Senior Wins USA Today Academic All-Star Honor

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Jessie Saul, a senior physics and mathematics major, was recently named to the USA Today 1996 All-USA College Academic Honorable Mention Team, one of 80 American college undergraduates to be cited for academic and extracurricular excellence.

The Albert Lea, Minn. native has a 3.8 grade point average and is in the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program.

"I am pleased and gratified that Jessie, one of a number of outstanding students we've had from Minnesota, has received such a singular distinction for her accomplishments and social concerns," said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ.

Saul and her fellow honorees - all nominated by faculty at their respective institutions - were officially announced in the Feb. 8 edition of USA Today .

The criteria for the all-stars, which USA Today developed in consultation with several national educational organizations, centered on nominees' academic talent, creativity and leadership. Among other questions on the nomination form, students were asked to list campus and community activities and describe in essay form their most outstanding intellectual endeavor.

Saul, who was nominated by Prof. Donald Hafner (Political Science) and A&S Honors Program Associate Director Adj. Assoc. Prof. Mark O'Connor, described her internship last year at the University of Minnesota Center for Biomedical Ethics, during which she helped develop a survey to assess opinions in the scientific community about ethical considerations in the genetic testing of children. The survey was distributed to about 600 pediatricians, clinical geneticists and genetic counselors in the Great Plains region, she said, and is now in the data-analysis phase.

Saul said the internship experience reflected her growing interest in the philosophical and ethical aspects of science, which has been sparked in part by courses she took through the Faith, Peace and Justice minor program. She is planning to enroll in a graduate program offering science and technology studies and technology policy.

"Jessie is about as complete a student as I have ever met," O'Connor said. "Her academic ability is unquestioned - she was a strong candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship, in fact. But she combines many interests and activities in a way that is truly inspiring."

Saul is the second BC student in three years to be honored by USA Today . Elizabeth La Rocca '94 was on the All-USA College Academic First Team in 1994.

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