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New faces in the crowd - Residence directors

Ryan Miller is a St. Bonaventure University alumnus. Gesina Traub is new to the campus. But the two share one goal – to make life at Bonaventure better for students living in their residence halls.

Traub is resident director for Shay/Loughlen, which houses only freshmen. Miller holds the same position for Robinson/Falconio/Doyle, which hold a mixture of freshmen and upperclassmen.

RD Ryan MillerResidence directors (RDs) have responsibilities beyond those of the residence assistants (RAs) on each floor. In addition to their responsibility for the residents, they also supervise the residence assistants, help deal with such problems as roommate conflicts and adjustment issues, and offer programs designed to help students feel comfortable at Bonaventure.

Both Miller and Traub emphasized they want to encourage students to talk to them about any problem they might be having.

“I have an open-door policy,” Miller said. “I encourage every student to come forward if they need to talk to someone.” As an RD, he said, he enjoys meeting new people and learning about their backgrounds. He hopes to build community and put in place more social programming.

Miller was an RA for three years and involved in ROTC while an undergraduate at Bonaventure. He is now completing his masters in business administration and feels his job as an RD improves his leadership skills for a future career in corporate management.

“Everything that this job entails is helping me become a better leader,” he said.

Traub, a native of Indiana, said she has a “passion for working with students,” which has led her to working with Student Life.

RD Gesine TraubLike Miller, Traub was an RA for three years at Indiana State University, where she earned an undergraduate degree. In the spring, she will begin work on her master’s degree in counseling. Meanwhile, she is learning about Bonaventure and its people.

“I am very impressed with the way Bonaventure handles situations,” she said.

Traub also stressed her open-door policy. She encouraged students to take advantage of the resources available on campus.

“I admire all of my RAs. They give so much to their residents and I love bonding with them. I have built so many good relationships with students; it is amazing,” she said.

Traub said her main goal is to help students mature into adults, including teaching them problem-solving skills.

Both Traub and Miller said students should feel free to come to RAs and RDs with any ideas they have about living in the residence halls or ideas for social programming. They said they would love to hear students’ ideas, comments or concerns.

-Lauren Guerrieri
Class of 2011


What is a learning community?

Your student may be involved in a learning community as he starts his Bonaventure experience. But what is a learning community and what can it do for the students involved?

Learning communities, first introduced three years ago, group freshman students with other freshmen who have the same or closely-related majors or interests. The students then take two or three courses together. The communities, now including more freshmen, were created as a part of the First-Year Experience program.

Dr. Nancy Casey, director of the First-Year Experience program and associate professor in the School of Education, believes learning communities are a major help for first semester freshmen.

“They help students by putting them in an environment where they are in the same classes with the same people,” Casey said. “They get to know their peers quickly and this allows them to feel more comfortable and less embarrassed or afraid to participate in class.”

Learning communities help freshman students with the transition from high school to college. They provide students with the resources necessary to succeed academically.

Carol Fischer, professor of accounting, is in her first semester of teaching as part of a learning community. Fischer believes the program gives students an advantage in the classroom.

“The students get to know each other well and this translates to distinct advantages in class,” Fischer said. Fischer has noticed that the students in her learning community are more outgoing and more willing to ask questions in class.

Learning communities also offer students a support system.

“The students seem to have developed a comfort level with one another and have really gelled. They have formed bonds and friendships outside the classroom and they are a support group for each other,” Fischer said.

Fischer has observed how her students help each other study and do homework, while also challenging one another in the classroom.

“I see the students even putting pressure on each other and pushing one another in the classroom to do better,” she added.

Learning communities also help freshmen form relationships with their professors, something which can be intimidating for first-year students.

“The program enables students to form better relationships with the professors. It helps students see that their professors are approachable and helps students feel more connected with them,” Fischer said.

Casey said she has spoken to several freshmen who have already requested placement in learning communities next semester.

“Many of the students involved are happy and have developed friendships and academic colleagues and want to continue that,” she said.

She said the FYE program is doing more assessment on learning communities, but is pleased with reception of the program so far.

-Andrea Doneth
Class of 2010


Upcoming events on campus include:
Students may now view spring 2009 course offerings online at
Friday, 10/24 - Circus for a Cure fundraiser for "I’m too young for this,” a youth cancer advocacy and research foundation
Saturday, 10/25 - Men's Soccer vs. Duquesne
Saturday, 10/25 -
BonaResponds Local Service Day
Saturday, 10/25
- Diwali celebration
Sunday, 10/25 - Women's Soccer vs. St. Joe's
Monday, 10/26 - Dr. Claudia Chiesi, ’69, will show and discuss her documentary “The Sugar Babies: The Plight of the Children of Agricultural Workers in the Sugar Industry of the Dominican Republic”
Tuesday, 10/28 - Coming to Life program
Wednesday, 10/29 - “Separate Histories; How We Lie to Ourselves” presentation by Elliot Jaspin, retired journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner
Thursday, 10/30 - "What Makes for a Good Life?" presentation by Dr. Russell Woodruff
Thursday, 10/30 - The Prevention Focus on IDEA” presentation by Ron Hager, senior staff attorney for the National Disabilities Rights Network
Saturday, 11/1 - The Mountain Auction to benefit Mt. Irenaeus
Wednesday-Saturday, 11/5-8 - “Dead Man Walking,” at QCA

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