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SMC valedictorian to continue research

Mandi Stirone | Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Saint Mary’s 2008 valedictorian, Lesley Anne Weaver, said she began working towards the honor as a freshman, but was stunned when told she received it.

“At Saint Mary’s I had the opportunity to know a lot of brilliant women so I was surprised,” she said.

The political science and social work double major, with a minor in mathematics, earned a 3.97 grade point average over her four years at the College, according to a press release.

“I’m really happy that all my hard work paid off,” she said. “I’m kind of nervous about my speech but I think overall I’m happy about it.”

She was heavily involved in activities at Saint Mary’s including being a writing center tutor, co-chairing service initiatives for the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and serving as treasurer of the Pacific Islander and Asian Club, according to the press release.

Her volunteer work with the Children’s Dispensary and as co-coordinator of Friends with Sisters, as well as her Social Work Field Practicum internships at Senator Evan Bayh’s Office and Covering Kids and Families of Indiana, helped to reaffirm her “passion for healthcare and disability rights,” she said.

She said the passion comes from people who she has met and spoke with.

“I think I’ve always been interested in politics,” she said.

After graduation, Weaver is attending the University of Minnesota in the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy with a dual concentration in Social Policy and Advanced Policy Analysis Methods.

She then plans to pursue a doctorate in either Political Science or Public Policy. The main objective of the doctorate will be “in order to explore how social welfare policies affect social problems and how social problems shape the passage and implementation of policies,” Weaver said in the press release.

She hopes to continue to do research on the topics of social inequality and social welfare regardless of where it might take her, she said.

“I really want to do research, if that takes me to [Washington] D.C. that’s great if it takes me to a large university that’s fine,” Weaver said.