Photo: Lee Pellegrini

Lizzy Congiusta | Lynch School of Education and Human Development

Hometown:  Latham, N.Y.
:  Applied psychology and human development; neuroscience

Notable Activities/Achievements: Dean’s List, First Honors; Psi Chi Honor Society; undergraduate research assistant, or URA, for two years; volunteer at East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s Emergency Department and Pumphret House, a medical foster home; played on women’s club ice hockey team and served as its athletic health safety officer; volunteer for the Campus School Creative Kids program and BC’s Special Olympics chapter; interned virtually at Atrius Behavioral Health Services, and “shadowed” a pediatric neurologist at the Albany Medical Center.

Post-Graduation Plans:  Pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology at Long Island University, a step toward working with children with disabilities and/or trauma in clinical and therapeutic roles.

More: An elite hockey player with a deep interest in neuroscience and working with children with disabilities,  Congiusta dived into an environmental and social justice research project with the same enthusiasm and discipline required by high-level athletics and academics, and scored some impressive but sobering results.

Who has had the greatest influence on you during your time at BC?

Kelly Hughes in Campus Ministry has been one of my biggest supporters. She has been a mentor, a leader, a teacher, and a friend. From helping me navigate roommate drama to discussing vocational callings to talking about Boston’s best restaurants, Kelly has been an incredible conversation partner who truly exemplifies what a Jesuit education is meant to be.

What BC experiences had the most significant impact on you?

One of the highlights of my undergrad experience was participating in the PULSE program with [Associate Professor of Theology] Fr. Jim Weiss. During my sophomore year’s placements, I fell in love with working with kids with disabilities and began to dream of becoming a clinical psychologist. Being challenged to put my education into action at the volunteer site was a pivotal moment in my BC journey. The memories and lessons I collected throughout PULSE will stay with me forever. My work as a URA alongside [Lynch School of Education and Human Development Professor and Undergraduate Dean] Julia DeVoy, and [Boston University Research Fellow] Dielle Lundberg ’16 has given me the chance to be part of a research project from the ground up and seeing how much progress has been made over the last two years is incredible. Through my role as an URA, I have grown my professional, communication, and leadership skills, and I’ve gained a deeper understanding of environmental injustice and its far-reaching impacts. The skills I have cultivated and knowledge of environmental justice will be carried into my future education and work.

As a URA, you focused on the harmful post-consumer effects of decomposing textile waste on humans and helped to identify a significant gap in the current literature on this topic, which had important implications for addressing environmental racism and innovation in the field of environmental science and engineering. How did a Lynch School student become involved in this research?

The project was done in partnership with Make Fashion Clean, a nonprofit based in Ghana, Africa, that works to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities, as well as mothers of children with disabilities. I love the company’s mission and their work employing local artisans who are impacted by disability to empower them and give them necessary resources through social interaction and finances. It's something that I am super passionate about. I want to work with kids with disabilities and mental health challenges in my future career, so doing research for an organization that is also committed to that mission seemed like a really useful, and interesting connection.

You were a top-tier high school ice hockey player. Did you give any thought to trying to “walk on” at BC?

I sent a few emails to the varsity coaches when I decided to attend BC, but they never got back to me, which was actually for the best because I had come to BC as a double major in applied psychology and biology and the premed track, and was enrolled in 19 credits my freshman fall. I tried out for the club team and fell in love with the girls and staff. I got exponentially more playing time on the club team, with the added perks of having sufficient time to complete all my school work and still do plenty of traveling for away games and tournaments. We went to the Nationals Tournament my freshman and sophomore years and last year we were the number one seed, so despite not playing due to COVID, they sent us the winners’ banner, which was kinda cool! I'm incredibly happy with the way it worked out. Plus, there's just something special about squishing into a minivan after a game or late-night practice, covered in sweat, and trekking miles back to school while jamming to music with some of your best friends.

How has Boston College made a difference in your life?

BC’s commitment to forming men and women for others has guided my education throughout my four years and allowed me to grow and change in ways I had never imagined. I had opportunities to work and volunteer with kids with disabilities which allowed me to find my calling. I was able to work extensively on a research project that has real-world implications for environmental racism and social justice. I met the most wonderful people who now know me right to my core. All of this was possible through surrounding myself with men and women committed to making the world a better place for everyone. I’m incredibly grateful that I was surrounded by people who believed in me, challenged me, and made my time at BC everything I could have asked for and more.

What will you miss most about BC?

Most of all, I’ll miss the BC community. From roommates to research assistants, volunteers to teammates, professors to mentors, I can fully and confidently say that BC has given me the best people to surround myself with and learn from. Leaving the community that I have made and relied on for the last four years is going to be incredibly challenging, but if there’s one thing BC has taught me, it is that once an Eagle, always an Eagle. My BC family will always be there for me no matter what.

Phil Gloudemans | University Communications | May 2021

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