Finnegan Award Winner Made the Most
of Four Years at B.C.

By Sandra Howe
Staff Writer

Few students rise at 5 a.m. for crew practice, return to campus to excel in the classroom, and still find time to pursue extracurricular activities. Jessie Saul did and at Monday's Commencement Exercises, she was recognized for best exemplifying the spirit of the University's motto "Ever to Excel" with Boston College's top Commencement honor: the Edward H. Finnegan, SJ, Memorial Award.

"I wasn't aware of the magnitude of the Finnegan Award," said Saul, a physics major who studied in the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program. "To be recognized for what I've done over the last four years is a nice acknowledgment of the work I've put into BC, especially since I know so many other outstanding students who would be worthy of this award."

"Jessie combines a keen intellect, a commitment to public service and leadership, along with a sound moral compass that guides her in her varied activities," said Prof. Donald Hafner (Political Science), her honors thesis advisor.

Jessie Saul '96, winner of the Finnegan Award, the top undergraduate honor presented at Commencement. "To be recognized for what I've done over the last four years is a nice acknowledgment of the work I've put into BC." (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
One of Saul's major accomplishments was her selection to the USA Today 1996 All-USA College Academic Honorable Mention Team, which cited 80 American college undergraduates for academic and extracurricular excellence. She also was a strong candidate in this year's Rhodes Scholarship competition.

While her academic career has been successful, she cites her membership on the crew team as a life-shaping experience. As the crew team grew into a strong, competitive club, Saul said, she learned about group dynamics, leadership and time management. Most importantly, she said, rowing gave her "a focus" she was able to use in other areas of college life, especially academics.

She applied that focus as an intern at the University of Minnesota's Center for Biomedical Ethics, where she helped develop and distribute a survey to 600 physicians and genetic counselors to assess opinions about ethical considerations in the genetic testing of children. For her honors thesis, Saul revised the survey, distributed it to members of the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics, and formulated policy recommendations based on the survey results.

"It really brought together my interests in science and ethics and helped me focus on important questions," Saul added. "I had been exploring philosophical and ethical issues through the Faith, Peace and Justice minor program, and it became clear these discussions should also take place in the scientific disciplines."

Saul still found time to pursue her musical interests, as a violinist in the Boston College Symphony Orchestra, a member of the Music Ministry and Music Department concert manager.

In addition, Saul was a team leader during volunteer service days sponsored by the Neighborhood Center and worked at a Navajo reservation in the Southwest through the Faith, Peace and Justice program.

A resident of Albert Lea, Minn., Saul will begin a doctoral program in science technology studies at Cornell University this fall.

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