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For Immediate Release:   5/9/2011   

Three Students Share Top Class of 2011 Honors

Providence, R.I.--Three students … three dramatically different academic majors … one shared belief that they have been undoubtedly changed by their four years at Providence College.

On Saturday, May 14, Yi Cao '11 (East Providence, R.I.), Nicole M. Kenny '11 (Fairfield, N.J.), and Megan E. Moran '11 (West Haven, Conn.) will be honored as the students with the highest academic rank in the Class of 2011 at the Academic Awards Ceremony. Each student has received straight A's--for a 4.0 grade point average--throughout her academic career at PC.

As is the custom, the valedictorian delivers an address to the graduating class. The three top students this year have decided that Kenny will speak to her classmates--a speech that will include the thoughts of Cao and Moran.

"My goal is to commend and congratulate the Class of 2011 on our hard work, to encourage us to take what we have learned at PC inside and outside the classroom and use it to effect change, and to hold our PC experience in our hearts and remember all of the wonderful relationships we have made," Kenny said.

Student-scholars up close:

YiCao.jpgYi Cao, a biology and mathematics major, will attend the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in the fall--after visiting her grandparents in China this summer.

During her time at PC, Cao has worked with PC Circle K (the College's chapter of the international collegiate service organization supported by Kiwanis International), the Biology Society, Campus Ministry's Hospital Outreach, and as a math tutor in the Office of Academic Services.

A student-researcher in the research lab led by Rev. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., assistant professor of biology, Cao is a member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta (premedical), Pi Mu Epsilon (mathematics), Chi Omega Lamda (biochemistry and molecular biology), and Sigma Xi (scientific research) honor societies.

The co-recipient of the 2009 Rev. Paul van K. Thomson Award, which is presented to students who best demonstrate exemplary, sustained work in the Honors Development of Western Civilization Program, Cao said her PC education has allowed her to grow in ways she couldn't have envisioned.

"PC has really allowed me to gain confidence and grow as a person," Cao said. "The education here has definitely broadened my perspective."


Nicole Kenny, an English major and public and community service studies minor, will work as a development assistant for the Rhode Island Foster Parents Association (RIFPA) and as a community relations intern at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of R.I. this summer. In the fall, she will work full time for RIFPA.

NicoleKenny.jpgA member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program, Kenny has participated in a number of service activities during her four years at PC. She has been a community liaison for the San Miguel School, a writing tutor in the Office of Academic Services, a New Student Orientation leader, and has been involved in activities that raise awareness about violence against women.

Kenny said her time at PC has offered her a "warm and supportive community," an "excellent academic education," and the opportunity for self-discovery.

"I am certain that my four years at Providence College will be some of the most formative years of my life," she said. "I am thankful for the friends I have made, the professors who have taught me, and the lessons I have learned in and out of the classroom."

MeganMoran.jpgMegan Moran, an elementary/special education major, said her goal is to "inspire the minds" of young children and earn her master's degree in special education or literacy.

Moran has volunteered for events for the Rhode Island Special Olympics at PC and has participated in Colleges Against Cancer and the Education Club. She has also dedicated a great deal of time to tutoring students in the areas of reading, writing, and math. She is a member of the Alpha Epsilon Alpha (international reading association) and Kappa Delta Pi (education) honor societies.

Moran said as she looks back on her time at PC, she has come to recognize "the overwhelming value of each and every experience and opportunity" with which she has been presented.

"I cannot even begin to thank Providence College for all the eye-opening opportunities with which I have been presented and the long-lasting friendships that have developed and grown over the years," Moran said. "There is no doubt that wherever I go and whatever path I choose, I will never forget the wonderful experiences and the life-long memories that I have made throughout my four amazing years here."

Chrissy Centazzo
Public Affairs and Community Relations Coordinator
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