New England
Daina Andries
Daina Andries (’09)

“TAC fell out of the sky,” says Daina Andries (’09), founder of Epidaurus Health, about how she made her way to Thomas Aquinas College nearly 20 years ago. “I thought I wanted to pursue a major in English literature at a bigger school, but a friend encouraged me to go on the High School Summer Program, and I was completely sold.”

Lasting two weeks, the TAC Summer Program allows rising high school seniors to experience the life of the College at either its California campus or its new home in Northfield, Massachusetts, which opened in 2019. The Summer Program includes two seminar-style classes a day, Mass and other devotions in the College’s beautiful chapels, daily sports on the athletic fields, and fun regional outings, such as kayaking on the Connecticut River or a beach day on the Pacific coast.  

It was the Summer Program that led Miss Andries, against her expectations, to devote four years to the College’s program of Catholic liberal education, reading the great works of Western civilization under the light of faith. All the while, she thought she would go on to become a French literature scholar, but TAC’s multidisciplinary curriculum — which includes four years of math, natural science, philosophy, and theology — opened new doors she had never previously considered.

“Everyone comes from a different place,” she says of the College’s classroom discussions. “You come to the table together with different ways of thinking, opinions, or interpretations, and work together to reach a consensus and draw conclusions from the text.”

Much to her surprise, her liberal education led her to a career in data science.

After completing a master’s degree in information sciences at the University of Michigan and working as a metadata technician at the U.S. Library of Congress, Miss Andries landed a job at a consulting firm in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2020, she founded Epidaurus, which utilizes information technology to streamline the reimbursement of prescription-drug purchases.

“The TAC education has helped me in ways beyond words,” she remarks. “Instead of mastering a single subject, you take on a variety of subjects in a program that actively encourages you to ponder how these subjects play together — what about math helps you appreciate music; or what about philosophy helps you to get ahead in science or to do math. All serious education is worth it, but TAC students have a serious, rigorous education, and there’s something more to it — something more special.”

Thomas Aquinas College alumni, she contends, are a natural fit to meet the market’s burgeoning demand for workers in multidisciplinary fields such as data science. “I think in our society right now, and in particular in my industry, which plays at the intersection of tech, business, and science, we need more people like the ones that come out of TAC,” Miss Andries observes. “I think the world would be a much better place if there was more of a presence of TAC in it.”

Miss Andries will be coming to Western Massachusetts on February 26 to speak at a panel of alumni, parents, and faculty — the capstone event of a four-day campus Open House for high school students. All interested students are invited to attend the free Open House, and parents and others are welcome to hear the testimony of Miss Andries and her fellow panelists.

Rising high school seniors may also want to consider the High School Summer Program, which changed Miss Andries’ life, and could change yours, too. In New England, the program will run from July 9-22; in California, July 16-29.