January 2008 Cover
SCAN"College of St. CatherineThe College of St. Catherine

January 2008

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Academic Excellence


IN MARCH, biology major Courtney Boeff '08 won the Outstanding Contribution to Undergraduate Bioethics prize from Penn Bioethics Journal for her senior honors project, a paper on the ethical considerations of memory-enhancing drugs. Boeff is one of 20 Antonian Scholars who graduated this May.

This has been a memorable academic year for projects, according to Jane Lamm Carroll '80, associate professor of history and faculty advisor of the Antonian Scholars program. "We've got a large, successful group," she says. Projects, which may be related to the student's major field or cross multiple disciplines, included a play, a performance art piece, a website and research-based work on topics such as the role music played in the French Revolution and differences in teaching methods in schools for the deaf.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for students to pursue interests that they haven't had the chance to explore in the structure of a normal class," says Carroll.

Although students design their own projects, they work with at least three faculty members. "Like a master's or doctoral thesis, the student has to satisfy the committee with her research," Carroll says. "It serves as a springboard to graduate-level study."

Jessica Lopez Lyman '08

Jessica Lopez Lyman '08For her senior honors project, Jessica Lopez Lyman wrote a 50-minute performance art piece that combined her own poetry and prose with visual images. “The question I was looking to answer was how can art be a healing vehicle for people of mixed blood,” Lopez Lyman says.

This year’s recipient of the Mary E. McCahill Award, which honors outstanding leadership, loyalty and service to the College, Lopez Lyman has been active in social justice efforts through the Multicultural & International Programs and Services office and had the honor of introducing Maya Angelou at The O’Shaughnessy in 2006. Angelou later referred to Lopez Lyman as “the poet Lopez Lyman.”

Lopez Lyman plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Chicano studies.

Sigrid Barklund '08

Sigrid Barklund '08A double-major in chemistry and philosophy, Sigrid Barklund appreciates the interdisciplinary aspects of the Antonian Honors program. "It allows me to claim my own education and choose the topics I'm interested in and explore them in a more integrated way," says Barklund, who is one of four valedictorians this year.

For her senior honors project, Barklund wrote plans for a high school English course combining literature and philosophy that meets Minnesota state high school requirements. Co-recipient of the Helen B. Lemmer Award in honor of Mother Antonia McHugh and presented to a student who intends to teach in higher education, Barklund will pursue a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the California Institute of Technology.

Brooke Vetter '08

Brooke Vetter '08Brooke Vetter received this year's Dean of Students award presented to a senior who has made an outstanding contribution to the College's mission. She completed her senior honors project on the connection between empathy and facial expressions.

"There's new research on facial expressions and why humans mimic them - whether that's an indication of empathetic behavior," says Vetter, who graduated second in the class of 2008. She tested 26 subjects and measured their muscle reactions to facial expressions they saw. The project provided good background for Vetter, who is applying to graduate schools for neuroscience and plans to work as a research assistant until she chooses a program


Antonian Scholars

Named for Mother Antonia McHugh, the College’s first president, Antonian Scholars complete a senior honors project as the final step in the four-year honors program.

During their time at St. Catherine’s Antonian Scholars are part of a community of high-achieving students who work closely with one another and faculty members. They also complete requirements in addition to the senior project, including taking part in several discussion-based, interdisciplinary honors seminars and choosing from other honors courses or study-abroad opportunities.


Andy Ferron is communications coordinator in St. Catherine's Marketing and Communications office.