Beyond Bonas

Is the idea of searching for a “grown-up” job adding stress to your life?

To ease those worry wrinkles, St. Bonaventure University’s Career Center hosted “Beyond Bonaventure: Where do I go from here?” on Friday, Feb. 11, in the Hall of Fame Room.

Image courtesy of Investor Centric Blog

“Beyond Bonaventure” is just one of the programs provided by the Career Center, which is attempting to ensure Bonaventure
graduates are not part of the 8 percent of recent college graduates unemployed in the U.S., according to a May 24 article in the New York Times.

The event featured a young alumni panel presentation and a student-alumni networking reception.

The alumni panel was composed of five recent graduates including Jordan Steves, ’09; Amber Pietrobono, ’09, ’10; Bob Gohn, ’10; Michael Avillo, ’09; and Craig W. Montanye, ’07.

Each alum offered advice on getting a job, keeping a job and what life is like after finally leaving the 14778 zip code.

All five alumni suggested students focus on networking and getting in the game early.

“The Bonaventure network has been amazing for me,” said Pietrobono, a brand marketing associate at Fisher-Price. “Pull on that connection, through friends, family and other alumni – you never know who could be the next person forwarding your résumé along.”

Avillo personally used networking to his advantage his second semester senior year to land an interview at BBDO in New York City and started his career as an account executive with them by June 2007. All through the power of networking, he said.

One tip given by the panel was to start your job search before the second semester of your senior year. According to Montanye, a financial analyst for The Avco Company, a Goldman Sachs Company, this offers more time for you and the company to interview each other, and it gets you ahead of many of your peers.

As for the interviewing process, Gohn, an account coordinator for Text 100 Global Public Relations, and Montanye offered students pieces of advice.

Gohn believes acting open and being yourself at an interview distinguishes yourself from other candidates.

“(If the interviewer) asks you a question, don’t be afraid to say you don’t have an answer,” Montanye said. “Instead say, ‘I don’t have an answer now, but later if you want I can e-mail one to you.'”

It shows follow-through and a real interest in the job to answer like that, he said. That answer is much better than making an answer up on the fly and potentially being wrong.

Steves, a lecture associate and assistant editor at the Chatauqua Institution, often interviews potential employees himself and recommends asking questions, speaking clearly and dressing professionally.

“Those are important qualities to getting a job,” he said.

As for the life outside of work, the alumni agreed that keeping in contact with friends after Bonaventure and maintaining a social life after work can be difficult.

“It’s a different world outside of Bonaventure,” Gohn said. “People (I work with) are getting married, having kids – At first, I was like ‘What’s happening? Three weeks ago it was Senior Week at Bonaventure and I was on a couch outside at 3 a.m.”

Opportunities to connect can be found through social media websites, e-mail, planned road trips and getting involved in your local community.

“Remember, life is a balance, and you don’t want to burn out by the time you turn 25,” Montanye said. “Work and play are equally important.”

For more information on careers, networking, resumes, practice interviews and future events, contact the Career Center at

Article published by The Bona Venture

Issue date 2/18/2011


Enrollment shows influx of new students

St. Bonaventure University increased enrollment for the fall 2010 semester, Ann Lehman, registrar, wrote in an e-mail.

Total enrollment for the fall 2010 semester was 2,519, an increase of 253 students from the spring 2010 semester’s 2,266, Lehman wrote.

More than 800 new students enrolled at the university this semester, Kathryn Dillon Hogan, associate vice president of enrollment, wrote in an e-mail.

The boost in enrollment is attributed to an increase in the number of freshmen, transfer students and graduate students from fall 2009 to fall 2010.

Enrolled for the semester are 523 graduate students, with 1,996 undergrads; an increase from the spring 2010 semester’s enrollment of 1,831 undergraduates.

Bonaventure welcomed 92 new transfer students, Lehman wrote, and retained 80.4 percent of the freshman from the previous academic year.

“Retention is the result of efforts by all areas of the university community,” Nancy Casey, director of First-Year Experience, wrote in an e-mail. “On a campus such as ours, it is fostered by providing positive residential and social environments that complement and support challenging academic experiences.”

Casey suggested the First-Year Experience played a key role in retaining students.

“The First-Year Experience is continuing to support positive transition … by offering programming in academic areas, collaborating with residence life and other areas of the university,” Casey wrote.

Published by The Bona Venture on Sept. 24, 2010

Blaze teaches fire safety

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Members of the Allegany Fire Department set fire to a mock dorm room on the front lawn of Devereux Hall Wednesday in an effort to educate students on fire safety.

The 8-foot-by-8-foot room constructed of plywood and plaster was furnished with a bed, microwave, desk, extension cords and other legal and illegal accessories typically found in a dorm room.

The fire ravaged the room in just 2 minutes and 45 seconds; all contents were turned into a mass of charred remains and melted twisted plastic.

“Fire safety is a primary concern,” Ralph Aloia, a fire and life safety officer, said. “It just takes one minute for a fire to get out of control.”

The Allegany Fire Department, the Medical Emergency Response Team and Safety and Security volunteered personnel and materials to assist during the blaze.

The mock dorm fire cost less than $300 out of the fire and safety budget, Vito Czyz, director of Safety and Security, said.

Czyz took the time before the demonstration to explain to students the importance of fire safety. He said the loss of a life to a fire breaking out is preventable with smart choices and education.

“I report at least one fire safety hazard a day,” Aloia said. “Typically, it is an exit light out, doors propped open, but unfortunately, this campus’ No. 1 problem is the tampering of fire safety devices such as fire extinguishers. That is a life safety device, and tampering with them can get people arrested for it.”

Along with the visual of the burning mock dorm room, Safety and Security gave out pamphlets on fire safety awareness.

“Watching that fire made me so nervous, I’m going to sleep with one eye open and check my smoke detector,” said Hayley Calcagno, a sophomore.

“Many students are unaware of what will produce these flames,” Czyz said. “Alcohol, cooking, smoking and the use of extension cords are all sources of dorm room fires. I hope this demonstration educates them, and they make fire safety apart of their daily lives.”

Matt Schweiger, a freshman, said he now has the right perspective about fire safety.

“I was really surprised about just how fast it all went up,” Schweiger said. “It just took a minute for the smoke and flame to cover everything. This definitely put fire safety in perspective, and I hope they do this next year.”

Approximately 200 onlookers attended the mock dorm fire, according to Czyz.

“There are over 3,000 dorm fires a year, averaging 40 deaths across the United States on college campuses alone,” Czyz said. “Many of them are alcohol-related.

“We hope this really drives home to students how important fire safety is,” Czyz said.

Emily Magavern contributed to the reporting of this story.

Published by The Bona Venture on Sept. 17, 2010

Social media can help win elections

John McCain's Twitter account courtesy of cigar-blog post

I tweet. You tweet.

Does your state representative tweet?

In a recent trend, some politicians are becoming more tech savvy in an effort to reach voters. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube make up a large chunk of the average Internet user’s time, according to

Facebook alone reported 200 million active users as of April 2009, according to, and some politicians want a piece of the pie.

On the battlefront to save his Senate seat, Sen. John McCain (R- Ariz.) updates his Twitter and Facebook daily.

Dubbed a “digital genius,” McCain hits home as the number-one ranking senator of digital skills, according to The study, conducted by George Washington and New York universities, found the 73-year-old Republican to have the highest “Digital IQ” in the Senate.

The Digital IQ index combined senators’ use of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with the frequency they post, as well as their followings, to judge their fluency and success in social media.

President Barack Obama's Facebook page courtesy of

Proven successful by President Barack Obama’s online presidential campaign, social networking and digital media literacy is a powerful tool in today’s political arena.

With 47 percent of adults and 73 percent of teens and young adults using social networking sites, according to, it would be foolish for politicians to discount the powerful influence they could have on connecting with voters.

McCain’s current 668,606 “likes” on Facebook and the constant bombardment of Obama advertisements littering the sidebars of my Facebook homepage make apparent the changing trends.

The traditional newspaper and television advertisements are falling out of favor. Americans spend more and more time using laptops and phones with access to the Internet. Newscasts are provided by YouTube and Twitter clips, and our favorite ads grace the sidebars of our e-mail. The world is a-changing, and so must our politicians.

While Obama pioneered social media networking, making the Democrats cheer, they have fallen behind the curve. Republicans, currently a minority in the Senate, grew significantly more than Democrats in the area of social networking, with 3,000 more Twitter followers and 20,000 more Facebook “likes” than their Democrat counterparts, according to GOP senators have experienced a 6.7 percent month-to-month growth on Facebook, compared to the 3.6 percent for Democrats.

These numbers exclude McCain, whose success skews the findings.

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, was wildly criticized for being out of touch. For a man so out of touch, he now leads the pack on social media networking, and if the Democrats fail to step up their presence on popular sites, they may soon find themselves left behind.

Published by The Bona Venture on Sept. 10, 2010

Water ski teammates test skills, have fun

Published on Wednesday, September 01, 2010

HOLLAND – In a classic “Cinderella” story, members of the Holland Aqua Riders took first place at the 26th Eastern Region Water-ski Tournament this summer.

Held at the Oxbow Marina in Northampton on July 31 and Aug. 1, the tournament is one of the sport’s largest competitions.

They competed with some of the best teams and skiers, outfitted with the latest in high-tech equipment due to sponsorship, said Aqua Rider Gary E. Naples.

In contrast the Aqua Riders, who have no sponsor, use their personal equipment, some of it dated.

“Competing were some pretty big show hitters,” said Naples. “Some of the skiers performing on these teams are on the U.S. team, work for Sea World, and their teams are heavily funded. For us to win was a true David-and-Goliath story.”

Cousins Jay Drudi and Nick M. Lyman, along with Naples make up the Holland Aqua Riders’ jump team, said Karen B. Drudi, mother of Jay Drudi.

These extreme-sport athletes brought home the trophy with jumps featuring serious style and class.


They performed a pin wheel.

In the third pass, a helicopter, front flip and back flip were simultaneously performed by the team members on the ramp, Naples said.

“This is a high-difficulty maneuver,” Naples said. “It requires the skiers to know exactly what the others are doing because all three of us are on rope the same length, going at tremendous speed and trying to execute the flips simultaneously.”

The tournament was the first time Drudi, of West Springfield, Lyman, of Agawam, and Naples, of Holland, successfully completed the pin wheel, Naples said. Last year they had attempted the maneuver and Lyman and Naples suffered broken wrists.

“Truthfully? I had to be bribed into doing it,” Naples said with a laugh.

The jumping team’s practice had been none-existent the past season due to schedules, the old injuries and the teams’ personal jump needing constant repair, Lyman and Naples said.

“I don’t know how we succeeded. It must have been 70 percent skill and 30 percent luck,” Naples said. “Thankfully, the three of us have been jumping together for almost a decade so we know each other’s moves pretty well.”

“Water skiing is my favorite sport,” Lyman said. “I’ve done it my whole life and this team means a constant attempt to try new moves and perfect skills we already have.

The team’s first pass consisted of a triple helicopter where all three jumpers executed a 360-degree turn off the jump simultaneously, said Karen Drudi. Their second pass consisted of a front flip with one jumper doing a back flip while a third skier cut under the jumpers simultaneously, she said.

“We do this to go out and have fun,” Naples said. “We try and test ourselves and there isn’t any pressure to perform. That and the camaraderie of the event can’t be beat, and next year, we will go out there to have fun. Nothing will change.”

Copyright © 2010 The Republican

Hardwick Community Fair to Celebrate 248th year

Published on Wednesday, August 18, 2010

HARDWICK – The Hardwick Community Fair will be celebrating its 248th year on Aug. 20 and 21.

Hardwick Committee

Featuring crop judging, a lumberjack chain- and hand-saw contest, a tractor show, a frog race for the kids and much more, fair organizers are expecting a delightful and entertaining two-day run this year, according to Emily M. Bancroft, publicity chair.

As always, there will be an emphasis, Bancroft said, on keeping it community oriented.

“I have been a resident all my life and have gone to this fair since I was itty bitty,” she said. “It hasn’t changed too much. We’ve added a few things like cattle, but most importantly, the atmosphere hasn’t changed. It is just a nice small agricultural fair where everyone is welcome to come and have a good time.”

This year the fair is being dedicated to Carl Dewey Sr., said Audrey L. Mazeika, director of administration and fair secretary.

“Carl is a man like no oth- er,” Mazeika said. “For (approximately) the last 50 years Carl has served this community and the fair in a variety of ways. For years he has been our committee chair person for field crops, and his knowledge of the farming and dairy industry has made him the foremost person to go to for advice in the region.”

The committee chair person judges and appoints other judges to examine a variety of crops, Mazeika said. This includes bales of hay, hay silage and corn.

“Carl exemplifies service to the community, and his fair judgment and skills are above reproach,” said Fay Butler, president of the fair committee. “The Hardwick Fair is bragging rights for the year. It is an important community element where pride in ones placing in the agricultural competitions is something to be remembered for years. Carl’s knowledge of the field truly only allows the best to win.”

Due to health reasons Dewey is retiring this year, Butler said.

“Carl is such a hard worker and dedicated to this fair that he even found his own replacement!” Butler said. “His work for the community is why the fair this year is being dedicated to him.”

Emily M. Bancroft

Originating in 1762, the Hardwick Fair is the oldest fair in the United States, Mazeika said. The farming and dairy industry is in the towns’ blood.

In the past 20 years the number of farms in Hardwick has decreased from 19 to about 10, Mazeika said. The agricultural aspect of the fair helps keep the spirit and pride in ones work alive.

“It is so difficult for the local farmers to earn a living compared to the major farming corporations,” Mazeika said. “Somehow, we hope to keep the knowledge and pride alive in our communities by keeping the fair traditional and showing people what we can produce here at home.”

Crafts, cattle and crops are being shown for judging, Bancroft said. Booths will feature a variety of locally produced products, and food will be plentiful.

“We really just want people to come on down and have a good time,” Bancroft said. “That is what our fair is about!”

Copyright © 2010 The Republican

Sturbridge knitters share creativity, fellowship

Published Wednesday, August 11, 2010
STURBRIDGE – Do your Friday nights entail colorful bundles of yarn and countless knitting needles?

Continental knitting.

Well, maybe it should.

Hosting Friday night get-togethers, the Mountain Laurel Yarn Boutique at 440 Main St. bursts with creative people stitching together useful and innovative pieces.

Knitting and crocheting are the time-honored crafts being shared at these every-other-week events, according to Helen M. Duda, the boutique’s owner.

“This time is used to relax, talk and work on our individual projects,” Duda said. “It is an energetic group with many kind hearts. Everyone is willing to share their patterns or a new skill.”

Approximately 12 people attend the Friday night sessions, and they would enjoy having more.

Women make up the majority of the group; however, a couple of men have thrown their knitting needles into the ring as well.

“I grew up watching my mother knit,” said Robert Foster. “Now I’ve been knitting for about a year and a half. I find it relaxing after working all day.”

The crafts provide a portable outlet for amusement and creativity, Duda said. You can take it to an appointment, in the car, it really can go anywhere, she said.

Sandy L. Tremblay

Donna M. Craven travels from Staffordville, Conn., to attend Duda’s Friday night group, she said.

“This group provides a great time, with kind and talented people,” Craven said. “I’ve been knitting for some time now, and finding like-minded people who enjoy it as much as I do is a blessing.”

It is not only the people making these meetings a popular hit, said Michelle S. Foulis. The schedule and lack of required attendance make it all very convenient, she said.

“With a job, children and everything else on my plate, this group gives me a time to run away and relax with some great company that I didn’t even have to cook for!” Foulis said.

Many of the group members work in the nursing and education fields and find knitting and crocheting to be soothing.

“Knitting is therapeutic for a number of people,” Craven said. “I can’t sit still and watch TV, but I can sit still and knit.”

Copyright © 2010 The Republican

Palmer police Benefit from tournament

Rock Jean-Guillaume

Published Wednesday, July 28, 2010


PALMER – The Palmer Police Association’s fifth annual golf tournament teed off on June 25.

Golfers from across Massachusetts came out to support the Palmer Police Department and cheered each other on at the Mill Valley Golf Links in Belchertown.

“We are incredibly grateful, especially in this poor economy, that people are still supportive of the police association,” said Chief Robert P. Frydryk. “The record number of participants and local business support is amazing.”

Approximately $5,000 was raised, he said, enough to cover all scholarships the Palmer Police Association plan to give for the year to students from Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical and Palmer high schools.

Contributions to the Palmer Little League and the Police Department itself will be made using portions of the $5,000, Frydryk said.

The police association recently purchased handcuff sanitizer for the department. Equipment like this, funded by money that the town does not have in the budget, is appreciated, the chief said.

The community’s help and support in raising money for the police association is appreciated, said acting Sgt. Erin F. Sullivan.

“We are incredibly grateful for everyone’s support,” Sullivan said. “By golfing here today, people are helping us raise money for community programs, such as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, local athletics and scholarships.”

Karen A. Lunsford, Bill H. Passy and Matt P. Stenuis

For the first year ever, 126 golfers – a complete 31 foursomes – registered to play, Frydryk said.

Golfers brought their swing and a good attitude to the tournament.

“I came out to support the Police Department and hang out with my friend Wendy,” Rock Jean-Guillaume said with a laugh. “The only reason to be on a golf course is to have fun, and that is what I plan to do here today.”

Frydryk himself was a member of a foursome which turned in an 8 under par score of 64.

“I could never make a living out of (golf), but I enjoy the game,” Frydryk said. “I come out two or three times a week before work, very early. I take the time to clear my head and get a little exercise in.”

The winners of the tournament were a foursome from Kszepka Insurance with 15 under par 57. Paul Kszepka played with his two sons Kyle, 19, and Nicholas, 21. To round out their foursome Mike Boutot joined, said Paul Kszepka.

In addition to the record number of registered golfers, 48 sponsors, most local businesses, sponsored a tee or hole for the tournament.

All fund-raising was done by members of the police association, the department and other helpful community members. “We aren’t a big fan of private fund-raising organizations,” Frydryk said.

Only 28 to 30 percent of the money raised gets returned to the town when private fund-raisers are involved, he said. By raising the money themselves all funds can be returned right back to the community.

“We just want everyone to have a good time, and hope that they continue to support our cause well into the future,” Frydryk said.

Copyright © 2010 The Republican