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Official whirlwind

Olivia Heaney By Janet Harron

Olivia Heaney is a true whirlwind of activity. The Mount Pearl native and English (honours) student who graduates on May 27 already has a six-page-long CV of accomplishments and honours.

With a GPA average of 3.97, Ms. Heaney has graced the Faculty of Arts Dean’s List twice, in 2004-2005 and in 2006-2007. She has won several awards including the 2008 SSHRC J. Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, the 2008 Dr. Madeline Darte Scholarship in English, the 2007 English Language and Literature Book Prize for Academic Excellence, the 2007 wave Jamie Morry Memorial Scholarship, and the 2005 Dr. Edward Russell Scholarship in English.

Dr. Danine Farquharson is a huge fan. “Olivia is the most committed, enthusiastic, passionate student I have ever encountered. Her love of life and learning might have its roots in books and poetry, but she takes everything in which she believes outward: to peers, to the university community, to the broader community. She epitomizes what we love to celebrate in our students: intelligence, warmth, dedication, and enthusiasm.”

Academic accomplishments aside, it is the width and breadth of Ms. Heaney’s volunteer and work experience that is truly extraordinary. Within the Memorial University community alone, Ms. Heaney developed a new program to aid in easing the transition between high school and university, acted as fall 2006 orientation co-ordinator (including co-writing the theme song Become which has since been performed at various university events), worked as communications assistant for the Faculty of Business Administration and as assistant co-ordinator for the Canadian Association of Irish Studies National Conference.

Her volunteer activities are wide-ranging and diverse, ranging from singing and playing guitar for various charities and organizations to executing leadership workshops for high school students. At the moment, Ms. Heaney’s pet project is Nurture for Natuashish, a partnership between the Labrador Friendship Centre and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation to establish an art camp in June 2008 for the children of Natuashish.

Ms. Heaney has been accepted into the MA (English) program at Memorial and will begin graduate studies in September 2008. She hopes to pursue an academic career but, not surprisingly, doesn’t rule out doing more than one thing. “Is a career combination of academic, law, publishing, and PR out of the question?” she laughed.

One can only speculate with wonder on what Olivia Heaney’s CV might look like within the next 10 years.