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Eight Guerin Finalists Chosen; One Will Meet Her Personal Hero

Every year, members of the junior class are encouraged to write and submit an essay in a competition for the Guerin Prize, which provides one girl with the opportunity to meet the living American whom she most admires.  This year, a group of faculty and staff members headed by Director of Admissions Jeanette Woo Chitjian selected eight finalists from 31 applicants based on criteria such as passion and enthusiasm. After a series of individual interviews with a panel of judges, one of the following girls will be chosen to win the Guerin Prize and will travel to meet her idol with the faculty member of her choice. Next year, these finalists will collectively nominate the Guerin Visiting Scholar, a luminary in his or her field who will visit Marlborough and address the community.

Sonia '14 requested to meet Stephen Colbert. Photo by Suhauna '14.
Sonia ’14 requested to meet Stephen Colbert. Photo by Suhauna ’14.

Every Friday night, after a long week, Sonia Gonzalez ’14 watches all four of the week’s episodes of The Colbert Report in a row on Hulu. For Gonzalez, Stephen Colbert, political satirist, comedian, and television host, was the obvious choice for her Guerin Prize essay.

Gonzalez said that she admired when Colbert spent a day as a migrant worker in Alabama and used his celebrity to bring publicity to the working conditions there.

“Other than the fact that he keeps me involved with the community and the world, he is a practicing Catholic, [and] I’m a practicing Catholic,” Gonzalez said. “He is not the first person to make fun of his religion but he breaks the stigma that religious people are backwards conservatives.”


Isabel '14 requested to meet Susan Cain. Photo by Suhauna '14.
Isabel ’14 requested to meet Susan Cain. Photo by Suhauna ’14.

Growing up, Isabel ’14 struggled with her quiet nature, which some people were quick to write off as shyness or low self-esteem. When she came across Susan Cain, a lawyer, lecturer and writer best known for her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Isabel said she finally found the role model she had been looking for.

“[Cain] is an introvert who talked about [quietness] as a source of pride and power and how quiet leadership is not a paradox and can lead to a lot of strengths. It’s brought me toward a really deep level of self-acceptance,” Isabel said.


Isabel '14 requested to meet Sandra Hall Magnus. Photo by Suhauna '14.
Isabel ’14 requested to meet Sandra Hall Magnus. Photo by Suhauna ’14.

Isabel ’14 wrote about Sandra Hall Magnus, an engineer and NASA astronaut who has participated in three expeditions to the International Space Station.

“I am a huge astronomy and astrophysics fan. It’s a field that doesn’t have enough women. Everyone I talk to is like ‘Oh, you’re a woman and you’re interested in that?’ Why is it such a surprise?”

Isabel also says she looks to Magnus as inspiration for how to deal with the stress of School and day-to-day life.

“Marlborough is very rigorous and often times it is easy to lose sight of the long-term goal… [Magnus] never gave up on her long-term goals, despite numerous challenges.”


Christina '14 requested to meet Eric Greteins. Photo by Suhauna '14.
Christina ’14 requested to meet Eric Greteins. Photo by Suhauna ’14.

Eric Greitens has worked all around the world as a humanitarian, helping victims of landmines in Cambodia, refugees in Bosnia and victims of the genocide in Rwanda while completing his work as a Rhodes Scholar. After graduating from the University of Oxford, he became a US Navy SEAL.

“He tried to find a way to balance his mission in military capacity with his mission in humanitarian capacity,” Christina ’14 said. “He taught that kindness could be just as important as killing people.”

Christina said that she is also interested in the intersection of humanitarianism and military public policy, and her ultimate goal is to improve the lives of others.


Mara '14 requested to meet
Mara ’14 requested to meet Maya Angelou. Photo by Isabel ’14.

Mara Abera ’14 cites celebrated author, poet, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou as the person who has had the greatest effect on her life. For Abera, what is even more inspiring than Angelou’s career is the strength it took to overcome her personal struggles, which included poverty, rape and racial discrimination.

“Her attitude towards all of the obstacles she’s faced helped dictate how I should face my own obstacles: [with] self-belief, perseverance, strength,” Abera said. “[Angelou] pushed herself and she accepted everything with an open mind and an open heart and that was incredible.”


Rachel '14 requested to meet Dainne Feinstein. Photo by Suhauna '14.
Rachel ’14 requested to meet Dainne Feinstein. Photo by Suhauna ’14.

Rachel ’14 said she seeks to emulate US Senator Dianne Feinstein’s career because she shares her desire to enact change through public policy.

“I want to try to do something that could help a lot of people, and she has really found a way to do that,” Rachel said.

Lurie said Feinstein has also had to deal with personal challenges, such as maneuvering her way as a women through the male-dominated field of politics. Since Lurie believes she will inevitably face similar challenges in her own career, she looks to Feinstein as a model of perseverance and tenacity.


Tess '14 requested to meet Bill Nye
Tess ’14 requested to meet Bill Nye the Science Guy. Photo by Suhauna ’14.

Most students probably have fond memories of watching Bill Nye the Science Guy in elementary school, singing along to the quirky theme song or laughing at the punny jokes about electricity.

“He is the reason I love science,” Tess ’14 said. “I saw him speak over the summer, and it sort of make me step back and think how much this guy was the reason I was so into science.”

This year, Tess is enrolled in the Leonetti/O’Connell Family Honors Research in Science Program, which has given her the opportunity to study psychology and the effects of emotion on memory at USC.


Colleen '14 requested to meet
Colleen ’14 requested to meet Mosab Hassan Yousef. Photo by Suhauna ’14.