Featured Friar: Samantha Dietel ’23
Samanatha Dietel, a current senior at Providence College, did not expect to attend PC. Dietel went to the fall open house because the school was close to her home in Seekonk, MA, and she planned to go on tours at different schools. One of her first memories of PC was parking in the garage by Ray and seeing dark clouds in the sky. Her dad thought it would pass by without raining, so they left their umbrella in the car.
In true Providence fashion, five minutes into the tour, it started raining. There was another father and daughter on the tour, each holding an umbrella, who were kind enough to share. This is what truly drew her to PC, and after that day, Dietel knew that PC would become her new home.
“When I saw the kindness of the Friar family, I knew it was the place I wanted to go,” she stated.
Here at PC, Dietel is a Psychology and Elementary Special Education major. She is involved in numerous clubs on campus, some of which include Dance Club, Her Campus, Providence Animal Welfare Club, Elementary Special Education Mentoring, and ECOPC. Dietel has danced since she was just two years old and has continued to pursue this passion into college. She has performed with the Dance Club since freshman year and is now going on her sixth semester of choreographing dances for their shows.
Dietel is also the co-president of both the Providence chapter of Her Campus, which is an online magazine for and by women, and for PAW, the Providence Animal Welfare Club. It is clear she has a love for animals based on her two yorkies at home, Luke and Lily, and her extra spoiled Betta fish, Sashimi, that stays with her here on campus.
Outside of clubs, Dietel works in two different psychology labs at PC. She is the lab manager in Dr. Lawrie’s Cultural and Positive Psychology Lab (CUPPS Lab). Here, she oversees a variety of studies and research assistants. Currently, she is studying parenting styles across different cultures. She also conducted an independent study last year with Dr. Lawrie where she utilized Positive Psychology Interventions in a local public school and measured well-being.
She is also a research assistant in Dr. Van Reet’s Imaginative Thought and Learning lab. Her duties in this lab include testing children, collecting and analyzing data, and completing literature reviews.
During her senior year, she has been student teaching full time in her special ed practicum in East Providence.
According to Dietel , “Special ed is hard work—harder than people think. I’ve learned to adapt, be flexible, and do everything I can to help my students.”
She noted that teaching young children can be highly unpredictable.“Whether they think our planet is Venus, our continent is Greenland, or our country is Florida, or, when I ask how they feel and I get the response ‘like bread on toast,’ I truly never know what to expect,” Sam said.
On top of all of these extracurriculars, she is also a part of several honor societies; Psi Chi, Phi Sigma Tau, and Dirigo. After graduation she plans to attend grad school and work towards starting a career as a Child Psychologist.
Outside of school life, she works several jobs. Following student teaching during the weekdays, she typically works in the afternoon as an HBTS Behavior Specialist and works one-on-one in children’s homes to provide them with therapeutic services and take them on community outings.
“I’ve been working with kids since I was one myself. I always knew I’d make a career out of it,” Dietel stated.
Dietel also works as a tutor for the PC Tutoring Center, tutoring psychology and education courses as well as tutoring for the Praxis exam. She is a tutor for younger children as well, helping to reinforce what they are learning in school. Lastly, and arguably most importantly, Dietel is The Cowl Delivery Girl, going around to all the buildings on campus to deliver the newspaper.
Needless to say, there are very few things on campus in which Dietel is not involved, but she is truly making the most of her time here at PC and embracing the kindness of our community that she was drawn to when she first visited campus.
Featured Friar: Gracie Cleaver ’23
This week’s Featured Friar is Gracie Cleaver. Originally from Verona, NJ, Cleaver is a senior biology major with a Spanish minor on the Neuroscience Certificate track. In her three years attending PC, Cleaver has proven herself to be a committed and passionate member of the PC community.
When making her college decision, Cleaver avoided PC at first, as both of her parents are alumni. “I grew up to the sound of PC basketball on the TV,” Cleaver says. “I thought I wanted to forge my own path.” But after attending Admitted Students Day in the spring of her senior year of high school, Cleaver says she fell in love with the community and the passion everyone expressed for the school. She says, “I knew I wanted to go to a school that felt like home, and Providence felt like home.”
Upon enrolling as a freshman, Cleaver knew she wanted to major in science, but she also wanted to take advantage of the freedom the college’s curriculum provides to explore other options. After her first semester, she committed to a biology major. She also added a Spanish minor: “I decided to minor in Spanish in the hopes that I can become fluent and studying abroad in Barcelona during the fall of my junior year helped me get closer to achieving this goal.”
Reflecting on her academic experience, Cleaver looks fondly on all the classes she has taken, but particularly, she loved her Human Neuropsychology class with Dr. Guilmette. The analytical and clinical aspects of the course lent themselves to a style of in-depth learning about the inner workings of the human brain, which were very appealing to Cleaver.
In addition to her studies, Cleaver has applied her science background by working for a research lab at the Brown-Miriam Hospital in downtown Providence. This past summer and continuing into the fall as an on-call intern, she studies how the mood and behavior of mothers throughout pregnancy impacts the health of their baby. One day a week and one weekend a month, Cleaver must carry around a pager and be ready to go to the hospital if one of the participants in the study gives birth.
Cleaver says she loves the internship because it combines her interests in biology and psychology. Additionally, her boss is a Providence College alumnus, which Gracie says has made the experience even more rewarding.
While working as an on-call intern, Cleaver is also a fully involved student on campus. She is a member of the women’s club lacrosse team, which traveled to the National Championship tournament in Texas last year, a member of Friars Club, and the coordinator of the pre-orientation program Urban Action. “Being a part of all three of these clubs completely altered my college experience for the better,” Cleaver says. “Being an Urban Action coordinator this year has allowed me to give back and make an impact on the PC community.”
Additionally, after making Friars Club sophomore year, she says she couldn’t imagine her college experience without it. She enjoys giving tours, sharing her love for PC with potential students, and she also expressed her immense appreciation for the extended family Friars Club has given her here on campus.
After graduation in May, Cleaver hopes to take a gap year, during which she will ideally work for a BioTech company or in a clinical hospital role before eventually attending medical school or physician assistant school.
Cleaver’s biggest piece of advice to other students would be to get involved right away. “With that, you can’t do everything,” she says, “but you can do anything. So, pick what you truly want to invest your time into and dedicate yourself to it. College is the time to find what interests you, so go for it wholeheartedly.”
Featured Friar: Abby Kiernan ’21
by Kyle Burgess ’21
As the world acknowledges the one-year anniversary of a life in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many have considered the past 12 months as a time for isolation and removal from group settings to ensure the safety of others. However, social-distancing measures have not prevented many members of the Providence College community from continuing to make impacts on the lives of others around them. Such is the case for Abby Kiernan ’21, who strives to make a positive impact both on the children she educates as a student teacher and on her residents as head resident assistant of Meagher Hall.
Kiernan’s path to PC began when she was in high school in Brockton, MA. As a member of her school’s choir, she became friendly with the choir director, a PC alumnus, who suggested that Friartown would be a perfect fit for her. “My freshman year, [my] choir director said to me, ‘You are definitely a future Friar,’” Kiernan explained. “As senior year approached, I decided to apply to Providence because I knew how excited Mr. Cunningham would be to write a recommendation.” One campus tour on accepted students’ day was all it took to convince Kiernan that her choir director was right all along.
In the years since her first visit to PC, Kiernan has kept herself busy between her involvement in the Office of Residence Life and student teaching. In particular, the challenges that COVID-19 restrictions have presented for resident assistants on campus has been a real learning curve. “Everything I learned last year about being an RA I had to relearn during the pandemic in a more demanding and higher leadership position as an HRA,” she said. “Not only do I support the community on my floor, but also amongst my staff and the entire Residence Life staff. Because of the many COVID-19 guidelines and policies at Providence College this year, I have had to learn many different ways to build community but also to support my residents in these difficult times.”
Despite this, Kiernan embraced her new role with open arms and feels that her student teaching background has certainly helped her adjust. “Because of my teaching background, I am usually pretty good with names and love to stop and chat in the hallway. Being there for others and filling others’ buckets are what makes my heart happy!”
Kiernan is also thankful for the opportunity to attain her dream of becoming a teacher despite the new challenging classroom environments created by the pandemic. Following in her mother’s footsteps, becoming a teacher has been Kiernan’s goal since she was young. She believes that teaching in person and virtually for students at school while studying remotely has demonstrated the importance of being resilient and being able to think on her feet. “Not only have I been dealing with being a college senior during a pandemic, but I have also been supporting a diverse group of elementary-age students with many different needs during this time. Student teaching is a time for me to learn how to take over and manage a classroom with the help of my supervisor and cooperating teacher. This experience has been unique in the fact that all of us are learning how to teach during the pandemic.”
Looking ahead beyond graduation in May, Kiernan will work as a graduate assistant while pursuing a master’s degree in urban teaching. She hopes to eventually return to her hometown to work within the Brockton public school system as a teacher and potentially work in Boston afterwards. No matter where Kiernan’s career takes her, she will always be thankful for the opportunity to change the lives of others while at PC, even from six feet away.
Featured Friar: Malik Washington ’21
by Sydney Olinger ’23
As senior class president, Malik Washington ’21 is truly following his dream to be a voice for the Providence College and greater Providence communities. Beyond this, what is most important to Washington are the opportunities and achievements he has had as a first-generation college student.
Originally from Washington, D.C.,Washington states that he immediately fell in love with PC after attending the “Night in Friartown” event while he was in high school. Father Jordan Kelly, O.P., a resident priest and director of campus ministry at Archbishop Carroll High School, was another inspiration in Washington’s decision to join the Friar Family. If not for Kelly, Washington would have most likely attended a local college near his home. “For my entire life, all I came to know was D.C.,” he explained. “[Fr. Kelly] worked in peer ministry and encouraged me to look beyond the city. When college admissions rolled around, he helped me throughout the entire process.”
Washington is a political science and history double major at PC. He is grateful to the PC community for helping him to come out of his shell and for providing him with the opportunity to become a leader.
Given that he is not from New England, where most of PC’s student body is from, Washington admits that it was difficult for him to adjust to college life at first. However, he is grateful to the Faithworks pre-orientation program and the Horizons retreat for making the transition easier and quite the memorable experience.
Serving as the president of the Pre-Law Society also allows Washington to pursue his passion for legislation and to showcase his natural leadership abilities. One of Washington’s proudest accomplishments at PC, though, was when his peers elected him to serve as their class president. He credits the PC class of 2021 as the reason for making his college experience unforgettable with their endless support and friendship over the past four years. He is appreciative of the encouragement from his class, but he is especially grateful for his friend and personal campaign manager, Matthew Reardon ’21. Reardon worked with Washington to develop campaign videos during the election which were, evidently, successful.
“Entering college, I did not envision such an opportunity for myself as I was just focused on making it to graduation—the most important thing for my family,” stated Washington.
Now, as president of the class of 2021, Washington’s primary focus has been ensuring that he and his classmates are able to enjoy their final year together safely. In the fall, Washington was able to work with other members of Student Congress to coordinate a senior class toast via Zoom. Seniors who registered for the event received personalized class of 2021 glasses and heard a personal speech from men’s basketball coach Ed Cooley and College president, Father Kenneth Sicard, O.P.
In addition to recommending speakers and introducing possible proposals for a COVID-19-safe commencement ceremony, Washington has also spent much of this academic year brainstorming senior activities for the end of the spring semester. “We are currently planning events to make up for our school traditions that we could not partake in due to COVID-19,” he shared. “I am working closely with the administration to hopefully have some form of senior week.”
Following graduation in May, Washington plans to attend law school. He ultimately hopes to find success in his career in order to inspire children in his community back home to follow in his footsteps, in a way, and to pursue their own dreams, despite being a first-generation college student.
“As a first-generation college student, a degree is an opportunity to not recognize my work but my family’s sacrifices for me to get where I am,” said Washington.
As was the case for many generations of PC students before him, Washington states that 1 Cunningham Square will forever be his second home, and that the Friar Family will forever be his second family.
Featured Friar Caroline Rivera ’21: Staying Involved Even While Staying at Home
By: Sydney Olinger ’23
It is well-known by Providence College students and faculty that the College is devoted to building up our community to reach its fullest potential. Encouragement from everyone in our community is especially important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There are many ways to be part of support efforts on our campus, but there are also many ways we can try to enact positive change. Caroline Rivera ’21 has been an integral part of enacting change on our campus and hopes to play a similar role in the necessary change for our world.
Rivera is a health policy and management major, Spanish and finance minor, and a student in the Liberal Arts Honors Program. This semester, she made the difficult decision, as a senior with many leadership positions on campus, to study remotely. Though she is working from home, she is making every effort to do her part as a Latina and leader on campus. She is currently a virtual intern at the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Organization of Rhode Island, where she is developing new components of telehealth to improve older-adult care for those of low socioeconomic status. In her future career, she aspires to work as a top health administrator to provide high quality care for the marginalized populations in her community.
Growing up on Long Island, NY, Rivera attended Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station. There, she developed an interest in student government as her class’s vice president for her first three years and student body president by her senior year. As a member of her high school government, she was very involved in planning events, such as dances and fundraisers, but was also a strong believer in volunteering around her local community.
This love for volunteering in the community stood strong as she transitioned to life at PC. She finds that her position as Academic Committee chair on Student Congress is an extended role of her position as student body president in high school, meaning that she still participates in planning events and fundraisers, as well as community outreach, but she is also able to offer representation for students in meetings with school administration.
This year, Rivera has implemented many of her ideas as Academic Committee chair. She has worked with the Continuity Task Force (CTF) committee, creating the One-Stop Providence College webpage where most of the College’s academic resources can be found. Recently, she spearheaded the Core Crunch event with the Academics Committee, where they provide information on the spring semester registration process and academic advising. She emphasized that this year was an especially important time for students—particularly for freshmen and transfer students who have never gone through the registration process—to receive assistance from upperclassmen and advisors through the Core Crunch. According to Rivera, the event was incredibly successful and she hopes that she can continue to be a resource for those in need.
As a member of the Latinx community, Rivera joined the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) her freshman year hoping to find people who shared her Latin-American culture and heritage while she was away from home and her family. She recounted that her first year of OLAS was quite different than the empowering club it is now. The club has gone from one that struggled to have weekly meetings because of a lack of dedicated members to consistent meetings with over 20 members, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She worked with other executive members to promote the club, originally as the treasurer and now as the president of OLAS. Rivera describes the club as a family that has grown together to overcome the challenges that the Latinx community faces.
“At meetings, it is empowering to hear other students speak in Spanish without being ridiculed or being told to speak English. We enjoy listening to music without receiving disapproving looks, and we lean on each other when on-campus issues marginalize BIPOC and Spanish-speaking students and faculty,” said Rivera.
Some of her favorite memories come from her time as a resident assistant (RA) in Raymond Hall her sophomore year. She loved becoming acquainted with all of her residents and believes she would not be the person she is today without those experiences. After graduation this spring, she will miss her weekly Congress and OLAS meetings and fellow members, as well as her all-time favorite Take 3 quesadilla and fries.
In her almost four years as a Friar, Rivera has been an integral part of the PC community. The ideas she has implemented and the changes she has made will continue to have positive impacts on our community.
“My favorite part about PC is knowing that my professors and peers want others to succeed. In our community, individuals are not just interested to see themselves do well, they are motivated to empower others in their achievements as well,” stated Rivera.
Featured Friar: Maria Santos ’20
by Matthew Mazzella ’20
This week’s Featured Friar shines on Maria Santos ’20, a business management and global studies double major with a philosophy minor. Santos was born and raised in Puerto Rico in a town on the east coast of the island called Humacao. After spending her childhood in Humacao she moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico when she was 12-years-old.
Coming from Puerto Rico, Santos knew that Providence College was a special place because she knew some friends from home who went to the school when she was applying.
While Santos loves PC, there is always a bit of home she misses, as she is over 1,600 miles away from Puerto Rico. Santos thanks her busy schedule from preventing homesickness, but from time to time she does miss her family and friends back home.
Santos says, “It’s the little moments that make me miss PR the most. Like for example, last week my twin sister had her first med school interview and I just wanted to be there to help her get ready and hear her talk about it afterwards, and I missed out. Homesickness is definitely a thing when you live that far away from home, but honestly, God bless FaceTime.”
One of the biggest challenges Santos faced being so far away from home was been being in Providence while Hurricane Maria ravaged her country in 2017. Santos reflects on this heartbreaking experience, saying, “Being away from home and not being able to communicate with my family for days (knowing how destroyed the Island was) was by far one of the hardest things I’ve had to endure in my life. Uncertainty is scary, so not knowing if they were okay was terrifying.”
She continued, saying, “Also, not being able to be home through one of the most devastating events in Puerto Rican history made me feel guilty. Guilty because it was hard to live my life in the commodities that PC had to offer while I knew that back home my sister could not go back to school for months, that my whole family had to shower with buckets, and that there was no electricity and no certainty of when it could come back.”
Santos is very involved on campus, as she is a member of Friars Club, a freshman resident assistant, and the co-founder and president of Friars for ____. The club helps raise funds and awareness for different causes.
It all started after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico when Santos realized she was able to make an impact back home. When describing her fundraising efforts through her club on campus, Santos reflected on the creation of the club, saying, “After seeing the impact we had on Puerto Rico and personally handing that money to the organization we partnered with, me and my friends decided that we could do that for so many other causes; that we could be a place where other students could come fundraise and bring awareness for causes that are meaningful to them.”
The Friars for ____ have done so much more than help Puerto Rico after the tragic storm. They have extended their fundraising efforts worldwide. Santos mentions some of the efforts they have been a part of by saying, “Since being approved we’ve raised funds and awareness for Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Australia, Animal Cruelty & Testing, etc. We’ve done this through different events, like benefit concerts and food runs, and partnerships with other clubs that feel passionate about the causes that we’re working for.”
Santos encourages Friars to consider joining her club if they want to make an impact on people’s lives, as she encourages students to “come fill in the blank” at Friars for ____.
Maria Santos has shown what it means to be a Friar throughout her time at PC. Her efforts to help various charitable causes through Friars for ____ has impacted the lives of many, all while bringing her closer to those in the Friar Family. Santos sets a great example for how the college students should volunteer their time towards making an impact on someone’s life, no matter the size of the effort.
Featured Friar: Nicholas Calcagno ’21
by Julia Acquavita ’22
Nick Calcagno ’21 has certainly made his mark at Providence College throughout his past three years here. Whether his involvement included organizing student orientation events, serving as a critical member of the Admissions Ambassadors, or helping to found and create the first ever business fraternity at PC, Calcagno has done it all.
Calcagno grew up in Westfield, NJ, which is about four hours from Friartown. Now the real question is, how did PC make it onto his radar and why did he choose this school?
According to Calcagno, “I found PC through my mom who graduated in ‘89. She never pressed me to come here, but I knew it was the place for me as soon as I stepped on campus.” He was inspired by the warm community and the intense spirit for the school that was present everywhere he looked. Also, to add to the PC family tree, Calcagno’s sister decided she, too, loved the school and joined him.
One of Calcagno’s greatest accomplishments at PC is having established the business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. When asked what inspired him to pursue this fraternity, Calcagno responded by saying, “I cannot take all the credit for starting Delta Sigma Pi. My friend Trevor Somers ‘21 actually came to me with the idea in the beginning of sophomore year to start a co-ed academic business fraternity open to all business majors.”
Somers and Calcagno realized that many business clubs were based on one’s major, but not many clubs were open to all business majors. Calcagno explained, “While Trevor was abroad in Spain fall semester, I served as the acting president of Delta Sigma Pi to get it off the ground and solidify it so that we would be able to become a chapter by the end of the year.”
Now that Somers is back on campus, Calcagno serves as second-in-command as the senior vice president of the fraternity. Somers’ and Calcagno’s hardwork has paid off. With the help of a solid executive committee, Calcagno reported that over 70 kids committed to the fraternity, all of whom will be initiated this spring.
The creation of Delta Sigma Pi has helped to shape Calcagno’s PC career. The fraternity has allowed Calcagno to plan events for their members that are “intended to give them a cutting edge in the business world.”
The organization also participates in community service events that aim to help PC and the Providence community. Calcagno claims, “This allows me to give back to the community around me as well as the members themselves. In addition, this fraternity is open to anyone who is a business major, allowing us to give as many kids a chance to join a great organization.”
Because of the unique events and activities this fraternity offers, the members of the fraternity will each remember this as a special part of their PC experience.
In addition to serving as an Admissions Ambassador executive board member and as an orientation leader, Calcagno recently joined the Friars Club. When asked why he is a member of all of these clubs and organizations, Calcagno responded by saying, “All of these organizations are fantastic, which is why I couldn’t help but work to join all of them.”
Calcagno finds that each of these clubs has one thing in common: giving back to the school and assisting in bringing in the next generation of Friars. In some way or another, each club Calcagno is involved in aims to make the College a well-rounded, engaging school experience for current and potential students, making him a very valuable member of the Friar Family.
Regarding Calcagno’s future plans after leaving Friartown, he intends to move back to New Jersey or to the New York City area. As a finance major, Calcagno intends to work in a career in real estate and eventually start his own portfolio.
However, Calcagno made a point to say, “A very long term goal of mine is to return to the city of Providence and build a large scale affordable housing project to benefit the community.”
With goals like this and the work ethic he has, Calcagno is capable of doing great things in his future years, and he has already made an impact within the Friartown community.
Featured Friar: Sean Gray ’21
by Hannah Langley ’21
In the musical Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda posed the question, “Legacy. What is a legacy?” For Sean Gray ’21, he hopes his legacy will not only be his family legacy here at Providence College, but also his legacy of helping and contributing to the PC community in many different ways.
Growing up in Lincoln, RI, Gray was surrounded by Friartown influence and spirit. He talked about how both of his parents, as well as his brother, graduated from PC, so he felt it was always a presence in his life. It was not until his sophomore year of high school, though, that Gray really started to consider PC an option for his future. “I was indifferent with the whole college process,” Gray said, “but when I was a sophomore in high school, I saw the hockey team win the national championship, and I was all in.”
Since his freshman year, Gray has been heavily involved in student life here at PC. “I joined Student Congress at the end of my freshman year,” he said, and he has been on the Academics Committee ever since. He talked about all the work the committee has done over the past few years, particularly the events he was involved in planning, including the “Core Crunch” for incoming freshmen and the book drive held last semester, in which they raised over 400 books. Gray has also been a class representative for the class of 2021 beginning this past year.
“I love being on Congress,” said Gray. “I enjoy being able to represent my classmates and make substantial differences in their lives, especially in academics, which is something I feel very passionate about.”
Besides being on Congress, Gray also works in the Writing Center as a head writing tutor, which is something he also cares deeply about here at PC. “I like to do work that is purposeful and makes a difference,” said Gray, which is why the Writing Center is one of his favorite things here. He loves having people come in and knowing that he is making a difference in their lives by helping them improve their own work. As Gray said, “We want to make better writers, not better papers, so seeing people grow in that skill is really satisfying.”
It was not only the culture and spirit that drew Gray to PC, but the academics as well. As a history major and a part of the Honors Program, Gray said he liked the idea of Development of Western Civilization (DWC) from the very beginning.
When asked why he chose to be a history major, Gray replied, “I think history is the most important thing anyone can study right now.” As a lover of learning, Gray believes history gives him an interesting study of the way human nature works over time and the patterns throughout human history. He continued, saying, “I think it teaches you skills that are important in personal and professional life, but we are also exposed to information constantly,” which is why learning how to evaluate events today is an important tool.
Gray is also pursuing a double minor in Spanish and philosophy, talking about how he thinks these two minors pair well with his major. “Philosophy and history are incredibly intertwined,” he said. “It gives you an idea of how different generations struggle with the same problem and how they acted from different angles.”
Part of Gray’s work in the history department includes being a research assistant. He talked about his recent work with Dr. Steven Smith in researching a politician and newspaper editor from the 1800s named Peter Force, which has given him the opportunity to learn more about life in the early American republic. Gray loves the work he does in the department because it gives him the chance to work alongside professors and build relationships with them while doing something he enjoys.
While Gray is only a junior, he hopes to one day pursue a Ph.D. in history or attend law school to study legal history. When asked what his dream job would be, Gray responded, “Oh, for sure being a history professor here,” exemplifying his love for the PC community.
Although Gray works hard in the classroom, he loves spending time with his friends, whether that be at hockey games, playing intramural flag football, or going to yoga classes. “I have made the best friends a guy could ask for,” said Gray. “I’m just thankful for the relationships I’ve built with my friends, professors, and co-workers, and I’m grateful for my parents who work hard for me to be here,” he said.
While Gray is just one of many students working to make a difference in the PC community, he hopes he is making a lasting impact in the lives of students while building his own legacy, which students will remember and take with them throughout their lives.
Featured Friar: Maggie McKenna ’20
by Kyle Burgess ’21
According to ESPN, the odds of making a half-court shot on a basketball court are roughly one in 100. However, for Maggie McKenna ’20, all it took to be that one was her closest friends, her lucky sweater, and a dream.
The road to this moment began five years ago and almost 1250 miles away in her hometown of Orlando, FL. Having seen her older brother leave the Sunshine State to attend Syracuse University, McKenna wanted to follow in his footsteps to attend college out-of-state and set her sights on universities in the Northeast. She credits her father as the one who put Providence College on her radar, as he believed that her decision to enroll there would be based on the men’s hockey team’s success against Boston University for the championship title in 2015; the rest was history.
“In addition to the luck and destiny of the hockey team’s success, I truly fell in love with PC after experiencing its culture of family, Dominican spirit, and all-encompassing curriculum at Accepted Students Day,” McKenna added. “In the end, I chose PC because it was the only place that felt like home despite being over 1,000 miles from my hometown.”
Since then, McKenna has made the most of her experience at her home away from home. She is extensively involved in many organizations such as Admissions Ambassadors, freshman orientation staff, and women’s club basketball. McKenna is also a member of the liberal arts honors program and has travelled with fellow honors program students to the settings of her DWC books like Florence, Italy.
Aside from her club basketball commitments, McKenna boasts a growing collection of intramural t-shirts, already having won four this semester alone. Additionally, McKenna feels fortunate to have made so many friendships in her four years at Friartown and take in all it has to offer. “Some of my favorite PC memories include living on second floor Ray as a freshman, finding my accounting study squad as a sophomore, going to the Big East Tournament at the Garden as a junior, and living on Eaton Street with my six best friends as a senior.”
McKenna plans to spend big this holiday season with her recent winnings. “The first thing I’m spending my $5,000 on is Christmas presents for all my family and friends. The rest is going into my postgrad savings account.”
When asked about potential strategies for future shot-takers, McKenna responded, “Wear your lucky sweater, imagine you’re shooting anywhere but the Dunk, bring all your best friends to cheer you on (it helps a lot with the nerves), and, most of all, believe in yourself!”
While reflecting on her PC experience, she wished to offer underclassmen some sage advice to get the best out of their own four years. “My best pieces of advice for underclassman are to be patient and understand that while the four years can sometimes be tough (especially academically), as years go on everything gets so much better—friends, memories, possibilities, etc. I encourage all underclassmen to get involved in as much as you can and soak up every last experience as it goes by faster than you could imagine. “
Following her graduation from PC this May, McKenna plans to travel the world as well as her home state of Florida while preparing for her CPA exam. She will then trade in balmy beach days for northeastern winters once again when she moves to the tri-state area with her PC roommates in anticipation of working as a public accountant at RSM International.
Featured Friar: Kyle LaForest-Roys ’20
by Alexandra Huzyk ’20
Kyle LaForest-Roys ’20, a marketing major with an economics minor, has held a number of roles within the Providence College Office of Admissions and Orientation Staff.
LaForest-Roys is one of 12 senior students to become a Senior Admissions Fellow. As a Fellow, LaForest-Roys helps with the recruitment of prospective students, primarily conducting interviews with these students and writing interview summaries afterwards.
LaForest-Roys says, “These interviews are not evaluative, but take into account an overall impression of the student and if Providence College would be a good fit for them. They act as the last point of resource for counselors when they’re evaluating them for admission.”
LaForest-Roys applied to be a Fellow this past spring semester, while he was abroad in Rome, Italy. He shares that he reached out to some of his friends who had previously held this role, as well as some admissions counselors, to learn more about the position itself. After he applied, he was accepted in April.
During the summer, the Fellows completed two weeks of training that informed the students about the specific requirements of the position and how to conduct the interview process.
LaForest-Roys is also an Admissions Ambassador, which is a position that enables current students at the College to connect with prospective students in the admissions process. In this particular role, LaForest-Roys shares that he is able to talk to students, as well as share his story and the information he has on the admissions process itself.
He says, “Having worked as an office assistant in the Admissions Office since my sophomore year, I knew I wanted to become an Admissions Ambassador because I would be able to expand on my more administrative role and be able to share my story.”
As for LaForest-Roys’ story, he shares that it has been about “finding more challenges and people through different opportunities,” whether that be joining clubs like the PC American Marketing Association (AMA) his sophomore year or joining the orientation staff during his junior year. He says, “I want to make an impact on people who maybe want to go to Providence, and then impact those who are already here.”
LaForest-Roys shares that out of the three different positions he holds in Admissions, “The Fellow role is the most engaging, and combines all of the roles together. I’m able to share my experiences and the different challenges that I’ve had to overcome, as well as relate to students who are applying in a more conversational interview setting.”
Besides his multiple roles within the realm of admissions, LaForest-Roys has also been a part of the freshman orientation staff. LaForest-Roys shares that in the fall of his junior year, he was on the operations team. “We were behind the scenes, setting up all of the events, going over the logistics for orientation leaders, and subbing in to groups and sitting in,” he says.
In the following school year, as a senior, LaForest-Roys was an orientation leader. He says, “It was fun to go from operations to being a leader. I got to use all of the training that I had learned and apply it.”
All of these roles have allowed LaForest-Roys to see the intricacies of the entire admissions and enrollment process; from touring, to interviews, to orientation. “Seeing the whole process is kind of cool,” says LaForest-Roys. “Their level of interest often starts with knowing Providence College through a friend or family member, and then they might come in for a serious interview, and then there’s the potential to have them in an orientation group.”
LaForest-Roys shares that the communication skills he has learned within these many roles will transfer into a future career. Upon graduating, LaForest-Roys plans on going into market research and, eventually, attending graduate school to attain an MBA. His dream job is to work for the Boston Red Sox’s marketing department.