2011 40 Under 40 – M-Q

Name: Rooney Mara 

Biography: ROONEY MARA began her career several years ago, shortly after enrolling as a student at New York University.  Since then, Mara landed roles in several independent films, including ‘Dare’ and ‘The Winning Season,’ both of which debuted at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.  Mara co-starred alongside Jackie Earle Haley and Thomas Dekker in the latest installment of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ as well as with Michael Cera in ‘Youth in Revolt.’ Mara also starred as the lead character, ‘Francesca’ in the 2009 Toronto Film Festival entry, ‘Tanner Hall,’ directed by Francesca Gregorini and Tatiana von Furstenberg.  In 2010 Mara starred as the ex-girlfriend of Mark Zuckerberg, in David Fincher’s Oscar-nominated ‘The Social Network.’  The Sony film, written by Aaron Sorkin, and starring Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, tells the story about the founders of Facebook.  Currently, Mara is in production in Stockholm on the David Fincher directed/Scott Rudin produced US adaptation of the popular Stieg Larsson book ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’ In a three-picture deal, to include ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire,’ and ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,’ Mara will portray the female lead ‘Lisbeth Salander’ opposite Daniel Craig and Robin Wright. Sony will release the film in December 2011.  On the small screen, Mara’s credits include memorable guest starring roles on ‘ER,’ ‘The Cleaner,’ ‘Women’s Murder Club,’ and ‘Law & Order: SVU.’  Mara is the Founder of the non-profit organization Faces of Kibera, which provides critical care and assistance to poverty-stricken orphans in Kibera, Kenya.


Name: Maggie Murphy 

Biography: Margaret G. Murphy is the Director of Finance and Operations at Cristo Rey NY High School in East Harlem. Cristo Rey New York is a Catholic college-preparatory high school that serves economically disadvantaged students from all over New York City. Maggie earned a BA in Government from Georgetown University in 2000 and graduated Cum Laude. She worked as a legal assistant at Simpson Thacher and Bartlett before going on to earn her MPA at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University in 2003. She was awarded a public service scholarship and served as a research assistant at NYU’s Institute for Education and Social Policy for two years. Maggie then spent two years as a Bank Examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Maggie is also a member of the Georgetown Alumni Admissions Program, has run two New York City marathons, and enjoys skiing and tennis.


Name: Andrew JP Murray 

Biography: Andrew Murray was born in Belfast. He was educated at Methodist College Belfast before going on to study law at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in England. After working in the Law in Belfast for several years he took the New York Bar Examination in July 2008. He began his first job in New York City in January 2009.


Name: Miriam Nyhan 

Biography: Miriam Nyhan was raised in County Wicklow by a Laois mother and a Cork father, and is the eldest of three girls. Having done her BA and M Phil at Univeristy College Cork, in 2004 she was awarded a scholarship to undertake her PhD. at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy.In 2006 she came to New York University as part of an exchange scholarship to study under her mentor, Professor Joe Lee. Having completed her PhD she took up a position as Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow at Glucksman Ireland House, New York University.Miriam is very passionate about Irish history and the history of the Irish diaspora. Her masters thesis, a history of the Ford plant in Cork, was published in 2007 under the title ‘Are You Still Below? The Ford Marina Plant, Cork, 1917-1984’. She recently curated, with Dr Marion R Casey, an exhibit on county societies in New York. Miriam says she has the best parents in the world.


Name: Séamus Ó Fianghusa 

Biography: Séamus Ó Fianghusa, known as ‘Séamus na Gaeilge’ in the Donegal Gaeltacht, is a US Army soldier who recently returned from a year-long combat deployment in Afghanistan. He is currently serving with the legendary ‘Fighting 69th’ which leads the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade every year. This unit is not only the most combat credited regiment in the American armed forces, but the direct descendant of the ‘Wild Geese’ Irish Brigades of France and Spain. In March of 2006, he started learning Irish. He achieved recognition within the Irish language movement after attaining fluency in the tongue within a short span of time and with no fromal instruction. He went to Ireland for the first time in the summer of 2008 and currently spends his time between Ireland and the United States, at least when he’s not off fighting a war. He is a passionate advocate of all aspects of traditional Celtic culture and one of the relatively few practitioners of the ancient Gaelic art of song known as ‘sean-nós’. In Ireland, he is a frequent contributor to Irish language media, with numerous appearances on national televsion and radio.


Name: Erin O’Brien 

Biography: Erin Allison O’Brien is native of San Antonio, Texas, and began writing and telling stories at a very young age. Deciding to turn her hobby into a profession, she studied journalism at the University of the Incarnate Word and graduated magna cum laude with her BA in Communication Arts in 2008. During college, she freelanced for a number of publications and held positions in magazine editing and online news reporting in both Texas and California prior to landing her current position at NSIDE Publications in January 2010. Within seven months of her tenure at NSIDE, she was promoted to editor of all three of the company’s magazines.She has also stayed active in the San Antonio community by serving as the youngest member of the Harp and Shamrock Society’s board of directors. She will soon coordinate the society’s social committee and thus, plan and oversee all of its events and fundraisers.


Name: Sean William O’Brien 

Biography: Sean O’Brien was born in Manhattan, son of a New York City Teacher and Police Officer. He is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School and Northwestern University, and also has a Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College. After eight years on Chicago’s North Side as an Information Technology consultant for clients including GE Capital, ABN AMRO and the City of Chicago, Sean entered public service as an aide and speechwriter for Congressman Rahm Emanuel. He later served as Legislative Director for Congressman Heath Shuler of North Carolina before returning to the Illinois Delegation as Chief of Staff for Congressman Mike Quigley. He was recently featured in the Washington Post for “McSwiggin’s Pub”, his one man comedy show about life on Capitol Hill. He currently lives in Washington, DC with his wife Erin and their daughter Mary Catherine.


Name: Jason O’Donnell 

Biography: Jason O’Donnell was born and raised in Bayonne, NJ, and attended local schools. Jason opened a tavern named JP ODonnell’s named after his late father.Later, he joined the Bayonne Fire Department and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Science from New Jersey City University. He advanced to the rank of Captain before taking a leave of abscence to become Bayonne’s public safety director. In 2010 Jason was selected to fill a vacancy in the General Assembly, and subsequently won the special election to fill the remainder of the unexpired term. Jason’s paternal great grandfather hailed from Burtonport Co. Donegal. Jason is a past president of the Bayonne Donegal Association, a founding member of the Bayonne Shamrock Society and a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Jason is married to the former Kerry Bonner and together they have three children, Caroline, Jack and Patrick O’Donnell.


Name: Kevin Michael O’Dowd 

Biography: Kevin Michael O’Dowd is the Deputy Chief Counsel to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Prior to joining the Christie Administration, Kevin served as the Chief of the Securities and Healthcare Fraud Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. Over the course of his seven years with the US Department of Justice, Kevin prosecuted various crimes ranging from healthcare, securities and financial fraud matters to cyber-crime and narcotics violations. As an Assistant United States Attorney, Kevin received numerous awards and honors from a host of federal law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Secret Service. Kevin was twice awarded the prestigious Integrity Award from the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Award for Excellence from the United States President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency. Kevin was also honored by the President of the United States in the Oval Office in connection with the successful prosecution of an international child pornography distribution ring which resulted in more than 2,000 arrests worldwide. Prior to joining the US Attorney’s Office, Kevin spent five years working in NJ state government. He spent three years as a Deputy Attorney General and two years as an Assistant Counsel to the Governor.


Name: Laura O’Neill 

Biography: Laura O’Neill was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1981, the youngest of three. After high school she took a year off and went to live in Rome. Upon returning Laura studied event management and spent three years as an Event Producer. During a holiday to London in 2006, Laura met Ben Van Leeuwen and moved to NYC the following year. In the spring of 2008, the pair along with Ben’s brother Pete Van Leeuwen, launched Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream (VLAIC). They now have six trucks, one store and two more on the way. They make their ice cream in upstate New York using only fresh milk and cream, cane sugar, egg yolks and the best flavor ingredients they can find around the world. VLAIC was named one of INC magazine’s ‘Dream Companies’ of 2010.


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