The Southern Editor
The women of Florida Southern College have made lasting impacts on their schools, careers and communities. As these strong women graduated from FSC, they used the experience that they gained to make their world a better place.
Caitlin Bolger graduated during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Despite the challenges following her senior year online, she found ways to serve her community.
“It was definitely really difficult, probably one of the toughest moments for me as it was for everyone,” Bolger said.
In her senior year, Bolger was the president of the Association of Campus Entertainment and the vice president of student activities in the Student Government Association. Her job was difficult to perform when students could not stand within six feet of each other.
“It was really interesting trying to adjust to that virtual [environment] but still trying to serve the student body,” Bolger said.
Graduating with a degree in biology, Bolger went to the College of Charleston later that year to get two master’s degrees in environmental studies and public administration.
She currently carries out project-based work with local organizations, governments and nonprofits. She performs local assessments, where she visits the local area to find issues and then reports them back to decision-makers and calls for policy change.
“I think that’s something that has really impacted me: getting to see the work that I’m doing has a direct impact on where I am,” Bolger said.
Rachel Breitenbach, who graduated last spring, also graduated with a degree in biology, in the Pre-Vet track. After graduating, she went to vet school at the University of Florida.
Breitenbach has wanted to be a veterinarian ever since she was a kid and is still pursuing that same dream.
“I think it’s honestly the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do,” Breitenbach said.
At FSC, she was in the honors program, including honors societies for biology and pre-health. She was the secretary of the Pre-Vet club and was one of the students that helped start the Rock Climbing Club. She continues her involvement in leadership positions as a secretary of the Veterinarian Club at UF.
“Florida Southern surely helped me figure out that I could participate in these clubs and really connect with people at my school,” Breitenbach said.
Alumna Cassie Livingston and Rhiannon Bush now live together in Orlando, collaborating on a small business.
The women met from being in Studio Box together at FSC. While they were not close at the time, they became roommates with a mutual friend after graduating in 2019.
Livingston is the creator of Love Her Work, a local crafting business.
After graduating with a double major in religion youth ministry and communications, Livingston worked in youth ministry until last November when she, unfortunately, lost her job. Luckily, she had already been running the business since January 2021.
“Love Her Work is a handmade goods and craft business. We serve [the] purpose of creating happy and bright things to make you smile,” Livingston said.
From pompom earrings to Taylor Swift glassware, the business creates items that bring buyers joy. The store existed only at farmers’ markets until early March when they launched the online store.
Bush is the official ambassador for the business, running social media and modeling for the products. Bush graduated as a musical theater major and worked at Universal until it shut down during the pandemic.
“My whole industry shut down essentially for two years straight,” Bush said.
Over the extended period of everyone being stuck inside, Bush began gaining a following by creating online content. She later started a collaboration with Livingston and the business.
Both women have provided an outlet for their community by creating homemade items packaged and shipped to a customer’s home, and then reusing that same packaging to attempt to become zero waste.
“I feel like a lot of people find joy in the little things,” Bush said.
Taylor Mims graduated last semester and is already making strides to make her town a better place.
Mims, a former business major and Lakeland native found a balance between being in a sorority, a business fraternity and working at a Human Resources company in Tampa. What started as an internship developed into a full-time job after graduation.
Because of her hard work and dedication throughout college, Mims now manages the marketing department at the HR firm.
She also does marketing and community engagement at a young professional group in Winter Park that puts on networking events for those interested in professional development.
“Being involved on campus made me realize how important it is to get involved in your community,” Mims said.
Mims was introverted before attending FSC. After becoming involved in her department, she was able to get the most out of her time at school and beyond.
“Getting to know the people in your major is really helpful and it sets you up for success after school,” said Mims.
When she is not working, Mims is on her social media lifestyle account, a hobby she picked up during the pandemic to document what she does at Orlando theme parks, discuss whatever book she is currently reading and showcase small businesses.
Ally Robare graduated in 2019 with a degree in criminology. While she is months away from finishing her Master’s in Criminal Justice at the University of South Florida, she also works as an investigator for the public defender’s office at the Bartow Courthouse.
At FSC, Robare was in a sorority and a criminology club, while also working in the development office on campus and several off-campus jobs.
After Robare graduated from FSC, she stayed engaged in the Lakeland community. She attends the Lakeland Citizens Police Academy, an organization where members learn “detailed information on police topics…,” the CPA website said.
“Even though I work for the public defenders, it’s still good to have that perspective of the other side of things,” Robare said.
While she attends these functions with a higher level of knowledge and experience than other attendees, Robare enjoys the opportunity to interact with community members and clients.
“[The CPA] has given me a really good opportunity to get to know people and help them as they go through the criminal justice system because it is scary…,” said Robare.
These women will continue to live out their passions in their careers and hobbies to influence their communities and beyond.