Dozens of high school women and family members from Westchester, the Bronx, Queens and beyond attended the first Connecting the Dots interactive event at The College of New Rochelle Campus on Saturday, February 1 to learn about careers and the college experience first-hand from College of New Rochelle faculty, students, and graduates. The event partners included the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, Girls Inc. Westchester, HerHonor Mentoring, The Young Leadership Schools, and The College of New Rochelle, and was specifically targeted to participants new to the college experience.
The attending high school students learned about four different categories of academic majors through hands-on activities in human services, nursing, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and fine and communication arts. They also participated in a career personality exercise, and panel discussions with current students and with alumnae already working in their careers. At the same time, parents and family members had the chance to hear about financial aid, the academic experience, student life and career development.
While students began the day a bit quiet and tentative, their personalities and opinions emerged as the day progressed. With Dr. Catherine Pearlman in a social services session, they discussed whether a 16 year-old cancer patient should have input into his treatment protocol. Students pedaled a stationary bicycle and learned how the energy they produced could be stored in a battery in Dr. Faith Kostel-Hughes’ STEM session, and they had the chance to be filmed while reading a current news story off a teleprompter with Dr. Michael Quinn.
Doshka Truick, a teacher with the Girls Leadership Schools in Queens, found the program useful because, “It demonstrated how skills learned in schools could be applied to real-life applications in school and to future careers.” Betty Muller, also with Girls Leadership Schools, elaborated “The girls don’t fully understand that this time in their lives is their opportunity to take risks. We look for opportunities like this to present successful women our students can look up to as role-models, so they can see that other women are doing these things and they can too.”
Executive Director of Girls Inc. Westchester Sally Baker, who brought ten students to the event, commented that just getting the students onto a college campus makes a huge impact. “One girl had never been to a college campus, so this experience was eye-opening. It makes the idea of college feel concrete and possible.”
Baker added, ”For many first generation American families, the idea of sending their girls to college is overwhelming. But, sending them to a women’s Catholic college in the area makes it possible to consider.”
Parents and family members had numerous opportunities to ask event leaders relevant questions about the college process and their concerns.
Danielle Robinson, Associate Director Undergraduate Admission for The College of New Rochelle, explained that her goal for the day was ,”Getting parents to understand why it’s important that students begin to prepare for college in the 9th and 10th grades. This type of program is the perfect opportunity to get students to understand that college is attainable for everyone, and that liberal arts programs offer the subject knowledge as well as the soft skills like effective communications and critical thinking that employers will be looking for in the future.”
Alumna panelist Sandy Cayo, RN Yale New Haven Hospital, summed up her advice at the last session of the day, “You never know what you can accomplish. Don’t let other people get in the way of it. Work hard, have fun, and don’t be afraid to try.”
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Catholic college for women in New York State, The College of New Rochelle was
founded in 1904 by the Ursuline Order. Today, it comprises the all-women
School of Arts & Sciences, and three schools which admit women and men: the
School of New Resources (for adult learners), the School of Nursing and the
Graduate School. The main campus of the College is located in lower
Westchester County, 16 miles north of New York City. The College
maintains five other campus locations in New York City in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan.
Visit the College’s website at www.cnr.edu.