University of Vermont


New Alumna Danie Leahy Named College’s 2013 Outstanding Senior

Danielle Leahy portrait
Danielle Leahy '13, earned several of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences top awards including Outstanding Senior.

She’s been lauded for her undergraduate research and academic prowess. But ask any of her fellow students and professors about Danie Leahy, and you’ll likely hear how hardworking she is, her magical feats of time management, her evident ability to survive without sleep, her desire to put her science- and health-knowledge to work in real life and her sincere commitment to help others.

Danielle Leahy of Burlington graduated from UVM Honors College in December with a one of the top GPAs and a degree in nutrition and food sciences, also completing the pre-med. requirements. She has been accepted by the University of Vermont College of Medicine to begin studies in fall.

On May 11 at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) 20th annual alumni and friends dinner she received the Lawrence K. Forcier Outstanding Senior Award, honors a student who significantly helps fellow students and the community while excelling in a demanding academic program, and one who will likely make a significant difference in the world. CALS Dean Tom Vogelmann presented the award, along with Outstanding Alumni Awards to Bonnie Sogoloff ’66 and Gilman Dedrick ’56 and Robert O. Sinclair Cup Awards for career achievement to Emeriti Professor Lyndon Carew and the late Professor Winston Way. Emma Wall '01, G'04, 'Ph.D 08 was named CALS New Achiever.

During Honors Day ceremonies in April, Leahy took home her department’s faculty and research awards and the Distinguished Undergraduate Research Award.

The latter, was for her work as on the effectiveness of a branched chain amino acid drink supplement on muscle soreness following exercise. As principle investigator, she initiated funding from two student grants, designed and conducted the entire study herself, analyzed data and prepared the manuscript. She delivered the results at the Experimental Biology meeting in Boston just weeks ago. Even better: her work will be published in the journal, “ISRN Nutrition.” Her advisors along the way were Professors Bob Tyzbir and Stephen Pintauro. Previously she did research in the Fletcher Allen labs of Drs. Naomi Fukugawa and Kaley Freeman.

That’s just the tip of the academics and research side of Danielle Leahy.

The rest of the picture reveals how she fills the other 18 hours of every day.

Danie Leahy came to UVM from her hometown of Middlebury via Wesleyan University where she spent her first semester.  While at UVM, she was head coach of a local high school girls’ varsity ice hockey team, volunteered to rebuild houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina, was an office holder and member of Alpha Chi Omega, mentored Honors College peers and played starting goaltender for UVM field hockey club, to name a few.

Dean Tom Vogelmann, in presenting the Outstanding Senior Award to Leahy drew laughter from the audience of about 150 when he said, “she seamlessly blends her professional and social interests. For example, she gave presentations to her sorority sisters on healthy eating, the dangers of alcohol use in the college setting and how to improve their academic records.”

At UVM she became a certified EMT, volunteering for UVM Rescue and then becoming crew chief and crew chief trainer – that’s the highest level of certification. She did it in only a year and a half. That’s because she has logged in more than 5,200 hours since 2010.

Her Professor Bob Tyzbir said, “Danie is the kind of student all professors crave; intellectually driven, brilliant, genuinely engaged in the material, original, thorough – and humble.” She asked to sit in on his nutritional biochem. course just to better understand the biochemical aspects of her other coursework and research.

Her research advisor Professor Stephen Pintauro summed it up, “Danie is mature, outgoing, articulate, friendly and very highly motivated. Despite her incredibly busy schedule, she is upbeat and enthusiastic.” He said, “I believe that Danie has managed to find a healthy balance between her academic goals and responsibilities, her volunteer and community service and her friends and social life.”

Accepting the award, Leahy remarked, "All the things I've done at UVM are really great, but the most important thing I've taken awary from UVM are the people – you can't do it alone – the people I've met along the way are the best." Leahy says that before med. school she’s taking time to enjoy things she had long set aside – playing hockey, traveling with college and high school friends and working, working, working. She’s employed by Charlotte Rescue Squad, Shelburne Rescue Squad and Fletcher Allen inpatient psychiatry.