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Maggie Paton '08

SJA alumna's continuous quest to learn


Published August 2017

Maggie Paton, ’08, was born in Milwaukee, raised in Bay View, and is the older of two children. Homeschooled until the age of seven, Paton later attended St. Paul’s Catholic Grade School on Milwaukee’s South Side.

Paton’s family faced much financial hardship during her childhood. Yet despite such obstacles, she persevered, and the incredible support and encouragement she received from her parents guided her to St. Joan Antida High School (SJA).

Her parents valued a Catholic education and felt that SJA would be the right fit for their daughter.

Paton’s mother was also very attracted to the fact that SJA was an all-girl high school. She felt that sending her daughter to SJA would allow Paton to flourish and make the most of her high school experience.

“I was able to focus on education and friendships, without having to worry about being intimidated by boys in the classroom. I felt empowered,” said Paton.

Paton found the classes at SJA to be rigorous and challenging, yet the welcoming culture made her feel comfortable. The support she received from the teachers prepared her for whatever she set her mind to achieve.

“The teachers were wonderful and instilled a love of learning,” Paton stated. “No matter what, the teachers were always there for us. And they helped me feel confident!”

Paton specifically enjoyed her Digital Electronics class, taught by Ms. Cindy McLinn. It is there that she discovered an interest in the technical aspects of mathematics and science. She also became very interested in chemistry, which fostered her love of mathematics and computers.

“Ms. McLinn is part of the reason why I explored education as a major in college. It was her love of learning and teaching that inspired me to want to teach,” said Paton.

Paton fondly reflects upon her time spent at SJA, stating that she made many lifelong friendships and was more than prepared for the rigorous expectations of college.

Paton also fondly remembers the many school assemblies that were organized by then-Principal Sioux Henzig, '64.

“Our Principal taught us about empathy and compassion for others, even for people we didn’t necessarily agree with in our lives,” said Paton. “Here, we learned about sacrifice and service.”

One of Paton’s fondest SJA memories is her pilgrimage to Italy. There, she met Sr. Theresa Rozga, SCSJA, '77, who became a tremendous role model and continues to be a wonderful mentor to this day.

For Paton, attending SJA instilled a value of lifelong learning. After graduating from SJA, Paton went on to attend Wisconsin Lutheran College for her undergraduate degree in educational studies and mathematics. While pursuing her mathematics degree, Paton took several computer science courses as part of her coursework and soon discovered a love for computer science. Shortly thereafter, Paton decided to pursue a Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, focusing on computer science.

“Obtaining my Master’s degree was huge for me. I put a lot of time into it and it was a very rigorous program,” stated Paton.

Today, Paton is a Software Engineer at Rubixis where she writes complex software programs for hospitals dealing primarily with account and revenue management. With her zest for continuous learning, Paton is always interested in learning about new programming languages, frameworks and tools to help her do her job the best that she can.

Although Paton is not currently teaching at a school, she finds her education background to be invaluable. Every day she finds herself utilizing her teaching skills both at work and in her outside activities which include teaching Taekwondo and handbells.

Perseverance and hard work is something that Paton learned while at SJA and continues to apply to her everyday life. “If I have a problem and I don’t know how to solve it, I just keep researching different solutions, different methods for solving the problem. Most importantly, I don’t just give up,” stated Paton.

Paton utilizes her love of learning on a daily basis. For the past three years she has served as a mentor for new software engineers.

Reflecting on her time here at SJA, Paton firmly believes that SJA students should explore every opportunity they can.

“Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new!”