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Surpassing Expectations

This year's other Finnegan Award candidates represent the best of what Boston College has to offer

Heather Lynn Ashley

If anyone needs an example of how a Jesuit and Catholic institution can help instill a desire to serve others, just ask Heather Lynn Ashley. The Nutley, NJ, native says her four years at Boston College have led her to pursue graduate studies in social work.

As a member of the Campus School Volunteers, Ashley helped lead fund-raising efforts to support the work of the school, which provides educational and therapeutic services to youngsters with multiple disabilities.
"I just fell into doing it as a freshman," she said. "I have learned so much from being around the Campus School kids, and I was gratified that our group could do something to help the school add to its resources."

Ashley also volunteered with the Court Appointed Special Advocates network, which represents the interests of abused, neglected or abandoned children. One of her formative experiences was a study-abroad program in Ireland, in which she undertook a project comparing the Irish and Massachusetts social services systems.

A member of the Jesuit honor society Alpha Sigma Nu, Ashley also served as an Undergraduate Research Fellow, assisting Assoc. Prof. David Blustein (LSOE) with his study of school-to-work transition.

Julie Schonbeck

Schonbeck, a native of Sterling, Mass., credits Boston College with giving her confidence "to reach out and help others."

Even as she toiled to achieve the top academic ranking in her class in the School of Nursing, Schonbeck put her organization and leadership skills to work as president of the school senate and SON senior class. She was the co-planner and coordinator of a well-attended career fair that brought SON alumnae from varied nursing fields to campus to speak with students. In recognition of her potential as a leader, the faculty nominated Schonbeck to take part in a Board of Trustees task force on women mentorship.

Schonbeck has reached out in other ways, by working as a tutor in the Academic Development Center and, following a semester in Glasgow, Scotland, as an international assistant helping foreign students adapt to American college life.

"Being in a different country is a big adjustment, and I certainly appreciated what people did to help me feel welcome," she said. "I thought, why not return the favor?"

A member of three honor societies, Schonbeck participated in the Undergraduate Research Fellows Program, assisting SON faculty in a study on how abuse suffered by mothers during pregnancy affects their babies' birthweight. She hopes to work in pediatrics or maternity nursing at an area hospital.

Jeremy Zipple

The phrase "liberal arts" was probably coined with Jeremy Zipple in mind. A piano-playing economics major who minored in music while at BC, Zipple also has worked in television and video production, served in the student government, directed a Jamaica Plain school choir and helped found the Catholic campus publication Crossroads.

But for the Hattiesburg, Miss., native, Boston College offered something more than just a venue for him to develop his talents.

"I wanted to go to a college that would challenge me academically, but also encourage me to think about the big questions and develop my faith and spiritual views," said Zipple, a Presidential Scholar who studied in the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program. "It's meant a lot to me to be able to do that here."

Zipple was more than equal to the academic challenge he sought: He was a regional finalist for the coveted Rhodes Scholarship, and grand marshall for the Order of the Cross and Crown, the A&S honor society.

Four years at BC afforded Zipple the chance to continue honing his technology skills, through internships at WGBH and WCVB and helping Honors Program faculty integrate Internet resources into the program curriculum. What pleases Zipple is that he was able to use these talents to help others on a wider scale, such as producing orientation and training videos for the St. Francis House homeless center.

In fact, Zipple finds appealing the possibility of bringing his abilities to the priesthood. "Being able to integrate what I've been studying into a life of service would be wonderful," he said, "and it would certainly reflect my experience at Boston College."

-Sean Smith


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