The Finish Line

The Finish Line

Maribeth Yingling wants you to Finish On The 50. It's just one of the volunteer efforts she's involved in as a senior at Saint Mary's. Finish On The 50 is a 5K run and 1 mile fun walk being held April 18, 2009. The event will help raise funds for Hannah and Friends, an organization that is "aimed to improve the quality of life for children and adults with special needs," according to Yingling. "It's about achieving the highest quality of life, and for every individual to be happy regardless of any disadvantages one may face."

Yingling's interest stems from a friendship with a high school classmate with developmental disabilities. "I wanted to get actively involved somewhere, and Hannah and Friends came up," says Yingling about hearing University of Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis speak about Hannah and Friends during her first year at Saint Mary’s. Weis and his wife Maura are the founders of the organization.

In addition to her work with Hannah and Friends, the Dayton, Ohio, native is also the Senior Board Service chair, and the vice president of Future Women Doctors. She also participates in the Pen Pal program, writing to local elementary school girls. She has studied abroad, spending a semester in Rome. "I think if I had to say one thing, it would be that being in Rome made me grow up and mature a lot in the semester I was there. I became more independent and confident in myself," says Yingling.

The psychology major describes one of her favorite classes—developmental psychology with Professor [Beth] O'Connor—as interesting and dynamic. "I think the class provided me with a lot of insight as to how children mature, and I look at children a little differently," says Yingling.

When it comes to support during her college career Yingling says, "Dr. [Nancy] Nekvasil and Professor [Thomas] Parisi are two of my professors who have without a doubt greatly enriched my academic endeavors here. They are always so busy, but drop everything and listen when I have needed it," says Yingling. "They are genuine, caring, and always offer great advice."

In the fall Yingling will be attending Midwestern University's Occupational Therapy program in Downer's Grove, Ill., a move she says she is ready for because "Saint Mary's prepared me academically and gave me the confidence I needed during interviews."

The College also assisted with financial support. "I have been blessed with the Spes Unica Scholarship. This enabled me to attend Saint Mary's and I have been forever changed because of it," says Yingling. "I thank God everyday for the opportunity that blessed me to attend Saint Mary's."