Providence College Commencement 2014
Academic Lives of Meaning and Purpose
Release Date: May 16, 2014
Bryce Cotton, the student, drives to the finish of his academic career
Providence, R.I. - Bryce Cotton ’14, two suitcases in hand, arrived at Providence College three days before the start of his freshman year, the final student admitted to the Class of 2014 thanks to the last-minute offer of a basketball scholarship. Four years later, he leaves with a BIG EAST Tournament Championship, an NCAA Tournament appearance, the possibility of the NBA draft in June — and just as important to him, a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a 3.1 grade point average.
Release Date: May 15, 2014
For Fulbright scholar Smith ’14, learning is a lifelong journey
Providence, R.I. - Ever since she was a little girl, Alanna E. Smith ’14 (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) has had a flair for the creative. A self-proclaimed “sci-fi nerd,” she loved play-acting with siblings and neighborhood friends, documenting childhood experiences in a notebook, and reading The Lord of the Rings when she was in third grade.
Release Date: May 14, 2014
Muslim student on Catholic campus promotes dialogue, enhances her own faith
Providence, R.I. - When Saadia Ahmad ’14 was a junior, a College official told her she accounts for 20 percent of the Muslim student population at Providence College. Ahmad smiles at that. “A lot of students said I was the first Muslim they had talked to in person,” said Ahmad (South Brunswick, N.J.) “It wouldn’t be for the benefit of anyone if I kept quiet.”
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Santos ’14 takes PC memories to medical school
Providence, R.I. - Matthew Santos ’14 (Cumberland, R.I.) followed in his father’s footsteps when he chose to attend Providence College, but the path he took at the College was his own. He spent four years writing opinion columns for The Cowl and leading tours of campus as a Friars Club member. He was one of two students tied for the highest grade point average in English, one of his majors.
Release Date: May 12, 2014
Michel ’14 lands management trainee position with global food leader
Providence, R.I. - The ingredients for Sarah J. Michel’s ’14 career started with sprinklings of ambition as a student at Providence College. Methodically, she added cupfuls of professional advice and resources, relevant course work, and not just one or two, but three internships.The resulting concoction? A full-time finance management development position with Nestlé, the international food giant.
Release Date: May 9, 2014
Unemployment leads to a college degree and a new career for John P. McNeil ’14SCE
Providence, R.I.- When John P. McNeil ’14SCE lost his job as a mortgage account executive for Wachovia Bank in 2010, his wife, Christina Myers McNeil ’99, knew what he had to do. Christina, who then was at home with their three daughters, ages 3 months, 18 months, and 10 years, said she would return to her job as an elementary school teacher in Providence. Her husband, in turn, would become an at-home dad while also attending college to pursue a bachelor’s degree in history, a subject he had always loved.
Release Date: May 8, 2014
O’Connor leaves legacy of change at Providence College, beyond
Providence, R.I. - Dave O’Connor ’14 (Franklin Square, N.Y.) didn’t wait until after he graduated from Providence College to start using what he learned in his classes. The public and community service studies major worked with classmates and staff at the College to start Friar Food Rescue, which delivers surplus food from campus dining halls to nearby soup kitchens and churches.
Providence, R.I. - It’s only a mile from Mount Pleasant High School to Providence College, but in many ways, the distance is great. Taiwo Adefiyiju ’14 (Providence, R.I.) was a standout student at Mount Pleasant. She sat in the front row of every class to get the most out of it. She selected the most challenging AP courses. She got the best grades. And when she graduated as the class valedictorian, she was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Providence College.
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Research helps neuroscience student reach graduate school
Providence, R.I. - It doesn’t take much to get started on independent research at Providence College. You just need to send the right email. As a freshman, Ryan Post ’14 (North Attleboro, Mass.) contacted Dr. Christopher M. Bloom, associate professor of psychology, to find out whether there were any research opportunities in his lab.
Release Date: May 5, 2014
Top scholars say attending PC best decisions they ever made
Providence, R.I. - It almost didn’t happen. Two students who will finish their Providence College careers with a 4.0 grade point average — never earning a grade below an A — almost never came to PC. One had her heart set on art school. The other was focused on colleges elsewhere. Call it fate or destiny or providence. Today, class valedictorians Ekaterina (Katerina) Protsenko ’14 (Newington, Conn.) and Laura J. Wells ’14 (Poughquag, N.Y.) call coming to PC one of the best decisions they ever made.