All posts by Ashley O'Keefe

The Students Are Heard


Here on the Hill, staff and faculty are constantly looking for students’ feedback to shape the campus to the wants and needs of students as much as possible.

Just a couple of weeks ago, administration from departments such as Admissions and Residence Life visited each residence hall and chatted with many students, letting students’ voices be heard about anything they wanted to talk about. Concerns varied from wanting certain events back on campus to wanting the campus shuttle to be available more often. Staff members took our suggestions into serious consideration–and some of them are already in the process of being implemented.

When I was in the middle of my college search, I went on many campus tours to get a feel for what each school was all about. No college compared to the feeling I experienced when I stepped on the Nichols College campus. Within minutes of first visiting Nichols, I got that homey, comfortable feel that everyone looks for when moving away from his or her parents for the first time. What’s even better about Nichols is that feeling has never gone away because of actions of the staff and faculty. In my opinion, you won’t find this kind of attention or comfort elsewhere.

One of Nichols’ priorities is to let students’ voices be heard. After administration made their rounds to the residence halls to collect as much feedback as possible, they scheduled yet another meeting to ask the students how they would like to see that feedback taken into action and changed. It’s clear that Nichols really wants to benefit the students now and in the future, which is something I will always admire about Nichols College.

Nichols truly does care.

Nichols Women Tour New York Businesses


Nichols students seized the opportunity Oct. 1 to travel to New York City as a part of the College’s “How Women Lead” course. During the trip, the 12 female students toured companies to meet with female executives and participated in cultural activities.

The two chaperones on the trip were Jean Beaupre, assistant professor and faculty director for the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Nichols; and Human Resource Management Professor Libba Moore. The two co-teach “How Women Lead.”

“We wanted to expose students to good examples of female professionals and the challenges they face in the workplace,” explained Beaupre.

The women of Nichols were able to meet with six executives at Cammack Health in Manhattan and ask questions about career paths, gender issues, and work-life balance. Cammack Health is a small company with about 40-50 employees that stresses equality among men and women professionals.

Mary Daly, a junior accounting major and business communication minor at Nichols, said she received valuable advice from the executives at Cammack.

“(One executive) told us not to reject an opportunity if we feel that we’re not capable, because there are resources to help us through it,” she said.

Mary also learned that it’s important to find a job that feels right and that it’s okay to say no sometimes because there will always be other opportunities.

Savannah Goodrich, a senior general business major, realized what type of work environment she’s attracted to during the tours.

“I think it is really important to me to work at a small company someday. I would rather be known as a person, by name, rather than a badge ID number.”

The second corporate tour was at MetLife, a massive company with over 10,000 employees. Students met with three female executives in a large conference room overlooking the Big Apple to discuss the “Lean In” movement. Lean In is a book written by Facebook CFO Sheryl Sandberg that aims to teach women in the workplace empowerment skills, and it has grown into a nation-wide movement. MetLife has promoted Lean In Circles since the concept was introduced a few years ago and is making progress toward gender equality in the company. Overall, MetLife finds importance in letting all of their employees grow within the workplace; there are chances to advance and change positions so employees aren’t restricted to one department.

The students were able to talk about their own Lean In Circle that has started on the Nichols campus. The Lean In Circle is designed to be a safe place for women where they can share their experiences and learn to assertively promote themselves.

Besides business tours, students were able to see other parts of the city such as the 9/11 Memorial and enjoy a meal in Little Italy. They also made a trip to Broadway to catch the theatrical production Kinky Boots. The professors felt it was important to expose students to all different aspects of the city.


Mary explained how the trip brought the class together.

“We were able to grow as individuals and as classmates throughout the trip, and it makes the ‘How Women Lead’ class much more fun, because we all bonded in New York.”

Each student was required to research the companies prior to the New York visit and write a reflection about the experience afterward. The trip was also offered last year, but funding determines the agenda on a year-to-year basis.


‘Paint and Sip Night’ Draws Nichols Community Together


On Oct. 23, Student Involvement  provided the Nichols community with a fun, artistic, and relaxing event in Fels Student Center. Students and a few staff and faculty were able to enjoy their Friday night by painting an autumn scene on canvas.

The painting instruction was lead by “Just Paint,” located on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester, Mass. Its owner, Susan Dunshee, says she enjoys putting on these events to expose adults and children to art. Local artist Mustafa Najm helped Susan to teach the art lesson. He gained his experience by teaching art at universities in Iraq.


Fels lounge was filled with a light-hearted atmosphere as students tried out their painting techniques. The event was directed toward seniors, but others were also welcome to join. Overall, 50 people participated.

Carmen Garcia, a junior criminal justice major, had a great time working on her masterpiece.

“It’s easier than I thought it would be, but the details are hard,” she said. “I’m glad I came; this is different from other events.”

First-year student Karan Saini, a business communication major, was grateful to take a break from midterms.

“I needed this distraction from homework,” said Saini.

Everyone’s artwork varied; some students stuck to the instruction, while others experimented with colors and techniques.

Senior class president and international business and finance double major Sean Hoey was one of those who strayed from the herd with his creative painting.

“I am the next Pablo Picasso,” he said. “I’m not sure what any of this is, but it looks good to me.”

Most students wrapped up their masterpieces just after 10 p.m. The overall reaction to the event was positive. It was a great opportunity for students, professors, and staff to get to know each other outside the usual professional or academic setting. Any stress from the busy semester seemed to dissipate among the amateur artists. Many students expressed interest in holding another paint and sip night, or trying something else creative.

Those 21 and older were welcome to sip wine whilst they painted. Police officers were present in Fels to check IDs and to make sure anyone who was allowed to drink was doing so responsibly.


Erica Milosh is a Nichols College senior English major and a contributor to Bison Chronicles.