Westborough Woman Recipient of Female Leadership Scholarship

WESTBOROUGH _ Nicole Pasternak Flynn is a quiet, soft-spoken young woman who carries a much larger presence than her small frame would suggest.  She presents strong leadership ability in her intelligence, commitment to give back to the community, and her desire to succeed in a world where she knows one must embrace a multi-dimensional and well-rounded philosophy. It is her powerful, yet quiet presence and her multi-faceted leadership that made her a standout as this year’s winner of the Deborah A. Penta Female Leadership Scholarship. A 2007 Westborough High School graduate, Flynn is headed to Villanova University this fall.

The Deborah A. Penta Female Leadership Scholarship was founded in 2005 by Deborah Penta, CEO of PENTA Communications, Inc. in Westborough. Penta devised the award in order to help inspire and acknowledge female high school students who excel in their leadership roles in academia, as well as community service.

“Each year, we are increasingly impressed with the quality of applicants we receive,” Penta said. “It is a pleasure to meet so many intelligent and well-rounded young women who look forward to joining the ranks of becoming a female leader in a particular field or industry of interest. They worked hard in school, achieved high academic standing and managed to excel in community service, volunteerism, athletics, and many other areas. At a very young age, they are learning the art of life balance and how to make it work for them.”

Applicants for the scholarship must be college bound female high school seniors, submit three letters of recommendation from faculty members or other individuals who can attest to the student’s leadership qualities, and they also must write a 200-word essay that states why they feel they should be the recipient of the scholarship.

Flynn said that when she was reading about the different scholarships available, this particular one stood out.

“I just saw it and said, ‘that’s me,’” Flynn said. “I really enjoy doing community service. I am a part of the National Honor Society, and as part of that, you must perform at least 20 hours of community service every half year.”

Some of Flynn’s community service include: delivering meals to Jeremiah’s Inn in Worcester, being an assistant field hockey coach for middle school children in the Westborough Recreation Department, volunteering at Worcester Medical Center, working with at-risk third graders in the Time Traveler’s program, participating in the Community Harvest Project and going overseas to Lourdes, France volunteering at the holy site.

“Each year, our candidates are very different. In listening to Nicole share her experiences in helping the nuns in Lourdes, France, it was quite remarkable to see how she recognized that this amazing miracle site ‘called her’ to help those in need. She saw many
things in Lourdes that will remain in her mind and in her heart forever, and those memories have helped shaped her future aspirations,” Penta said. “It was very impressive to meet a teenager who chose to help at a holy site, when she could have chosen to do anything else. She certainly has demonstrated leadership in her life, by making this choice which rang true for her.”

As a high school student, Flynn excelled in academics, taking four Advanced Placement classes, while also being on the varsity field hockey team, Student Council, French Club and being actively involved in her church’s religious education program.

“Her reputation among faculty, administration, and her peers is outstanding. Much of this can be contributed to the respect she has for others and the faith she has in the ability of herself and her peers to make significant contributions to the benefit of society,” wrote Edward Belbin, chairman of the Westborough High School Social Studies Department.

“Nicole Pasternak Flynn epitomizes the ‘girl next door,’ the one you would be honored to know. She is a natural beauty, inside and out. Nicole is a mature, responsible and caring teen with impeccable manners, style and taste. I am certain she is destined for an accomplished future,” said Hastings School Counselor Mary Ann Burritt.

Flynn said she is undecided what she will major in at Villanova.

“I’m not sure yet what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll pursue a career in law, or maybe politics. Whatever I do, I want to do something to be of use to others,” she said. “I want to get out there and do something to help. I think I’ll always be doing community service. I’m my happiest when I’m helping others. It just feels so good.”

Flynn said one of the reasons she chose Villanova was because of its strong community spirit.

“I went and saw it and said this is the right fit for me,” she added.

Flynn said she plans to put the scholarship toward her tuition.

“We are delighted to award Nicole with the 2007 Female Leadership Scholarship and know that she will excel at Villanova and her future endeavors,” Penta said.