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Finnegan Award Finalists


By Rosanne Pellegrini | Chronicle Staff

Published: May 21, 2015

Three other outstanding seniors were finalists for the Finnegan Award:

• Wall Street Council Presidential Scholar Mary Rose Fissinger earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences at Commencement. This aspiring civil engineer was deeply involved in campus life and service activities, including four years at The Heights (culminating in the position of opinions and special projects editor); Center for Student Formation retreats and programs; membership on the MCA&S Academic Integrity Committee; Student Admission Program tour guide and Eagle for a Day coordinator; Mathematics Department tutor as well as vice-president and webmaster for the BC Mathematics Society. She volunteered at St. Columbkille’s Partnership School, Suffolk County House of Correction, as an ESL tutor for immigrants through the Education Development Group, and internationally for two summers – in community development in Belize and as a tutor in Morocco.

Duffy Presidential Scholar and Lynch School of Education student Alicia L. McKean earned a bachelor of arts in applied psychology and human development and minored in leadership in higher education and community settings. She volunteered at St. Francis House; tutored students with behavioral disorders and underperforming Boston school children; taught preschoolers weekly as a volunteer in two urban centers, and to increase her expertise in this area, earned preschool teacher qualification. She spent summers volunteering with early learners in poor communities in Nairobi, Kenya and Argentina, reinforcing her goal to improve the human condition and enhance the lives of disenfranchised individuals.  

Through LSOE’s Community Research Program, she examined educational professionals’ perceptions of the racial achievement gap and presented findings at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Supported by a summer travel grant, she conducted cross-country research in 10 major cities to examine perceptions of America’s education system through a series of video interviews that resulted in a documentary.

A walk-on varsity rower, McKean raced in the Swiss National Championships, the Head of the Charles and the Women’s Henley Regatta and last year she was named the team’s “Rower of the Year.” She currently holds four top 10 BC rowing records and has received an ACC scholarship to pursue graduate work.

Faculty and peers have lauded Connell School of Nursing graduate Colleen McGauley for her commitment to excellence and service, humility and “dedication to mobilizing her peers and enriching our community as a school.” As a volunteer peer advisor in freshman seminars, she guided new CSON students through their first semester on campus as a mentor, leading weekly discussions on college culture, the nursing curriculum and academic planning. She served as vice president and president of the Boston College Student Nurses’ Association, spearheading food drives and charity walks for cancer research and the American Diabetes Association. She represented CSON as delegate to the national student association and participated in the Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing program, aimed at increasing diversity and leadership in the profession.  

A member of the nursing honor society Sigma Theta Tau International, she was the recipient of its scholarship for academic achievement. As an Undergraduate Research Fellow for one of her professors, she was involved in NIH-funded research and co-authored abstracts. She has participated in University-wide as well as CSON service trips to Appalachia and Nicaragua, and has studied abroad in Spain. Her varied interests and involvements also include teaching Irish step-dancing at BC to four to 13-year-olds. She supported her education at BC by working as a clinical care technician at Tufts Medical Center and at the CSON academic reception desk.

Information from students’ Finnegan Award nomination papers was used for this article.