16 seniors inducted into the national Cum Laude Society
Today, Sacred Heart Greenwich honored the academic accomplishments of sixteen seniors with their induction into the national Cum Laude Society. Head of School Pamela Juan Hayes ’64 and Upper School Head Jenn Bensen H’15 presented the students with their Cum Laude pins, which bear the society’s emblem and promote “Excellence, Justice and Honor.”
The students welcomed into the national honor society include:
Mary Anne Gallagher
Each year an alumnae guest speaker shares a reflection with those in attendance. This year, the audience had the opportunity to hear from Nicole Polemeni-Hergarty ’13, who is currently a mechanical engineer at Jeff Bezo’s private aerospace company Blue Origin. At Blue Origin, she works as an engineer on the first stage of a reusable orbital rocket. After graduating from Sacred Heart, Nicole attended Cornell University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering and a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering. At Cornell, she was involved in a Mars Rover design project for four years, for which she worked to become the Engineering Manager of a team of 45 engineers.
In her talk, Polemeni-Hergarty ’13 reflected on how her time in an all-girls school impacted her college experience. Relating to freshmen through senior attendees in the de Csepel Theater she said, “As you all know, it is practically impossible to sit passively in a classroom here at Sacred Heart. You are encouraged and expected to contribute because we are taught that all ideas are valid and should be shared in a collaborative setting. And because I had something to contribute in these male-dominated engineering classes, just as I did in all of my classes here, I spoke up. This differentiated me from many of my female peers. While I wish this didn’t have to be the case, it might be the case in your own university classrooms. So make sure to speak up – you deserve to be there just as much as your male peers.”
In addition to giving Upper School students advice about what is to come as they transition to college, Polemeni-Hergarty more generally inspired students to pursue their interests and make a difference. She said, “Leverage your sisterhood, faith, and personal integrity to start ripples in the next chapters of your life. And go forward with intellectual curiosity and passion to pursue what you think is important in this world, what has an impact on your community, and what brings you joy.”
Polemeni-Hergarty’s speech inspired the entire Class of 2019 and truly welcomed the sixteen newly inducted Cum Laude Society members into this new and special recognition.