Rhona Boyle, an international student from Dublin, Ireland, has been chosen to receive the Carpe Diem Award during Mercyhurst University commencement exercises on May 19.
The Carpe Diem Award is the highest award Mercyhurst gives to a traditional undergraduate student. It’s presented each year to the senior who has made the most positive impact on the Mercyhurst community and who best exemplifies the school’s motto, “Carpe Diem” – “Seize the Day.”
Boyle will graduate summa cum laude with a biology/pre-med degree and a concentration in neuroscience. In the fall she’ll begin a yearlong master’s degree program in infection and immunity at University College London. She’ll spend several months of the year in Tanzania studying tropical diseases.
In 2014 she expects to apply to medical schools with plans to specialize in tropical medicine or infectious diseases and to eventually work in developing countries. She got a taste of the field last summer when she completed an internship at India’s Shri Ram Hospital.
In addition to her achievements in the classroom and research labs, Boyle compiled an extensive record of service to her fellow students and to Mercyhurst.
She’s given hundreds of tours to prospective students as a Mercyhurst Ambassador and this year was president of the Ambassador Club, the largest student-led organization on campus. She chaired the Senior Gift Committee, raising more than $15,000 to create a greenhouse as a legacy from the Class of 2013.
This spring Boyle organized the first Eating Disorders Awareness Week at Mercyhurst. She has also worked as house manager for the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center and as a phonathon caller for the alumni department. She’s been active with a variety of organizations, including Diversity 101, the Mercyhurst International Student Organization, Habitat for Humanity and Tri-Beta, the biology honor society.
She also challenged herself to learn new skills and try new activities during her four years in America. She taught herself to ski with the Ski Club, joined the Concert Choir, took up spinning at the Rec Center, learned to snorkel in the Caribbean, and explored 10 states on road trips with friends.
Boyle will address her classmates during graduation exercises on Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. at the Bayfront Convention Center. More than 500 traditional-age students are graduating from Mercyhurst this year.