The 2017 Class of Boston College Seniors to Remember: Joi Dallas, Jesse Mu, Chiamaka Okurie, Russell Simons, and John Walsh.
The 2017 Class of 'Seniors to Remember' includes: Joi Dallas, Jesse Mu, Sonia Chiamaka Okorie, Russell Simons, and John Walsh. (Photos by Yiting Chen)

Five members of the Boston College Class of 2017 discuss their experience at the Heights.

  • Joi Dallas of the Lynch School of Education has pushed herself to step beyond her comfort zone. The former high school cheerleader joined BC’s Women’s Rugby Football Club and pursued a range of formational academic, social, and service activities. She mentored incoming freshmen in the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center’s Options Through Education summer program, and tutored high school students in Boston. This year she was a student leader for the Jamaica Magis Service Trip. On Monday, Dallas joined Lowenhaupt and fellow co-authors to present their research at the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting in San Antonio, Tex.  Click here to read more about Joi.

  • Gabelli Presidential Scholar Program member Jesse Mu of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences has found himself on the cutting edge of one of the more exciting technologies to emerge in recent years: Natural Language Processing, which is used for devices such as Siri and Amazon Echo. For Mu, NLP represents the intersection of three keen interests – psychology, computer science and language – that he’s been able to explore by working with, among others, Assistant Professor of Psychology Joshua Hartshorne. But even as he touts technology’s benefits, Mu is mindful of its limitations in improving the human condition, especially for people who do not have access to essential resources and services – a concern manifested by his role in producing a documentary with his fellow GPSP students about mental health care issues in Boston.  Click here to read more about Jesse.

  • Sonia Chiamaka Okorie is a leader, a dedicated Connell School of Nursing student, and a source of advice for peers. As president of the Black Student Forum, she led efforts to organize the annual Black Family Weekend. After participating on the Jamaica Magis Service Immersion trip freshman year, she returned to serve as a trip leader in 2016 and co-coordinator in 2017. She has helped many first year students with the transition to college in her roles as orientation leader and resident assistant. She spent the summer after sophomore year in Ghana conducting research on malaria prevention, and presented those findings at a conference at Yale University. She and CSON Associate Professor Allyssa Harris gave a presentation at the National Black Nurses Association and also co-authored an article, under review, for the journal Nursing for Women’s Health.  Click here to read more about Sonia Chiamaka.

  • A student in the Gabelli Presidential Scholar Program, Russell Simons arrived at the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences focused on the four-year path to medical school. But along the way, he has pursued an array of experiences – in public service, biomedical sciences, and athletics – that have made for an atypical pre-med experience. He ran the Boston Marathon twice in support of the Campus School and along with his fellow Presidential Scholars co-produced a documentary on the state of mental health care for Boston’s immigrant and homeless population. Simons has been active in student life, involved in everything from the campus tours program and Voices of Imani gospel choir to undergraduate research and community service. Discovering a passion for student government led him to a four-year involvement in UGBC, and this past year, a term as UGBC president. Through it all, Simons has remained passionate about pursuing his childhood dream of a career as a physician.  Click here to read more about Russell.

  • John Walsh always dreamed of coming to Boston College – and when he got the chance to do so, he made it his mission to be as involved as possible.  Discovering a talent and passion for film production led the Carroll School of Management student to create numerous videos that for him were both fun and skills-building experiences.  Perhaps best known on campus for his “Shake It Off” music video – which went viral after Taylor Swift tweeted it to her millions of followers – Walsh also has made an impression through the expression of his faith. A volunteer for service trips and a participant in the PULSE Program for service learning, the Agape Latte co-chair devotes himself to others, finding joy in hearing their stories.  Whether it’s running across campus with a tripod and camera in hand, leading service trips with the Appalachia Volunteers, or simply saying a friendly hello, Walsh has made a lasting impact at BC and hopes to continue to blend his love for video production with his immense faith. Click here to read more about John.



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