Manresa’s Finest: Nicole Benevento

Over the past four years, Nicole Benevento, FCRH 2017, has been an integral part of the Manresa community. She entered the Program as a freshman participant, served as its Intern as a sophomore and junior, and as live-in Tutor her senior year. Our community has truly benefited from her positive energy, dedication to student success, and Ignatian grit and kindness.

Benevento aspires to a career in the publishing industry following her internships with America Media, Fordham University Press, and Penguin Random House. She’ll take the skills and lessons learned from ManDSC_0004.JPGresa. Nicole notes that “Manresa helped me to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin, and I plan on having that newly-found confidence exude in my interviews and during meetings and interactions throughout my publishing career.”

Amid countless Manresa programs, she notes NYC Urban Immersion as her most memorable. The experience of volunteering at nearby soup kitchens and with homeless youth, and staying at Fordham Bedford Housing in the Bronx, ignited her passion for bridging the gap between rich and poor. In true Ignatian spirit, Nicole became bothered by inequality. “It was such an incredible experience because we were not only reflecting on the injustice in the world, but also witnessing it firsthand. It set something off inside me…it was the first time I really understood how privileged I am compared to others, and it didn’t sit well with me,” said Benevento.

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Benevento turns to the famous Babe Ruth quote for inspiration: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Nicole earned a double major in English and Italian and minored in Marketing, and served in Campus Ministry and on the boards of the Fordham Club and as vice president of Fordham’s chapter of the National Jesuit Honor Society Alpha Sigma Nu. “You will meet amazing people, form lifelong friendships, and create lasting memories if you take the initiative. College may seem overwhelming, but trust me, in the end each moment is so worth it,” said Benevento.

The Manresa Community wishes Benevento the best. Thank you, Nicole, for your service to Fordham. We look forward to having you back to share your experiences and wisdom with future Manresa Scholars.

Anja Asato, FCRH 2018
Manresa Programming and Marketing Fellow, 2016-2017

A Memorable Spring Semester

The 2016-2017 Manresa Scholars have officially completed their freshman year as Fordham Rams. This year has been filled with rigorous academics, engaged service-learning, and dedication to the Manresa-Loyola Hall community. As Scholars embark on new adventures as upperclassmen, we are confident that the lessons they’ve learned with Manresa will serve them well.

Fordham’s President, Fr. McShane, spent an evening speaking with Manresa Scholars on the topic of “Love” and the “Fordham Family.” A personal conversation with Fr. McShane is a special Fordham experience that Scholars will reminisce about throughout their time at Fordham and after graduation.

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During the NYC Urban Immersion Spring Break Service Project, a group of Manresa Scholars took part in service-learning projects and explored issues such as economic inequality, while practicing simple living for a meaningful and reflective experience.

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Manresa Scholars visited Bartow-Pell Park in the Bronx twice this semester, once to clean up the park grounds and again to help facilitate their annual Easter Egg Hunt.

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Manresa professors concluded the year’s dinner-colloquium series with a “Last Lecture.” Each professor shared their most valued piece of wisdom with Manresa Scholars before they embark on new journeys as upperclassmen.

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Scholars took a break from finals to celebrate the end-of-the-year on the Manresa patio to enjoy burritos and the warm weather.

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“Grit”: Lessons from Manresa Alumnae

Manresa Scholars become part of a prestigious group of Fordham students who go on to enter fields in business, law, communications, social service, and more. When Manresa Scholars leave Loyola, they still remain part of the community by sharing their knowledge and experiences with current Manresa Scholars, creating a diverse and active network.

This past week, three Manresa alumnae, Sara Kugel (FCRH ‘11), Danielle O’Boyle (GSB ‘12), and Victoria Cappucci (FCRH ’16), came to speak with current students about how “grit” played an integral  role in their post-graduation success. Together, the speakers and Scholars discussed the meaning of “grit” and spoke about how it refers to one’s ability to persevere, work hard, and focus this work ethic toward one’s passion. It also means utilizing strengths and realizing that not everything will go as planned, but that some resourcefulness and creativity can take you down meaningful paths.

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Kugel, Associate Producer at CBS News, spoke about focusing on your passion. By doing this, you can overcome the background noise and focus on your goals. However, she stressed the importance of balancing ambition and self-care. She also encouraged Manresa Scholars to reflect and appreciate this period of their lives where they can focus primarily on learning.

O’Boyle, Assistant District Attorney in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, gave valuable advice to the pre-law students and those interested in the legal field. In her experience, “grit” meant never giving up despite rejection and never being too busy to take on the less glamorous tasks of a job. Knowing what needs to happen to achieve a goal can be vital to success.

Cappucci, who graduated from Fordham last year, gave Manresa Scholars advice about steps they can take during their time at Fordham and her experience post-graduation thus far. For her, having a long term goal to foster a sense of grit is important. She intends to attend law school and is currently working as a paralegal at Allen & Overy in Manhattan.

Each Manresa Scholar had a chance to work with the speakers in small groups to come up with concrete ways to apply a sense of “grit” to their lives. Whether it’s applying for more internships, getting better grades by visiting office hours, or joining a club related to their interests, Scholars can take steps to apply a sense of “grit” to their academic, work, and personal experiences. Whatever the goal, the speakers shared the importance of having a sense of purpose by doing something personally fulfilling.

Anja Asato, FCRH 2018
Manresa Programming & Marketing Fellow, 2016-2017

Central Park Excursion

Fordham’s location gives Manresa students the invaluable opportunity to explore the city. On a recent Friday afternoon, Dean Parmach took Manresa Scholars on a trip to the iconic New York attraction, Central Park.

Students took a scenic walk around the reservoir and down to Sheep’s Meadow. The Manresa Program truly cares for the whole student, encouraging both academics and exploration of your new home, New York City!

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For several Scholars, the excursion was their first visit to Central Park.

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Manresa Scholars enjoyed a quintessential late summer afternoon at Central Park.

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Manresa Faculty Director, Dean Robert Parmach, with Manresa Canine Mascot, Peewee.

The Secret Gem of the Bronx: A Manresa Event Sneak Peek

Our Manresa Staff has been working tirelessly on our upcoming year’s events and programs for you all. I’m here to give you a little inside information from behind the Manresa Intern’s desk. This September (although, I won’t give you the exact date, because that would ruin the surprise), the Manresa Program is going to hold an all-hands-on-deck service project at the Bronx’s very own Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and Garden.

Before I let you in on the little secret on what we will be doing there, I’ll tell you about this hidden gem, one that even some people from the area do not know about.  Hundreds of years ago, there were around 20-30 mansions located in the Bronx along the Long Island Sound. Today, only one remains. This mansion, which is now both a New York City Landmark and a National Historic Landmark, is known as Bartow-Pell Mansion. The land was bought by Thomas Pell from the Siwanoy Indians in 1654, and was later sold to John Bartow in 1790. The house in which the Bartows lived still remains on the property and is the site of our upcoming service project.

This mansion is an official landmark and a living piece of Bronx history. Ellen Bruzelius (the mansion’s Executive Director) and her team give tours of, and offer service opportunities on, the mansion’s grounds. Last year, the Manresa Program took advantage of one such opportunity. It turned out to be one of our best programs of the year. Get ready, Manresa, because this September, we will participate in an outdoor garden cleanup in the beautiful and lush gardens at the Bartow-Pell Mansion while working alongside some of the inspiring individuals that make it possible. Put on your boots, long pants, and baseball caps, and get ready to make a difference!

Nicole Benevento, FCRH 2017
Manresa Program Student Intern, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016

Manresa & Pre-Law: A Natural Fit

As a Pre-Law student, I found the Manresa Program extremely helpful when thinking about the path I wanted my life toDAmato Shovel Service take.
Exposure to Ignatian themes such as social justice and being “a person for and with others” led me to aspire to a career as a Naval JAG attorney, to protect those who are dedicating their lives to our freedom. The Manresa Program also pointed my interests to environmental law. After doing park and beach cleanup service projects with Manresa, I realized that I would love to be able to advise corporations on environmental policy and on how to be more environmentally-friendly.

As both of these fields of interest are competitive ones, I often seek help from Dean Erin Burke, Director of Pre-Law Advising, to discuss internships, LSAT preparation, and resume tips. Not long ago, I was in her office watching her give my resume a make-over. Among her comments, she told me the community service hours I’ve compiled with the Manresa program are very impressive and stand out to law schools. Fordham’s Pre-Law Advising Program is unique in that given its 100% law school acceptance rate, Pre-Law students are often less focused on gaining acceptance into law school, but rather on more fully understanding careers in law, and gaining admission to law schools with strong programs and job placement, often with generous financial support.

Thanks to the Manresa Program and Pre-Law Advising, I have a direction for my life, based on a passion to promote peace and justice. I hope to join the other Fordham alumni who have “set the world on fire” before me.

Gabbi D’Amato, FCRH 2017
Manresa Scholar, 2013-2014

Education, Experience, and Action: Manresa Urban Immersion Service Project

To kick off spring break Manresa-style, the Manresa Staff planned an “Urban Immersion” service project.IMG_4109
Limited to only twelve Scholars, the project offered me a new perspective not only of New York City, but also of the people whom I encounter every day, even myself.

One of the most exciting (and nerve-wracking) parts of Urban Immersion was not knowing what was coming next. The itinerary was a secret; we received only a rough outline a few days before the trip. This was a blessing in disguise, because it allowed us to immerse ourselves fully in the present, not the future.

Day one focused on educating ourselves on the social issues facing the Bronx and NYC overall. We watched Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream. This stirring film led to an insightful discussion. We concluded the day with reflections in our journals and a guided Ignatian meditation in the St. Ignatius of Loyola Chapel.

Day two was centered on experiencing the difficulties of those less privileged than us. We spent the day in rainy Manhattan, participating in a variety of exercises that gave us an idea of what life is like for those living in poverty. Afterwards, we attended mass at St. Francis Xavier Parish and had a discussion with Jesuits there about their work with the poor. They offered some words of wisdom to our team for our time at Fordham.

On day three, we put what we had learned so far into action. We volunteered at the Bartow-Pell Mansion in Pelham Bay, where we met some awesome people. This experience was rewarding because we saw results and knew we were making an impact.

Urban Immersion ended the following afternoon. We spent the morning at the Jesuit infirmary on campus, Murray-Weigel Hall, where we attended mass with the residents and heard fascinating and inspiring stories about Jesuits who were able to make an impact both overseas and here at Fordham. Urban Immersion was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had so far. I felt like I grew as a person, and as a member of the Manresa Community.

Francesca Russo, FCRH 2018
Manresa Scholar and 2015-2016 Loyola Hall RA

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