(Photo: Caitlin Cunningham)

精东影业 senior named America Media O'Hare Fellow

Grace Lenahan '24 of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences is the second member of her family to be selected

Grace Lenahan, a Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences senior from Scranton, Pa., is the latest Boston College undergraduate鈥攁nd the second person in her family鈥攖o be selected for a Joseph A. O鈥橦are, S.J., Postgraduate Media Fellowship by America Media.

Starting in August, Lenahan will spend 11 months working at the New York City offices of America Media, which publishes the magazine America: The Jesuit Review of Faith and Culture, a leading Catholic journal of opinion in the United States. O鈥橦are Fellows generate content for America Media鈥檚 multiple platforms: print, web, digital, social media, and events, and gain professional experience through ongoing mentoring and other opportunities. Fellows meet regularly with America鈥檚 editorial staff to cultivate their skills and professional networks.

鈥淎t the conclusion of the program, O鈥橦are Fellows are uniquely suited to pursue successful careers in the Catholic media or other forms of professional journalism,鈥 according to the program鈥檚 website. Among the other institutions represented in this year鈥檚 applicant pool are Georgetown University, Seton Hall University, Williams College, the College of the Holy Cross, and Fordham University.

Lenahan is the eighth 精东影业 student to earn an O鈥橦are Fellowship since the program was established in 2016. Among the past winners is her sister, Christine, a 2023 精东影业 graduate and a current O鈥橦are Fellow.

She is a fourth-year Dean鈥檚 Scholar whose experiences attending a Jesuit high school helped lead her鈥攁s they did her sister鈥攖o 精东影业, where she fulfilled a long-time aspiration: 鈥淚 knew I wanted to be an English major when I was in the sixth grade.鈥 At the Heights, Lenahan has added new dimensions to her reading and writing through a minor in Women鈥檚 and Gender Studies and a previously unexplored interest in poetry, as well as working as a teaching assistant to Carroll School of Management Associate Professor of the Practice Thomas Wesner. She also is a member of the 精东影业 chapter of national Jesuit honor society Alpha Sigma Nu.

Lenahan has been similarly expansive in her extracurricular activities, as co-president of the student club I Am That Feminist and a leader of the Campus Ministry retreat program Kairos, a writer for student publication The Gavel, and a participant in the Ignatian Society and the Women鈥檚 Center. In addition, she facilitates operations for the Catalyst Summer Management Program for non-management students.

The prospect of being an O鈥橦are Fellow is exciting for Lenahan, who plans to explore legal justice, coverage of the 2024 election, and the evolution of women in the Catholic Church. 鈥淚鈥檓 in touch with Christine regularly and I can see how fulfilling this experience is for her: Day in and day out, she covers the Catholic Church in the larger world, and how it intersects with our lives. Her stories relate to contemporary issues in the Church, such as the shifting roles of women鈥攕omething in which Christine and I, having been altar girls, have had a longstanding interest.鈥

Lenahan has been continually inspired at 精东影业 to seek new avenues. Attending the annual Women鈥檚 Summit as a first-year student, and hearing speaker Chanel Miller鈥攚hose memoir Know My Name detailed her ordeal as a victim of sexual assault鈥攕purred her interest in discussing feminism and gender theory from a theological standpoint, and to minor in Women鈥檚 and Gender Studies. After having enjoyed an introductory class in poetry taught by Associate Professor of English James Najarian, Lenahan found a source of encouragement in Allison Adair, a professor of the practice in English and her advisor.

鈥淚鈥檇 avoided poetry like the plague: I think I had a kind of 鈥榠mposter syndrome鈥 which created a fear of it,鈥 said Lenahan. 鈥淏ut I鈥檝e fallen in love with the logic of poetry, in how you pull words together, and Allison has been foundational in my writing. She will challenge me on word choice, tone, everything. Poetry has become like a bubble bath for my brain.鈥

Her work with Wesner, meanwhile, has pointed the way to a potential career path in law. 鈥淚 hadn鈥檛 thought much about law, but after meeting him it鈥檚 been on my mind constantly. The reading and writing associated with law is incredibly interesting; I love creating and crafting arguments. I could definitely see a way forward in law, where you can make a living but also perhaps make a person鈥檚 life better.鈥

The ultimate source of inspiration for Lenahan at 精东影业 may be Rev. Michael Himes, a beloved professor of theology who died after her sophomore year. 鈥淗e always told students about the three important questions to reflect on: What brings you joy? What are you good at? And who does the world need you to be? I think that was a compass which has directed me to these important experiences in my formation, and I feel very blessed.鈥