Celebrating Philanthropy with with Dr. Ali Pylitt
Please tell us a little about yourself.
“After graduating from Brebeuf I moved to Boston, where I attended Boston University for my undergraduate and graduate programs. It was a phenomenal experience. I remember when I first arrived, my dorm room freshman year looked down onto Fenway Park! I lived in Boston for seven years, but had the opportunity to travel and visit a variety of places during my clinical rotations – Chicago, Indianapolis, etc. It was while on rotation at the Rehab of Hospital of Indiana that I had the opportunity to reconnect with Brebeuf friends and faculty.
How did Brebeuf impact your journey?
“When I came back to Indianapolis, I truly realized how pivotal my time at Brebeuf had been. I was able to pick up and connect with teachers and strengthen those relationships as an alum. My teachers were fundamental to my future career, and I have since realized that many of my peers in college and beyond did not have those same experiences. My teachers at Brebeuf continue to be some of my greatest mentors. They helped me discover opportunities and fly toward them. Brebeuf – the faculty, staff, parents and community – allowed each of us to grow safely into adulthood. It gave me the confidence to explore – to go far away for college and spread my wings – and feel comfortable and assured in doing so.
I always knew that I wanted to help other people – part of that stemmed from watching my parents in their professions and within the community. However, much of that also stemmed from being at Brebeuf, the principles and mission of being for others, promoting justice. As a physical therapist, I see many individuals that have unique challenges following a spinal cord injury, stroke, or amputation – many come from underserved families who don’t always have the education or background to understand the scope of their injuries, needs, or available resources, or the “why” behind it. I work to advocate for them, for their families, so they may understand. As a member of their clinical care team, I am always championing on their behalf.”
What do you wish others knew about Brebeuf?
“One of the first questions I receive when I say that I graduated from Brebeuf is ‘wait, but aren’t you Jewish?’ I think people don’t recognize how open and diverse Brebeuf Jesuit truly is. That really allowed me to thrive, to remain who I was and grow into who I am. A friend of mine’s husband is a religion professor and teaches world religion to college freshmen. As she was talking one day, I started thinking how sad it was that there are so many people that had yet to know or understand the diversity of religions, cultures and ethnicities that are present in our society and across the globe. That was so valuable to me during that transformative time, and even today as I work with patients.”
Why do you give to Brebeuf?
“A lot of high schools are just four years. Brebeuf is for life. I am so close to teachers and now engage with them like friends. As I’ve become an adult, and had to take on “adulting” (i.e. finding my own healthcare providers, etc.), I’ve found a few of them to be Brebeuf grads. When I have a Brebeuf hat or shirt on, I’m eagerly running into other grads – recent and not. I even ran into a Brebeuf alum in NYC. Your Jesuit education is global. It’s not just for the duration of your time there. “Oh, you went to Brebeuf?!” I didn’t realize or appreciate the education and experience I was receiving as much at the time. But, I am incredibly grateful. I want to share those same educational opportunities with others, and someday with my own children. I realize now that when my parents steered me toward Brebeuf, that it wasn’t just about going to a smaller school with smaller class sizes or the academic attention. It was how I would develop. It was about who I would become. It was about being my best person.”