Graduating Greyhounds 2015: Patricia Bryan

By Stephanie Weaver  |  Photo courtesy of Patricia Bryan, '15

Spotlight on

Patricia Bryan


Guaynabo, Puerto Rico


Global Studies and Philosophy

Campus involvement

General Manager at WLOY Loyola Radio, Black Student Association, ALANA Services, Greysounds, The Choice Program, Encounter El Salvador, Student Government Association affiliate

About Patricia

For Patricia Bryan, known to most as the general manager of WLOY, Loyola has become her home. Her post-graduation plans include staying in Baltimore and continuing to help the radio station she has devoted most of her time to.

This year, Patricia lost her friend and co-DJ, Colleen Zirkle, in a car crash over the Christmas holiday. Patricia and the campus community mourned the loss of a Greyhound.

As Commencement approaches, Patricia reflected on how Colleen’s life will continue to impact her own.

“I will continue to live the rest of my days trying to approximate the rate of Colleen’s care for others. I will continue to maintain her legacy by remembering her each day I live. I will make peace with the truth by letting her example inspire me to be a better person. And each time I recall our shared moments and memories, I will pause and give thanks for having her as short yet abundantly as I did. I will practice courage by believing in myself as strongly as she did.”

Plans after graduation

After graduation, I plan on staying in Baltimore to take a leap year to allocate to my studying for LSATs. It is my devotion to the Loyola community that truly led me to decide to stick around in Baltimore a little while longer.

Two days after graduation, I will leave for El Salvador on a mission trip, through CCSJ and Encounter El Salvador, along with a group of amazing individuals. Thanks to CCSJ and Encounter El Salvador, I will be given the opportunity to witness life outside of my limited experience and comfort zone. I look forward wholeheartedly to the conversations, emotions, and experiences I will share with not only the group, but with the Salvadoran people I will meet.

Most of all, I wish to put into practice the art of love as a transcendental language. Although Spanish is my first language and literal communication is at my reach, I believe it is the empathy that silence is so good at expressing what will become the most challenging to express. Thus, I want to express care not through Spanish, but through my actions, my devotion, and my care—the transcendental language of love.

Upon my return, I plan on working at the Starbucks on campus, along with the fantastic team of ladies who run the tiny counter day-to-day. Although it may seem silly at first, a lot of people here at Loyola have managed to influence my life forevermore. Providing them with warmth, care, love, and yes, a delicious sip of energy to conquer their day, is one of the small ways I wish to give back. For a while I’ve dreamed of opening a coffee shop after I retire from whatever future career I uptake, so if I can begin training as a barista now, whilst enjoying of the company of people that I care for so genuinely, why not? More than the coffee, it is the conversation and the smiles that come along with it what inspires me. I’ve experienced it myself: the little acts of kindness and appreciation can save lives.

Additionally, I will continue to collaborate with my four-year home, WLOY, as it uptakes some big projects—some old and some new, the offices of admission and student life. Offering leadership programming and designing these projects is not only a rewarding end-goal, but a beautiful process as it brings together a refreshing set of eager and optimistic personalities.

In the spare time, I wish to tackle the many projects I always wished but never had the chance to. These include reading and actually immersing myself in many of the great books I’ve collected over the years; starting a band and competing in Battle of the Bands; publishing a book with all of my best poems, essays, and lyrics; taking up drawing once more and finalizing a collection of portraits dedicated to crucial friendships I’ve made over time; founding a small corporation in which emphasis is made on the technological gap that lurks in our generation and how it affects our ability to properly manage our emotions; and lastly, enjoying as many conversations as I can before it is time to leave and move forward.

How I chose my path

I cannot say I chose my path, because it mainly chose me. My path was refined through a series of factors. I always had an interest for justice. However, the justice I was interested in before was the radical, black-and-white, not so merciful kind. I yearned for the day I would be praised as head of the FBI. But I soon realized I am far too much of a grey-area kind of gal. I went from being the kind of person who lived by the book and praised rules, to the kind of person who is now able to say: rules are made for breaking—as long as there is a healthy regard of the reality, of course. Thus, justice soon became redefined as a notion that did not rely on the mere punishment of “bad guys,” but more as the protection of the individual’s rights. That is, proper justice is the opposite of quick judgment. It consists of asking the real questions. In which case, what make these so-called bad guys bad? What led them there?

Working for WLOY, I was able to experience many conversations with whom I would have naively labeled “bad guys” in earlier times. In opening my ears to stories I would have otherwise never experienced, I soon discovered that the reality of the situation is much more complicated than what I was led to believe at one point in life. And in realizing the extent of my ignorance, I soon moved to the opposite side of the spectrum, where instead of assuming, I try my best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I am not one to judge, and I believe the world in which we live in errs in judging far too quickly. This is only a rudimentary reason in the series of motivations behind my interest in Law and Justice. Particularly, I find that much like the American system and culture, the Criminal System requires immediate attention and reformation.

Favorite Loyola memory

One of my final courses, Philosophy of Love with Michael Burns, seemed promising—an easy A, an entertaining elective. Little did I know that the class would end up being the most influential course I’ve taken at Loyola. Not only is the subject of love commonly belittled and undermined in our society, but love governs us, and the rate to which we intend to oppose this truth is pitiful. Quite opportune, this course, its conversations and the participants within it, could have not been more conveniently introduced into my life as I faced the hardest year so far.

One day in the classroom, Mr. Burns—a goofy, challenging, sporadic, brilliant, and caring “dude” whose body is far too flimsy to justify his value in character—shared with the class a hard-hitting truth about his imperfections and vulnerable heart. Immediately after and with a surprisingly strong sense of hesitation—stronger than I was used to—my loudmouth got the best of me as is common and before I could stop myself, my arm shot straight up. With Mr. Burns consent, I expressed: “Thank you for sharing this with us. I cannot assume that everyone shares my same opinion, but I believe these are the truths that we need to hear more of and that the world is so talented at hiding. Thank you for being brave enough to be honest with us. I am convinced that is the best lesson you can teach us.”

After I had said it, I worried about being misunderstood or speaking out of place. Luckily, however, I found comfort soon after when a few days later a dear classmate, Seth Willis, thanked me for my comment.

The professor who had the biggest impact on me and why

Not one, but many: Traci Martino, Timothy Stapleton, Mayu Gardner, Ferguson Laughland, Thomas Ward, Ron Tanner, Richard Wagner, Paul Bagley, Carsten Vala, Moira Lynch, and of course, John Devecka.

Each of these professors had a decisive role in my four years here. They all had one contributing factor: genuine devotion for the student. In addition to their knowledge, these amazing people are set apart from the ordinary person for their undeniable desire to teach humbly. They have not grown inhumane or distant through their knowledge, but rather they have grown close and caring through their wisdom. They believe in their students, and this care translates in their behavior inside and outside of the classroom. I owe them so much and will always be thankful for their contributing parts in my development.

My strong truth/how the Jesuit college experience shaped me

My strong truth is to continue to learn from others. It is to remain humble and genuine, and to keep in mind the thing that matters most: love. I strongly desire to redefine justice and remind people of the importance of emotions. We are not machines, and we should find pride in our human condition, including our imperfections.

The Jesuit college experience provided me with the pool of people and opportunities necessary to break my previous understanding of things. It truly met its goal and kept its promise. Without it, I would still be afraid to dream, I would still be quick to hate, and I would still be easy to deceive.

Shout outs to…

My beautiful family back in Puerto Rico. In particular, my mother, for profusely believing in me and being the hardest worker I’ve ever met. My brothers, Tommy and Andy; my aunts and uncles; my cousins; the “calle cinco mafia;” and last but not least, my dad.

Additionally, I want to thank Nicole Ardito, Tanner Singleton, Alexandra Medina, Lauren Puleo, Maya Bond, Emily Covais, Seth Willis, Joshua Brown, Tara Howell, Brandy Gotti, Mustafa Goalie, Jonathan Rodriguez, Katie Kazmierski, Lauren Keyes, Samantha Chemali, Philip Dayao, Tyler Secreto, and Colleen Zirkle. Together they have managed to remind me of my worth.

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  • Posted by Millie Commander | May 15, 2015

    I finished reading this account with tears in my eyes, touched by Patricia’s profound thoughts on love and justice. I have known this young lady since she was three years old when she came to live on 5th St. in our community. I can still see her riding her tricycle on the street as we carefully drove past her. Through the years I have seen her grow up, but upon reading her account today, I have really seen her “grow up” to become a mature, caring, loving young woman. These are characteristics that she has had forever not only through the influence of Loyola, but I am sure mainly through the influence and upbringing from her mother, Wandy, whom I also admire and respect. Patty, I can only extend my admiration for your success, and I hope that your future endeavors help extend that love you have for others and that your concern for justice make you as inspiring to others as Sonia Sotomayor, another Puerto Rican who is probably a forerunner for your future achievements. Love, Millie, your neighbor from the “calle 5 mafia.)

  • Posted by Wandy | May 15, 2015

    I still very much remember the day that we received your college admission letter. You had not yet finished high school, but you were already certain of your next step: Loyola. I’ve since observed your desire to continually learn about the world around you. While that quest has not always been easy, you have always been successful, but more importantly, you have continued to grow. Reading your thoughts above, it is very clear to me how your quest for justice has become even more rooted in ideas about social justice. May this journey help to show you what I’ve always seen in you: a desire to serve others. Since this is such an important Jesuit lesson, it’s no wonder Loyola always appealed to you. Remember, this graduation is just the start of even more journeys. SO PROUD! CONGRATULATIONS!!! Mamá

  • Posted by Maureen Bryan | May 16, 2015

    Dear Patri,
    Congratulations on your success! I am very proud if you. God bless you!! Titi Aween

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