Tag: Katherine Torok ’20
Sorry, Not Sorry: Women’s Toxic Relationship with Apologizing
by Andrea Traietti on March 5, 2020
by Katherine Torok ’20
“OMG so sorry for texting!” I quickly type after finding out that the person I was texting was away for the weekend. However, prior to the initial text asking what they were up to, I was unaware of the fact that they took a spur of the moment vacation. So why did I apologize? Why did I feel the need to say sorry?
Because women are trained to say “sorry.” We immediately put the blame on ourselves, like we did something wrong.
However, most times when I find myself apologizing, I realize after that there was nothing to apologize for.
Towards the end of the recent Taylor Swift documentary, Miss Americana, Swift begins talking about various double-standards that exist in our society. She pauses, quickly says, “Sorry, that was a real soap box,” then gets angry at herself for apologizing. Sarcastically, she questions, “Sorry, was I loud in my own house that I bought with the songs that I wrote about my own life?”
I—like many other women—have linked apologizing with politeness. I don’t want to seem rude or like a burden; therefore, I apologize. However, there are a plethora of things that I apologize for that don’t need an apology. I once even found myself saying, “I’m sorry” to a chair that I bumped into.
While this isn’t an excuse to let women toss their manners out the window, it is more so to remind women that we don’t need to apologize for any inconvenience that comes our way. We put the blame on ourselves when in reality, no one deserves the blame.
After I texted, “OMG so sorry for texting!” they immediately replied back, “Don’t apologize!” They were right: I don’t need to apologize, just like how Swift shouldn’t apologize for being loud in the house that she bought with the money from the songs she wrote about her own life.
Providence College Welcomes Dr. Mae Jemison: Former NASA Astronaut to Give Commencement Address
by The Cowl Editor on February 27, 2020
by Kerry Torpey ’20 and Katherine Torok ’20
Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editor-in-Chief
On September 12, 1992, NASA astronaut Dr. Mae C. Jemison boarded the space shuttle Endeavour, beginning an eight-day journey during which she and six other crew members would make 127 orbits around the earth. Upon returning to earth and landing at the Kennedy Space Center, Jemison officially became the first woman of color to travel to space. Now, almost 28 years later, Jemison will visit the Providence College community as the speaker at our 102nd Commencement Ceremony.
Born in Decatur, AL to parents Charlie and Dorothy, Jemison developed a love for science, in particular astronomy, from a young age. While growing up and attending school in Chicago, Jemison says her parents, “were the best scientists [she] knew, because they were always asking questions.”
Jemison would spend hours watching and researching NASA’s Apollo missions, seeking to understand their goals, findings, and accomplishments, but she felt frustrated not seeing any female astronauts. Although Sally Ride was the first American woman to travel to space in 1983, Jemison would be the first woman of color. Having grown up watching Nichelle Nichols play Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek, Jemison saw the potential of representation for women of color in space.
Upon graduating from high school at 16, Jemison attended Stanford University, double majoring in chemical engineering and African and African-American studies. After graduating in 1977, she became a student at Cornell University Medical College, where she obtained her M.D. in 1981. While in medical school, Jemison studied and conducted research in Cuba and worked at a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand.
After moving to Los Angeles to be a general practitioner for the Los Angeles County Medical Center, Jemison began working with the Peace Corps. Between 1983-85, she served as the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer in Sierra Leone and Liberia. At the age of 27, she was responsible for managing healthcare for Peace Corps volunteers as well as the U.S. Embassy’s medical care.
It was not until 1985, when Jemison was back in the U.S., that she decided to apply to become an astronaut. She says that when she first applied to the Johnson Space Center, she was not considering the fact that she may be the first African-American woman in space. “I wanted to go into space,” she explains. “I couldn’t have cared if there had been one thousand people in space before me or whether there had been none. I wanted to go.”
Despite the devastating explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, Jemison continued to pursue her dream. Then, on June 4, 1987, Jemison became the first African-American woman admitted to NASA’s astronaut training program. She was one of only 15 chosen out of 2,000 applications.
In preparing to depart for space, Jemison felt it was important to bring things that “represented people who sometimes are not included.” Some examples include: a poster of Judith Jamison performing the dance “Cry,” a Bundu statue to represent a women’s society in West Africa, and a flag for Alpha Kappa Alpha, “the oldest African-American women’s sorority in the United States.”
When she departed as a crew member on Endeavour’s STS-47 Spacelab J mission, which was a collaborative mission between the U.S. and Japan, Jemison served as a science mission specialist. During her eight days in orbit, she conducted experiments on other crew members, testing levels of weightlessness, bone cells, and motion sickness.
“For me,” Jemison says, “the experience was one that made me feel very connected to the universe. I felt my being was as much a part of this universe as any star, as any comet.”
After completing the Endeavour mission, Jemison left NASA in March 1993, but her career had only just begun. In that same year, she founded The Jemison Group Inc., a technology consulting firm that encourages students to be passionate about science while merging sociocultural affairs with space engineering and technology.
Then, as a devoted fan of the original Star Trek series, Jemison fulfilled every fan’s dream in 1993 when she guest- starred as Lieutenant Palmer in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, becoming the first real-life astronaut to appear in the series.
In 1994, she started an international science camp for students aged 12 to 16 called “The Earth We Share” as well as a non-profit called the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, which she named after her mother.
Jemison has received several honorary doctorate awards and accolades, such as the Ebony Black Achievement Award and a Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College, where she conducted a teaching fellowship. She is also an inductee at the National Women’s Hall of Fame, International Space Hall of Fame, and the National Medical Association Hall of Fame.
She has written multiple books, including her 2001 memoir Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life as well as several True Book series about different components of space expedition. In 2012, she led the 100 Year Starship program and received funding to enhance research in our ability to travel outside our solar system to another star within the next 100 years.
In 2017, LEGO released a figurine of Jemison as part of the LEGO Women of NASA Kit, which the company hoped would inspire more women in STEM, an initiative Jemison greatly supports. She also fluently speaks English, Russian, Japanese, and Swahili.
In addition to Jemison, six other honorary degree recipients will be recognized at Commencement, including: Val Ackerman, J. Peter Benzie ’70, Sr. Jane M. Gerety, RSM, Dr. Hugh F. Lena III, the late Dr. Francis P. McKay, and Erich Miller.
Val Ackerman is the fifth commissioner of the Big East Conference. Prior, she was an attorney and executive at the NBA, the founding president of the WNBA, and is the former president of USA Basketball. She is a graduate from the University of Virginia where she was a three-time captain and Academic All-American on the women’s basketball team, and received her law degree from UCLA.
J. Peter Benzie ’70 is executive president and global account leader with Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. Prior to joining Broadridge in 2005, Benzie worked at Prudential Securities, Shearson Lehman Brothers, Chase Investment Services, and Fidelity Investments. He also served on the College’s Board of Trustees from 2009-2018 and served on the executive committee of PC’s campaign, Our Moment: The Next Century Campaign for Providence College.
Sr. Jane M. Gerety, RSM, served as the president of Salve Regina University in Newport, RI for ten years. Before her presidency, she was an executive board officer and senior vice president for sponsorship with Saint Joseph’s Health System. Prior to that, Sr. Gerety taught at universities and high schools across the country. She graduated from Mount Saint Agnes College, earned her master’s degree from Middlebury College, and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Hugh F. Lena, III joined PC in 1974 and has held many roles such as professor and chair of the sociology department, associate director of the Feinstein Institute for Public Service, and president of the Faculty Senate. He was instrumental in the College’s decision to form the School of Business, and the School of Arts & Sciences and Professional Studies. He also created the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research Compliance, which brought over $13M worth of grants to the College. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and earned his master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Connecticut.
The late Dr. Francis P. MacKay, who passed away on September 9, 2019, was part of the PC commnuity for over 50 years. He served as chair of the chemistry department, vice president for academic administration, and president of the Faculty Senate. He was a champion of diversity and helped create the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Program and the Francis P. and Jacqueline K. MacKay Scholarship. He was a graduate from the University of Notre Dame, earned his master’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross, and his doctorate from Pennsylvania State University.
Erich Miller is president of My Brother’s Keeper, a local nonprofit which delivers food and furniture to families in need. The ministry boasts 4,000 volunteers, including PC students, who make 9,000 deliveries annually. Miller is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
Together, the seven honorary recipients embody the pillars of Fr. Shanley’s presidency: athletics, financial services, religion, service, women in STEM, and the future of PC.
This year’s commencement ceremony for the graduating Class of 2020 will take place at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in downtown Providence on May 17.
Valentine’s Day is Beyond the CVS Aisles: A Love-Filled Thank You Note to Mom
by Andrea Traietti on February 13, 2020
by Katherine Torok ’20
Valentine’s Day: a time filled with supermarket flowers, heart-shaped candy boxes wrapped in red cellophane, overpriced cards, and stuffed animals holding hearts with cheesy sayings.
While this may be an over-exaggeration, it’s the typical Valentine’s Day that Hollywood and CVS have planted into my and many of my friends’ minds. Thus, if you are not in a relationship, this holiday may feel like a complete drag.
Now, instead of going on a stereotypical single-girl rant about how important self-love is, or how much I love my friends, I wanted to take this time to thank the woman who has loved me unconditionally for the past 22 years. So, thank you, Mom.
Growing up as an only child, I had a great relationship with my parents; I can honestly say that my mom is, and forever will be, my best friend. Yet, we’ve had our share of arguments, fights, and silent treatments over the years, and I would be lying if I said that there weren’t moments when I thought I had lost her love.
However, I’ve learned over the years that I will never lose my mom’s love.
So, here are just some of the things that I would like to thank you for, Mom:
Thank you for answering every text message and phone call, regardless of the hour. Thank you for kissing every cut and scrape I got on the playground. Thank you for holding me when that boy made fun of my hair in the fifth grade. Thank you for letting me cry through the phone at 8 a.m. when that boy broke my heart. Thank you for constantly reminding me of my own self-worth. And thank you for raising me to be a strong, independent yet loving woman.
Valentine’s Day isn’t just a time for romantic love; it’s a holiday for every type of love.
Student Seating Was No Slam ‘Dunk’ at the ‘Nova Game
by Andrea Traietti on January 30, 2020
by Katherine Torok ’20
One of my favorite Providence College memories to date happened my sophomore year on February 14, 2018 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center: the Men’s Basketball team defeated Villanova University 76-71. We stormed the court clad in black, white, and pink PC gear.
Junior year, the Friars hosted the Wildcats over winter break, so student attendance was limited. However, on Saturday January 25, 2020, the Friars were set to play the Wildcats again—and students were ready.
After receiving countless emails concerning the game, it was clear that only student ticket holders could sit in the student section—no other student tickets were being sold. In the days leading up to the game, non-season ticket holders flooded PC student Facebook groups, GroupMe chats, and the “Buy & Sell” section of the PC Mobile app in search of a ticket. I was relieved I had bought a season ticket in August because I knew this was going to be a big game.
My friends and I arrived at the Dunk a little after 12:30 p.m.—half-an-hour after the doors had opened, and half-an-hour before the game started. As we expected, the main student-section was filled up, so we were directed to the overflow sections located on the opposite side of the arena. However, after walking up the gray concrete stairs that lead up to the student overflow section, we saw every seat was taken. Students were mixed with alumni, fans from the community, and visiting Villanova fans.
We quickly found a group of seats, but were asked to move in a matter of minutes after being informed that the seats were sold to non-students. We found new seats, and the same exchange happened right after we sat down. In total, we were asked to move four times. We all had student tickets, but no seats.
The ticket office directed us to a row of seats that had already been filled up, so a determined security officer was nice enough to walk around the Dunk for several minutes trying to find us seats. In total, it took us almost an hour to find a place where we could sit.
The Dunk during a PC basketball game is an electric environment, so I understand why so many non-PC students want to attend—especially for the Villanova game.
However, it seems a little unjust to put non-PC students before PC students. I have a season student ticket; therefore, I should be guaranteed a seat in either the student section or the overflow student section.
The Last Cowl of the Decade: Carrying an 84-Year Tradition into 2020
by The Cowl Editor on December 5, 2019
by Katherine Torok ’20
It is tradition in the Cowl office to hang up each issue’s front page on top of the previous year’s. Thus, when Kerry and I stepped foot in the office in August, we saw a wall filled entirely of 2018-2019 front pages.
However, as the semester went on, we slowly hung up our front pages week after week. Now, our issues fill nearly half of the wall.
This is our 12th issue: the final issue of the semester and of the decade.
In preparation for the final Cowl of this decade, I decided to take a look through both the first one of this decade, and the first Cowl ever.
The first Cowl from November 16, 1935 was a mere six pages long and included articles about the football team, the new dalmatian mascot known as ‘Friar of What Ho,’ and the new football scoreboard donated by Friars Club.
The first issue of the decade was published on January 28, 2010. Headlines included the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, the season finale of Jersey Shore, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and the men’s basketball team defeating the University of Connecticut in a Big East matchup. It also was a whopping 32 pages long, much longer than the average paper we publish now.
Yet, The Cowl will always be The Cowl regardless of what year or decade it is.
I am nervous going into 2020 for a variety of reasons—such as graduation and the presidential election. Nevertheless, I am proud to be ending the decade with this issue.
Throughout this entire semester, I have constantly been blown away by the content our amazing writers, editors, and photographers have produced weekly.
As nerve-wracking as 2020 seems, I am also honored and excited to help document the first events of the decade.
While the future is unknown, I am confident that The Cowl will continue to serve as “Providence College’s Student-Run Newspaper Since 1935,” and strive to put out incredible content every week.
Is Campus Conducive to Conversation?: PC Needs to Encourage Respectful Conversations over Immature Arguments
by The Cowl Editor on November 14, 2019
When I chat with prospective students and their parents in the Office of Admissions, parents often ask how students on campus handle controversial issues or views; whether our student body is open to conversation. When answering this question, I typically start off by emphasizing Providence College’s Catholic values and how some students hold certain views and values that align with the Church. Yet, I finish by explaining how PC students are open to having conversations rather than petty arguments.
I genuinely believe this—it is not something that the Office of Admissions tells us to say. However, there are moments on campus where I feel as though some students—regardless of their personal beliefs—choose to handle situations in a way that makes me second-guess the positive answer I give to parents of prospective students in the Office of Admissions.
Are we truly open to conversation? Everyone has the right to believe whatever they want, regardless of whether you personally believe or support it. Thus, everyone has the right to be treated with respect when expressing their values. Although we are college students who make silly mistakes, we are also adults who should handle more touchy situations in a mature and considerate fashion.
While some students may believe that they are making a sly or comedic comment in response to someone expressing their beliefs, it can oftentimes come off immature. Rather than making insolent remarks, why don’t we encourage conversation? You don’t have to agree with the person, just show them that you’re willing to hear their side of the argument.
Our world today is divided for a laundry list of reasons, so why should we encourage hostility on campus? You do not have to accept what others believe in, but you do need to simply respect them. And, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
The Cowl Heads to Washington, D.C.: Making our Mark on “the First Rough Draft of History”
by The Cowl Editor on October 31, 2019
by Katherine Torok ’20
I fell in love with journalism my senior year of high school thanks to my journalism teacher, Evan Madin. I never wrote for our school’s paper, so this was the first time I stepped away from writing traditional English essays and learned how to write journalistic feature articles. It was also originally only a half-year class, but I convinced my principal to let me take it for the entire year because I loved the material so much.
One of the most memorable parts of the class was our trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the Newseum—a museum dedicated to promoting freedom of expression and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Four years later, I am headed back to D.C. for journalistic reasons yet again. This time around, I, along with eight other editors, will be representing The Cowl at this year’s National College Media Convention and could not be more thrilled—even if that means missing Halloween.
I am excited to sit in on Marty Baron’s keynote and various other panels, learn from other editors and media professionals, and gain insights into how to make improvements to our own publication.
However, I am even more excited just to be back in Washington, D.C. In a world of ‘Fake News’ and questionable people in power, real journalism matters now more than ever before. Thus, this year’s convention location is more relevant than ever.
At the end of high school, I painted Mr. Madin a canvas with Phil Graham’s famous line, “Journalism is the first rough draft of history.” And every Wednesday night, The Cowl office is crafting Providence College’s first rough draft of history through students’ perspectives.
The ability to take part in creating this rough draft is at the same time a privilege and a responsibility—and we are keeping this in mind as we head to the Convention this weekend.
Check out next week’s issue of The Cowl to see what the National College Media Convention was all about!
by The Cowl Editor on September 26, 2019
If PC had the money for one major renovation or new building on campus, how should they use it?
by Andrea Traietti ’21
If Providence College had the money for only one major renovation on campus, they should use it to renovate the older academic buildings on campus. When it comes down to it, PC students are really here for one reason: to learn.
While dorm renovations or new fixtures on campus might be nice, the current status of the residence halls and the looks of campus are not getting in the way of students’ education. The outdated technology and unaccommodating spaces in some of the older academic buildings, however, serve as a consistent barrier to learning.
Specifically, the Feinstein Academic Center and Accinno Hall need updating. The first problem with the classrooms in these two buildings is the space. In both buildings, tables and chairs, or in some cases chairs with attached desks, are crammed into tiny rooms. These rooms are filled with the maximum number of students in most classes, making an already small space feel even smaller.
Even worse, many of the classes in these two buildings are centered on class discussion: history classes, theology classes, even foreign language classes where students’ primary task is to speak, to name a few. The tightness of these classrooms makes it impossible to move desks or chairs to make the room more conducive to class discussion. This results in some people being confined to the ‘outer circle’ and not being able to participate, or others not being able to see the chalkboard or projector.
Speaking of projectors, the second major barrier to academic success in these buildings is their lack of modern technology. The technology that is there does not consistently work and is outdated compared to the equipment in the new science complex. The technology used in the science complex and business school has set a new standard for how rooms should be equipped, and any building that is lacking should be updated to meet this new standard. After all, smart classrooms open the door to new and creative ways of learning.
While there will always be other concerns about residence halls or ways to beautify PC’s campus, updating the older academic buildings on campus would be the most practical and worthwhile use of funds because it would directly improve PC students’ academic experience. And in the end, learning is the most important part of being at college.
by Kelly Wheeler ’21
Although we are very fortunate to attend a university with many state-of-the-art facilities such as the Science Complex and Concannon Fitness Center, there is always a need for renovation at Providence College. Admittedly, several academic and residence halls are overdue for touch-ups. However, if PC were to acquire funding for some sort of transformation on campus, the College should apply it toward the creation of a new student parking lot.
Student parking at PC is extremely limited. Permits are only available to juniors and seniors, and the number of parking spots available to this fragment of the student body remains insufficient. Thus, a lottery process is used to decide which students are able to purchase a parking permit. Unfortunately, the odds do not end up being in the favor of many upperclassmen.
This creates problems for countless students. Although some students enter the parking lottery simply to enjoy the luxury of having a vehicle on campus, many students have a serious need for one.
For example, many upperclassmen have off-site internships or student teaching placements in the Providence area. PC does not provide transportation for these opportunities, meaning students without cars need to find their own way to get there. Many carless students carpool with other students who have vehicles, but issues can result if the drivers are unreliable or they do not have a schedule that is identical to those of their passengers.
Additionally, students that live in on-campus apartments with kitchens typically have modest meal plans (or none at all), so they need to go grocery shopping to purchase food. Doing so can be very inconvenient without a car on campus. Although the RIPTA stops at Shaw’s, it can be difficult to lug bags of groceries onto the bus.
Also, students use their cars on campus as a means of transportation when long weekends or holiday breaks come around. Students often want to go home at these times, but if they were not granted a parking permit, they may be unable to do so if no one is available to pick them up at PC.
Even students that emerge victorious from the lottery process find themselves frustrated with parking on campus. James Galvin ’20 said, “I was lucky enough to get a parking pass my junior year. But parking spots are so limited on this campus that people would park in the student lots even though they didn’t have permits. Because of this, the lots would fill up and I would have nowhere to put my car. I often had to park in visitor parking as a result, and I ended up getting a ticket one time for doing so.”
In conclusion, there is a significant need for more student parking at PC. So, should PC get money to build or reconstruct something on campus, the College should dedicate it to alleviating the large discrepancy between the supply and demand for student parking on campus.
by Marie Sweeney ’20
Each year, Providence College is becoming more popular, and each accepted class has grown exponentially in the past several years. However, the College has failed to accommodate the growing number of students in its outdated residence halls.
This has led to forced quads in both freshman and sophomore housing, forced room changes to accommodate students coming home from abroad, and various other problems. If PC were to receive an unlimited amount of money to update or renovate an aspect of campus there is no doubt that it should be allocated to renovate current residence halls and build new ones to fix this housing issue.
Being comfortable on a college campus is one of the most important aspects in ensuring students stay at their respective school. A student’s living space is a major factor that affects that comfort level. If they are not comfortable in their living space, it can have a negative impact on their life as a student.
The College must listen to the needs of students and prioritize them over other campus renovation projects. The popularity of the school starts with the students and if the students are not happy, the entire school will reflect that.
Coming in as a freshman and being forced to live with three other roommates in a small room can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience. It can also lead to further roommate problems. The College needs to allocate money to the building of a new residence hall, especially because the incoming classes are continuing to grow.
As for the quality of the housing, some of PC’s residence halls have been the same since the 1980s, and they look that way. Halls such as Aquinas, McVinney, St. Joe’s, and more desperately need renovation. PC is becoming a widely known and popular school and it needs to keep up to date with its residence halls, which will certainly have an impact on incoming students and parents.
PC must prioritize the comfort and contentment of its students over other projects that need major funding. The lack of student housing and the poor quality of available housing reflects badly on the college’s understanding of student comfort in their living situations. By funding a residence hall project, PC will not only acknowledge and excite current students, but will also further attract incoming students to make PC the best it could be.
Phillips Memorial Library
by Katherine Torok ’20
The Phillips Memorial Library is nothing spectacular when compared to its neighboring buildings: the Ruane Center for the Humanities, the Science Complex, and Harkins Hall. Its boxy exterior made of dull bricks, dark windows, and sand colored concrete feels outdated and mundane compared to the beautiful architecture which surrounds it.
While Ruane and the Science Complex are relatively new in comparison to Harkins and the library, their architecture mirrors Harkins and makes the string of buildings feel cohesive.
The library, on the other hand, feels out of place. It first opened on January 6, 1969, and feels like it came straight from the late 60s and early 70s. Though it is connected to Ruane, the two feel completely different. This is especially apparent when walking from one building to the other through the small Inter-Hub. You transition from walking on dull geometric carpet to sleek tile, toward welcoming natural light. Natural lighting is essential; instead of being subjected to the harsh lighting that emits from the grid-like concrete ceiling of the library, the beautiful windows from Ruane allow for warm light to shine through on sunny days.
The library does have some great study spaces nestled in the corners of the second floor. Yet, they are often occupied due to their panoramic windows which let in an abundance of welcoming natural light.
This is why so many students choose to study in the Slavin Center or the Arthur F. and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies; the ambiance is warm and inviting thanks to the massive windows located throughout each building.
Aside from adding more windows throughout the library, it is also essential for the College to invest in different furniture on the first and second floors.
While the basement has bright, fresh, and modern furniture to encourage collaborative group work, everywhere you look on the first and second floor on the library is filled with the same chestnut colored wood.
The desks, tables, chairs, couches, and bookshelves are the same. Switching up the furniture or mixing different styles would be a fun and energizing change. In addition, the geometric carpet could be switched out for something more neutral.
Overall, the Phillips Memorial Library is good, but it could use some freshening up, both inside and out.
The addition of windows, installation of new flooring, updating of furniture, and a possible exterior makeover would create a more inviting environment and ultimately encourage more students to spend time doing work there.
There is no need to rebuild a new library, just continue the updates from the IT department upwards and outwards. As a result, the academic buildings of upper campus would look more cohesive and unified.
(Anna) Wintour is Coming: Don’t Be Afraid to Get a Little Cold
by The Cowl Editor on September 26, 2019
by Katherine Torok ’20
When I was younger, whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I immediately said, “fashion designer.” Flash-forward a couple years and my go-to answer became, “Anna Wintour, but nicer.”
However, a few weeks ago when I was in my History of Fashion and Costuming class, Professor David Cabral dismissed my answer. He explained how Wintour—the current Editor-in-Chief of Vogue—needs to put up an icy and cutthroat persona in order to maintain her status as one of the most important figures in fashion.
I politely agreed and thought nothing more of it.
But after watching The September Issue for that very class, my answer has changed once again: now, it’s just “Anna Wintour.”
In short, The September Issue is a documentary that follows the creation of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine—the most important copy of the year. In it, Wintour’s stubbornness is on full display; she constantly rejects proposals, cuts content without other editors’ approval, and parades around in her iconic sunglasses. You can sense her coldness through your screen.
Yet, the film cut to scenes where Wintour is seen with her family; she’s full of warmth and life. She knows how and when to switch from being a demanding editor to a loving woman, proving you can be both.
Many people only see one side of Wintour—the side that has to run one of the most powerful fashion magazines in the world. With such a coveted position, she needs to act a certain way to ensure everything is done the way she envisions it.
If that means being a little demanding, so be it.
Wintour proves to young girls that you cannot always please everyone. If you have a job to do, get it done, even if that means putting your foot down in the process.
The Future is Female: Female Executives Lead the Campus into the School Year
by The Cowl Editor on September 12, 2019
by Kerry Torpey ’20 and Katherine Torok ’20
Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editor-in-Chief
When Providence College first opened its doors in 1917, it was an all-male institution. It was not until 1971 that female students received admission and started making their mark on PC history.
In 2017, Phionna-Cayola Claude ’18, Elizabeth Jancsy ’18, Simran Madhani ’18, and Marcie Mai ’18 broke the glass ceiling by becoming the presidents of Student Congress, the Board of Programmers (BOP), Friars Club, and the Board of Multicultural Student Affairs (BMSA). After the elections of these four female leaders, Dr. Abigail Brooks, director of the women’s studies department, told The Cowl, “The more we see women, and importantly a diversity of women, inhabiting leadership roles, the more likely it is that other women can also imagine themselves in these roles.”
Following in those footsteps this year, Kelsey Christianson ’20, Ariel Tavares ’20, Acklynn Byamugisha ’20, Bailey Zimmitti ’20, and Amanda Gaccione ’20 take on top leadership positions for Student Congress, Friars Club, BMSA, Campus Ministry, and BOP, respectively. Christianson, Tavares, Byamugisha, Zimmitti, and Gaccione sat down with The Cowl to discuss challenges they have faced as well as their goals for this upcoming academic year.
Who has been your biggest female role model on campus?
AT: To settle on one is impossible as I am inspired by most of the women I am surrounded by every day. But, I have succeeded two of the most well-rounded Presidents of Friars Club, Sabrina Morelli ’19 and Simran Madhani ’18. They have taught me that there are different ways to be a woman, to be a friend, and to be a leader. They have broken barriers in their own ways but both with a grace I can only hope to emulate.
KC: My biggest female role model from PC is Kelsie Laferriere ’17, my “Congress mom.” She was one of the strongest women I have ever met and taught me to always speak out and let your voice be heard. Even though I only had one year on campus with her, it was enough to realize how great of a person she was.
BZ: My biggest female role model on campus has been Sister Anne Frances, O.P. From the moment I stepped on campus, Sister Anne Frances has been a reflection of Christ’s light for me. As a religious sister, she is not only a symbol and reminder to the world of God’s reconciling the world to Himself through Christ’s incarnation and sacrifice, but she is also a spiritual mother to all of God’s children, beautifully imitating St. Dominic in her balance of gentle, tender compassion and zeal for souls.
What goals do you have for your organization this year?
AB: I want everyone in the organization to feel that there will always be a family supporting them at Providence College. More importantly I hope that the executive boards within each club and organization can work together, create events with one another, and move towards a bigger, more unifying narrative where all students involved on campus can feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves, and just create a stronger sense of Friar family for everyone.
AG: This year my goal for BOP is to truly go above and beyond in making inclusive, new events that make everyone feel welcome. Our theme this year is “Making PC feel like home.” As said on countless tours by the members of Friars Club, our goal is to keep people at the school, and we have been working tirelessly to brainstorm new and innovative events that will allow students to make new friends, branch out, and feel comfortable and happy every single day in Friartown.
KC: I have many goals for Student Congress this year, but my number one goal is to really connect with the student body. I want everyone on campus to realize that our organization is there to serve them and that we can be a resource to them. Another goal I have for Student Congress is to increase campus awareness of what Student Congress does. Most of the school doesn’t know what Congress does or how we can help them, and I want that to change.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at PC?
BZ: The biggest challenge I have faced at PC has been learning how to deal with feeling unsatisfied. There have been many moments in college when I thought I knew myself and what I wanted, but after having obtained what I wanted, I was left still not feeling satisfied. Last year as I read with a heavy heart from Ecclesiastes in our beautiful chapel at adoration one night, I was struck by this verse: “God has made everything appropriate to its time, but has put [eternity] into their hearts so they cannot find out, from beginning to end, the work which God has done” (Ecc. 3:11). We are temporary, finite beings with eternity in our hearts—nothing of this world could possibly ever satisfy us in a real, lasting way.
AG: One of the biggest challenges I faced was during my sophomore year. I am also on the swim team here, and I had to “redshirt” the entire year from swimming, which means I couldn’t compete due to an injury. However, that was also my first year on BOP, and provided me with the opportunity to dedicate all of my energy, effort, and love to BOP. It was a blessing in disguise that I was not able to compete that year because I had more time to go to more BOP events and make amazing memories with the club.
AB: Working with close-minded people. I find that I am very comfortable being myself in all spaces, but it hurts me that people cannot feel the same way or struggle with working with people that are not like themselves. But it’s okay, things happen and sometimes I have to expect that.
If you could tell your first-year self anything, what would you say?
KC: I would tell my first-year self to make yourself a priority. College is about learning who you are, and you need to take time to do that. Take the time to process and learn about yourself. Do things for you that are in your best interest because that is how you will figure yourself out and how you can help others.
AT: Do yourself a favor and get rid of all of your skirts, dance a lot more, and share more of yourself with those around you because people are not always what you expect.
BZ: The best piece of advice that I have received and that I wish I could tell my freshman self came from someone you may have known as Daniel Arteaga ’19, but who is now Br. Raphael Mary. It is that you have to pray knowing that God will take care of everything. Sometimes we can feel like God does not hear our prayers because He is not answering in the way we want or expect Him to. But it’s important to remember that we cannot always see God weaving our stories day by day; rather, in hindsight, we can see in the small things how He has equipped us and carried us exactly where we should be.
What is the best piece of advice you have received at PC?
AG: Be who you are and say what you feel because those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.
AB: Meeckral “Meecky” Searight [from the Personal Counseling Center] told me that I cannot control what is not in my own control, so I should not stress over what I do not have the direct ability to change. Ever since then, I have been a lot less stressed.
AT: You are more respected being yourself than anyone else.