Photo provided -- Katy Zahn

Saint Thomas Aquinas Regional Catholic High School in Hammond has chosen Katy Zahn as the 2015 distinguished graduate.

Since graduating from STA in 2001, Zahn earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami, where she studied international business and graduated with honors, a news release from the school said.

Zahn’s career began with one of the country’s largest managed health care organizations providing services to uninsured families. She soon realized a desire to be on the patient side of health care, where she could more directly impact the lives of others in a positive way, the release said.

Zahn then pursued a degree in nursing at Duke University and a master’s degree in nursing from Southeastern Louisiana University. While studying at Duke, she traveled to Tanzania, where she conducted local health care initiatives and provided direct patient care to children. This enriching experience reinforced her desire to work with children and prepared her to better care for a diverse patient population, the release said.

“We chose Katy as our distinguished graduate because she has modeled her life on the mission of St. Thomas Aquinas High School and the development of the whole person,” said STA Principal Jose Becerra. “Service to others is an important part of Katy’s life. Her willingness to serve and continue the dominican pillar of service sets her apart from others.”

Zahn works in New Orleans as a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner serving the mental health needs of an under-served, low-income community. She and her husband David have one daughter, Charlotte. She will be honored at a ceremony in Baton Rouge during Catholic Schools Week in January.