Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category

Tommy Belton, 2013

In 2007, Brooks Dyroff and friend Kenny Haisfield, both students from Boulder, Colorado, started CEO 4 Teens, a non-profit organization focused on global education. They raised enough money to sponsor an Integrated English and Computer Skills class of 10 students in Indonesia. The duo continued sponsoring classes, and by the time they graduated high-school, they had graduated two more classes of identical size.

Brooks Dyroff is now a sophomore on the Boston College hockey team. He has just returned from Minnesota, where he received the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award, an award given  annually to a collegiate hockey player who serves the community. Dyroff won the award not only for his work abroad, but also for his cooperative work with the local St. Columbkille Elementary School in Brighton. Dyroff has organized a “Race to Educate,” a 5K race around Boston College on April 16th at 10 a.m. Registration can take place on race day or at http://www.bcracetoeducate.com.  He and his teammates have also been selling hats and donating all profits to St. Columbkille. I sat down with Brooks and interviewed him on the recent success of CEO 4 Teens and its future.



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Cara Condon, 2012

Stephen J. Pope, social activist and Boston College professor, always has a dizzying array of projects underway. Internationally known for his work in mediation and conflict resolution in Africa, Prof. Pope has recently turned his attention to the nexus of theology and neuroscience. How does the way the mind works inform our understanding of metaphysics and cosmology?


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Tommy Belton, 2013

Tim Luk graduated from Boston College in 2010. He was a member of the PULSE program and was on PULSE council. While at Boston College, Tim volunteered at Samaritans, a hotline for people who are suicidal. Now Tim works at a Don Miller Home in Baltimore, a house for people who are HIV+ or have AIDS.

What are you up to now and how does your job now differ from the expectations you had 4 years ago heading into Boston College?

What I’m doing right now is I’m a residential aid in a HIV+ and AIDS home. My duties include basically being a glorified maid, friend, and mom to the people. At the house I cook, clean and even bathe (others). A lot of the residents have compounding medical issues including dementia, extreme OCD, and there are guys that are paralyzed.  There are also developmental issues. Some people there have the emotional capacity of a 6 year old. So it’s not just AIDS: it’s AIDS plus a whole host of other ailments. It’s assisted living, so all of these people can’t take care of themselves, and their families don’t have the means to support them so they come to this house.

I expected to leave Boston College with a job making a ton of money, let’s be honest. Coming into
BC I was hoping to be a hot-shot lawyer. It doesn’t matter what type; corporate, tax, as long as I was going to make money. Coming into BC I was expecting to go to a top 10 law-school. Then sophomore year I took PULSE, and that totally shifted my academic focus as well as my priorities. After my sophomore year, I picked up the philosophy major, got on pulse council junior year and met great people on council and talked to teachers I had in the philosophy department. They really just opened my eyes to a whole list of different ideas and different things I wanted to explore rather than just going straight to law school. That’s how I ended up doing this.


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Andrew Leonard will graduate on May 24, and travel to Mobile, Alabama, as a Jesuit Volunteer Corps volunteer working with Health Care for the Homeless.  He leaves behind a remarkable tribute to the service opportunities that Boston College afforded him during his four years.  String Quartet No. I is an original composition, written in his final semester, “in gratitude” for the ways in which service has touched his life.   It is performed here by artists in residence, The Hawthorne String Quartet.  To hear it, click below.

Q:  Some believe that music heals.

A: I absolutely agree.  I believe that music can empower and inspire people.  The right music at the right time can deliver a renewed feeling of strength and motivation.  Personally, after stressful days, I love to sit at the piano or with a guitar, playing without music in front of me.  I make up the music as I go.  It has a wonderful healing effect.

Q: How did this piece come to be?

A: I titled the piece, “A Good Friday Reflection,” but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

I had just returned from an Appalachia Volunteers trip to rural Virginia for Easter  break, and was preparing for a summer study abroad program in El Salvador.  I decided to go for a jog through my neighborhood and down a wooded path nearby.  As I ran, I began thinking about these experiences and the different realities I had and would encounter.  My thoughts turned to my own parents, family, and friends, the privileges of my life and the ways in which my attitudes about myself, service, and life had been shaped by them.  I knew then that I wanted to write a song of thanks for the love and support that had been so selflessly given to me throughout my life.  When I returned home, I sat down at the piano and slowly started to create the main theme.

Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132, mvmt. 3 had an enormous influence.  He wrote it after recovering from a near-fatal illness.  Professor Ralf Gawlick was very helpful in my eventually completing my own work.

Q: You combine pre-med studies, service, and music.  How do these all fit together for you?

A: I entered BC as a pre-med, chemistry major.  I’d played saxophone until high school, then discovered the piano.  I fell in love with it, practiced every day, and really desired to improve.  When I came to BC I thought I’d take some music classes, maybe do some service in an extracurricularly capacity.  I never imagined getting as involved as I have.  It all happened organically.  At some point I decided to follow Pedro Arrupe, SJ’s famous advice, “Nothing is more practical than finding God; that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.  What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything.  It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with you evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.  Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

Q: What books have you read at BC that have most influenced you:

A: Doing the Truth in Love, by Fr. Michael Himes

Robert Kennedy, by Evan Thomas.

Q:  What do you do to relax?

A: The best relaxation is to put all the laptops and everything away and just sit down and hang out with my roommates.  We rarely discuss anything of great importance, and that’s the best part.   We laugh a lot.   It’s as if we have our own language.  I could spend hours and hours hanging with these guys.  When I talk about my college experience, it will be these friends that I talk about.

Good luck.

Listen to Andrew’s piece here.

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