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Playing mom to an entire college campus

"I applied to the position and got called the next day," she said.

The job has turned out to be an amazing experience for Somerville. Now, instead of being mother to just her three children, she has a campus full of children to watch over. For example, if a student just got his or her wisdom teeth out, she'll make sure to bring ice over, or if she sees students eating alone a few nights in a row, she'll go over there and join them.

Students at the school feel comfortable enough to come to her with their problems, she said, and there is nothing being documented so no one else is going to hear about it if they don't want them to.

"It's such an eye opener because you don't realize how hard it is for these kids," she said. "All of a sudden they have to be on their own and go through a lot of difficult things."

Father Dennis Tamburello, professor of Religious Studies and a friar in the new residence hall, said he sees the concern Somerville has for the students. She has a willingness to listen, he said, and constantly knows what is going on in their lives.

"She always on the pulse of things," he said. "She does that in a very quiet way just by basically being a nice person and showing she cares If she sees something going on and is concerned, she will express that concern to the student or to us."

Faculty and staff members are recognized every year but have usually been around for more than a year, Tamburello said, but Somerville had made such an impression on the students and the college itself that the award was certainly deserved.

"She's making people feel like they count," he said. "And she does it naturally."

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