Dunne makes no attempt to hide the specialefforts necessary for those who are visuallyimpaired to tackle a sport in which theparticipants approach interstate highway speeds.But she quickly brushes off any concerns that itposes any special dangers for those like herselfwho partake.
"There's always a risk--there's risks foreverybody," she says. "Someone once said, 'gatesdon't hurt any less when you hit them and can seethem."
AT HARVARD, Dunne decided not a continueracing competitively, feeling she could not beworld-class racer given such a demanding academicschedule. She also says she wanted to have theexperience of "growing up" that she could not haveby having a peer group years ahead of her.
To fill the void that was left by her departurefrom competitive skiing, she has since pursued aninterest developed, ironically, from her years inthe sport.
Dunne's years of travelling overseas to majorcompetitions brought her into contact with anumber of different cultures, inspiring aninterest in foreign languages. She mainly pursuedSpanish in high school, largely because student inher neighborhood grew up speaking that language.
She also dabbled in Japanese in high school,taking a class on the weekends in a nearbyBuddhist temple. That reflected her won interestin Japanese culture after being thoroughlyimpressed with Japanese skiers she had met, aswell as her stepfather's suggestion that it was an"upand-coming language."
In her sophomore year at Harvard, Dunne'sinterest in East Asian Studies really took off.Originally destined for a concentration ineconomics, Dunne changed her plans after realizingthat the only course she enjoyed was her Japaneselanguage class.
Her academic interest culminated this year withher senior honors thesis, entitled "Access toFreedom," a 151-page tome on disability issues inJapan, focusing on the country's laws, attitudesand the educational system.
Dunne concluded that the Japanese perceptionsof rights for disabled persons areinadequate--they consider them, she says,"privileges" rather than "rights." For example,she says, sight dogs are not always allowed intoJapanese restuarants, something she considers agreat in justice.
"Do you not let someone in because they're awoman or Black?" she ask.
"It's ridiculous," she adds before correctingherself and looking a little remorseful. "Ilearned not to say things like that--it's acultural judgment."
Those who know Dunne points to her thesis,which she says she hopes to publish in a book, asa prime example of the determination and energythat has been the driving force throughout all heraccomplishments.
"She would just go and sit down and write 20pages," says Quincey Simmons '92, a friend ofDunne's. "At the end of that, she'll want to gofor a run or a bike ride."
Dunne's extracurricular pursuits have alsostemmed from and reflect her interest in Japanesesociety. Last year she co-founded and served aseditor-in-chief of a campus magazine calledInside Japan, which has focused largely onrelations between the United States and Japan.
Dunne has also spent her summers grappling withissues relating to Japan. She spent one summer asan intern with a company in Japan. Reflecting herinterest in U.S.-Japanese relations, she spentanother working for the Japanese consulate inChicago.