My OUS Story: Amira Guy

Sophomore Amira Guy from Laurel Springs, New Jersey, who is double majoring in Classical Studies and Political Science, is an individual who strives to make her mark on campus and on the world around her. She came into Villanova as a History Major, already set on going to law school one day because of her interests in human rights. One day she hopes to work for an organization like the UN Relief Agency or any sort of NGO that focuses on pushing through human rights expansion around the world. Ultimately, she desires to study International Law, so she can travel around the world to help people who cannot defend themselves.

After going to her first undergraduate level Spanish class and taking it for four years during high school, she could not understand what the professor was saying and decided to rethink her class schedule. So, on the first day of classes, she went to her academic advisor who then recommended that she learn Latin instead. After one class session, Amira fell in love with the subject, and thought to herself that she should try something new, so she declared a major in Classical Studies, a decision also backed by her love of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.

She also took International Relations her first semester with Dr. Clayton Cleveland, whose course she loved and who she served as a research assistant for during her freshman year. For him, she read United Nations security council meeting minutes and input the information into a database. The course and her assistantship caused her to fall in love with International Relations, so she decided to pursue Political Science, while dropping the History major.

On campus, she became one of the three founders of the community service organization, Strive, during her freshman year. She recalls, “I was with my two roommates in Good Council, and we were talking about different clubs on campus and how we wanted to begin a club that didn’t focus on just one foundation or just one issue. Instead, we wanted to start a club where every month we would pick a different non-profit or community service project. Doing this enabled us to constantly help people from different circles all year round. Together, we put our heads together and created Strive. Our first year was great. We hosted a powderpuff game, donated a bunch of clothes, and we went to feed the homeless in Philly.”

While working as a tour guide from the Blue Key Society, she is also the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Student Government Association. “I’ve always wanted to be in student government, and after serving as a member of SGA, I realized that they had this director position. I believe that, especially on campus, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are of vital importance because we need to make sure that everyone on campus feels comfortable, is able to go after their dreams, and can really fulfill their full experience at Villanova. What we do is hold programs, work with different students on campus with their issues and concerns, and we work with the administration to make sure that Villanova is a great place for everyone to study and have a great time.”

One of her favorite experiences on Villanova’s campus has been serving as an Orientation Counselor, which she did at the beginning of this year and will serve as again this coming year. “Those were the best twelve days that I’ve had at Villanova. Being on staff, getting to have a relationship with seniors and juniors, building that friendship, and being able to impact new students was absolutely amazing. I loved being able to have new students and help them feel that Villanova will be their home. I can’t wait to be on staff again.”

For the past two summers, she has had the opportunity to work as a Legislative Assistant for New Jersey State Senator Fred H. Madden and Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera. “I was able to work with them, help do research for them, work on cases, and performed whatever assistance they needed like organizing files and communicating with constituents. It was great to see the ground level of state government, and it opened many doors for me, just knowing the Senator and the Assemblywoman. It also allowed me to gain immense writing and research skills that I was able to use here as a student.”

Currently, Amira is still deciding what she wants to do this summer, but what has helped her for her applications and making a decision has been “The office of OUS and Kate Szumanski have really helped me. It was amazing going into the office, and Kate literally sat with me for thirty minutes, just helping me look at internships in Philly and in the Washington D.C. area. Most of the internships I’m applying to now are from Ms. Szumanski. I was able to get an internship in D.C. and she’s been helping me work my funds to be able to stay in D.C. She really cares about us and what we’re doing in our internships and our success here.”

In the spring of next year, she will be studying abroad at St. Anne’s College at Oxford University in the Classics Department and the Political Science Department. “I didn’t think that I would get this opportunity, because I was told that it was only open to Honors students. But I believe that college is what you make of it and you have to go after what you want to do. So, I worked really hard on my GPA and my internship experiences while researching other programs I could do, until I saw that Arcadia University has a program at Oxford and I decided to go for it. Now, I have the opportunity to travel there and study with their faculty and their tutorials. I’m really excited because I feel like Oxford can open up many doors for me, and also because of the opportunity to explore Europe.”

To other students, Amira recommends. “Handle business. I think college is a time to have a great time, make friends, and have great experiences. Like tomorrow night my friends and I are going to see Avengers: Endgame at 11:30pm, and it being an 11:30 movie, nobody should be doing that, but they are those experiences that you get to have here at college. You have to have those experiences in order to make those great memories, but there are also going to be those times where you have to handle business, so go after anything you want, go into your classes strong, go talk to your professors, get into your classes and learning and handle that GPA, and go for the internships you want no matter what people tell you. For example, I was told that I probably wouldn’t get to work at a Law Firm because I’m an undergrad, but I was still able to get an interview for one, which I have on Monday. College is what you make of it so never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. As long as you try your best then you know that it’s going to be a great college experience.”

My OUS Story: Amy Barrett

Junior Amy Barrett from Westchester, Pennsylvania, has known since high school that she has wanted to become a counselor.

She remembers when she realized that she wanted to be a counselor. “My love for counseling started because my friend had an eating disorder and began to seek treatment during our junior year of high school. I would sit in on her group and family therapy sessions to be a part of her support system. One of the counselors actually came up to me and told me that I would be a great counselor myself. I knew that I actually enjoyed it to, so I came to college set on pursuing that as my career.”

At Villanova, she is a Psychology Major with a minor in Counseling. She decided to major in psychology because it serves as a counterpart to counseling, which Villanova only offers as a minor for undergraduates. After she graduates, she hopes to get a Master’s in Counseling, and she is currently considering whether or not she would want to pursue a doctorate degree. Though, she has not decided yet whether or not she wishes to do Broad Counseling or School Counseling.

On campus, she is involved in the sorority, Delta Delta Delta, otherwise known as Tri Delt, and has helped out at NOVAdance every year. Being a part of Tri Delt has been one of her favorite experiences on campus. “I feel that I have found so many people in my sorority who are so similar to me that I can always rely on to talk to. Also, I love the philanthropy events that we host. We support St. Jude’s and Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and for those organizations, we get the whole chapter together and we write letters around Christmas time to our family and friends that discusses what we’re doing and what we’re raising money for. We also had a kickball tournament recently, for which we partnered with Sig Nu to raise money for St. Jude. We get people around campus to make teams and it’s so much fun.”

Next year she will be serving as a Rho Gamma for sorority recruitment. “I will have my own group of fifteen to twenty potential new members, and I’ll be with them throughout the sorority recruitment process in the beginning of January. I was really excited to get elected for this since it’s a counseling type of role. I loved my Rho Gamma, so I applied for the position because I wanted to give others the same experience I had. My Rho Gamma was so great and made us all feel so valid, comfortable, and secure in knowing that everything would be okay. I hope to give my potential new members the same experience that I had.”

During her time on campus, Amy has also held multiple internships. She has worked for the non-profit, SpeakUp! which is located in St. David’s. The internship was related to Amy’s dream of counseling because the organization partners with local middle schools and high schools to develop a student leadership team. Once a year, they host what they call, “break-out” sessions that is used for people to learn from one another while discussing different topics, including family stress, school stress, drugs and alcohol, and peer pressure.

Last semester, she worked with the non-profit Pickleberry Pie. “They send musicians into hospitals to sing for the hospitalized children throughout the Philadelphia area. My main goal there was developing their fundraising and advertising. I went to a session at Bryn Mawr Hospital and heard the musicians sing to the kids, who absolutely loved it. It made me realize that what I was doing was touching so many lives.”

For two semesters she has worked for the Uncommon Individual Foundation in Devon. Currently she works for a branch of the Uncommon Individual Foundation called So Good Now, which has been up and running for about a year. “I help with the fundamentals of business, like budgets and organization for events. The mission of the organization is to strive to inspire young athletes to share their time, talent, and treasure through sports. They host different sports clinics, including volleyball, swimming, basketball, and football, throughout the Philadelphia region, but I’m trying to increase their visibility and network so they can increase the number of clinics they can do. This May, we are hosting a swimming clinic for underprivileged kids in Chester. We’re getting local swim clubs to donate goggles and swimsuits and we had a goggle drive for Learn to Swim month, which was this April.”

She left the interview with a piece of advice for her fellow classmates. “I think it’s very important to find a good social support group, whether that’s your friend group or someone you can confide in if you’re having a bad day or a bad week because sometimes college is hard. There are so many things you’re exploring while you’re trying to get good grades to find good jobs, so it’s important to have people to talk to. Remember to give your transition to college time, meet those people, and get involved. All of this is so very important in order to have a successful college career.”

My OUS Story: Opeyemi Famakinwa

Senior Opeyemi Famakinwa from Newark, New Jersey has ensured that her curriculum integrates both science and art, something the she hopes to continue to integrate into her future career, all the while, she has supported every individual she comes across on Villanova’s campus.

Before she came to Villanova, she knew that she wanted to pursue Chemistry as her undergraduate major. “I did a lot of musical theatre growing up, – there’s something about it, the music, the lights, the costumes, the everything – so with that you wear makeup as part of the costume. Meanwhile, I had always been fascinated by science, and so I wondered how I could put the two together, especially as I was also interested in personal care and what I put on my body. Towards the end of my senior year in high school, I noted how chemistry is used in our daily lives, it’s in what we put in our bodies and in our food, so that fascination drew me to Chemistry.”

Four years later, she still loves Chemistry, though at times, it has been difficult. What has kept her involved in the major is knowing that a person can never be done with it, something that she finds to be unique about science. One of her favorite Chemistry classes is one that she is currently taking, Introductory Polymer Chemistry, which is all about plastics. This class is one of her favorites because she loves courses where she can understand how it applies to her everyday life, her initial inspiration for becoming a Chemistry major.

During her sophomore year, she wanted to explore the side of her that is more creative and fun in her curriculum. “For the heck of it, I took Intro to Communications and ended up loving it since it was very real-life and real-world oriented. We would even talk about memes and the Presidential Election since that was happening when I took the class. This inspired me to take the Social Documentary Class, where we traveled to Ghana, which was an amazing and irreplaceable experience. All sixteen of us in the class came from different parts of campus, which was such a unique experience, but we all bonded easily. From there, I knew that I really loved communications, so I decided to get the minor and have my two fields coincide together.”

On campus, she serves as the Co-President of the Wazobia African Dance Company, belongs to the Edward Collymore Honors Society, which is an honors society for minority students to celebrate their academic achievements while providing professional and academic resources, and is a student worker in the Student Involvement Office. Also, this semester, she is doing an Internship for Credit with the on-campus Special Events Department as an Assistant Event Planner. For that internship, she learns that side of business and is able to work on the floor of all of the events that they work at.

One of her accomplishments was pioneering the new organization under the CASA office, LIFT, which stands for Limitless Initiative for Friendship and Trust, where they pair upperclassmen with incoming freshmen so that freshmen can have a mentor to talk about their college life and struggles with. She ensures through interviews that the mentors are committed and driven individuals seeking opportunities to help others.

She recalled her inspiration for beginning the program. “In CASA, students are assigned a professional counselor who helps you out academically and personally. Then I noticed how in this wide community you would know who the upperclassman were, you would pass them by, but you wouldn’t know their story even though you knew they had a fascinating one. So, when I was a sophomore, I realized there was a disconnect between under and upperclassmen even though you have these people around who have been through the issue you may be facing as an underclassman. I wanted to create a program that connected people you wouldn’t usually talk to, but who would be people who could help you out in multiple ways, like if you’re at a party and something happens or you’re dealing with a personal relationship and you need advice. These are people who go to Villanova, it’s not an adult, like our regular academic advisors. These are your peers who will be honest with you while empathizing with you. I think building that connection and that foundation between different years is a priority for me. At first it was just an idea, but then I joined two other students, a junior and a freshman, and we spent the rest of that semester designing LIFT and its mission.”

The 2017-2018 school year was the first year LIFT started running, and they were able to create twenty-five pairs of mentor-mentee relationships, a fantastic achievement for their first year. The organization’s efforts ended up earning them the Multicultural Student Union Service Award, that showed to Opeyemi how deeply they impacted lives on campus.

“It was a fun process to go through, knowing that I needed it too, and using what I would have wanted and giving it back to someone else. It was also great to hear the mentors tell me, I want to give to others what I had or what I didn’t have because I know it’s not easy. It was inspiring to see that and hear it from them while seeing the work they’ve done.”

Last summer, Opeyemi had her first official internship as a Research and Innovative Intern at L’Oréal in Clark, New Jersey. She worked with the laboratory side of the business in their Hairstyling Department.

She recalls that, “Throughout the whole summer I worked on a specific project, which had me researching different ingredients that can help promote styling products. I then was able to present that research to a board of Vice Presidents. While it was a lot of fun, there was a lot of trial and error. Although, my supervisors made sure it was fun and allowed us to experience all sides of the company. While I was there, I even met the woman who started the first black line of foundations at L’Oréal since she was in my location. It was very inspirational and educational communicating with these experienced people who were so willing to talk to us.”

Over Spring Break, she led a break trip that functioned as a border immersion trip with the CASA office to San Diego and Mexico. Recalling the trip and her leadership style, she said, “During the trip, we met with border patrol officers, we crossed the border into Mexico, and we met with migrants on the path to the US. It was very insightful to hear the stories of the two sides to truly understand the issue at hand. Being a leader on the trip was a lot of work since I had to organize the trip, get clearances, plan reflections, and be responsible for everyone. It taught me a lot about myself and the type of leader that I am. I learned that it is okay to be tough and to want what’s best for your group. My participants told me that I was tough, but that I made the experience what it needed to be. It was great to hear, since it taught me not to be apologetic for the way I am as a leader as long as I am confident in how I lead. I’m a nice leader, but I don’t play around.”

After graduation she plans on entering the cosmetic world, but she also plans on utilizing her Communications minor as well as her Chemistry degree since she loves talking and interacting with people. She knows that she can’t be in a lab 24/7, so plans on finding a way to put her two fields together. Eventually, she wishes to pursue a master’s degree.

To her fellow Villanovans, she had a few words to say, “I always say take it a day at a time, and that everything is what you make it. This one post I saw said, ‘Easy to spot a yellow car when you’re always thinking about a yellow car. Easy to spot opportunity when you’re always thinking about opportunity. Easy to spot reasons to be mad if you’re always thinking of being mad. You become what you constantly think about.’ Meaning, life is what you make it. Obviously, nothing is perfect and sometimes people around me say, well Villanova isn’t perfect, and I say, what ever really is? I’ve learned to take the bull by the horns and make my life what I want, whether it’s by taking risks or making new friends. Even if I’m nervous, I’ll do it, because the worse someone can say is no. They cannot take away everything you have. If something doesn’t work out, something else will.”

Meet the BRIDGE Society: Ashden Personius ’18

Bridge SocietyExecutive Board

Ashden Personius (’18), President of the Bridge Society, has served on the Executive Board for the past two years. As President, her responsibilities include leading the Executive Board members, communicating with Bridge’s advisor (Kate Szumanski), and continuing to grow the organization in ways that will best serve the students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova.

Ashden is a mathematics and environmental science double major, while also pursuing a minor in statistics. In her free time, Ashden is involved in Music Activities Stage Crew, Villanova Student Theater, Alpha Phi Omega, LEVEL, Villanova Club Running, and the Association for Women in Mathematics.

Her favorite aspect of the Bridge Society is the connections made at every Bridge event. From working with professionals, to meeting alumni, to sharing stories and working with Bridge members, “you meet amazing people everyday,” Ashden commented.

Ashden’s goal is that students gain confidence and connections from Bridge Society events. First, she believes it takes practice to be confident enough to step up and present oneself in a professional setting. “The Bridge Society is here to help with that learning curve,” Ashden added. Second, she describes the connections made at Bridge events as “invaluable.” Students are able to utilize these connections for years after graduation.

There are no other overarching professional development organizations specifically for Liberal Arts and Sciences students, which makes the Bridge Society so unique. Moving forward, Ashden sees the Bridge Society continuing to grow on campus and helping students achieve their professional aspirations.

Journalism and Music Writing Internship with TapSongz

TapSongz is a new Music site where kids can find new music. Our goals are to work with young, talented artists by promoting their music, writing up feature articles on their career and helping share their story. ( 

TapSongz is looking for talented college students particularly interested in the music industry and writing to join our staff as a writer. They would have the opportunity of interviewing a variety of artists, bands and musicians and then writing up feature articles on these artists to be published on our website. Students can work on their writing skills, build their connections with music professionals, network with others in the music industry, interview some of their favorite artists, and learn how to build and market a brand. Our LLC has become large enough where we typically qualify for media passes at music festivals in which some students may be interested in attending to cover the event as a media outlet. The position would be a great experience for journalism, communications and public relations majors as well as any student interested in music. 

Tasks would include posting music to social media, conducting phone or email interviews with artists and writing a variety of editorials to be published on our website. Interested students should email their resume and a cover letter to Eric Rustad at

Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition

Calling all undergraduate/graduate entrepreneurs: The 2014 VSEC is now open! Do you have an idea for a product, service or new technology? Do you want to win thousands in prize money for that idea? If you are an entrepreneur looking to make an impact in the world with an amazing new idea, consider Villanova’s largest entrepreneurship competition, the Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition.

Stage 1, the submission portion, is live and accepting applicants. The deadline for them is January 27th at 5pm. Full details, along with the timeline of milestones, can be found here:

If you have questions, please contact:

Featured [Internship] of the Week: Environment America

Intern with Environment America!

If you want to spend the semester learning how to make a real impact on the decisions Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 10.11.09 AMthat affect the energy we use, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the places we love, apply for an internship with Environment America. We’re taking applications now for summer 2013 internships in Washington D.C. and 29 state across the country.

So, what do interns with Environment America and the State Environment Groups do?  Make a real impact on critical environmental issues!

You’ll learn how to analyze environmental problems, advocate for smart solutions, and build public support.  And you’ll work one-on-one with one of our advocates and organizers, providing a unique, mentored experience.

Responsibilities vary, but you’ll do some mix of:

  • Researching critical environmental problems and preparing reports to release to the public
  • Coordinating and attending media events, like news conferences
  • Writing and publishing letters to the editor and working on news releases
  • Attending lobby meetings with lawmakers and other decision-makers
  • Working with coalition partners, like public health groups and other environmental groups
  • Tracking legislation or regulations on the federal or state levels
  • Generating public support for our campaigns, such as by collecting petitions or using social media
  • And you’ll attend briefings and trainings to learn more about environmental issues and gain advocacy and organizing skills.

Our internships are unpaid, and we cannot provide housing or travel assistance. We will work with you to secure academic credit from your college or university if that is an option.

What happens after my internship?

Through an internship with Environment America or one of the State Environment Groups you’ll get the training and the experience you need to be better prepared for a career in the environmental movement.  And each year, we hire passionate, talented and committed college graduates to join our two-year Fellowship Program. Some of our former interns have gone on to become some of our most successful Fellows.


We are looking for current college students who care about our environment and are driven to preserve it for the future. We look for strong leadership skills, academic excellence, problem solving ability, top-notch written and verbal skills, eagerness to learn, and a sense of humor.


We’re taking applications now for summer 2013 internships in Washington D.C. and in 29 states across the country. We will start accepting Fall 2013 applications on June 1st.

Apply now.

You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

You can find the internship, added to GoNOVAJobs, for summer and fall internships with Environment America (connected to PennEnvironment):

Earth Day at Villanova: 4.22.13

Villanova University

Earth Day Celebration

April 22, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 10.32.43 AM

Please join us in celebrating the 43rd Earth Day on April 22, 2013. The following events are free and open to Villanova students, staff, faculty, alumni and the general public.

8:30 a.m. Panel Discussion on Hydraulic Fracturing in the Marcellus Shale

Falvey Library Speaker’s Corner
  •  Join Villanova faculty and invited experts in a discussion on the economic opportunities and environmental challenges posed by natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale. The discussion will include questions posed by the audience. Continental breakfast provided.

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Sustainability Fair

Lower Level Connelly Center (indoors)

  • Eco-vendors, student environmental organizations, information about campus environmental initiatives and Green Jobs, alternative energy companies, raffles of Villanova basketball and football tickets, Dining Service samples, and other displays will take place in the bottom floor of Connelly Center. In addition, students in Introduction to Environmental Science (GEV 1051) will display the results of their semester-long research on Villanova’s campus environment.

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Sustainability Fair Farmer’s Market

Lower Level Connelly Center (outdoors)
  • Dining Services has arranged for local vendors, including area farmers, to offer locally grown produce, breads, meats, beverages and other products. Cash only. There will also be a chef on site preparing free samples!

 4:30 p.m. Earth Day Keynote Address

Katherine Gajewski, Director of Sustainability, City of Philadelphia
Connelly Cinema
  • Katherine Gajewski was appointed by Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter to head the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. Mayor Nutter pledged in 2008 to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America. Greenworks Philadelphia is an ambitious plan released in 2009 that sets 15 sustainability targets in the areas of energy, environment, equity, economy, and engagement to realize the Mayor’s goal by 2015. The city has made substantial progress towards sustainability objectives under the leadership of Ms. Gajewski and Mayor Nutter.

Many thanks to the following co-sponsors: Falvey Library, Dining Services, the Institute for Global Interdisciplinary Studies, Center for Peace and Justice, Villanova Center for Liberal Education, Maintenance and Grounds staff, and the departments of Biology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geography and the Environment, History.

For further information, contact Paul C. Rosier at

Sexual Assault on College Campuses Panel Tomorrow

Gender and Women’s Studies present Sexual Assault on College Campuses: A Range of Perspectives and Information With Leslie Gomez and Gina Smith, Pepper Hamilton Law Firm Kimberly Hill, Villanova Office of Health Promotion Elisa Lopez, Villanova Campus Security Marciano Lopez, GC Nova 6 pm, Thursday, April 11 Radnor St. David’s Room Co-sponsored by GCNOVA, Peace and Justice, and the Office of Health Promotion

If you have questions, please contact:

Save the Date: 4/12 NY AD DAY


Deadline to RSVP to NY AD DAY is Tuesday, 4/9.

In preparation for the NY Ad Day, consider attending:
Practice with the Pros: Advertising/Marketing Mock Interviews on 4/5 in Garey Hall between 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Register for a great opportunity to gain face time w/ professionals during a 30-min. practice interview. An employer will ask industry-specific interview questions & provide feedback on your performance. Practice your interviewing skills, ask questions & learn from the best in the business!

Click here to sign-up via GoNOVA Jobs; search by “Employer” on “Practice with the Pros.”