Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Back to the Swing of Things

Being home for three weeks for winter break was very nice and relaxing! However, I did miss my friends a lot and it was great to reconnect with everyone when we came back. Living on campus is great because there are so many activities and events that are offered for students. The first week back from break, my dorm building offered ice-skating in the school parking lot. They set out cookies and had skates for everyone to use. It was fun to take a break from schoolwork and catch up with everyone. My friends and I had so much fun skating and talking to people who we haven’t seen in a while.
Ice Skating right on campus!
Along with fun events and activities, my dorm also offers helpful classes like how to write a resume. This was really helpful because it showed us what to include, what to not, and also key components that should stand out more than others. I was especially interested in this because being a second semester sophomore, it is important to begin the internship process for either the summer or the next academic year.

Blog by: Claire McGonigle

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Senior Spotlight: Alice Smyth

Name: Alice Smyth
Hometown: Yonkers, New York (Westchester County)
Major: Business Administration; Dual Specializations: Marketing/Communications & Media
Graduation date: May 2015 (Wow! **Cross your Fingers**)

The Taj Mahal!
Why did you choose Fordham?
I originally was auditioning for music schools hoping to major in voice performance, but then I changed my mind and thought that business was a more realistic route. I never gave Fordham University the credit it deserved because it was so close to home for me. Although during the summer going into my senior year of high school I visited Rose Hill and just felt so comfortable and at home. It was a gorgeous campus and I was laughing to myself thinking that this could be the school for me and it was only 10 minutes away from home. Fordham then gave me a decent financial aid package, I got into the business school, and I decided that commuting to Fordham would save my family a lot of money. So I chose Fordham and Fordham chose me. I’m glad it worked out this way. 

What clubs/organizations/internships have you been involved in? What has been your favorite experience?
There are definitely so many clubs/organizations/internships that I have been apart of and still there are so many more that I want to get involved with! Here are just some of the few things that I have done during my time at Fordham…
ORGANIZATIONS: New Student Orientation (Coordinator/Captain/Leader); Commuter Assistant (CA); Senior Week (Committee/Volunteer); Commuting Students Association (CSA); Campus Activities Board (CAB)
CLUBS: Fordham Women’s Choir; Intramurals (Softball, Soccer, Flag Football, Volleyball; Dodgeball; Basketball); Fashion for Philanthropy; Ballroom Dance; Fordham Marketing Association; Students for Fair Trade
INTERNSHIPS: NBCUniversal: Sprout Marketing Intern; Fordham University New Student Orientation Marketing Coordinator; Fordham Sodexo Marketing Intern; Sarah Hall Productions, Inc.; The Ursuline School Advancement Office; Pentacle (DanceWorks, Inc.); Westchester County Board of Legislators
Miscellaneous: Leadership Weekend (Presenter ‘15/Attendee ‘14); Emmaus 113; Entrepreneurship & Fair Trade Service Trip – India; Study Tour – Tokyo, Japan; Study Abroad: Spring 2013 – London, England; NJSLC 2013 – (National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference); NACA 2012– (National Association for Campus Activities);
JOBS: Freelance Harpist “Angels Aren’t the Only Ones Who Play the Harp”™ 
Contact me for your next event! I can sing, play the harp, and even emcee!

What do you think is the best resource available to students on campus? 
I think that the best resource available to students on campus is Career Services. I received two of my internships thanks to the Career Services’ job and internship database. They are constantly striving to improve their services for students and alumni. I appreciate the many opportunities they provide for students, whether it is résumé help, weekly email blasts, career fairs and on-campus job interviews. In a world where it seems to be turning into who you know rather than what you know, it’s always good to have a well functioning Career Services department that is willing to help one network and connect with all the right people.

What is your favorite personal memory at Fordham? 
My favorite personal memory at Fordham was a Saturday back in either February or March 2014. I had stayed over my friend’s apartment the night before and we spent the entire Saturday doing whatever we felt like. It was a beautiful, sunny, cold day. We first ventured to the Botanical Gardens and took a nice stroll/hike/run. We decided to take the roads less traveled and trudged through the snowy paths. After our walk we worked up an appetite and decided to venture to Arthur Avenue for something to eat. We went to the Arthur Avenue Market and got these delicious sandwiches and a rice ball from Mike’s Deli; mine was the Paula Deen. Both the market and Arthur avenue was so vibrant on a Saturday with both Fordham students and visitors alike shopping, eating, and enjoying a good ole Saturday in the Bronx. Then we were heading back to Fordham when we passed Simon’s Deli, both looked at each other and agreed that a Nutella milkshake was a must! We brought all our food back to campus, sat down on the steps closest to the McGinley Student Center overlooking Eddies and Keating and all was good in the world.

Where is your favorite place to hang out at Fordham or in NYC?
My favorite place to hang out at Fordham is…Eddies! Wow! Who would’ve thought? Eddies is just the center of Fordham. Although I definitely don’t think I get to take advantage of it too much because I’m either studying or working, when I get the chance I appreciate every moment. Just sitting on the lovely green patch of grass (depending on what season) looking at Keating is one of the many things Fordham is all about. This past summer while working on New Student Orientation, I vividly remember not leaving McGinley until 12am at night. Happily enough someone had given me a free slice of pizza while I was walking out of the office. I took my pizza, all my bags and plopped myself right smack down in the middle of Eddies. The stars were out, it was quiet (except for the spraying of the sprinklers) and the lights on Keating were set just right. It is in these type of moments when I say, “Wow, I’m pretty lucky.” How often will I get to be on Fordham’s campus just relaxing on Eddie’s without a care in the world?

London and Big Ben
What are your plans/goals/aspirations for post-graduation?
My plans/goals/aspirations for post-graduation life is a good question. I want to do it all! I will be a motivational speaker and a positivity guru. I will become the next Oprah and create my own personal brand. Hopefully in a few years or so I will have my own talk show where I will get to discuss everything and anything that will motivate people in their own lives. People will talk to each other and say, “Oh did you catch that segment on Alice today?” For my show, I can then invite all my entertaining, intelligent friends who studied different subjects on as my expert in specific topics I’ll cover. It’s all about connections and networking! I will inspire people to go out and do what they love and I would love to do all this while seeing the world. Thanks to a semester study abroad trip to London and taking advantage of a study tour to Japan and a service trip to India while at Fordham, there are still so many more places in the world with so many more people I would like to meet.

Snowed In

Although Blizzard Juno was not as huge as many Fordham students anticipated, we still got a nice, relaxing snow day out of it! There is a lot to do both at Rose Hill and in the city during a snowstorm. Last night, my friends and I trekked to Pugsley's Pizza for dinner. The pizza there is always delicious, no matter what the weather is! Then, we walked back to the dorm and watched a movie. It was a fun, relaxing break from classes!
Pugsley's Pizza!
Rose Hill students woke up this morning to a beautiful view. This campus is beautiful in every season, but it is specifically stunning in the winter. The snow looked beautiful over Eddies, and the view of Keating is unmatched. It makes the cold a bit more bearable!
Keating in the snow
A few of my friends decided to travel into the city today to make use of the break from classes. The views around the city were also beautiful. New York City is arguably the best sightseeing city in the United States, and it looks even more stunning in the snow! Although Juno wasn't the biggest blizzard NYC has ever seen, it still provided a relaxing, fun break for all Fordham students.
Central Park

Monday, January 26, 2015

Juno Takes Fordham

A couple of days ago, word came to Fordham about the storm they've named Juno. Reports were calling for 20-36 inches of snow, and in a few hours, Fordham will find out just how much it's going to get. The weather report is calling for a 100% chance of precipitation from 10 PM to 10 AM, and everyone is anxiously waiting to find out just how much snow we'll all have to trudge through  tomorrow just to get to the cafeteria. States around us are in a state of emergency and the students have just received an emergency alert ordering all vehicles (except those for emergencies) off of the road after 11 PM.

The beginning of the blizzard
Although this sounds despondent, Fordham is actually an awesome place to be during a blizzard! You get to stay warm with all of your friends in the dorms with the promise of no classes tomorrow! Campus food services will be open on their usual schedules, thanks to our incredible dining staff who are trooping through the storm with us. There's also the option of all of the delicious take-out food around campus. Options like sushi from Umai, or penne vodka from Michaelangelo's, or even pizza from Pugsley's are all available to the students so that even if we're stuck inside, we don't have to sacrifice a great dinner (we're always sure to tip well).

A view of my dorm, O'hare Hall, from afar in the snow!
Furthermore, tomorrow we can all go out and play in the snow. Fordham is absolutely beautiful covered in snow, and there are endless outside activities to partake in. One of the Resident Assistants in my building has already scheduled a snowball fight as a program for the whole building! If, however, the snow is not for you, you can enjoy the extra day off with an Arrested Development marathon (thanks Netflix), catching up on some much-needed sleep, or doing some extra reading for your classes (if you're feeling really motivated)!

Weekend Update

Grand Central's incredible architecture
Jessica Timko
This weekend my friends and I went to Manhattan just to walk around before all the snow came.  One of my favorite things is seeing all of the buildings in the city lit up at night.  When we were in Grand Central Terminal we came across the J.P.Morgan Tournament of Champions for the Professional Squash Association! They had courts with all glass walls set up so you could see the games.  I had no idea that Grand Central hosted these kinds of events.  I love attending school in a city where you can go out without a plan and still find cool and interesting things to do.

Nice view of the Ram Van office
Gianna Rosamilia
This weekend, I spent a lot of time in the Ram Van office. Last spring, I was able to secure myself a job driving the Ram Van, and now it's a huge part of my college career. The Ram Van is an organization that provides intercampus transportation to students for a fairly low cost. It's also a really awesome student employment opportunity! On Saturday I worked my regular morning shift, and on Sunday I had driver training from 10 AM to 6 PM. On this annual training day, drivers practice airport runs, Calder Center runs, using the accessibility van, and parallel parking. Although I worked a lot and the days were long, I love my job, and the weekend was a lot of fun!

My friends and me at Columbus Circle
Anna Romagnoli
This weekend I had a friend from home (Vermont) visit and my roommate and I got to show her around the city.  It was a cold and snowy weekend so we spent some time in museums like the Jewish Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  We strolled through Central Park and ended our day near Columbus Circle.  Despite the inclement weather there was still plenty to do and it was fun to play tour guide for the day!

Selfie at MoMA!
Erica Restaino
I am an RA in Loschert, which is one of the freshman Residence Halls. This Friday evening, I brought a group of my residents to the MoMA since it's free on Friday evenings. The transportation costs were covered for the residents, so they were able to enjoy a free trip into the city. I always love visiting the MoMA and my residents enjoyed it as well!

The beautiful University Church

Danielle Smith
Even though it's only the second week of the semester, this weekend was mostly spent doing homework. However, I was happy and grateful that I was able to end my weekend and begin my week by attending the 8 PM mass in the University Church. Father Florio's homily was motivating!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Student Theatre at Rose Hill

I'm more comfortable on stage than I am in most social situations. But going into senior year of high school, I knew I didn't want to be in an undergraduate acting program. Instead, I chose to attend Fordham College at Rose Hill, even though I knew the school's official theatre program (with its highly selective, audition-based admissions process) was housed at Lincoln Center. At the same time, I knew I absolutely wanted to continue performing in shows. As I prepared to attend Fordham in the fall of 2012, I prayed that I wouldn't be let down by the quality of Rose Hill's theatre community.

Thankfully, our campus is brimming with great theatrical opportunities, especially for a campus of its size. Maybe it's because we're so close to New York City, but for a campus that doesn't host Fordham's performing arts departments, Rose Hill has an abundance of talented and creative students who--despite majoring in unrelated fields--pursue their artistic passions through our student groups on campus, as well through more professional venues in Manhattan. We even have students from Lincoln Center who come over regularly to audition for and perform in our shows.

For those of you who want to continue acting, but don't want to major in it, rest assured that you can do just that here at Fordham Rose Hill. To help you out, I've created a run down of Rose Hill's three student theatre groups!

The Mimes and Mummers

The Mimes are Fordham's mainstage student theatre group based in Collins Auditorium in Collins Hall. They put on two shows each semester, usually one play and one musical each semester. The students on the Mimes' executive board hire professionals from the NYC area to direct each productions. Students manage all technical aspects of the production (lights, costumes, set), and the casts are required to complete a certain amount of "tech hours" as well.

So far I've been in four shows with the Mimes: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The 39 Steps, Legally Blonde, and currently RENT. It's been one of my favorite parts of my Fordham career to work with such talented people and act under the direction of professional freelance directors. My director for The 39 Steps is also a teacher at NYU, and we're still friends on Facebook! If you're visiting Fordham anytime soon, try and catch our production of RENT which opens on February 26 and closes March 1.

Fordham Experimental Theatre (FET)

FET is an exclusively student-run theatre group that performs in the well-loved Blackbox located on the first floor of Collins Hall. Like the Mimes, they put on four show a year, two each semester. Many are student-written, and all are student-directed. FET is known for unique show concepts and sometimes wild directing choices. Since I've been at Fordham, several student-written shows that debuted in the Blackbox have been accepted into various theatre festivals in New York. Two of them--Cowboys Don't Sing and My Personal Hell--have even played at the New York International Fringe Festival.

My Personal Hell by Jonathan O'Neill at the NY Int'l Fringe Festival, August 2014.

Me and Mike Dahlgren in The Pillowman, April 2012.

FET also has a number of umbrella groups who regularly perform in the Blackbox, including Stranded in Pittsburgh (improv), Free Pizza Sketch Comedy, Fordham Standup (who occasionally perform at Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan), and Verbal Essences (spoken word poetry). On top of that, they put on a Playwrights Festival every semester, which features student-written one-act plays. Needless to say, FET offers students a ton of opportunities to perform, and it's a great way to get started in the Rose Hill theatre scene.

Currently FET is working on Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Jonathan O'Neill and Chris Pedro. The show opens during the third weekend of February.

Theatrical Outreach Program (TOP)

TOP is dedicated to abridging important plays, often from the classical tradition, and staging them in a more accessible way for today's audiences. Last semester they put on Our Town and Twelfth Night, or What You Will. After their performances at Fordham, for instance, they bring their productions to under-supported high schools in the Bronx area. They put on two shows each semester, and like FET, all productions are put together solely by students. Currently TOP is working on The Laramie Project, directed by David Schillinger.

Production still from Twelfth Night, fall 2014.

There are so many ways to get involved with student theatre at Fordham. You don't need to be a major to be involved in rewarding, high quality productions. For that, I'm extremely grateful. If you have any questions about the arts scene at Fordham Rose Hill, feel free to email me at Hope to see you at auditions this fall!

Women in STEM Club

Fordham has over 90 different clubs and organizations at Rose Hill that students can participate in, including cultural clubs, performing arts clubs, and academic clubs just to name a few (check out the complete list here

One of the great things about Fordham is that if there isn’t a club that caters to a particular interest, students are encouraged to start a new club.  I am currently in the process of starting a new club on campus with a few of my friends.  My friends and I are all majoring in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, and we decided that we wanted to create a club that fosters community among females in these areas where we are usually in the minority. 

In order to become a club recognized by Fordham, we needed to complete an application packet.  The application involved finding a faculty member to act as our advisor, writing a club constitution, and gathering student signatures to show that there is a desire for this club on campus.  My academic adviser Christine Papadakis, who teaches in the computer science department, has been encouraging us to start this club, so she was the perfect person to ask to be our club adviser.  We submitted all of the necessary paper work to United Student Government, who is in charge of reviewing new club applications, at the end of last semester.  We received feedback on our constitution and submitted a revised edition, so now we are just waiting to hear back.

Although we are still in the process of becoming a Fordham club, my friends and I are looking forward to our first official event.  As the founding members, we are serving as the inaugural Executive Board (E-board), which means that one of our responsibilities is planning the events our club will host.  We have already had brainstorming sessions with our adviser to decide how we can make this club a resource for all students. 

A Twitter post about the IBM event we attended to
get ideas for our Women in STEM club.
To help get ideas for our club, my fellow E-board members and I attended an event in Manhattan hosted by IBM. We attended the event called “Girls Night Out” because the theme of the night, empowering women in technology, aligned with our goal for our own club.  When we got to IBM, we were able to network with influential members of the IBM community, including IBM General Manager Sandy Carter, who were excited to hear about our club.  She even tweeted pictures of us at the event! We then listened to a panel of women talking about their experiences working in the technology field and watched a demo of IBM’s new Bluemix platform.  Be able to attend sophisticated events such as this one is just another perk of going to school in New York City.  My friends and I are looking forward to implementing our ideas and building a stronger community of women in STEM on Fordham’s campus with our club.
IBM General Manager Sandy Carter was excited to hear
about our new club and gave us a shout-out on Twitter!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Father Phil's Bucket List

There are always tons of things going on around Fordham, several which are organized by the Campus Activities Board (CAB).  Last night in Keating 1st Auditorium, CAB hosted an event called “Father Phil’s Bucket List.”  He gave the students some inspiration about how to best spend their time in college, and how to take advantage of all that Fordham has to offer.  Father Phil started off with a quote from Howard Thurman:  “Ask yourself what makes you come alive and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  He spoke about the importance of discovering our personal mission and delving deep into all that we do.  He also said we should expand our minds by learning another language and reading more, both for school and leisure.  He discussed how following the news will help us to formulate our own opinions on current issues, giving us the tools to engage in critical thinking and meaningful discourse.

The view on my way home from studying abroad!
Father Phil also encouraged the students to go out and see the world in whatever way they can.  He talked about how much travel can broaden our horizons and change the way we see the world.  Through visiting other countries and continents, we can immerse ourselves into other cultures and learn not only about these people, but also learn more about ourselves in the process.  Here at Fordham there are countless study abroad programs available to students in various locations and for different lengths of time.  Whether it is a weeklong study tour, a month in the summer, or a whole semester, you can find a program that best suits you and your academic career path.  Father Phil also spoke about the importance of serving those in need, following in the Jesuit tradition.  Fordham has endless opportunities to help others not only in the local community, but also across the country and beyond through programs like Global Outreach.

Eddie's Parade at sunset
Another point that Father Phil spoke about was appreciation for nature.  He discussed the beauty that surrounds us here at Fordham, both on and off campus.  Just across the street from our main entrance is the New York Botanical Garden, where students can enter for free simply by showing their Fordham ID.  He also encouraged students to eat well, especially since just outside campus is Arthur Avenue, the heart of the Bronx’s “Little Italy.”  This area is lined with delicious Italian restaurants, pizzerias, and bakeries to explore.  Students can even visit Manhattan by the Ram Van, Metro-North, or subway.  Father Phil talked about the importance of exercise and, fortunately, Fordham has great gym facilities and even intramurals for students who want to participate in sports on a recreational level.  He ended with an old Italian proverb:  “With hard work and determination one can climb a mountain.  With Faith and imagination, one can move it!”

My intramural flag football team

Guest Blogger: Ola Makara

As we begin our spring semester at Fordham, the weather has reminded us that spring is still a ways away. Let's flashback to Summer 2014 with an interview with Fordham College at Rose Hill junior Biological Sciences major Ola Makara about her internship at MD Anderson in Texas!

How did you hear about the program?

I heard about the program via email. There are internship and research emails sent out to all the biology majors at Fordham and one was regarding the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) program at MD Anderson. I went on their website, read more about the research experience that they offered, and applied. The president of MD Anderson, Ronald DePinho, also came to Fordham to speak about cancer prevention research and statistics at the University Club in Manhattan. Although I was not able to directly attend this event, I did watch a video of his presentation, and his wise words greatly encouraged me to apply to MD Anderson’s cancer research program.

Did you know that the president of MD Anderson is a Fordham alum before you went?

I did know that Ronald DePinho was a Fordham alum before my summer experience because during my freshman year, he spoke about cancer prevention research and statistics at the University Club in Manhattan. Although I was not able to directly attend this event, I did watch a video of his presentation, and his wise words greatly encouraged me to apply to MD Anderson’s cancer research program.

Did you interact with him at all?

I actually got to meet Dr. DePinho toward the end of my summer! Connecting with such a successful individual who once walked through the same halls of Keating and took the same science courses as I did was a really amazing feeling. He wished me luck in all my future endeavors and reminded me that with self-determination and good communication, my generation had the capability to make extraordinary contributions- not only to science, but also to the world. 
Ola and Dr. DePinho

What kind of work did you do/describe a typical day?

The admissions committee works very thoroughly to match accepted summer students with an appropriate Principal Investigator. However, during the application process, students have the opportunity to select a Principal Investigator that they would like to work with and submit a justification as to why. I was lucky enough to get paired with my top choice- Dr. Russell Broaddus, M.D/Ph.D. The Broaddus lab primarily studies the molecular pathogenesis of endometrial cancer, the number most common cancer diagnosed in women. 

This summer, my particular project focused on adenosine signaling as a potential therapeutic target for metastatic endometrial cancer. This is an extremely important step in endometrial cancer research, because as of right now, late-stage endometrial carcinomas are essentially incurable.

One thing that I realized about being a scientist is that it is not a 9 to 5 job. You cater your hours based on the particular experiments you are running and the time points you are collecting. My days could begin as early as 6 am and end as late as 1 am. One experiment could take up to two hours to complete; another could take up to two days. I would lie if I said that research wasn’t tedious- oftentimes, it can be. However, when you love what you’re doing, you can’t wait to hop out of bed in the mornings and whip on your lab coat. You don’t perceive your work as a “job”, but rather as a hobby.

Would you do it again?

I was fortunate enough to be invited to continue my research for the summer of 2015 and I am super excited to be returning to the Texas Medical Center to spend another fantastic 10 weeks with my PI, my post doc, and the most memorable summer students that you meet along the way! Ideally, I will be rerunning my experiments in mouse models in order to see if adenosine signaling could potentially work in humans. 
Checking out some slides
What kinds of things did you learn that you could apply to other aspects of your life?

I gained a lot of knowledge this summer, whether it was from the lab or from prominent scientists during Grand Rounds. However, my most memorable learning experience stemmed from my lunch breaks at MD Anderson’s cafeteria, where cancer patients came to eat and spend time with their visiting families. Seeing and interacting with patients of all ages made me realize what exactly it is that I’m fighting for. They ignited my passion and my sense of purpose. For this, I cannot be grateful enough.   

What other schools were represented?

CPRIT stands for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Each year, with the help and funding of CPRIT, MD Anderson Cancer center selects fifty undergraduate students from all over the United States and the world. I was the first and only Fordham student accepted into the program. There were students who hailed from many different institutions, ranging from in-state schools like The University of Texas, all the way to Oxford University out in the UK. However, the most represented schools included The University of Notre Dame, Harvard University, and Rice University, to name a few. 

Has it opened other options to you?

Absolutely! I was strictly adhering to a pre-med track, but now I’m definitely considering graduate school and getting a PhD!
Ola at her research presentation

The Fordham network is HUGE! You can find alumni in California, Texas, Florida, London, Australia, and everywhere in between. These connections can lead to internships, references, and sometimes even jobs!