Briana Steffenhagen Pulia
After Graduating from De La Salle:
Concordia University Chicago – Major: natural science, Minor: psychology, Dean’s List all 4 yr.
Rush University College of Nursing – MSN, RN
Rush University College of Nursing – DNP, FNP
I was an inpatient oncology nurse for six years and currently I am a nurse practitioner at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I work in the outpatient oncology department and care for patients with multiple myeloma and other plasma cell disorders.
Why did you choose to attend De La Salle?
I attended De La Salle because of its academic reputation, faith-based education, small classroom sizes with dedicated teachers, and strong athletic programs.
Influential classes while at De La Salle:
I wouldn’t say there was a specific class that led me to nursing particularly. I loved my Anatomy and Physiology class with Ms. (Colleen) Mills, but I was very torn on career paths as I entered college. I couldn’t decide between education or medicine. I loved being around children and was inspired by my teachers and the impact they have had on my life. However, when I started to have experiences caring for family members and working as a nursing assistant, I realized this is what I wanted to do. I would definitely say that my education at De La Salle allowed me to follow my own career path because I was challenged academically and supported by such influential educators.
Teachers/Coaches who made a memorable impact on you
Wow! This is hard to narrow it down to just one, so I will have to name quite a few. Ms. (Diane) Geers was my English teacher and an assistant volleyball coach. She made learning fun and always put her students first. Coach (Anna) Marassa was my volleyball coach and PE (physical education) teacher. She was dedicated to DLS on and off the court. She pushed me to be a better athlete, student, and person. Mr. (Justin) Costello-Stebelton was my English and Spanish teacher. We also worked closely together with the City of De. His passion for good books was contagious and he was committed to his students’ success in the classroom and in life. I will never forget Mr. (Bob) Klebes who taught US History. I can’t look at a political cartoon and not want to analyze it. And there’s Sr. Rosie (Morowczynski). Every time I turn off my laptop, I can’t help but recite to myself, “Shut down, shut down.”
What extracurriculars did you participate in at De La Salle?
Volleyball – all 4 years City of De La Salle – Alderman 2005-2006, Treasurer 2006-2007, Mayor 2007 – 2008; NHS – Member 2006-2007, Treasurer 2007-2008; Spanish Club; Lasallian Youth; Peer Ministry
Thinking of your extracurriculars describe one fond memory:
There are so many memories to share, but I think some of the greatest were winning the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference White division my junior year, bus rides to volleyball away games, and volleyball senior night, which was such a special night to commemorate the achievements as a student-athlete and celebrate how DLS volleyball has impacted my life.
I remember as Mayor of the City of De, I helped coordinate a Locks for Love event for girls to donate their hair to make wigs for cancer patients. I was so proud of the effort from our student government and the girls who donated. Planning dances and school events was always fun, but this event was something special. Now that I am an oncology nurse, it brings me much joy to know that even in my high school years, I was inspired by those with cancer and know that many positive experiences can come from such a devastating diagnosis.
How did De La Salle prepare you for the future?
The education I received at De La Salle prepared me for my future. I was challenged academically in the Honors program and received college credit for classes. I also learned many life lessons like time management, communication, and the importance of giving back and being kind. High school is an important time to grow in one’s education, but also a time to grow as a person and discover the impact you want to make on the world. I felt I had gained these experiences during my time at ‘De’ and attribute my successes in life – whether personal or professional – to my time here.
What advice would you give to families considering De La Salle?
It would be a wonderful decision and sacrifice to send your child to De La Salle and something you and your child will not regret. It is important to have a solid education that prepares your child for whatever their future endeavors are, but it is equally important in my eyes to provide a nurturing environment where your child is not just a number, but a person, who can learn, grow and be supported. De La Salle will provide such a strong foundation in education, faith, and community. The teachers and staff are amazing and give so much time inside and outside the classroom to support your child and help them become wonderful young men and women.
I am currently working as an oncology nurse practitioner at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I got married last summer after I graduated with my doctorate and now my husband and I are expecting our first baby this fall.