Notable Young Father Ryan Alumni

Numerous young Father Ryan alumni have found success in a variety of fields not long after graduating from Father Ryan. From scientists to musicians to television writers, young Irish graduates are taking the world by storm. 

Caroline Kole '15

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Caroline Kole ’15 has loved music for as long as she can remember. She got her first guitar at age eight and started songwriting soon after. She landed her first paying gig at age 10, started a band at 11 and has played venues with crowds as large as 30,000 people.

    Since then, she has performed on NBC's The Voice, been named a CMT Listen Up Artist, a SiriusXM/The Highway Find, and has played shows with Blake Shelton, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Kenny Rogers and many other country music legends. She has opened for Reba McEntire on tour and is currently writing and recording new material. 

Steven Henry '14

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Steven Henry '14 is strategic consultant with a background in communications, political campaigns, and government relations. He currently serves as the Director of Business Operations and Client Services at Jigsaw.

    He earned a Bachelor of Science in Politics and Public Law with a minor in English Literature from Belmont University.

    He returned to Father Ryan in 2019 as the Head Coach of the Ice Hockey Team. 

Sarah Wilkinson '13

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Sarah Wilkinson '13, who was one of the managers on the Girl's Basketball Team while at Father Ryan, is working as a Special Assistant on Coach Kara Lawson's Duke Women's Basketball Team's coaching staff. 

    Sarah's basketball coaching and operations career is already a decorated one. She heads to Duke University from the NBA, where she was with the Milwaukee Bucks as a basketball operations intern. The Bucks finished as one of the top teams in the NBA, and Sarah worked with Head Coach Mike Budenholzer, who was named the NBA's Coach of the Year for the 2018-2019 season. 

    A 2017 University of Tennessee-Knoxville graduate in Sport Management and a 3-year student manager for the Lady Vols, Sarah earned her Master's in Sport Management: Law at the University of Florida. During her time in graduate school, she served as a graduate assistant for the Lady Gators as well.

Kate Byrd '11

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Kate (Showers) Byrd '11, an associate staff member in Lincoln Laboratory's Advanced Sensors and Techniques Group at MIT, was recently named one of Aviation Week Network's 20 Twenties for 2020. Kate was nominated for the award by Harvard University, where she studied electrical engineering from 2018 to 2019.

    The awards program, offered in collaboration with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), recognizes the top science, technology, engineering, and math undergraduate and graduate students for their academic excellence, the research projects they undertake, and their contributions to the broader community.

Adam Stratz '09

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Adam Stratz '09 is a graduate Tennessee Tech with a B.S. and an M.S. in Civil Engineering, in addition to receiving his PhD from the University of Tennessee in Nuclear Engineering.

    He has also been awarded fellowships through the Department of Homeland Security, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Now residing in Washington, D.C., Dr. Stratz is putting his intellect, degrees and perseverance to work as a Foreign Affairs Officer for the U.S. Department of State. 

Alyssa Bonagura '06

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Alyssa Bonagura ’06 has music in her blood. The daughter of successful country artists Michael Bonagura and Kathie Baillie, Bonagura has made a name for herself as a singer-songwriter here in Nashville. She has written songs with Michelle Branch, Hunter Hayes, JD Souther, and many others. One of her songs, "I Make My Own Sunshine" was featured in a Lowe’s commercial, earning over 50,000 downloads in its first 3 months and over 1 million plays on Spotify. The song was later recorded by Steven Tyler on his debut #1 billboard Country album. As a singer, her duo, The Sisterhood, recently signed with Sony Music Nashville and just returned from the U.K. where they opened for Rod Stewart’s 10-city stadium tour.

Jessica Gilles '05

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Jessica Gilles ’05 knows what it means to serve. In 2009, she joined the Peace Corps and set out for Eastern Ukraine, where she lived for 27 months to teach middle school English. More than anything, Gilles hoped to instill in her students the ability to think for themselves, to use their minds creatively. She now works as an engagement manager in Washington, D.C. for M Powered Strategies, a consulting firm that helps senior executive officers and staff from some of the largest departments in the U.S. Federal Government optimize their results and efficiency to greater serve the public good.

Chris Ring '05

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    On December 4, 2015, former Navy SEAL Chris Ring ’05 became the first American ever to swim the length of the Mississippi, travelling more than 2,350 miles through 10 states in 181 days. Working with the Legacies Alive program, Chris completed the trek to salute fallen soldiers and the families they left behind. “The most important thing right when I crossed (the finish line), I looked over to where the boat was carrying all these gold star families,” Ring told CBS This Morning days after his achievement. “Seeing them just so happy and together was the best experience.” A Navy combat veteran, Ring has served his country in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Paul Schlacter '01

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Paul Schlacter ('01) is a Senior Visual Designer at Google in NYC. His recent work includes design.google and the SPAN design conference. Prior to Google Design, Schlacter worked on Yahoo's Mobile and Emerging Products team, the Google Creative Lab, and Google UXA. He got his start at Trollbäck+Company, working on network brand packages, commercials, and film titles. While at Father Ryan, Schlacter developed his creative talents in the classroom and as a member of the marching band, concert band, and winter drumline.

Courtney Corbin Simon '00

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Courtney Corbin Simon ’00 spun and jumped her way to America’s most heralded dance company at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York, where she performed professionally from 2005 to 2009. Since the company was founded in 1958, its members have performed for an estimated 25 million people in 48 states and 71 countries. For Simon, purposeful movement and multisensory experiences help form both the body and mind. So, in 2015, she founded Blooming Bébé, which offers developmental movement classes for infants and toddlers ages two months to 24 months, giving them the cognitive, sensory, and athletic building blocks for later in life.

Gina Emmanuel '97

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Gina Emmanuel '97 is a Principal Architect with Centric Architecture. 

    Gina prides herself on being the true well-rounded architect, caring just as much about true Design as art, but also skillful project execution and management, all while keeping genuine care and service to the client above all else.

    She also still manages to be uber-“involved” – from serving on the NAIOP board, to the Housing Trust Fund Commission, to The Catholic Charities board, and past stints with the board of the USGBC.

    An almost life-long Nashvillian (by way of South Africa at a very young age), she was valedictorian of the Class of 1997 at Father Ryan. 

Erin Davie '95

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Erin Davie ’95, who is currently starring as Camilla Parker Bowles in the Broadway production of Diana: A New Musical, has appeared on stage throughout the country as well as on television with appearances that include Law and Order: SVU, The Good Wife and Orange is the New Black.

    Broadway credits include: the aforementioned Diana, the revival of Sunday in the Park with George
    Grey GardensCurtains (with David Hyde Pierce) and A Little Night Music in which she co-starred with Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Cruz Contreras '95

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, and producer Cruz Contreras '95 has impacted Americana music worldwide.

    The frontman, founder, and driving force behind The Black Lillies’ raw and rootsy sound also co-founded Robinella and the CCstringband, and has collaborated with musicians ranging from John Oates and Jim Lauderdale to Langhorne Slim and The Turnpike Troubadours. Cruz’s projects have topped both the Billboard and Americana radio charts, won Independent Music Awards, and been nominated for the Americana Music Association’s Emerging Artist of the Year award. 

    Cruz has appeared on nationally broadcast television including Late Night with Conan O’Brien, CMT, VH-1, GAC, Bluegrass Underground and PBS Television’s Sun Studio Sessions. His music has been lauded by outlets as diverse as American Songwriter Magazine, Rolling Stone, NPR’s Morning Edition and Vanity Fair, among others. Contreras is currently at work on his debut solo album.

Denise Thé '92

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    Denise Thé ’92 has through the ranks of network television where she served as the executive producer for the hit CBS drama Person of Interest. She worked on the series from the beginning as a producer and wrote or co-wrote 13 episodes for the series.

    Currently serving on the writing staff of HBO's Westworld, Thé initially broke into the industry as a writer and production team member for the short-lived drama Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which aired on Fox for two seasons in 2008-09. When Fox higher-ups decided to discontinue the series, Thé jumped to CBS as a writer for Cold Case, and she has been writing and producing shows for the network ever since.

Jim McCann '92

List of 1 items.

  • View Bio

    After getting his start writing scripts for television and film back in the 1990s, author Jim McCann ’92 moved to New York City in 2004 and never looked back. The Marvel Comics writer won an Eisner Award in 2011 for his work on the graphic novel Return of the Dapper Men, which hauled in five Eisner nominations overall. In 2016, McCann decided to give back to his alma mater by donating a wide-ranging collection of graphic novels and comic books to the Neuhoff Library.