Ron Caplan

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When I was a high schooler in Newton, Massachusetts, my guidance counselor suggested that I might not be college material. Fortunately, my SAT scores proved otherwise—and Northeastern agreed, welcoming me with open arms.

The day I registered for classes, I sat next to Mike Clerico, DMSB’71, who had a co-op working at Northeastern University Dining Services. I needed a job myself, so Mike said, “Come work with us.” I started as a part-time dishwasher and server, and was eventually invited to be a co-op assistant manager—the start of an incredible opportunity that far exceeded the typical college experience.

As assistant manager of Speare Hall’s cafeteria, my job was to order food, oversee food preparation, and coordinate schedules. I was in charge of hiring and firing at the ripe old age of 19. I was overseeing men and women in their 50s and 60s who’d been in the industry their entire careers—so I had to work smarter and harder to earn their respect.

By the time Wes Nyberg came in as the new director of Dining Services, I had differentiated myself enough for him to see me as a resource. We collaborated to deliver a better-quality product to a more discerning student. Soon after, I was promoted to assistant director. At age 20, I was helping to run an enormous operation with nine cafeterias and 2,000 employees who served 25,000 meals a day. Co-op not only paid for my education, but I also learned the ins and outs of business from Wes. Those invaluable lessons in management and staffing have helped me throughout my career.

Following graduation, I moved to Philadelphia and worked in a real estate office, where I became intrigued by development and acquisitions. I founded Philadelphia Management in 1981, and today PMC Property Group builds and manages developments on the east coast, as far south as Miami and as far north as Lowell, Massachusetts.

Wes and I remained friends, and when his son, David AS’94, was an undergraduate at Northeastern, my company hired him as a co-op. He worked with us for several years after he graduated.

My cup’s always half-full, and I view every day as a chance to be creative and try something new. That excitement and success—not only mine, but that of people around me—keeps me motivated.

And I still, to this day, do a great job of washing dishes.

 

 

 

 

ron caplan

Who Empowered You?

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SHARE YOUR STORY

WeEmpower@neu.edu

Behind every Northeastern graduate is a story of empowerment—often, a story about a formative personal or mentoring relationship. Please add your testimonial to the growing collection and share a favorite memory or anecdote about your empower source.

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Behind every Northeastern graduate is a story of empowerment—often, a story about a formative personal or mentoring relationship. Did someone special play a pivotal role in your academic or career success? A faculty member or adviser? Co-op supervisor? Athletics coach? Classmate?

Please add your testimonial to the growing collection.

Share a favorite memory or anecdote (100-200 words), as well as a digital photo(s) of yourself.

We will seek your approval of any editing required for style or length. Thank you!

ron caplan

Ron Caplan

DMSB'72

I worked in Northeastern’s dining services as a part-time dishwasher and server, and was eventually invited to be a co-op assistant manager. It was the start of an incredible opportunity that far exceeded the typical college experience.

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When I was a high schooler in Newton, Massachusetts, my guidance counselor suggested that I might not be college material. Fortunately, my SAT scores proved otherwise—and Northeastern agreed, welcoming me with open arms.

The day I registered for classes, I sat next to Mike Clerico, DMSB’71, who had a co-op working at Northeastern University Dining Services. I needed a job myself, so Mike said, “Come work with us.” I started as a part-time dishwasher and server, and was eventually invited to be a co-op assistant manager—the start of an incredible opportunity that far exceeded the typical college experience.

As assistant manager of Speare Hall’s cafeteria, my job was to order food, oversee food preparation, and coordinate schedules. I was in charge of hiring and firing at the ripe old age of 19. I was overseeing men and women in their 50s and 60s who’d been in the industry their entire careers—so I had to work smarter and harder to earn their respect.

By the time Wes Nyberg came in as the new director of Dining Services, I had differentiated myself enough for him to see me as a resource. We collaborated to deliver a better-quality product to a more discerning student. Soon after, I was promoted to assistant director. At age 20, I was helping to run an enormous operation with nine cafeterias and 2,000 employees who served 25,000 meals a day. Co-op not only paid for my education, but I also learned the ins and outs of business from Wes. Those invaluable lessons in management and staffing have helped me throughout my career.

Following graduation, I moved to Philadelphia and worked in a real estate office, where I became intrigued by development and acquisitions. I founded Philadelphia Management in 1981, and today PMC Property Group builds and manages developments on the east coast, as far south as Miami and as far north as Lowell, Massachusetts.

Wes and I remained friends, and when his son, David AS’94, was an undergraduate at Northeastern, my company hired him as a co-op. He worked with us for several years after he graduated.

My cup’s always half-full, and I view every day as a chance to be creative and try something new. That excitement and success—not only mine, but that of people around me—keeps me motivated.

And I still, to this day, do a great job of washing dishes.

 

 

 

 

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Adam Kneeland

DMSB'02

Northeastern has been a part of my life from the beginning. My father, William Kneeland Jr., DMSB’67, worked at the university for nearly 30 years, and to me, he is Northeastern.

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Northeastern has been a part of my life from the beginning. My father, William Kneeland Jr., DMSB’67, worked at the university for nearly 30 years, the last five as its treasurer. To me, he is Northeastern. He is a great role model, and I always wanted to be like him. I even thought that I’d take over his job when he retired. When the time came for me to go to college, there was no question where I’d go.

Co-op was an important part of my Northeastern experience. My co-op adviser, Bill Sloane, was instrumental in identifying opportunities that matched my interests, and in helping me land those jobs. In both my middler and my senior years I worked at Canby Maloney & Company, a 30-person accounting firm in Framingham, Mass. Those co-ops equipped me with the tools for success. I not only gained training in tax accounting, but also learned how to work hard in a professional environment. Post-graduation, I landed a position at Canby, now BDO Seidman, and stayed on for three years.

In 2010, I was elated to be hired by Northeastern’s accounting office as an operational accountant. My dream of working at the university—like my dad—had come full circle.

Beyond my job, I remain engaged with Northeastern through athletics. When I was younger, my dad brought me to ice hockey and basketball games. (My favorite player was and forever will be Reggie Lewis.) I attended winter Sunday morning baseball clinics in Cabot with Coach Neil McPhee, and at summer basketball camps we trained on the corner where the Marino Center now sits. I continue to root for the Huskies, particularly at Beanpot.

Northeastern is a deep and important part of who I am. Because it’s given me so much, investing in the university with gifts to the athletic department has been an easy decision—and the right choice. I truly love Northeastern and want it to grow even stronger and better in the years to come.

Adam is pictured with his father, William Kneeland Jr., DMSB’67.

 

 

 

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David Puvirajasingam

BSBA’05, MBA’08

Due in large part to Dr. Heron’s guidance and belief in me, I finished my bachelor’s degree in finance and business administration while working full-time and later earned my executive MBA from Northeastern.

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We don’t succeed in life on merit alone—we need others to support and guide us along the way. In this respect, I was fortunate.

When I was five, my family emigrated from Sri Lanka, and I grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts. My dad worked in information technology while my mom pursued a banking career. After graduating from Lexington High School in 1993, I began the pre-med track at Boston University. But in my freshman year, the dot-com bubble burst, and the recession hit—and both my parents lost their jobs.

I was forced to decide whether to continue with college. It’s hard to be sure of a career path at age 18, and I didn’t want to waste money while I figured it out. Searching for adventure and a new career path, I moved to Austria and landed a job teaching English to businesspeople. There I was, living in a foreign country, learning to take care of myself. It forced me to grow up quickly.

I returned to the U.S. and began working at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts in sales and marketing in late 2000. Eventually I was given the valuable opportunity to present healthcare plans to major corporate clients. Thanks to a director who saw potential in me, I was accepted into a management training program and was motivated to go back to school.

At Northeastern’s University College, now the College of Professional Studies (CPS), the first person I met was a professor and academic adviser, Robert Heron, MEd’71, EdD’86. I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to complete my bachelor’s after having interrupted my educational journey, but I was determined. Due in large part to Dr. Heron’s guidance and belief in me, I finished my bachelor’s degree in finance and business administration while working full-time and later earned my executive MBA from Northeastern. Soon after completing my MBA, I moved to California to be with my future wife. I looked up to and trusted Dr. Heron, and we remained friends until his passing in 2010.

Today, I work at Kaiser Permanente in its IT Infrastructure Management Group, providing technology, systems architecture, and information security services across the healthcare organization’s 38 hospitals and 618 medical offices, which serve over 9.3 million members.

Northeastern is part of our life, our story. It’s ingrained in our DNA. Recently I made a gift in Dr. Heron’s memory to the CPS Excellence Fund, which supports student scholarships. I wanted to help students who can benefit from the support, encouragement, and high standards of excellence that my own mentors expected of me.

Northeastern has made a difference in many lives, and the collective power of these personal stories is very real and extraordinary. I encourage alumni to reconnect with the university and find a way to “pay it forward,” so other deserving students can benefit from the opportunities provided by a high-quality education.

 

 

 

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Mary Florentine

S'73, MA'75, PhD'78

I owe my career satisfaction to co-op and my adviser, Professor Nancy Caruso. As a Northeastern professor, I have hired many wonderful co-op students in the course of almost 25 years.

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My co-op adviser, Professor Nancy Caruso, guided me through a series of co-ops until, in 1973, I found the co-op of my dreams. Up until that time I had learned much and had kept my co-op reflections in a diary, but I had not yet found the perfect career path.  I wanted to try a research position that had the potential for helping people, and Professor Caruso guided me to it.

She told me that Professor Bertram Scharf in the Psychology Department had just obtained funding from the National Institutes of Heath related to how people perceive and interpret sounds, and that he would probably be hiring an assistant. She encouraged me to talk with him about my former co-op at the MITRE Corporation with Lincoln Laboratories, in Bedford, Massachusetts, where I had worked as a research assistant writing computer programs for the study of human behavior.

My first meeting with Professor Scharf was memorable. As he talked with me, he ate his lunch and read an article, a sandwich in one hand, his journal in the other. He asked me some tough questions related to statistical methods, but I was too curious to be intimidated. He told me to come back in a week, which I did, bringing questions of my own. “You ask good questions,” he said, adding that I might make yet another appointment with him for the following week.

Professor Caruso gave me the push I needed to return a third time, and that is how my fruitful decades-long research collaboration with Professor Scharf started. Years later—after earning my doctorate at Northeastern, working as a scientist at MIT, and returning to Northeastern in 1980—I asked him why he had hired me. “It is not enough to be clever and ask good questions,” he replied. “Great scientists must be persistent.”

Today, I am the George J. & Kathleen Walters Matthews Distinguished Professor at Northeastern, enjoying my ideal career—one that began as a co-op in Professor Scharf’s laboratory. My research is focused on loudness, hearing loss, and the relationship between physical acoustics of sound and our individual perceptions of it. For more than 30 years, I have taken great pleasure in interdisciplinary teaching, involving students from health sciences, engineering, and psychology. By listening to my students, I have learned how to teach them; each brings a different perspective. Some of my students have grown into colleagues, which is a special delight.

Whenever people ask me about Northeastern’s co-op program, I say that I owe my career satisfaction to co-op and my adviser, Professor Nancy Caruso. I have hired many wonderful co-op students on my NIH-funded grants in the course of almost 25 years. I ask each to keep a co-op diary of lessons learned and personal reflections, which becomes a basis for our weekly chats.

Whenever I talk with students, I am always careful to look them in the eye—and to not eat and read at the same time!

 

 

 

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Greg Skloot

DMSB'12

Growing up, I launched businesses from my parents’ basement. By the time I was a high school senior, I was running a thriving IT support company and building websites for dozens of customers.

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Growing up, I launched businesses from my parents’ basement. By the time I was a high school senior, I was running a thriving IT support company and building websites for dozens of customers. Being an entrepreneur is about exploring the world of ideas, and I chose Northeastern because the co-op program and city of Boston offer precisely that opportunity.

When I arrived on campus in 2008, the Boston-based venture capital firm .406 Ventures was hiring undergraduates to help identify student-run companies they could invest in. Northeastern’s Entrepreneurs Club faculty adviser, Professor Gordon Adomdza, recommended me for the job. I learned about the entrepreneurship and venture capital processes from an investor’s point of view, all while I was a freshman. It was an incredible experience.

A few years later, while president of the Entrepreneurs Club, I came up with the idea for Attend.com. The club’s events drew hundreds of attendees, and I’d look into the sea of faces and wonder, “Who are these students? Are they freshmen? Are they business majors?” So I built a software prototype for a laptop or tablet to serve as a check-in kiosk: Guests signed into an event, and the computer prompted them to share their major and graduation year. From the data, the software calculated audience demographics.

Attend.com is a classic Northeastern entrepreneurship story because it was born within the university’s walls. Our first customer was the Office of Alumni Relations, and the software spread quickly. In March 2013, my business partner, Drew D’Agostino, DMSB’12, and I had no salaries and one customer. Less than 12 months later, we hired our twenty-first employee! What makes the story particularly exciting is that Attend.com landed a $1 million investment from .406 Ventures in June 2013 and now is growing fast.

Northeastern’s faculty and staff have been pivotal supporters. In particular, Director of Communications for Alumni Relations Anthony Donaldson has been a vital coach and mentor. He was one of the first people I pitched Attend.com to, and he’s shared invaluable insights from a technical and career perspective.

The idea of creating something from nothing keeps me driven—that Attend.com is changing the way people work is thrilling to me. If you have the ambition to turn an idea into a reality, Northeastern gives you every tool to do just that.

 

 

 

 

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TATUM HARTWIG

CAMD'16

If you haven’t heard of The Husky Ambassadors, you have definitely seen us—the tour guides who strut through campus with prospective students, parents shuffling behind.

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If you haven’t heard of Husky Ambassadors, you’ve definitely seen us—the tour guides who strut through campus with prospective students, parents shuffling behind. As a freshman, I landed a work-study job with Undergraduate Admissions and the Visitor Center. I began memorizing Northeastern facts and figures, and by spring I was trained to give tours. This was two parts terrifying, one part exhilarating—but I was hooked immediately. Three years later, I remain a proud Husky Ambassador.

But how did this experience empower me? By teaching me admissions statistics and Northeastern history? (Ask me anything.) Well, no. It was the people.

Let’s start with Andrew Cameron. A loud, second-year business major who always had a joke or a sassy remark, he offered tips for giving better tours plus advice on classes and co-op. Andrew is the comedian and helping hand at the Visitor Center who’s taught me to invest my whole self and heart into the Husky Ambassador’s role.

Then there are Jennifer Cordero, Michelle McDermott, and Leigh McNamara. These women worked with me that first year and showed me how sisterhood could be a positive force in my life. Charismatic and, like Andrew, helpful, their stories empowered me to go through sorority recruitment, where I found myself yet another Northeastern family.

There are others, too—Nyera Yousef, Rachel Weiss, John Leo, Ryan Gordon, Victoria Hanau, Hannah Becker—and so many more who’ve shared their stories with me. Husky Ambassadors have a mantra: “We all have stories to tell. What will yours be?” These people, all 300 and more, have shared their passions, background, and experiences with me, as well as with visitors on our campus tours.

It’s hard not to be empowered by Northeastern students. Like me, they have lived amazing lives so far. And, like me, they believe in the power of sharing.

As I get ready to head to New York City, I’ll be collecting more stories like my own to share. Use the #WhoEmpoweredYou hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, or share your story on Facebook.

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Maureen Burke

N'76

My degree provided a new level of professionalism, required for advancement in nursing. Northeastern’s innovative Nursing Interim Program influenced my work as a caregiver, manager, and risk taker—and throughout my career, I encouraged creative thinking and educational opportunities for my staff.

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In 1970, my career began in the emergency room as a recent graduate of Hartford Hospital’s School of Nursing. I was not old enough to vote or drink, but I was able to deliver a baby.

I moved to Boston in 1973 and applied for a RN position at Massachusetts General Hospital. When I was asked during the interview if I had a bachelor’s degree, I had to admit that I’d taken courses but hadn’t completed the requirements for a bachelor’s. Despite this, I got the job and began working in the surgical intensive care unit. I was determined to complete my degree.

Fortunately, Northeastern had a new Nursing Interim Program that enabled diploma graduates, like me, to earn BSN degrees. Most nursing colleges weren’t awarding credit to professionals for past academic and clinical achievements, or the option of credit by examination—so Northeastern was unique.

Days were a blur of lectures, exams, papers, and clinical requirements; nights were busy working full time in the intensive care unit. I worked every weekend to have two weekdays open for class. Nancy Walden, the program’s director, was outstanding in helping me coordinate requisites. Specialized and department exams, plus a condensed course schedule while temporarily living in Ohio kept me busy. I returned to Northeastern, completed my community health requirement, and resumed my job at MGH. It was demanding but I remained undaunted. I achieved dean’s list every semester and graduated in September 1976.

I became the surgical clinician at Hartford Hospital, and later assistant head nurse. But after earning my master of public administration from the University of Hartford, I switched careers and joined Aetna Insurance Company as a medical underwriter. While at Aetna, I continued working evenings at the hospital.

My Northeastern degree provided a new level of professionalism, required for advancement in nursing. The university’s innovative Nursing Interim Program influenced my work as a caregiver, manager, and risk taker. Throughout my career, I encouraged creative thinking and educational opportunities for my staff.

In 2006, I was inspired to create a $100,000 endowed scholarship for Northeastern nursing students. It has been very gratifying to support our future caregivers. I encourage alumni to reflect on all the successes the university made possible and to help other young women and men pursue their degrees, goals, and careers.

 

 

 

 

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Cory Bolotsky

DMSB'15

Professor Adomdza has empowered me to take full advantage of global experiential learning and has helped shape me into the person I am today: a budding entrepreneur prepared through coursework, research, and co-op for whatever opportunities come my way.

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I met Professor Gordon Adomdza at the start of my freshman year as a participant in the Entrepreneurs Club’s Husky Startup Challenge, a venture-creation program at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. He saw potential in me, an 18-year-old kid with a sketch for a business plan. He didn’t think my idea was all that great—I didn’t either—but he saw the fire in my belly.

The following spring, he helped me launch a new Entrepreneurs Club initiative called Reach. With a few hundred dollars in funding, I created a program to teach students how to think like problem-solving entrepreneurs. Under Professor Adomdza’s guidance, I took on various leadership roles in the club, ultimately directing strategy for its 1,500-plus members.

In my second year, Professor Adomdza, by now my mentor and my friend, helped me turn an internship at the startup accelerator MassChallenge into a sophisticated research project. Using theories from class, I analyzed metrics on how ventures grow and published my data as an annual report. It blew my CEO away.

In year three, I took Professor Adomdza’s Innovation! course and then studied in Cape Town, South Africa, with his summer Dialogue of Civilizations class. From my research at MassChallenge to this new fieldwork alongside South Africa’s leading impact investment firm, I found myself shaping the economy through emerging businesses. A few weeks after leaving Cape Town, our South African industry partner informed us that he’d used my work to raise funds to start a fishery. By reselling fresh catfish through their own franchises, people in poor townships could earn a living.

Professor Adomdza has challenged me to step outside my comfort zone. He has empowered me to take full advantage of global experiential learning and has helped shape me into the person I am today: a budding entrepreneur prepared through coursework, research, and co-op for whatever opportunities come my way.

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Andrew Schafer

LA'69

When I arrived at Northeastern I had very vague ideas about what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to go into medicine but I had no idea where to go or who to go to about getting that kind of mentoring.

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Dr. Andrew I. Schafer, LA’69 is a Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, and Attending Physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Schafer served as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Physician-in-Chief of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital Well Cornell Medical Center until 2013, and previously served as the Frank Wister Thomas Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, his medical school alma mater. He has authored over 210 original articles in peer reviewed journals and has been continuously funded as principal investigator by the NIH for almost 30 years.

Watch his Empower story.

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Cheryl McCormick

CPS'09

At age 37, I was a stay-at-home mother of three young children and in the midst of a divorce. I knew I needed an education or I wouldn’t be able to secure a job doing much of anything. I am where I am today because of Northeastern and my family, and I’m forever grateful.

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At age 37, I was a stay-at-home mother of three young children and in the midst of a divorce. I knew I needed an education or I wouldn’t be able to secure a job doing much of anything. I began a paralegal program at North Shore Community College with the intent of obtaining my associate’s degree, which was all I thought I was capable of doing. But soon I realized I wanted to attend law school, which seemed like such a far reach for someone who was older, didn’t do well in high school, and had financial challenges.

By luck, I found the 18-month Fast-Track program at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies. I applied, was accepted, and decided to pursue a bachelor’s in leadership. But there was another roadblock: How was I going to pay for this? I applied for every scholarship I could find and was fortunate to receive a Spirit Scholarship, which was the beginning of many opportunities for me. At the time, I didn’t know the origin of the Spirit Scholarship, but I’ve since learned that it was started by André Laus, UC’69. My goal now is to help fund future Spirit scholars, over time, in thanks for what was given to me.

Money was one obstacle; confidence was another. You have this fear—especially when you’re older and have no education—“Northeastern? I can’t do the work; there’s no way I’ll be able to keep up.” So I’ll never forget my first professor, John Sullivan, for English, who set the tone for the entire program. He was so compassionate. I had many wonderful professors, but he struck me as exceptional. I graduated from Northeastern with a 3.95 GPA at the top of my class.

In 2012, I earned my juris doctor from the Massachusetts School of Law. I passed the bar exam and have since launched my own practice. My passion is special education law and child advocacy.

It’s been an unbelievable journey. What keeps me grounded and focused is how I started, where I was. You have the attitude that this is what I’m going to do, and you just do it. I am where I am today because of Northeastern and my family, and I’m forever grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Montrice Scott

DMSB'15

Balancing work and school, and being on co-op, has taught me how to live life as an adult. Northeastern’s career-oriented atmosphere changed me. It’s made me more mature.

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I was concerned about financing my Northeastern education, given the gap between the total cost and my financial aid package. Fortunately, I’ve received the Samuel and Nancy Altschuler Scholarship for the past two years. The Altschulers’ gifts have made paying for my education so much easier.

Balancing work and school, and being on co-op, has taught me how to live life as an adult. Some days, I have 30 minutes of free time. When I was in high school in Louisville, Kentucky, I wasn’t as skilled at managing my time. But Northeastern’s career-oriented atmosphere changed me. It’s made me more mature.

I’ve been fortunate to take classes that challenge me, including Professor Claudia Sokol’s Spanish language classes. I’ll be challenged even more in Spain next year. I’ll be taking classes at Universidad Pontificia Comillas, then pursuing my final co-op abroad. I can’t wait for what lies ahead.

I only applied to two colleges. I accepted Northeastern’s offer without ever having set foot on campus—I was that determined to pursue a degree in international business here.

 

 

 

 

 

Ken Solano

Kenneth Solano

CSH'68

My father-in-law said if I was ever going to marry his daughter, I’d better go to college. Things worked out! Because of the people I met at Northeastern, I had a great career, and I and my late wife, Nancy—also an alum—were married for 37 years.

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My father-in-law said if I was ever going to marry his daughter, I’d better go to college. Things worked out! Because of the people I met at Northeastern, I had a great career, and I and my late wife, Nancy—also an alum—were married for 37 years.

I studied English and Journalism and got my degree from the College of Liberal Arts, now the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, in 1968. Nancy got her master’s in education from the Graduate School of Education in 1977.

My work study job with Charles Havice, then dean of chapel and chairman of the department of philosophy, was important in my life. Charles gave me a chance to use my writing skills, and though I was just a novice, I did research for his book, Campus Values: Some Considerations for Collegians. His belief in me and in the people he connected me to—like former Northeastern presidents Carl Ell and Asa Knowles—were empowering. I have worked with every university president except the first.

After getting my master’s in higher education administration at the Graduate School of Education in 1975, I worked with two of the former deans of Northeastern’s University College, John Jordan and the late Kenneth Ballou. John was very influential in my career, and I worked with him for 20 years. Ken took me under his wing, and later I became associate dean. It was exciting to introduce our programs to students around the state—and ultimately, the world.

Today I teach organizational behavior, leadership, and human relations courses at the College of Professional Studies. There have been lots of changes, but it’s great. About fifty percent of our courses are now online. It’s the way of the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PAMELA WOODNICK

CPS'10

I had been a senior vice president of human resources with a successful corporate career. The day my job was eliminated, in 2007, I looked at my husband and said, “I’m going to start my own business and go back to school!”

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I had been a senior vice president of human resources with a successful corporate career. The day my job was eliminated, in 2007, I looked at my husband and said, “I’m going to start my own business and go back to school!” Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies Master of Science in Leadership program was the standout choice for me because of its exceptional faculty and blended program of on-line and in person classes.

This program put the theory behind what I knew from my corporate experience. It was enriching to share perspectives with a highly talented and experienced cohort. As a result of the program, we all learned to think differently about the meaning of leadership and how we might use our talents. Our professor, Chris Brooks, stands out as one of the most challenging teachers I’ve ever had. He pushed us to think deeply as we explored the meaning of justice and the ethical dilemmas leaders face.

I’m passionate about being a voice for the Boomers; about rethinking how we can spend this next chapter of our lives, learning and growing. For my final project, I reflected on famous historical figures who did great work into their 70s and 80s such as Michelangelo who at 87 and still working, said, “Ancora imparo”—“I am still learning.”

Instead of another corporate job, I decided on a bridge career in teaching. Today I do HR consulting and teach leadership at Johnson and Wales University. The wisdom I gained from Chris Brooks is indelibly etched into all the work I do with my clients and students. And, I am still learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BOB LENTZ

DMSB'73

I can still picture her: a petite college grad, not much older than I was—my co-op advisor’s assistant. When I told her I wanted a co-op with a Big Eight accounting firm, she just laughed. “With your grades?”

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I can still picture her: a petite college grad, not much older than I was—my co-op advisor’s assistant. When I told her I wanted a co-op with a Big Eight accounting firm, she just laughed. “With your grades?”

At at the start of sophomore year, I was an accounting major with a 2.0 average. The co-op assistant was blunt: “I couldn’t even get you an interview.”

The link between grades and opportunity hadn’t yet clicked in for me. Then I spent a total of nine months on a co-op in New York City, working for a large manufacturer of women’s apparel, Van Raalte. There, basic accounting principles made sense. More important, I liked what I was doing. My supervisor gave me challenging work, and I moved quickly up the chain.

That co-op, and that co-op assistant, were a wake-up call. Finally, I saw that grades were the metric by which I would be measured. It was a straight 4.0 for me after that.

My career has been great. After graduating, I got into that Big Eight firm. And I’ve been launching, running, and selling tech companies ever since.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MonyChan

MONYRATH CHAN

S'12

I was a Torch Scholar in this incredible program’s second year. My mentor at Northeastern—James Stellar, then dean of the former College of Arts and Sciences—introduced me to research and took me under his wing.

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I was a Torch Scholar in this incredible program’s second year. My mentor at Northeastern—James Stellar, then dean of the former College of Arts and Sciences—introduced me to research and took me under his wing. I worked in his neuroscience lab. After my first co-op, I knew that being a scientist was my passion. I did my last two co-ops at Genzyme Corporation, and they recently published a paper I co-wrote while I was there. Getting a PhD is now my goal. In my first semester of graduate school, I earned a 4.0 GPA.

My doctoral program, at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, is in biomedical engineering and biotechnology. I am working in a protein structural biology lab, where we try to isolate proteins and find their structures. I am also a teaching assistant for three undergraduate course sessions in biology for non-science majors and experimental research methods. This takes about 18 hours a week.

The Torch Scholars Program gave me the confidence and motivation I needed. Now I know I can do anything if someone believes in me. The program’s leaders believed in me when I got accepted five years ago, and they believe in me now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KarenPritchard

KAREN PRITCHARD

DMSB'81

As a junior at the business school, I managed to slip into an oversubscribed class on real estate finance taught by Steve Kursh. There weren’t enough chairs, so only the seniors were invited to enroll that semester. Somehow, I stayed.

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As a junior at the business school, I managed to slip into an oversubscribed class on real estate finance taught by Steve Kursh. There weren’t enough chairs, so only the seniors were invited to enroll that semester. Somehow, I stayed.

Steve was terrifyingly smart—he talked fast and pushed us to think creatively. Most important, he taught us to analyze a problem before rushing off to solve it. I lived in terror of being called on. But he taught me how to be a critical thinker, and the benefits of thinking out loud.

I went to Steve for help only once during the semester, yet 15 years later, in 1995, we met again, at an alumni luncheon at which Steve was the guest speaker. When I introduced myself to say how much I had valued his class, he looked at me and not only recalled that particular class, but me—in my usual seat, second row, on the right. Thanks to Steve’s inspiration, I have built an interesting and challenging career in corporate real estate.

Today I enjoy mentoring Northeastern undergraduate and graduate students as they navigate career decisions and explore how organizations work. They’re so impressive, and the energy they generate is awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TerrellHunt

Terrell Hunt

DMSB'13

It isn’t often that you encounter a manager who is both brilliant and extraordinarily caring, but that’s exactly what I got in Brenna McCarthy. I did a co-op at John Hancock Funds, where I assisted Brenna in marketing operations.

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It isn’t often that you encounter a manager who is both brilliant and extraordinarily caring, but that’s exactly what I got in Brenna McCarthy. I did a co-op at John Hancock Funds, where I assisted Brenna in marketing operations.

As another Northeastern business school alum, Brenna (CBA’07) understood the value of co-op to an up-and-coming professional. At Hancock and back on campus, she’s been my biggest advocate— someone I count on for encouragement and expert advice on workplace politics, overcoming roadblocks, anticipating snags, and getting things done.

Brenna knew I was interested in diplomacy as a career and saw Hancock as a place to gain invaluable corporate experience. Although mutual funds didn’t exactly align with my real interests, she poured everything into me anyway. By every measure, she was—and still is—an exceptional mentor and champion of my professional and academic development.

I’m beyond grateful for Brenna’s leadership, friendship, and support. She has instilled confidence in me, empowering me to follow my dreams. I’m ready for anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ballway

Jim Ballway

PA'75

I was discharged from the Army in ’73, when the economy was faltering badly. I had no career direction. Joe Golemme convinced me to enroll at the Graduate School of Professional Accounting, which he both founded and directed.

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I was discharged from the Army in ’73, when the economy was faltering badly. I had no career direction. Joe Golemme convinced me to enroll at the Graduate School of Professional Accounting, which he both founded and directed. Joe, who was something of a legend in the accounting community, was not at all the high-powered Type A. He showed faith in my abilities and became like a father figure to me. He made you feel wanted.

Co-op introduced me to my eventual employer, now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, PWC. That co-op job gave me a tremendous leg up with senior managers, and I was promoted quickly.

We are a Husky family (and faithful hockey season ticket holders)! When our son, Joe, found himself in much the same situation as I had 40 years earlier—with a liberal arts degree, facing a tough economy—he, too, enrolled at the GSPA, did a co-op at PWC, and will soon join them full time. My wife is an adjunct professor of nursing at Bouve, where our daughter Mary earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree; her husband is working on a PhD there, in Law and Public Policy. Our daughter Claudia is in the Master of Science in Nursing Administration, Leadership, and Health Policy program.

I have supported Northeastern’s brand of experiential education since I graduated. In 2010, I funded a scholarship for liberal arts majors looking to start an accounting career at the GSPA. My career has taken many twists and turns, but my graduate degree made it all possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reppucci family

Nicole Reppucci

E'17

I have wanted to attend Northeastern ever since I watched my dad graduate in Matthews Arena, when I was ten. It was my dream to follow in his footsteps.

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I have wanted to attend Northeastern ever since I watched my dad graduate in Matthews Arena, when I was ten. It was my dream to follow in his footsteps.

When I was a kid, my dad would take me to visit his job at Varian Semiconductor. He showed me the clean room and introduced me to engineering. I loved math and science, and my dad encouraged that interest—my whole family did. Now that I’m an engineering student, I’m even more in awe that he was able to juggle working full time, attending classes at night, and raising a family.

When I received the Richard L. Burke Engineering Scholarship, we were all so excited. Mr. Burke’s gift is easing the financial challenges of putting me and my sister through college. Learning about Mr. Burke’s work ethic—how he supported himself while commuting from our hometown, Gloucester—also inspires me.  I hope one day I can help others the way he has helped me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denis Picard Play

Dennis Picard

LI'59, UC'62, H'89

After I received my engineering degree, I went on to University College and took a course in business law with Professor Victor Cohen. He was one of the toughest professors I ever had, but I must tell you, he would really put the law into you.

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Dennis J. Picard is chairman emeritus of Raytheon Company, a major American technology leader specializing in defense, homeland security, and other government markets throughout the world. In August 1989, he became president of the company and in March 1991 chairman and chief executive officer. Dennis retired as CEO in December 1998 and stepped down as chairman in July 1999.

Watch his Empower Story.

Iris Sherman

Iris Sherman

CPS'87, DMSB'12

As a “double Husky,” I’ve had some great teacher-mentors whose knowledge and solid advice have propelled my career successes. Professor James Ramos is one, though we’ve only ever met online.

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As a “double Husky,” I’ve had some great teacher-mentors whose knowledge and solid advice have propelled my career successes. Professor James Ramos is one, though we’ve only ever met online.

While working on my online MBA, I was co-founding a web-based company, and Professor Ramos encouraged me to use it as a class project. Kitchology is a “command center” to help families manage all their food- and cooking-related activities. Its algorithm “learns” from information you supply—foods you like and buy—to help you create healthy menus and shop wisely.

Professor Ramos offered answers and suggestions that went far beyond the usual classroom critique. What’s more, my classmates and I did marketing and brand management, conducting research and formalized a marketing strategy. We’re still in touch, and I hope they’ll be my beta-testers.

I’m a serial entrepreneur. Northeastern’s entrepreneur-focused MBA is ranked 7th in the country. When I talk about my degrees, everyone says, “Oooooh!” The university and the business school are well known here in Washington, DC, and everywhere else I go.

Drawn by the appeal of co-op, my father, two brothers, and a slew of other relatives all went to Northeastern. Like me, a few earned two degrees. My dad earned three!