Alumna:
Sr. Rachel Nijakowski, OSF, PhD
Class of 1971
Associate of Arts degree – liberal arts

Sr. Rachel is an energetic, positive person who always brightens the world and those around her. Her dedication as a Sylvania Franciscan Sister for 43 years enables her to embrace the call to assist the poor and the marginalized with compassion and care. This call has led to the creation of a counseling center in 1993 that provides services to children, adolescents, young adults, college students and families.

"My goal in creating Sophia Center was to serve the mental health needs in this region and provide charity care for women and children in need."

Deciding to name the organization Sophia, which means "Wisdom of God," Sr. Rachel and the staff fulfill their mission of empowering each and every client to have a positive self-image, effective communication and strong support system.

Sr. Rachel is not only a Sister and a Lourdes alumna but was also the Chair of the Psychology Department and instructor for eight years. Assisting Sr. Pauline Gazda, they started the institution's alumni association in the mid-1980s.

Vocation:
Sister of St. Francis of Sylvania

Profession:
Part Time Councilor, Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania
Licensed Psychologist
Founder and Executive Director, Sophia Center

Community Involvement:
Counseling Lourdes students and the community-at-large
Contributor, Prism and Active Minds student organizations
Chair, Emotional Wellness Committee, Sylvania Franciscan Village
Member, Sylvania Franciscan Wellness Committee
Member, Sylvania Franciscan Village Leaders
Member, Lourdes University Board of Trustees
Workshops for Administrators and Managers, Rosary Care Center and Franciscan Care Center members of Franciscan Living Communities
Workshops for Administrators and Managers, Trinity Health System, Steubenville and Trinity Hospital Twin City members of Sylvania Franciscan Health
Counseling clients at Bethany House, member of Sylvania Franciscan Health
Workshop Presenter on bullying for Lourdes University
Workshop on stress management for Lourdes University nursing students

Accolades:
Grant writer
Networker for health care and counseling services
Education – PhD in school psychology with a cognate in neuropsychology, Ball State University
BA, Mary Manse College
MA, Bowling Green State University

Gray Wolf Hero:
Whoopa, the Sacred Clown – A member of the special league of Whoopa, Golda & Kidda

Pledge to people:
Assist individuals in achieving a healthy balance of mind, body and spirit
Assist people in integrating their faith and belief system into their healing
Listen and connect with individuals and help them walk their path as their life coach, enabling them to realize their power within