The Experience of a Lifetime: Students Make the Most of Their Time at Pace University

  Girls Stand Up Conference

Ashley Rodriguez, Esther-Eva Aaron-Albanese, and Sarah Leclerc posing with Leymah Roberta Gbowee after her inspirational speech at the Girls Stand Up Conference at Pace.

One of the greatest advantages of going to college is the doors that it opens, and at Pace University, that means not just after graduation, but while students are fully immersed in their academic experience. Going to college in New York City or Westchester – just thirty minutes away – definitely has its added perks.

Dyson students have unrivalled experiences, from participating in UN conferences for women’s rights, to filming documentaries in foreign countries, and starring in major motion pictures and shows on Broadway. Pace provides a thriving environment for those willing to take advantage of its myriad resources, and rewards those who take the initiative, building successful leaders and professionals in the process.

During this semester alone, students have played an important part in some exciting projects that let them apply what they learned in the classroom to the real world.

Several performing arts majors have been touring with Broadway companies and shooting movies alongside Hollywood actors. Kate Bristol ’12 played Dorothy in the national tour of The Wizard of Oz; Cailan Rose ’12 performed in Hair on Broadway; Brandon Contreras ’12 is in the national tour of In the Heights; Rahul Rai ’14 is the lead actor in the indie film When Harry Tries to Marry and was named “Best New Talent” by the London Asian Film Festival; Cooper Rivers ’14 appears in Generation Um… starring Keanu Reeves; Christopher Bert ’12 acted in The Green starring Julia Ormond and Illeanna Douglas; and Donnel James Forman ’10 was in the national tour of Hairspray and Mamma Mia! Read More in Pace’s Annual report.

Cailan Rose Seavey Christopher Bert Rahual Rai Cooper Rivers
Cailan Rose ’12 Christopher Bert ’12 Rahul Rai ’14 Cooper Rivers ’14

Professor Yvonne Rafferty’s students had a rare opportunity to go inside the UN and advocate for women’s rights before the UN Commission on the Status of Women earlier this semester. First, they prepared by hosting the pre-conference Girls Stand Up workshop held at Pace, where they learned advocacy techniques from Michelle Bachelet, the former President of Chile and current Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). Read more on the Dyson blog.

Students also got to practice their advocacy skills and present their views as panelists at The Left Forum, an international annual conference of scholars, activists, artists and journalists, which was held right on Pace University’s campus for the third year in a row. Read more or watch Dean Nira Herrmann’s opening remarks.

Over spring break, students in Associate Professor Maria Luskay’s Media and Communication Arts class traveled to Belize to film a documentary on shrimp farming sustainability with Pace professor and New York Times blogger Andrew Revkin. (Read more on their blog.) Last year’s Media and Communication Arts documentary students won an award from the 2010 Indie Short Film Competition for “The Life of an American Ambassador: The Netherlands” filmed during a similar travel course.

Back on campus, students are working alongside professors in the McShane Center for Psychological Services, the Emil Froeschel’s Speech and Hearing Center, the Haskins Lab, and the Dyson Hall of Science labs, and are conducting and presenting research that may one day help to cure cancer, TB, and African Sleeping Sickness. Neil Patel ’13, biochemistry major, recently shared his research on the physiology of the organism that causes TB, which he conducted alongside Biology and Health Sciences Professor Marcy Kelly, with the Dyson Society of Fellows and will present it again at two major conferences this spring, the American Chemical Society meeting and the Eastern Colleges Science Conference.

Dyson students find it pays to get to know your professors. Women’s Studies Professor Nancy Reagin’s students are authoring chapters for a pop history series she is editing for Wiley & Sons which includes Harry Potter and History (in the stores in late May) and Twilight and History which was published last year.

It takes just the right mix of ingredients to make these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities come to fruition: encouraging and well-connected professors, proximity to major headquarters, and most importantly, our students’ own personal drive to make the most of their college experiences.