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Stellar Student: Beverly teen gets hands-on help at Hopkins

Maeve Sweeney Mother McAuley High School wants pursue career as an oncology nurse.  |  Supplied phoby Nancy Lynch

Maeve Sweeney, of Mother McAuley High School, wants to pursue a career as an oncology nurse. | Supplied photo by Nancy Lynch

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Updated: December 12, 2013 6:13AM



Maeve Sweeney, a senior at Mother McAuley High School in Chicago, plans to pursue a career as an oncology nurse.

She got a big head start this past summer when she traveled to Johns Hopkins University to gain some hands-on experience.

Sweeney, 17, was chosen to participate in a People to People Leadership Conference at the esteemed nonprofit research university in Baltimore.

During a 10-day program focusing on medicine and health, Sweeney learned about effective leadership and how to develop her own leadership abilities and apply those skills at home. Hands-on activities included visiting the medical research laboratory, hearing from professional speakers, attending workshops and visiting local venues to see the importance of leadership.

“I learned to work with a team, ask for help and be a leader within a small group. If someone needed something, I was there,” Sweeney said. “It was a very hands-on program and we had lectures every night from different speakers. I came back with more knowledge on everything having to do with the medical field. I learned a lot.”

Sweeney became interested in nursing when she was in junior high.

“Then, in my freshman year, I did a lot of volunteering for the Treasure Chest Foundation, which is for pediatric oncology patients,” said Sweeney, the daughter of Mike and Kelly Sweeney, of Chicago’s Beverly community. “I just started helping my aunt get toys together and do other small things.”

Sweeney also is involved with the Beverly Breast Cancer Committee, helping with fundraising since she was in sixth grade. Again, she became involved with this group because of her aunt, Colleen Carroll, of Beverly, who has been affiliated with it for years.

“My aunt has molded me into the person I am today. She got me started with the Beverly Breast Cancer Committee and interested in pediatric oncology,” Sweeney said. “Now I know my profession thanks to her. I know what I want to be and how I want to help people and that’s all because of my aunt.”

When it comes to strength, her mother is her role model.

“She’s gone through a lot the past couple of years and she has not let anyone see it. She has had a smile on her face and she’s helped me a lot through everything and supporting me with open arms,” Sweeney said.

At school, she’s a student ambassador and a student council member. Outside of school, she is a member of Cool Stick, a lacrosse club in Chicago Heights. She was named a 2013 All-Conference player, has been named as a 2013 Brine National High School All-American, and was selected to represent Illinois at the 2013 Brine National Lacrosse Classic this summer.

She would like to embark on her nursing education by attending St. Louis University, Tampa University or Marquette University next school year.

“Knowing that the next day or the next day after that, I am one more day closer to my goal keeps me motivated,” she said. “I know what I want to do. Knowing that I’ll get there keeps me going. If I do well, I’ll be that much closer to my goal.”



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