Where are they now? Checking in with the 2010 Academic All-Stars

photo by: Richard Gwin/Journal-World File Photo

The 2010 Academic All-Stars are pictured in March 2010, from front left: Caitleen Desetti, of Lawrence Free State High; Molly Bostwick of Baldwin High; Abby Guenther, of Ottawa High; Lauren Barnes, of Baldwin High; and Emily Jefferies, of Tonganoxie High. From back left: Brian Henry, of Oskaloosa High; Matthew Drahozal, of Lawrence High; Hogan Randall, of Veritas Christian School; Olivia Brien, of Oskaloosa; and Katherine Volle, of Perry-Lecompton.

Each year, the Journal-World reaches out to the Academic All-Stars from 10 years ago to see what they’ve been up to since high school. Here’s what the members of the 2010 class told us via email:

Each year, the Journal-World reaches out to the Academic All-Stars from 10 years ago to see what they’ve been up to since high school. Here’s what the members of the 2010 class told us via email:

Lauren Barnes

photo by: Contributed photo

Lauren Barnes

Barnes graduated from Baldwin High School in 2010 planning to study engineering in college, but she wasn’t sure where she would do it or what she wanted to do after college.

Where are you 10 years later? “I graduated from Notre Dame in 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Accounting. I am a Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young in Chicago. As part of our People Advisory Services group, I help our clients prepare their people to adapt and excel as their organization undergoes change.”

What is your advice for the class of 2020? “Pursue challenging things, be open to new perspectives, and get outside your comfort zone, but remember to let your values, what makes you happy, and the people who are important to you be your ultimate guides.”

Abby Bisch

Bisch graduated from Ottawa High School in 2010 planning to attend Kansas State University to study food science. But she ultimately wanted to become a nurse anesthetist, understanding she would be in school for quite a while.

Where are you 10 years later? “Currently, ​I am in Houston, Texas, in my final year of school obtaining my Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia at Baylor College of Medicine. In December I will be finished with school and enter the working world as a Nurse Anesthetist.”

What is your advice for the class of 2020? “Personally, travel. Appreciate other cultures and see how the world is so much bigger than you. Relationally, there is no better time in your life where you will be set up for success to make new friends. Professionally, network and only get involved in things you really care about. Finally, challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Discover who you are, embrace change, and don’t forget to take time for you!”

Molly Bostwick

photo by: Contributed photo

Molly Bostwick

Bostwick graduated from Baldwin High School in 2010 planning to attend Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., to study international business and French.

She ended up attending Baker University to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Where are you 10 years later? “I’m now in the Kansas City area. I work as a Scrum Master for Storable, a technology company serving the self-storage industry.”

What is your advice for the class of 2020? “It is good to have a rough plan for what you want your future to look like, but don’t be afraid to stray from that plan. The best opportunities are a little off the beaten path.”

Olivia Brien

In 2010, Brien graduated from Oskaloosa High School with the hopes of attending a university with a strong theater arts program.

Where are you 10 years later? “After high school, I went to Oklahoma City University and received a BFA in Acting and a BA in Music (Vocal Music Emphasis). I moved to Long Beach, Calif., with my partner where I worked as a retail manager at a high-end boutique for years. My partner and I eloped in 2018.

“Then in January 2019, my wife and I moved back to Kansas to be nearer to family. We are currently living in Overland Park. I work as the retail manager at A to Z Theatrical Supply and Service in Kansas City, and have my own business called Opal Wax … an eco-friendly candle company.”

What is your advice for the class of 2020? “Life has a way of going differently than you hope or dream it will, and that is a beautiful thing. Embrace it, and go with the flow! Ten years ago I was dreaming of being in movies or being on Broadway, and now I’m dreaming of opening a brick and mortar location for Opal Wax. If your dreams change, so be it. Don’t feel limited to your current or former dreams! You are full of possibility.”

Caitleen Desetti

photo by: Contributed photo

Caitleen Desetti

Desetti graduated from Free State High School in 2010 unsure where she would attend college, but she knew she wanted to study abroad during college and study German and psychology.

She would attend Smith College in Northampton, Mass., to earn a bachelor’s degree, and then Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, to earn her master’s degree, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Where are you 10 years later? “Ten years later, I am living in Dublin, Ireland. I work for the co-leader of the Social Democrats political party as her Parliamentary Assistant, which involves policy research, press office, and making representations on her behalf.”

What is your advice for the class of 2020? “Class of 2020, take your time figuring out who you are and who you want to be. Be open, learn about other viewpoints, and spend time abroad — lots of countries have Working Holiday visas that allow young people to travel and work in their country for up to a year. Oh and wash your hands!”

Brian Henry

Brian Henry graduated from Oskaloosa High School in 2010 with plans to attend Kansas State University to study computer science. He said he wanted to eventually create open-source software for computer users with low incomes.

Where are you 10 years later? “I graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in Computer Engineering in 2014. After that I moved to Austin, Texas, to join National Instruments, a company that creates automated test and measurement tools. I am now a Senior Software Engineer at National Instruments, and I build web applications and other application software.”

What is your advice for the class of 2020? “Always be open to new ideas and experiences. Embrace change. Work hard — but more importantly, don’t forget to relax.”

Matty Larkspur

photo by: Contributed photo

Matty Larkspur

When Larkspur graduated from Lawrence High School in 2010, she wanted to study theater or computer science. However, she was unsure where she wanted to attend college.

Where are you 10 years later? In the last 10 years, Larkspur said, she has been a tall ship sailor and a children’s librarian. When she’s not volunteering at a bike shop, she said, she does administrative work at a local community health center near her home in Vermont.

What is your advice for the class of 2020? “(A)cademic achievement isn’t the end-all, be-all, and it’s OK when life takes you places you’d never have expected. Most importantly, sometimes running off to sea is simply the best course of action.”

(Note: Larkspur went by a different name in 2010.)

Hogan Randall

Randall graduated from Veritas Christian School in 2010 knowing he would attend Washington University in St. Louis for pre-med studies. He planned to eventually become an eye surgeon.

Where are you 10 years later? “I am in my second year of residency as a urology resident at the University of Kansas (Medical Center). After graduating with a degree in Spanish and minor in biomedical physics from Washington University in St. Louis, I attended Northwestern University for medical school where I met my wife, Michelle. We are currently living in Prairie Village and are expecting our first child, due in August!”

What is your advice for the class of 2020? “Cultivate resilience. You can’t count on things to be easy or to go your way as you work toward achieving your goals. You can expect that at times you may face criticisms, weighty responsibilities, and even biases from superiors and colleagues–people whom you will be required to, and should, continue working with in the present and future.

“Rather than turning from these individuals, you must turn toward your friends, family, mentors, and faith/core beliefs in order to gain the solace, encouragement, strength, and hope that breeds resilience.”

Katherine Volle

photo by: Contributed photo

Katherine Volle

In 2010, Volle planned to attend Kansas State University after she graduated from Perry-Lecompton High School. She wanted to study biology and planned to become a doctor or optometrist.

Where are you 10 years later? “Reflecting on the past 10 years, a lot has changed from my initial plans. In my sophomore year at Kansas State, I completely changed course and switched from a biology major to management. After graduating, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my degree so I decided to stay in Manhattan and find a job that would get me by until I found a career I enjoyed. I got a job at an insurance company and ended up liking the industry so I decided to stay and am now working as a claims adjuster.”

What is your advice for the class of 2020? “No matter what you end up doing or where you go, you will find yourself struggling at some point in your life. It’s important to surround yourself with people who support you and care about you. Find those people and cherish them. Also, get a dog. Or a few.”

•••

The Journal-World was unable to reach 2010 honoree Emily Jefferies, from Tonganoxie High School.


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