Special K(T)

sports, smarts, arts… and other random thoughts

Fun Things from Senior Spring Semester — June 16, 2016

Fun Things from Senior Spring Semester

Phoenix, AZ for the Fiesta Bowl and New Year’s

New Year’s Eve in Tempe, where ASU is located.
Fiesta Bowl ending in a predictable loss for ND.
Climbing Camelback Mountain
View from the top of Camelback, a more intense hike than predicted!
Look it’s Aaron through Hole in the Rock!
We biked to Oldstown Scottsdale for the afternoon.
And got ice cream at Sugar Bowl!
Embracing our Western side.

Spring Break in Disney

Mouse hats!
Epcot tickets thanks to my Aunt Lori and Uncle Keith and all their friends!!

This April Fools Day Prank… pure gold



Prof. Hoelzle is the best.

Mother’s Day

The Alumni Association hosts a mother’s day photobooth every year
Our new tradition.

Senior Party on the Field

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Touching the sign
A photographer took this for us. Not as great as I was expecting…
Practicing just in case the valedictorian bombed her finals… hehehe
NDWBB Post Season Bball — June 15, 2016

NDWBB Post Season Bball

I travelled with the team during post-season again this year. While our NCAA tourney performance was disappointing, I still had an amazing time. Managing for the Notre Dame women’s basketball team was an incredible experience. From the endless eating to the funny stories and great games, I am truly blessed to have been a part of this program during my time at Notre Dame. #managerfam forever

Below is a combination of the official postings and my inside view on both the ACC tournament and the Sweet 16 round in Lexington, KY.

ACC Tournament


Just like last year, on Thursday after practice the team visited a Catholic grade school in Greensboro. It’s always a fun time to meet the kids. When we got to the school, they had the team wait in the hallway outside of the gym so that the girls could be announced one by one. A videographer also travels with the team (along with a masseuse and her massage table), and she films our events for social media (see below). Well, before we go in the principal explains to our video girl that on the far end of the bleachers is a group of children who are not allowed to be on camera. Goodness, people. And when I walked in the gym, I saw this sad little group of children with teachers sitting all around them like a blockade so they wouldn’t mistakenly be put on camera.

On the bright side, there is hope for this new generation. Towards the end of the visit, the team did a Q&A session. We got some cute questions like what is your favorite color and some questions about basketball and how many days a week they practice. And then we get to this one kid. After raising his hand to ask his question, he is handed the microphone and goes, “WHAT ARE THOSE!!!”

The team died. I died. And then the poor kid got yelled at by a teacher. It was the best line I heard all day, and he got in trouble. So sad.


We won.


We won again.


And we won again to be declared champions of the ACC.


Omigoodness, so after the game I was behind the bench cleaning up like always, and I was the first person they called to get a trophy. And I didn’t even know I was getting a trophy so I was so unprepared and our assistant coach started yelling at me to go up and get the trophy, and it was so stressful! But I made it.

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And then I got to cut the net down again- yay!IMG_6489Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 10.46.24 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-19 at 10.46.50 PMIMG_6494

NCAA Regionals-Lexington

Notre Dame hosted the round of 64 and 32 at the Joyce Center, so the first time we had to travel was to the Sweet 16. Packing for away games, especially long trips like tournaments, require A LOT of work. All the managers spend a few days prior departure packing bags after bags. We have really large duffel bags, so we decided to scare one of our head managers by sticking someone in one of the duffels. So we roll the girl inside the bag into our middle room, and wait. Sure enough, though it wasn’t our intended victim, we were able to trick another manager into opening up the bag… it was so funny! We captured it on video too (flip to 1.45 min in).

Anyways, one day during packing, Coach McGraw knocks on our door and invites us to listen to the President of the American Bar Association, who apparently is speaking to the team in the team room in 5 minutes. So we got to listen to the President of the American Bar Association… what a day!

Check out some pictures below from team photographer Mike Bennett, highlighting the managers in their natural habitat… food providing, bag rolling, and player counting.

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I can’t end with our loss because that is just sad, so instead I will end with some pictures from our pink zone game. The pink zone game is for breast cancer awareness and everyone wears- you guessed it- pink! Except I don’t own anything pink… whoops.

Anyways, our favorite friendly photographer, Mike Bennett, started this fun ritual, where at the end of the game when all the starters were sitting on the bench, he would take a funny photo of them. Well the managers sit right behind the bench, and there were quite a few unflattering pics of us in the background before we started to catch on.

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Bye basketball. I will miss you!

Graduation — June 10, 2016


Graduation was a lovely weekend despite the freezing cold temperatures! On Saturday, my brother and dad went on a golf date with my roommate Z’s dad and boyfriend. They braved the cold and rain and lasted all 18 holes, something I definitely would not have done! Instead, my mom and I went to the Monogram Club’s breakfast for student athletes and managers. It was a nice little get together with talks by Jack Swarbrick, the University Vice President and Director of Athletics, and the backup keeper for the men’s soccer team. We even ran into Mr. Mike Bennett who takes all the pictures for the women’s basketball team so my mom and I got a pic together.

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Student Athlete Breakfast, Photo Cred: Mike Bennett

Afterwards we took a quick trip up to the top of the library (Touchdown Jesus) for an ariel view of campus. The Golden Dome was still shining despite the grey skies.

From the top of the Library

It’s funny how you come full circle and take pictures with all the major campus landmarks at graduation. Earlier in the week, Z and I took a few obligatory grad photos with the Dome. And my mom took a few more of me around campus when she came with my graduation dress. See below.

We nerds.



On Sunday, the temperature was frigid. Everyone was wearing leggings under their dresses and coats under their gowns. During the ceremony, one girl even put gloves on her toes. Since Vice President Joe Biden was being honored everyone had to get up super early to go through security.Luckily we were not outside too long, and they fed us scones from ABP so it was all good.

The morning Commencement was in the football stadium with the entire graduating class. I actually enjoyed all of our speakers. Our valedictorian gave a nice speech, and Laetare Medal recipients Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner also were interesting to listen too. Our actual Commencement speaker had us sing karaoke.

Rocking the leggings in freezing weather
We graduated!!

Following the big graduation, we grabbed a quick box lunch and headed to the Mechanical Engineering Graduation, where I actually received my diploma. Our student speaker absolutely killed it! I was dying with all the inside jokes about how our professors give us too much work. Just remember what the Notorious B.I.G. said, “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.” Goodness, too funny. Read the whole thing HERE.

Fam ❤
Finished engineering forever!
Missing our third member
Found him! Stud hehehe
Senior Week — June 9, 2016

Senior Week

Following finals at Notre Dame is Senior Week, a week where seniors have campus to themselves and days are filled with celebration, friendship, and an organized event each day.

Sand Dunes, Class Mass in the Basilica, and Picnic afterwards

On Sunday, our crew drove north to the sand dunes. It turned out to be the only sunny/non-rainy day of senior week, so it was a good thing we spent it entirely outside. We had a wonderful time climbing a dune, playing catch in the sand, and building a massive and well-decorated sand castle.

Climbing the Dune
We Cute
Sand Castle Palace

Once we got back, we sprinted to mass and then enjoyed Nelson’s BBQ at the picnic afterwards. Since we were all dressed up, we stopped to take a few friend Dome pics as well.


Friends ❤

Cubs Game in Chicago

Even though we all knew it was going to get rained out, we all rode the bus to Chicago anyways. We had pizza at this place called HVAC, which was a pretty sweet bar and then just as we walked in the stadium, they cancelled the game. So we walked back to the bus and drove home. Because everyone loves a 4 hour round-trip drive for pizza.


Don’t blink or you will miss the two seconds that we were in the stadium.

Babe Toastal and Domer Fest 2.0

One thing that rain can’t stop is a darty. We broke out the rain jackets and rain boots for a second day in a row (more on my rain jacket later), and headed off to Babe Toastal. Think a champagne drinking party with a guest list of every girl in the senior class (and St. Mary’s girls too) wearing matching tank tops. Although usually not my scene, I enjoyed catching up with a lot of my friends who I had not seen in a while.


Side Story: My rain jacket. I lost it right before finals week. And I had no idea where I left him. I mean I checked everywhere. I was distraught. And then right before my stats final, I decided to go to the bathroom. As I walked past the office with the mailboxes where I drop off my stats hw, I spotted a white blob out of the corner of my eye. Sure enough, on the table across from the mailboxes is my white North Face. It was there for like TWO WEEKS, I can’t believe no one stole him.  Regardless, I was absolutely ecstatic. And thank goodness, because it rained pretty much everyday until graduation.

Rain jacket, you da real MVP.

Commencement Ball

Commencement Ball was the event that I was most looking forward too. I was super excited when Aaron told me he was not leaving for track ACCs until Thursday and was able to come with me. Yay! So I pulled out my prom dress and Z, Aaron, and I were off. Our venue was the South Bend Century Center which has these pretty hanging christmas lights and an outside patio that opens onto the river, which is also lit up by colored lights. It is really pretty! And the three of us looked mighty fine ourselves if I do say.



Awwww roomies
Kendra has a sparkly dress.

Tunnel Tours, Library Penthouse Tour, and Last Trip to the Dining Hall and Grotto

We hit up a lot of events Thursday. Z and I snuck into both the Tunnel Tours and the Library Penthouse Tours. You had to buy tickets for all these events and they ran out of Tunnel Tour tickets. How ridiculous is that! Luckily there were really lax about actually having a ticket, so we just joined a group. Notre Dame has a system of tunnels that run underneath campus and funnels air between the power plant and campus buildings. Unfortunately, in the summer it funnels hot air. It was a bizillion degrees in there. I was dying. But Z and I lasted through the heat and signed the wall, so it was all good.


The last trip to the dining hall followed by the last trip to the grotto were fun events as well. And it was nice to end senior week with a grotto trip before all the families arrived the next day.

See my Spring Semester Senior Year Video for a video version of the senior week events.



WBB Senior Night — June 7, 2016

WBB Senior Night

In late February, the women’s basketball team celebrated senior night. The three seniors on the team as well as myself and the other senior manager were recognized before the game. Unfortunately, I can’t embed the video of the senior introduction (featuring me!!), but the link is HERE.


Photo creds to Michael Bennett:

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ND Senior Year Spring Semester Video — June 6, 2016
Fall Semester Engineering Projects — March 26, 2016

Fall Semester Engineering Projects

My senior year workload for engineering was a lot more project based this fall semester. And the projects were mainly for two classes: a bunch of little projects for Design Methodology and one big project for Senior Design.

In Design Methodology, one of the final projects was to create a set piece for the Diavolo Dance Troop. Diavolo’s tag line is Architecture in Motion, so all their performances feature a stand out prop with which the dancers interact. Each year, Diavolo Dance performs at Notre Dame and the high energy, quirky art director Jaques Heim views 3D printed prototypes created by the students in Design Methodology. The video below from Diavolo’s YouTube channel gives a good overview into the intense dance and unique architecture expected.

My group created a Fibonacci spiral set piece. The Fibonacci spiral results from a mathematical series in which the sum the squares of any series of Fibonacci numbers will equal the last Fibonacci number used in the series times the next Fibonacci number (12 + 12 + 22 + 32 + 52 = 5 ∗ 8). Because of this the Fibonacci spiral represents growing infinities and natural symmetry.

3D printing is a 3 step process. The first step is to create a CAD (Computer Aided Model) model. At Notre Dame we use Creo, which we took a class in junior year. Below is the output of the CAD step saved as a .stl file.


Next, the .stl file has to be converted into a file type that the particular 3D printer can read. Notre Dame’s mechanical engineering department got 4 MakerBot 3D printers this semester, so the MakerBot program was used to create a .mkrbot file.


While 3D printing stuff is awesome because you can literally create anything, it takes FOREVER to actually print. A 3D printer lays strips of plastic about the size of pencil lead. And since the entire 100+ class had to 3D print, there was a 3 hour time constraint for how long your model could take. Inside the MakerBot software, a print time estimate is calculated. In general, the larger and more material your pieces, the longer it takes to print.

When we first inputted our CAD model into the MakerBot software, the estimated print time over 6 hours. I iterated removing holes and shrinking the model numerous times to hit the 3 hour limit. Five versions later and I get this…


3 hours, 1 minute. I was so mad.IMG_5788IMG_5789

(For more projects from Design Methodology, see my post on the Altoids Pinball Project here.)

In Senior Design, our task was to design a cooling system for a solar panel. When solar panels sit in the sun for a long time, the panels heat up from the sun’s rays. Unfortunately heat causes electronics to become less efficient, thus the longer a solar panel sits in the sun, the less sunlight it can absorb…ironic isn’t it?

Anyway, my group based our design off the cooling system of a laptop, which consists of a small computer fan and a finned heat sink  drawing heat away from the solar panel to be dissipated by the fan. Fun stuff.


I took on all the electronics and coding for our group. For our microprocessor, we used an Arduino, which is like a super small computer. You can connect the Arduino via a USB drive to a computer, and download a code (group of actions that the Arduino can do). Ardiunos are awesome because there is so much code already written on the internet.

Wiring Schematic
Implementation of Wiring Schematic
Amplifier for our Temperature Sensor


Computer Fan


ND Senior Year Fall Semester Video — January 11, 2016
Fall Semester Update — November 14, 2015

Fall Semester Update

Football & Friends

As always, football games are the best. And my mom visited for the USC game before driving us home for fall break!

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Fall Break

For fall break, I returned to the great state of Pennsylvania. The green van was packed with my mom, Mike, myself and special guest… Mr. Aaron Dunn.

The weather was lovely, so we spent a lot of time outside. Home run derby was definitely a hit… haha get it? Things we did not hit: the car of the neighbor who laughed in my face when I kindly warned her that she was parked in the danger zone.

Wawa is always the food establishment of choice; however, my mom’s cooking was on point this break. Cheesesteaks and chocolate mousse pie and cheesecake and my all time favorite: Thanksgiving dinner, including turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing… noms.

Continuing with the food theme, on Friday Aaron and I had date night at The Iron Hill Brewery and it was absolutely delicious. I had the parma pizza (toppings: prosciutto, wilted spinach, balsamic glazed onions, asiago, mozzarella and garlic sauce) and Aaron went with the chicken pot pie.

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Also, my cousin’s 16th birthday was over fall break, so I made him a car cake. Happy Birthday Chris!!


On Wednesday, Aaron and I drove down to Baltimore and met up with two other Sorin guys. I eventually managed to decide on a parking garage. Obviously, my main motive for circling around the block a few times was only to see the car who decided to drive into a train. Whoops. The first stop of the day was a two hour tour of Camden Yards. I really liked the home run ball plaques that were embedded into the sidewalk and brick wall. Such a cool idea!!

IMG_5690IMG_5715Visiting high schools rounded out the week. We stopped by my alma mater, Villa Maria Academy, to visit my teachers and and check out the new turf field… ooooh fancy!! Saturday was Malvern Homecoming including football and a pig roast.

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Corec Soccer and Broomball

Yay sports! Z and I joined the Sorin guys for corec sports. Our soccer team was undefeated, minus the game no one showed up and we had to play down a player. Sadness. And then we lost in the first round of playoffs. More sadness.

We also found out that our soccer skillz do not translate to the game of broomball. Our first win of the season was also our last game of the season… because the other team forfeited.

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Monkey Bread

Aaron and I made Monkey Bread. See the full recipe here.


… And I Went to My First Concert Ever

Hunter Hayes!! And it was wonderful. SUB, Notre Dame’s Student Union Board, hosted the concert in Stepan Center. Kim and I went and stood next to the aisle where they put a box for Hunter Hayes to stand on. He was so close!

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And I like a lot of Hunter Hayes songs, so I was able to sing along to practically every song:


Dorm Room Decorating 4.0 — October 5, 2015

Dorm Room Decorating 4.0

For my senior year, my roommate Z and I are living in Lewis Hall’s 3rd floor super double (bigger room), which has a Dome view. Look at this…IMG_5140

Anyways, back to decorating. This year we sold the shaky, wall-length loft for two beds and built our own individual ones! It was quite an experience (more dets to come in a future post), but they came out wonderful!

The decorations for my side of the room are a combination of the items that I have used the past three years, plus the new enlarged black and white I made for over the summer. The brick wall did not make reappearance, mainly because I don’t want to ruin it as I probably will want to install it in my apartment post-college.  But, all in all my aim was artsy, yet simplistic.

View the 3D panorama of my room here.



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