SAEM and honors students spend spring break in New York City

Honors and sports, arts and entertainment (SAEM) students utilized their spring break as an opportunity to explore New York City.

The two groups, including 18 honors students, seven SAEM students and one SAEM alumna took a coach bus Wednesday morning to the Big Apple to broaden their cultural horizons and build connections with successful alumni.

The annual trip, planned since early December, kicked off with an alumni reception event that allowed students to network with Point Park graduates who are building reputations in their respective fields across the city, according to honors graduate student Tyler Dague.

“Building connections was a huge part of the trip, and it’s great to be able to see former Point Park students thriving here,” Dague said in an interview Monday.

Following the reception, the two groups shifted their focus. Honors students used this trip as an opportunity for cultural exposure, whereas SAEM students’ plans reflected more of a business-oriented agenda.

Honors students visited major city attractions such as the Rubin Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

Rhianna Davis, a freshman business management major said they were able to meet up with students from Monroe Honors College for a group meditation session and lesson on Buddhist history.

“It was a great chance to meet up with students we would be able to see again at the [Northeast Regional Honors Council Conference] in April,” Davis said in a phone interview on Monday. “This trip allowed me to be a part of an enriching group that provided social, academic and experiential opportunities.”

Davis noted her favorite part of the trip was seeing “Come From Away” on Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theatre on Thursday evening.

“I’m a real theater nerd,” Davis said. “Honors took a trip to the Shanksville memorial on 9/11 last fall, so it was great to be able to see this show together too since it focused on the people who needed to emergency land in Newfoundland because of the attacks.”

Another stop the honors group cited as memorable was the New York Public Library.

“The library is a real showcase of culture in an academic context,” Dague said. “This research library is used by serious academics; you can’t even check out the books.”

While honors students explored culture, SAEM explored business. The smaller group had a tight schedule to keep, according to senior Amber Gordon.

“Thursday was our busiest day,” Gordon said over the phone on Monday. “We had appointments at Madison Square Garden, Atlantic Records and NBC Studios. We were able to network with coordinators for internships and Sami [Exler] and I were even able to snag tickets for Seth Meyers’ show that night.”

Friday seemed just as busy, according to junior Exler.

“We had a meeting with the Mets’ office staff, which was amazing because our professor Rob Derda actually knew the senior vice president,” Exler said over the phone on Monday. “We also stopped by RWF, a casting agency owned by a Point Park alum.”

Dague said that having the freedom to explore the city and build these connections gives both honors and SAEM students the extra confidence needed to put themselves out there for high-profile positions.

“This trip provided just enough structure and freedom to allow students out of their comfort zone and feel confident in their exploration,” Dague said. “They grow when they can rethink what they feel they are capable of doing.”

Exler used this trip not only as a vacation, but also as a moment to kickstart her career.

“The ultimate goal is to intern at Atlantic Records,” Exler said. “I could see myself working at any of these places though – the people were so kind and informative and these networking connections helps get a foot in the door.”

See this and more at The Globe.

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