2024 COMMENCEMENT SERIES | Transformative experiences on campus, family inspiration influence senior’s service work 

Claire Schomogyi

Growing up the daughter of a surgeon and an infectious disease and internal medicine doctor, the need and desire to serve others has always been inside senior Claire Schomogyi.  

Soon after coming to Marquette the theology major with minors in psychology and biology set her sights on occupational therapy — she wanted to work with stroke survivors. Set to graduate this month, Schomogyi is planning a brief but important detour on her way to OT school: a year of service with FrancisCorp, a gospel service where volunteers help in a Franciscan community in the name of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi. 

Her time at Marquette and her grounding in the Ignatian value of being for and with others transformed how Schomogyi views service work. 

“After living with Ignatian spirituality in mind for the last four years and experiencing Benedictine spirituality during summer volunteer work, I’m excited to gain another glimpse into simple, Catholic living during my time in a Franciscan community,” Schomogyi says. “Service is not meant to be transactional; it’s not meant to be a bowl of soup in exchange for me being able to see you smile. Service is the privilege of being able to sit with someone at their most vulnerable time while they have the bravery to let me see it. I learned that at Marquette.” 

Ultimately, Schomogyi hopes to work in the hospice center at her volunteer site in Syracuse, New York. She says she doesn’t know what fuels her love for the elderly, but she genuinely loves caring for them.  

“I think there’s a lot of dimensions of why I do what I do,” Schomogyi says. “I love to listen to other people tell stories, and a lot of times that is what older people need — someone to listen to their stories and listen purposefully.” 

Claire Schmogoyi, right, with Kristina Chen, middle and Amyah Brooks, left volunteering the neighborhood kitchen in Mashuda Hall with Food Recovery Network.

She recalls learning that lesson from her parents.  

“My dad used to work in hospice, and he also has a soft spot for the elderly,” Schomogyi says. “But both parents have shown me the value of listening to their patients and caring for them. They both make purposeful efforts not to dismiss their patients and instead build relationships to show they care about the person they’re looking after.” 

Schomogyi also points to her sister as one of her biggest role models, someone who showed her the value of service as a vocation.  

“My sister broke the mold in my family by doing two years of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Bethel, Alaska,” Schomogyi says. “Her work wasn’t glorious or social media worthy, but what she was doing was helping a community flourish, and I watched how much she enjoyed life again and how much she loved doing really good work for people she cared about.” 

Schomogyi embarks on her service trip in July, eager to see what simple living looks like, slowing down and reflecting during her volunteer work. She thinks about a quote from John Green’s “The Anthropocene Reviewed.” 

“In it he talks about how people are told, ‘Don’t just stand there, do something.’ He learned that instead people should sometimes be told, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there,” Schomogyi says. “I’m excited to practice that in my service and not attack a problem right away to fix it, but instead just be there to fully understand the community and its needs. 

“But no matter what I’m doing in the mix of work, faith and prayer, it’s a whole new journey that I’m inspired to get started.”