Ex-Major Leaguer advises student-athletes to build relationships, brand

As a former 16-year Major League Baseball (MLB) infielder and now a coordinator with the Cleveland Indians organization, John McDonald ’10SCE knows a thing or two about sustaining a successful professional career. 

McDonald recently shared his hard-won wisdom with nearly 100 Providence College student-athletes who attended Student-Athlete Career Night in Slavin Center ’64 Hall.

Held every two years, Student-Athlete Career Night gives student-athletes from the junior and senior classes a chance to network with and gain valuable advice from more than 40 professionals and life coaches from various career fields. Professions represented included sports administration, marketing, education, finance, insurance, information technology, medicine, sales, and law. Twenty-eight of this year’s career night participants were alumni.

Coordinated by the Department of Athletics, the Center for Career Education and Professional Development, and the Office of Academic Services, Student-Athlete Career Night was made possible through the support of athletics benefactors Yvette Boisclair ’84 and Mark Mandell, who have sponsored the event since its inception in 2008. Boisclair and Mandell are attorneys with Mandell Schwartz & Boisclair, Ltd, in Providence.

The evening commenced with Robert G. Driscoll, Jr., associate vice president for athletics and athletics director, welcoming the student-athletes and guests and conveying how the consistent support of Boisclair and Mandell has paved the way for countless student-athletes to begin their career journeys.

“Friar student-athletes spend four years playing a sport that they love. When they graduate, we want them to find a career that they are equally passionate about. Ultimately, it’s about pursuing a life of meaning, and that has always been the ethos of Providence College,” said Driscoll.

Mandell told the student-athletes that this was their night to build their futures.

“Our goal is to make sure every student-athlete who comes to PC lands a job. This night is about the fellowship and establishing relationships that could make a difference,” he said.

Click to read more…

Students Shine a Light on Syrian Civil War

A course examining human behavior through the lens of the Syrian conflict inspires students to raise awareness on campus.

BRISTOL, R.I. – As civil war in Syria continues to devastate the country and displace millions of people, a group of Roger Williams University students led a grassroots-effort to make sure it’s not forgotten beyond the walls of a classroom. Inspired by an examination of the human impact of the Syrian conflict in a fall semester CORE Human Behavior course, the students decided to take what they had learned to the greater campus community with a candlelight vigil to spotlight the struggles that Syrian refugees are experiencing worldwide.

As twilight descended over campus on Nov. 15, students and faculty joined the class outdoors, some with candles and others shining cell phone lights, to reflect in solemn silence and to hear about the conflict from a variety of perspectives.

“Here at Roger Williams, sometimes we struggle,” said Anas Alfeez, a sophomore criminal justice major from Saudi Arabia who spoke fondly about Syria as a beautiful place he visited in his childhood. “But our struggles are good ones. We struggle to become educated, to do well on tests, to pursue our interests. Syrians struggle to survive.”

This kind of open and honest dialogue was exactly what Professor Alan Canestrari had hoped to jumpstart by bringing timely social justice issues into the classroom. In previous years, he’s taught the Human Behavior course around general psychological and sociological theories, but has since altered his approach to use current events and contemporary issues as a way for students to internalize the world and their place in it. And the University’s “Quest for Refuge” series – a yearlong series of events and academic programming that reflect critically on the current state of refugees around the world – allowed his classroom to be a springboard for exploring human compassion, altruism, and more through the lens of Syria’s civil war.

Click to read more…

Forbes, U.S. News, International Business Times seek expert analysis from Bryant faculty

With global financial markets responding to the Presidential election, and investors anxiously speculating about the economic climate in 2017, Bryant Finance Professors Peter Nigro (left) and David Louton have been in high demand for their financial markets expertise. Here is a round-up of the news stories where they’ve provided comments and perspective.

International Business Times: Fed moves affect homeowners, young people

“It’s going to be more expensive to buy a house, and it’s going to be more expensive for people thinking of moving up,” said Professor Nigro in the Dec. 13 International Business Times article, “How Does the Fed Interest Rate Affect Other Things? Homeowners, Young People, Exporters Could Be Hurt By Wednesday Hike.” “Banks are always quick to raise rates on debt,” he added.

Washington Examiner: Impact of President-elect’s policies on interest rates

The Washington Examiner included comments from Professor Nigro and several Federal Reserve officials in the Dec. 13 article, “How the Fed will react to Trump’s victory.” Nigro noted that “there are so many unknowns” about what the President-elect will say and do, and he believes that Trump’s proposed policies will be a big topic for the Fed meeting this week.

TheStreet.com: Interest rates and home buying outlook

“I think the Fed really wants to be proactive in popping any potential bubbles going forward,” said Professor Nigro in the Dec. 12 article on TheStreet.com focused on trading ahead of the Dec. 13-14 Fed meeting. He added “that if market conditions persists he expects the Fed to raise interest rates two or three time during 2017.”

Click to read more…

Preparing for Mars


HI-SEAS crew member Andrzej Stewart tries on a modular space suit designed by students Erica Kim 18 AP/ID (center) and Kasia Matlak MID 17 (right). | photo by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH

Grad student Kasia Matlak MID 17 and undergraduate Erica Kim 18 AP/ID took advantage of a rare opportunity to consult with “virtual astronauts” on a space suit they designed and made for a simulated mission to Mars. Working closely with RISD’s longtime NASA Coordinator Michael Lye 96 ID – a senior critic in the Industrial Design department – Matlak and Kim helped to develop the suit during a yearlong independent research project. In January they plan to ship it across the Pacific for the next Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) mission, an extended stay inside a solar-powered dome that simulates long-duration space exploration.

On Monday, December 5, the team unveiled the suit and helped HI-SEAS Chief Engineering Officer Andrzej Stewart try it on for comfort. “Are you feeling claustrophobic in there?” Lye asked via a two-way radio system. “No, but I’m an ice hockey goalie in my free time, so I’m used to wearing a lot of gear,” Stewart quipped in response.

Weighing in at approximately 50 pounds, the suit feels a little bit lighter than what an actual (heavier) space suit would feel like on Mars, where the gravitational force is weaker than Earth’s. It’s also much easier to get in and out of than typical space suits now in use, taking about 15 minutes and requiring the help of just one person.

Click to read more…