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Finalists for 39th Annual President's Award Announced

Public Relations
Posted: Tuesday Apr 16, 2013

April 16, 2013

Saint Vincent College announced that five seniors have been named finalists for the 39th annual President’s Award, the College’s highest student honor, presented to the member of the graduating class who best embodies what the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts college values in its students – outstanding academic achievement, student leadership and community service.

The finalists are Lucas Briola, a theology and history double major with a minor in philosophy, of Pittsburgh (Crafton); Mary Kate Kenna, an English major with a minor in children’s literature, of Chantilly, Va.; Meredith R. McGuire, a biology major with a concentration in cell and molecular biology and minors in biotechnology and mathematics, of Strongsville, Ohio; Olivia Sharkey, a theology major with a minor in Spanish, of Philadelphia; and Zachary A. Tackett, an English major concentrating his studies in creative writing, of Lower Burrell.

Lucas Briola

Briola is a 2009 graduate of Bishop Canevin High School and the son of Frank and Lillian Briola. He has been active at Saint Vincent as a member and captain of the Bearcat varsity cross country and track teams for four years and as a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Council. He has participated in campus ministry as an altar server, participated in a service trip to Brazil and a pilgrimage to Rome. A member of the dean’s list and the President’s Athletic Conference honor rolls, he has been named to Theta Alpha Kappa, Chi Alpha Sigma and Who’s Who among Students in American Colleges and Universities. His home parish is St. Philip in Crafton. After graduation, he plans to attend Boston College where he will pursue a master of theological studies (MTS).

Mary Kate Kenna

Kenna is currently student teaching English and drama at Greensburg Salem High School and will complete her secondary education certification and begin teaching language arts at St. Mary’s School in Alexandria, Va. A 2009 graduate of Seton School in Manassas, she is the daughter of Raymond and Kimberly Kenna. She has been active at Saint Vincent in varsity swimming where she was named first-team all-President’s Athletic Conference and recognized as a team record holder in 200-yard breaststroke and 400-yard medley relay. A member of the dean’s list, she has served as president of the Respect Life Club, treasurer of the Education Club, member of the orientation committee and activities programming board, and a member of Kappa Delta Pi, Sigma Tau Delta (treasurer) and Chi Alpha Sigma. On student government, she has served as a hall representative and senior class secretary. Active in campus ministry as a lector and member of the advisory council, she volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity in Washington, D.C. (soup kitchen and house for unwed mothers) and in Calcutta, India (orphanage) and participated in a service trip with International Samaritan to Guatemala. She also served as an English tutor at the Ketterer Charter School and as a religious education teacher at St. Benedict’s Church in Greensburg and at her home parish, St. Timothy’s Church, in Chantilly.

Meredith R. McGuire

The recipient of an A.J. Palumbo Student Research Grant, McGuire completed a senior research project titled, Effect of Kinesin and Dynein Imbalance on Axonal Transport Impairment in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. She also completed summer undergraduate research programs at the University of Pittsburgh in the department of medicine and at the Lerner Research Institute in Cleveland. A consistent member of the dean’s list, she is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Beta Beta Beta, Alpha Chi and the Respect Life Club. She has served as a senior facilitator of the Saint Vincent College Collaborative Learning Program, as a laboratory teaching assistant, as a library student assistant and as a biology department writing-designated tutor. After graduation, she plans to pursue graduate study toward a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology at Johns Hopkins University. She is a graduate of St. Joseph Academy in Cleveland and the daughter of Thomas and Rosanne McGuire. Her home parish is St. Joseph the Worker in Strongsville.

Olivia Sharkey

Sharkey will join the Jesuit Volunteer Corps to teach theology and work as service program coordinator at Christ the King Cristo Rey High School in Newark after she graduates. She has made numerous service learning trips including Taiwan/China, Nicaragua and Guatemala. She is the founder of The Banana Project, a campus endeavor that seeks to establish a nutritional program at Francisco Coll Elementary School in Guatemala, where Saint Vincent students and faculty have served for the past four years during the annual mission to Guatemala. Active in student government, she has been a senator for four years, was elected class president during her freshman year and served as a member of the Student Faculty Administration Benedictine Committee, Educational Policies Committee and chair of the Academic Affairs Committee. She has been a prefect for three years and is active with campus ministry where she serves as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. A consistent member of the dean’s list, she has been named to Who’s Who among Students in American Colleges and Universities twice, is a member of Alpha Chi, Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Sigma Iota and Theta Alpha Kappa. She is a catechist at St. Benedict Parish in Marguerite, volunteer with International Samaritan, tutor for the department of theology, office assistant in the Seminary development office and a note-taker for the academic affairs office. She has also worked as a camp counselor with Boys and Girls of America. Olivia is the daughter of Timothy and Ramona Sharkey of Philadelphia and graduated from Nazareth Academy High School in Philadelphia in 2009. Her home parish is St. Dominic’s in Philadelphia.

Zachary A. Tackett

Tackett is a graduate of Burrell High School and the son of Timothy and Colleen Tackett of Lower Burrell. A resident assistant and a student intern for the Visiting Writers Series, he also worked as a tutor in the English department, as an editorial intern with Sampsonia Way Magazine and as a student assistant in the office of foundation, government and corporate relations. He participated in a service learning trip to the garbage dump community of Guatemala City during his sophomore year and returned to Guatemala this past summer where he volunteered for the Centro de Capitacion, a vocational school and public health center, while completing research for his senior project in creative writing. He has worked with Alpha Lambda Delta and the office of service learning on various service projects including the monthly community meal and numerous visits to Emeritus at Latrobe. He is a member of Alpha Chi and served as its president, a member of Who’s Who among Students in American Colleges and Universities, Sigma Tau Delta and served as its president, as well as Alpha Lambda Delta and served as its president and student advisor. He won first prize in the Ragan Poetry Contest in 2010, and recently won the Thelma Hall Prize in Creative Writing at the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society conference in Nashville, Tenn. His senior project was a collection of his original poetry entitled, Attempt at Definition. He has accepted a position in the marketing department of the George DeLallo Company.

College President Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., will present the award at the spring Honors Convocation on Wednesday, April 24 at 12:30 p.m. in Saint Vincent Basilica.

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Photos: Lucas Briola, Mary Kate Kenna, Meredith R. McGuire, Olivia Sharkey and Zachary A. Tackett. 

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PR2013-206