Kayla O’Brien ’15 Named Top Graduate in Sociology for 2015

May 5, 2015

In recognition of outstanding academic achievement, Kayla O’Brien ’15 has been named a Top Graduate in Sociology by the Stonehill College Sociology & Criminology Department.

O’Brien, a sociology and English double major from Holliston, Massachusetts, has demonstrated a commitment to scholarship that exemplifies the habits of mind that Stonehill seeks to help students cultivate.

“Kayla embodies the academic excellence, intellectual rigor and curiosity we hope to see in all of our majors,” says Chris Wetzel, associate professor of sociology and department chair.  “When I had Kayla as a student in my sociological theories class, her performance was outstanding in every way.”

O’Brien’s capstone internship focused on a new treatment program at an alternative school in Brockton, Massachusetts. Her study of the program, entitled “An In-Depth Evaluation of a Trauma Sensitive Approach to Student Learning in an Alternative School Setting,” earned praise as being an excellent and compelling sociological analysis. Moreover, O’Brien’s internship supervisor requested a copy of her final report to learn from the evaluation.

In addition to her capstone project, O’Brien participated in three H.O.P.E. service immersion trips and completed an additional internship with Hope for Children, a non-profit in Brockton that provides mentoring and community service opportunities for local at-risk youth and street outreach in various international locations.

“Working for an organization that serves at-risk youth and families is my ultimate passion,” says O’Brien, who will embark on a year of service after graduation. “I plan on attending graduate school for my master’s in counseling or social work.”

Selected Activities and Achievements

  • Inducted into Lambda Epsilon Sigma Honor Society (Stonehill College)
  • Inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta International Honor Society (sociology)
  • 2015 Student Life Award Recipient
  • Seven-time dean’s list honoree
  • Participated in H.O.P.E. service immersion trips to the Bronx, New York, and to La Romana, Dominican Republic
  • Student leader of the H.O.P.E. service immersion trip to Hagersville, Kentucky, spring 2015
  • Studied abroad at Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy, fall 2013
  • Camp counselor for ASPIRE, a camp serving children with mild cases of autism, Asperger’s syndrome and anxiety disorders