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  May 14, 2001

Senior Class Representative: Dorothy Puzio

Dorothy Puzio has studied in France, interned for U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, backpacked through Europe, completed four years of work in the Honors Program, and even managed to become one of the few students to live in the South Campus residence halls for all three years since they opened.

So when she tells more than 1,500 other graduating seniors on May 19 to be willing to take a chance in their lives, she speaks from experience.

Puzio is one of two students selected as senior class representatives for Commencement. Puzio will deliver her message during the University's 3 p.m. ceremonies, addressing students earning degrees from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Neag School of Education, and the College of Continuing Studies. Sarah Kiernan, a pre-physical therapy major from Newtown and the other senior class representative, will deliver the morning address, during ceremonies at 10 a.m. the same day.

"I really want to tell them (fellow seniors) not to be afraid of change, to take a chance, to follow their hearts," says Puzio. "There's a quote from a song by Leeann Womack I love, 'If you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.' I'd like to tell them that too."

Puzio will earn bachelor's degrees in economics and French. The daughter of Polish immigrants, she also speaks Polish fluently. She has been accepted to next fall's class at the University of Connecticut School of Law, and hopes to become a hospital administrator and, eventually, a university administrator.

"I love being on a college campus," she says. "It's exciting and always changing."

Puzio's current love, though, is in the health care field. Her honors thesis laid out an incentive-based insurance proposal for people who are genetically disposed to certain diseases, such as breast cancer. The model would create a system that would reward

people for behaviors that could lessen their chances of contracting the disease and, consequently, decrease the risks taken by insurance companies who agree to cover them.

Puzio, who has earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average every semester since arriving at UConn, also will be honored with the Outstanding Graduating Woman Award, an annual award given to one woman from each of UConn's 12 Storrs-based schools and colleges. The award, co-sponsored by the Women's Center and the Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women, will be presented during ceremonies in the Student Union Ballroom from 4-6 p.m. on May 18.

Richard Veilleux

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