Young Alumni Essay Contest 2016 rules

By Carol Schaal

Notre Dame Magazine is sponsoring its fourth annual Young Alumni Essay Contest. The magazine’s editors, who will judge the 2016 contest, are looking for original, previously unpublished, creative nonfiction essays. The editors are seeking evocative first-person works that would appeal to a college-educated audience.

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Designing a new career

By Carol Schaal

When a customer popped into Friends by Design, asking when the fashion boutique would start displaying swimsuits for sale, owner Susan Mason ’87, ’96MBA gave her a definitive answer: “Never.” Selling bathing suits does not fit the vision Mason has for her specialty women’s clothing shop in downtown St. Joseph, Michigan. “I want you to feel great when you walk out,” she says, “and not feel disappointed in your shape or size.”

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A life in tune

By Carol Schaal

When he was 22, Rourke O’Brien’s life plan was relatively straightforward. “I wanted to put on a suit and tie and make money,” he says. O’Brien ’78 was thrilled when he landed a job as a stockbroker in his hometown of Bellevue, Washington. He stayed in the world of finance for more than 20 years. Then came 2001. The stock market crashed. Terrorists attacked the United States. And O’Brien agonized over the meaning of his life.

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Accessorizing a business

By Carol Schaal

Even Rachel Ourada ’05 sounds a bit surprised by what she does for a living. “I make fabric buttons,” she says. “This is a real career.” The jewelry artist, who turns those buttons into earrings, necklaces, rings, hairpins and cufflinks, is not being defensive, however. She’s just pleased that she created a successful business out of something she started doing for fun.

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