Amanda Ehrbar Flanagan ’06
Bachelor of Arts in Intelligence Studies, Mercyhurst University
Master of Arts in Security Studies, Georgetown University
Counterterrorism Analyst, United States Department of Defense
What activities were you involved with as a student at Holy Name?
While at Holy Name, I ran cross country and track all four years, which turned into a lifelong hobby. I enjoyed participating in and leading campus ministry events with Fr. Krizner and his dogs Shadow and Lily. I was also a member of the National Honor Society and the Ambassadors Program.
Who was your favorite teacher and/or what was your favorite subject?
Well, I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention my dad, Mr. Joe Ehrbar. He taught me how history can be a guide for the present to avoid strategic mistakes. Mrs. Karen Carter’s political science class was a favorite and was my first insight into government bureaucracies. Additionally, Mrs. Linda Chambers’s English class made complex literature intriguing to high school minds.
What is your fondest memory of Holy Name?
Some of my earliest memories with my dad involve Holy Name football games and obtaining free snacks from my dad’s coaching peers. The lifelong friends I made at Holy Name are interwoven throughout all of the memories I made on Queens Highway. Being a part of both the cross country and track teams were such a large part of my high school memories. I enjoyed competing as a unit against teams across the state, as well as the crazy clothes days, the ice cream runs, and the team sleepovers. Football has always been such a large part of the Ehrbar clan and I loved attending the games. I will never forget one away game when we played a team with a Quaker as a mascot and the Holy Name student section tossed up Quaker Oats in celebration for each touchdown scored.
As a graduate, my favorite memory has been throwing my parents a surprise 30th wedding anniversary party in the Holy Name Auxiliary Gym, surrounded by all their family and friends. Mr. Ehrbar thought he was weighing in on how to take down the bleachers and he was confused for a solid two minutes after walking into his own party.
How did Holy Name prepare you for your life as an adult?
Holy Name taught me how to think critically, challenge assumptions, and how to articulate my position in a clear and concise manner. To this day, I use many of the skills I learned in a speech class with Ms. Judy Blair during my morning briefs with senior U.S. Defense policymakers. Holy Name’s history and English classes are the foundation for my crisp writing skills. Outside of the academics, Holy Name taught me how to be empathetic and to act as a Christian in tough situations. Our world is getting more complex by the day and Holy Name instilled in me a desire to consider alternative perspectives before judging someone’s circumstances.
What does Holy Name mean to you?
Holy Name is where my family’s story begins, where all of my siblings and some of my cousins attended, and a place I consider home. The halls of Holy Name will always invoke a combination of nostalgia, pride, and sense of belonging. No matter where I am in the world, the Holy Name community tends to seep into my life and provide additional joy.