different team members were responsible for “mastering” their section and served as a wealth of knowledge for that specific category, whether it be the energy of the system or how it works. In the end, it was just fun to communicate with the Carroll teams and other Ohio schools in how they approached the same types of problems.

Words of Wisdom

Math and problem-solving present themselves every day and it’s those who recognize this fact that make a difference. You might not always have to calculate a derivative or perform a square root, but these skills taught early on in education encourage you to learn how to think critically, analyze a situation, and produce a thoughtful solution.

Posted in Voices of Learning

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