Blue Ribbon

Women Making a Difference

2020 Women Making a Difference Award Luncheon 

The Women Making A Difference award program honors and recognizes Notre Dame alumnae who have made significant contributions to their families and their communities through service, professional, and philanthropic efforts. It honors these women for the difference they continue to make in the world and for living out NDA’s proud heritage. We are currently looking for nominations for the 2020 luncheon, scheduled for March 5, 2020 at the Northern KY Convention Center.  Nominations are due September 27. To nominate a deserving alumna, click HERE.

Congratulations to our most recent Women Making A Difference honorees: Rosa Hollis-Bird '62, Karen Bieger Finan '77, Julie Prewitt Schneider '84 and Julie Mullen Bruns '87.

2019 Women Making a Difference Recipients


Rosa Hollis-Bird, class of 1962,  is a true example of a woman making a difference. Rosa was raised in Covington, Kentucky and enrolled in Notre Dame Academy in 1959, at that time being only one of only two African American students in the school. After her graduation from NDA, Rosa entered the Jewish Hospital School of Nursing and received her LPN, and later went on to receive her R.N. degree. Rosa joined the United States Air Force as a Captain, went through basic training, and was deployed to several stateside bases. However, because of her desire to serve in the Public Health arena, Rosa transferred to the United States Army, where she was employed at Walter Reed Hospital. She eventually retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel. Rosa has filled her retirement years with tireless dedication and service- service to her parish, the Cathedral Basilica, the many residents of Rosedale Green, at which her mother is a resident, Our Savior Parish, her beloved classmates, and her family. Because of Rosa’s selfless and lifelong dedication to others, she continues to touch the lives of many and make a difference in the world around her. 


Karen Bieger Finan, class of 1977, is a faith-filled woman, deeply committed to the mission of Notre Dame Academy and the Sisters. Karen serves as the perfect example of a professional woman who places family first, while at the same time, is committed to her community and profession. Karen rose through the ranks at Duke Realty to become the second vice president with national responsibility for marketing Duke’s portfolio services. She thereafter pursued a role with Northern KY Tri-Ed as a senior vice president in economic development, and recently accepted the role as their interim President. She later became a successful partner at Gilman Partners in Cincinnati. Most recently, Karen was selected as the President/CEO of the new Northern KY Regional Alliance. Under her leadership, the Alliance will mobilize energy and resources for initiatives with emphasis on health, education job growth, and community vibrancy. Her community service includes leadership roles with Notre Dame Academy, Redwood, and the Northern KY Education Council and Aviatra Accelerators. Because of her personal and professional endeavors, Karen has truly made a difference to her family, community, and beyond.


Julie Prewitt Schneider, class of 1984, is a mentor, entrepreneur, community leader, volunteer, philanthropist, dedicated wife, and mother of five children. She works tirelessly for the betterment of the world around her, demonstrating her strong belief in service and commitment. As a businesswoman, Julie has been in the construction and property development industry since 1993, owning her business in counter top materials and allied businesses. As a mentor, Julie and her husband have fostered young teenage boys into their home, treating them as they would their own children. She goes above and beyond to coach employees and other individuals, helping them reach their full potential. As a community leader, Julie is currently serving on the NKU Foundation Board as well as other boards, and has been the chairman and organizer of the Seeds of Hope Gala for the Mentoring Plus organization for many years. And as a volunteer, Julie has been involved in Kids Against Hunger, Holy Spirit Development Center, Fellowship of Catholic University Students, Inc., St. Vincent de Paul, and the Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home, just to name a few. Julie is truly a woman making a difference to her community and the world around her.    


Julie Mullen Bruns, class of 1987, has led a Christian life of service to her family, community, profession, and beyond. After her graduation from Notre Dame Academy, Julie received a scholarship to Xavier University and then attended medical school at Ohio University. She completed a residency practice and started her career and family at the same time. What sets her apart is her willingness to get involved and be a leader. Professionally, Julie is an accomplished physician. Currently employed by the City of Covington, Julie cares for the city employees and their families, ensuring that the law enforcement, firefighters, and others are cared for in a skilled and professional manner. Julie uses her gift of healing beyond her day-to-day employment. She has volunteered in several third world medical mission trips to orphanages in both Mexico and Haiti, having gone into remote areas to treat patients. She is looking forward to another trip to Haiti in January 2019.  Despite the living discomfort for many days during these trips, Julie comes home rejuvenated with stories of hope. Julie is truly a woman making a difference.

Our Distinguished Past Honorees:

Mary Lee Stegman Aldemeyer '35
Ann McCabe Buenger '44
Trinette Foote '72
Judy Webster Gerding '58
Lisa Cooney Henderson '82
Judy Fisk Schneider '63

Fran Harden Carlisle '58
Virginia “Tep” Witemyre McCafferty '48
Denise Gehring Schickling '65


Sister Mary Laurence Budde, SND '47
Sally McGinnis Monahan '75
Patricia M. Summe '71

Deborah Ann Borchers '75
Patricia Rust Kovacs '71
Jean Schmidt Longshore '50

Mary Theis Bunning '50
Sister Jean Marie Hoffman '65
Jean Ann Glenn VonHandorf '44

Catherine (Kay) Laske '34
Amy McGrath-Henderson '93
Elizabeth Riche Read '39

Janet Annear Chambers '77
Michelle Dixon Eckerle '94
Carol Schmidt Mullen '53

Ruth Appel Averdick '69
Sister Georgia Marie Messingschlager 56
Mary Kay Woodruff Sommerkamp '81

Amy Quinn '90
Lynn Dietz Schworer '74
Carol Steltenkamp '79

Sister Ann Rene McConn '56
Amy Brake Thomas '92
Marilyn Willenbrink '60

Cathy Toebbe Ficke '69
Sr. Sebastien Schmidt, SND '45
Deb Moore Shaner '79

Kara Middendorf '96
Janet Von Handorf Schmidt '81
Kathy Talbert Thamann '69

Marcia Adick Klaene '61
Joan Kluemper, DMD '69
Mary Ann Blewett Robinson '55
Gabrielle Summe, Esq. '84

Julia B. Meister '87
Meghan Scherder Olson '91
Wendy Vonderhaar '86

Lisa Davis Louden '97
Sister Mary Ethel Parrott, SND '64

Gina Tuemler Wulfeck '76

Linda Scully Bricking ‘65
Katrina Wagner Brown ‘86
Penelope Bayless Rogers ‘60

Barb Fritz '68
Jan Steffen Hanser '76
Amy Wurtenberger Beck '78
Martha Wurtenberger Barnes '78

Sr. Mary Reina Arlinghaus Award Recipients
Mr. Robert Stevens - 2010 Mr. and Mrs. Richard and Jeanne-Marie Tapke - 2013
Mr. and Mrs. William and Sue Butler- 2016
Sr. Mary Rita Geoppinger, SND- 2017
Mrs. Mary Brown- 2018