Danielle O'Reilly

When searching for the perfect university, future teacher Danielle O’Reilly did her homework. The high school honors student wanted to remain active in the community, enroll in a college honors program, experience a wide variety of on-campus clubs and activities, and be well prepared for her future profession.

She visited eight schools throughout the California. After each visit Dominican remained at the top of her list, even though it is located only five miles from her home.

“I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher, so I wanted to go to a school with a strong teaching program,” she says. “Growing up, most of my teachers in elementary school and high school had earned either their degree or their credential from Dominican. These were great teachers, so I knew Dominican had prepared them well. Dominican came highly recommended.”

When it came time for a decision – Danielle was accepted by all eight schools – Dominican proved to be the best fit.

It was tough to narrow it down, especially when I had friends excited about going further away from home, but I really wanted to remain involved with my community and eventually work in my community, so I knew that Dominican was the best choice.

A local friend, now a sophomore at Dominican, assured Danielle that she would not miss out on the college experience by attending a school close to home.

“My friend just raves about Dominican. She said that as long as you get involved with clubs, you will have the whole college experience.”

But what truly helped her finalize the decision was the ability to earn both a BA in Liberal Studies and MS in Education degree as well as two credentials (multiple subject and education specialist) in only five years. Elsewhere this would have taken her seven years.

Danielle’s energy and enthusiasm are hard to miss. The week before freshman orientation she had already lined up an on-campus job as an assistant in the Department of Athletics. The fit, she says, is perfect as she has served as a camp counselor since 8th grade, as well as a basketball coach at a local youth center.

Danielle also plans to continue her work with Marin’s Center for Domestic Peace, having just been offered an internship with the nonprofit organization after serving for several years as a high school volunteer. Last year she organized a youth outreach program and helped to develop a teen dating violence awareness program in order to help raise awareness about warning signs and resources for victims of domestic abuse. The program, which provided information about warning signs of an unhealthy relationship, the types of abuse, and how to get help, was implemented in five Marin County high schools.

Dominican’s focus on service is a good fit with Dominican. In addition to her work with the Center for Domestic Peace, Danielle has served as a teen ambassador for the annual Marin Teen Girl Conference; vice president of Friday Night Live, a program designed to support youth to work on projects that address issues related to teen alcohol and drug use; co-founder of the Kind Club, a school group created to address bullying issues; and as a member of her high school’s site leadership committee.

And, Danielle notes that there’s one more sign that Dominican was the perfect fit.

“I have always loved penguins; ever since I was a kid I have had a room full of stuffed penguins. I am just so happy that now I can say I am a penguin.”