All posts by Fae Risio, Class of 2013

Fae Risio is a senior at Nichols College majoring in English. She is the President of Windfall, the college literary magazine and works at a horse barn on the weekends. Her passion is writing and hopes to someday become a journalist.

Fae Risio’s Career Fair Experience

“So many people don’t even have a career goal that they went to school for.” The amount of times I’ve heard this phrase is endless, but I never thought I would be one to fall under that category.
I declared my major as English my sophomore year and right out of the gate I was confident that I wanted to be a journalist. I couldn’t take enough English classes, writing papers and reading books was just my thing.

As this last semester of my senior year rolled around, I began to second guess my goal of being a journalist. It just didn’t seem to fit me anymore. For now, it is still an option, but I would like to explore other options that interest me. Then, while visiting a family member in the hospital for depression, something clicked in my mind that I wanted to help people in these situations.

When the career fair rolled around I decided to take a chance and see what kind of opportunities I could find that related to social work. Following the advice of Professor Halprin and Professor Pelto, I went and talked to Caine Dutton, the staffing manager from The Bridge of Central Massachusetts, a former Bison.

Caine was approachable and very welcoming. After talking to him about how I became interested in social work and how I had minimal experience, he encouraged me to apply anyway. Before I left his table, Caine asked for my resume and I happily gave him one. Five days later, I had applied for a relief position at The Bridge and got a call from Caine the next day. We set up an interview and I filled out a separate, more detailed application online.

When I arrived at the home office in Worcester I sat down and waited nervously. Another girl came in shortly after me who was also there for an interview. We talked a little and she informed me that she had done this kind of work before, which made me more nervous considering I had no experience.

Soon Caine came to take us into a separate room where we had to take a preliminary test on the computer that involved a number of tasks including a written section, math, and watching a video.
After the test, instead of asking us questions, Caine asked us if we had any. I was kind of surprised by this because it wasn’t a typical interview. After both of us asked several questions, Caine told us we would have a second interview at a different office and they would be contacting us. I had a very good feeling as I left Worcester that day.

Exactly a week later I got a call from a woman named Erica who worked for The Bridge in Southbridge. She was also very nice and inviting and we had a interview set up for three days later.
When I arrived at the office in Southbridge I wasn’t sure I was in the right spot, because it looked just like a house. I was greeted by Erica and was joined by the Division Director, Jennifer Megas.
At first both of them looked over my resume, and it is true what they tell you in PDS, that an employer will only look at your resume for 7 seconds. I was very nervous because I saw they both had two pages of questions but they were extremely nice and not intimidating.

Some of the things they asked were the typical interview questions Nichols prepare you for, like what are your strengths and weaknesses? Why is teamwork so important? What conflicts, if any, have you had at previous jobs? Other questions were more difficult pertaining to job, like what is your definition of mental illness and recovery? How would you deal with a patient who doesn’t want to finish their treatment? What do you consider boundaries and how would you make them with patients?

Some of the questions caught me off guard and it was nerve wracking that they wrote down everything I said. Over all though, the interview went great and I was told that I would be contacted.

On Wednesday April 3rd, I received a call from the Bridge informing me they were offering me a job. I accepted and will be heading to main office next week to get everything set up. I am very thankful for the career fair in helping me find a job for after graduation.

Karrie Gorman and Autumn Hicks: Students Take on the Role of Teaching

It’s not every day at Nichols, or any college for that matter, that you see a course being actually created and primarily led by undergraduate students instead of professors. This semester an honors course being offered is unlike any other that has existed on the Nichols campus. How did this happen?

While talking to Professor Despain one day, juniors Karrie Gorman and Autumn Hicks, came to a startling realization that there’s nothing on campus that discusses the issue of gender roles or sexism. And with that thought, the idea for a gender roles class was born. Autumn and Karrie’s first task was to see the concept to Honors Program advisers Professor’s Hans Despain and Kellie Deys. The four of them comprised the course design team. The second step was recruiting enough potential students, which was also quickly accomplished. With these two hurdles overcome the college supported the idea fully.

This is the first course at Nichols that has ever been primarily student taught and more student driven than ever. While Karrie and Autumn ultimately came up with the course, and created key exercises such as weekly journals, the class is helpfully guided by both professors. In a gender roles class, it is certainly interesting to have both a male and female perspective on certain topics in class.

The reason Karrie and Autumn felt this topic was so important was in part that Nichols, being a business school, attracts a larger percentage of
male students than female ones. It should be acceptable to be yourself but sometimes the pressure to be all business all the time can be overwhelming. Karrie said, “Girls basically have to be little men to be successful.” There are things that need to be improved on campus in terms identifying what actually goes on in society and how things are portrayed in the media.

When registration began the class filled up quickly with about thirty students, much more than expected. The course is discussion based where most meetings occur in a circle. The class will view clips online that have to do with gender roles, as well as read articles and novels revolving around the theme. The students are even encouraged to bring in “cultural artifacts” in which they see gender roles being displayed. By the end of the year each student will have completed a final project.

By the time the course ends Karrie says, “I hope it shows students they have power on campus, they need to speak their mind.”
We will be checking on the gender roles class at the end of the year to see how effective the course was for students and to look at some final projects.

Nichols Has Your Back-Graduation to International Trade Deals in Six Months

There is no doubt that Nichols College goes above and beyond to help out its students find their future career after graduation. In fact, 91 percent of the Nichols class of 2012 was employed only six months after graduating. Nichols was fortunate enough to have one of our 2012 graduates, Danny Tamayo, take some time to speak with a room full of about sixty curious Nichols students, as well as Professor Goncalves, about life after Nichols.

Danny graduated last year with a degree in international business, a popular major among the Nichols College population. Now, not even a year later, he has landed a job as a junior analyst for an international trading company that trades agricultural commodities. Tamayo discussed how his job includes everything from analyzing every single aspect of the supply chain to try to cut down costs, to researching the new market and different countries. Tamayo said, “A good example would be right now, I was working to open the Columbian market for the first time for my company and we recently just made our first sale and now we’re into our second sale with the same client.” It sounds as if Tamayo is off to a great start at his new job.

It definitely helped that Tamayo did an internship his junior year for the Massachusetts Export Center where he practiced the very same skill sets he is using at his current job. As he went into more detail, Professor Goncalves asked Tamayo what exactly Nichols College has done for him especially in the international business program. Tamayo responded with, “Nichols is the type of school that has your back, that’s the way I would put it. They have your back on whatever you want to do and they help you do that. They provide you with the confidence.” Tamayo definitely made it clear, that without having attended Nichols, he probably wouldn’t be where he is today.

The job that Tamayo applied for required five years or more in the field, but he applied anyway. Tamayo said that, “if it wasn’t for Nichols providing me with that confidence of how to write a perfect resume, or how to approach my supervisor or my boss in an interview, if it wasn’t for Nichols doing that, then I don’t know if I would have the job right now.” Tamayo deeply believes with the fact that Nichols properly prepped him for the interviewing process, especially when the President of his company told him that she has been in the industry for twenty years and she had never seen a resume so organized and straight to the point. Anyone who has taken a PDS class can surely believe that.

It’s hard to believe that Tamayo’s first big project in the industry was selling light red kidney beans to Columbia considering Tamayo is actually Columbian and speaks Spanish fluently. It began with the recent free trade agreement for the United States and Columbia. Tamayo shared that, “It was basically just months of researching and learning the free trade agreement in and out and learning how to sell these beans.” Tamayo’s company sells different varieties of beans so in order to figure out how to get Columbia to buy, he had to research what sells, and what exactly people are eating.

Eventually Tamayo found out that light red kidney beans are extremely popular on the coast of Columbia. A light went off in his head when he realized that his company has a port right in the area where those beans are consumed, which means they could be sold right from the port. Once Tamayo had this figured it out, “it took months of researching and calling actual people and speaking to them in Spanish, one of them actually liked the idea of doing business with us.”

Over time, Tamayo got to know the client and built a relationship with them until they finally asked what Tamayo had to sell. The answer of course was light red kidney beans, which is exactly what the client wanted, imported to Tamayo’s main port. Tamayo made his first sale of 136 metric tons of kidney beans and with a smile on his face he said, “There’s no greater feeling than knowing you just sold this amount of beans that are going to get consumed by different types of people in this country.” With the first sale closed, Tamayo is on to his second sale with the same client, which is as equally as important because it means that he built a relationship.

With all his new success, Tamayo is thanking the international business program here at Nichols as well as sharing his advice. So what exactly is Tamayo’s advice for the Nichols students? “Just shine. If there’s one thing that the international business program showed me, and helped me understand, its that, the world is full of opportunities” It seems as if with the help of Nichols, Tamayo has discovered just how true that statement is.