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The Wiki Way

Marie Pellissier ’15

Thanks to Boston College senior Marie Pellissier, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia now has an entry on a pioneering woman of the American West, Susan LaFlesche Picotte.  

For an assignment last semester in Professor of History Marilynn Johnson’s course History of the American West, Pellissier introduced “Wiki” to Picotte (1865-1915), widely considered to be the first Native American woman to become a physician.
“I wanted to focus on a strong woman who was able to influence life in the West,” Pellissier told the WikiEducation Foundation, which featured the history major, and noted her use of Boston College Libraries resources to write her article, available at

“I’m delighted that Marie’s research has resulted in such a tangible and accessible contribution to historical knowledge on the web,” said Johnson.

“Wikipedia is here to stay, so why not improve it? There are tons of entries on male explorers and military figures in the American West, but not nearly as many on women and Native Americans. Marie’s article gives us both.”

Pellissier hopes readers of the article “come away with a sense of just how extraordinary this woman was. I think one of the most interesting things about Picotte is the way she was able to have an impact on, and earn the respect of, both the Omaha nation and the community of whites living around their reservation in Walthill, Neb.

“Though she was at a double disadvantage, as a woman and as a Native American, she persisted in pursuing her education to become a doctor and in pushing for significant improvements to public health on the Omaha reservation,” she added. “She earned respect at a time when women were expected to stay home and care for families instead of working in a public sphere.”

Pellissier described Johnson’s assignment as “extraordinary: It asked us as historians to think differently about how we write; it was a challenge to write in an encyclopedic style.

“Writing for a broad audience,” she added, “really enhanced the experience in the class because instead of writing a research paper that only the professor would read, we were challenged to think about how to bring an interesting topic to a much broader group of people.”

–Office of News & Public Affairs

Songs In Their Hearts


Next Thursday, Feb. 26, Boston College’s benefit talent competition “Sing It to the Heights” will once again display the musical talents of BC undergraduates as well as students from Brighton’s St. Columbkille Partnership School, the recipient of all proceeds from the show.

The event, which is open to the public, takes place from 7-9 p.m. in the Robsham Theater Arts Center.

Now in its 11th year, “Sing It to the Heights” – inspired by the popular Fox TV show “American Idol” – features 10 BC students, selected through a series of auditions held last month, performing for a panel of Jesuit judges. The winner is decided by votes from the audience.

This year’s contestants are: Alex Cavanaugh ’17; Esther Chung ’17, accompanied by Eric Lee ’15; Chris Colgan ’16; Patrick Fei ’18; Meghan Linehan ’17; Liz McGovern ’18; Wynnm Murphy ’18; Nick Page ’18, accompanied by Ameet Kallarackal ’18; Chris Paterno ’15; and Jon Vaughn ’15.

For the fifth year, St. Columbkille students also will get a turn in the spotlight. Many have been able to take musical instrument lessons, sing in chorus and participate in art and drama clubs at St. Columbkille as a result of the support “Sing It to the Heights” has provided for the school’s fine arts programs.

“Sing It to the Heights” is sponsored by the Emerging Leader Program, Office of Governmental and Community Affairs, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Robsham Theater.

Tickets are available at the Robsham box office or at

–Office of News & Public Affairs


It’s nothing you’ll see on ESPN, or listen to on a radio, but the Boston College community is currently embroiled in two national competitions – both of them focusing on sustainability, rather than sports.

On Feb. 2, BC joined in the 2015 Recyclemania Tournament, an eight-week contest in which colleges across the US and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected every week. Contestants are ranked in various categories, such as which schools recycle the most on a per capita basis or best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste. The University’s Office of Sustainability – which is spearheading BC’s participation with Eco Pledge and students from the Jenks Leadership Program – posts reduction goals and weekly updates on its website,

Also this month, BC is taking part in the NRG Games, which challenges colleges and universities to reduce electricity and overall energy use. BC residence hall communities compete with one another to see who can conserve the most, and the winner is awarded the Crystal Eagle NRG Games trophy.

For more on conservation and sustainability at BC, see

–Office of News & Public Affairs