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After Earning U.Va. Degree In Two Years, Graduate Looks Forward To Earning Two More

May 3, 2001-- Of the 4600 people receiving degrees May 20 at the University of Virginia, no undergraduate has earned one faster this year than Erin Leslie Segal.

Segal will receive a bachelor’s degree in bioethics after only two years at U.Va. She entered the University in 1999 with two year's worth of advanced-placement credits she earned in high school near Chicago.

"Every year, a number of students finish their undergraduate degrees in three years, but it is unusual to have someone finish in two years," said Robert LeHeup, assistant registrar.

The oldest of three children, Segal decided to complete her degree requirements quickly to help her parents financially since her 17-year-old brother and 14 year-old sister still have college ahead of them.

"My parents certainly didn’t pressure me to finish early. I felt it was the logical thing to do, especially since I’m an out-of-state student with higher tuition costs," Segal said.

She does acknowledge a bit of pressure from her parents, though. The daughter of Renee and Stewart Segal, who both graduated from U.Va., Segal claims, "My parents taught me the U.Va. fight song before I could talk."

(Renee Rafal Segal earned a bachelor’s degree in 1972 and a master’s degree in 1973, both in education with a concentration in speech pathology. Her dad earned a B.A. in biology in 1972.)

Segal credits her fast-forward pace to attending a competitive high school, Adlai E. Stevenson, outside Chicago. "I was taking AP courses by my second year of high school. so it seemed natural to continue to take AP courses and to take the exams."

By scoring 4s or higher on the AP exams, she earned two years of college credit. She entered U.Va. as an Echols Scholar, which allowed her to design her own curriculum in bioethics.

While at U.Va. she has been active on Student Council’s Women’s Affairs Committee. Through her leadership, women’s personal-care products have been installed and are maintained in nearly a dozen locations around Grounds.

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Segal will enter U.Va.’s Law School, where she will pursue a master’s degree in bioethics and a law degree. She plans a career in health-care policy.

Surprisingly, Segal will not take the traditional walk down the Lawn at graduation. "Graduation represents the culmination of a four-year experience to me. It doesn’t feel like it’s time to graduate. My joint MA/JD program will take 3 1/2 years. When I finish that, I expect to walk down the Lawn, because it will seem like the end of my time at U.Va. then."

Contact: Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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Last Modified: Thursday, 03-May-2001 14:34:07 EDT
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