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Major: Journalism/Mass Communication Hometown: Akron, N.Y. Current Job: Communications Coordinator for the Franciscan friars of Holy Name Province in New York City
St. Bonaventure inspires Maria Hayes to take an active role in making the world a better place.
“The longer that I’ve been out of St. Bonaventure, the more grateful I am that I chose to go there,” said Hayes, the communications coordinator for the Franciscan friars of Holy Name Province.
“Looking back, I’ve realized how many opportunities I’ve received because of its close network, because of the way the faculty and staff treat its students and the relationship that the two have with each other.”
Hayes landed her first job — as a reporter at the Warsaw (N.Y.) Country Courier — months before graduation. It didn’t hurt that the editor was a former colleague at The Bona Venture student newspaper who recognized the quality of Hayes’ work.
“Everything from the small class sizes to the opportunities you have to get involved with extracurricular activities — like the newspaper immediately your freshman year — those are all things that helped me get to where I am today and I don’t think that if I went to a larger school I would have had the same opportunities,” Hayes said.
“I think I would have been swallowed up in some large mass of students. At Bonaventure, I was a face, I was a person, and that helped.”
A small-town girl from the rural Erie County town of Akron, Hayes admits she was skittish about moving to New York City when she accepted the job at the Province.
“The transition to the city was difficult, but it would have been even more agonizing if I didn’t have the Bonaventure community here to welcome me,” Hayes said.
“I was given the names of several people to reach out to when I first got here, and they were very, very willing … to show me the ropes and that made a huge difference.”
But her conviction and passion about working for the friars, whose commitment to making the world a better place impressed her while at Bonaventure, trumped her trepidation.
“I saw their work at St. Bonaventure … and they were doing something that I believed in. I really respect the work that they do,” she said. “What I learned at Bonaventure is that it’s very important not to be passive in approaching the problems that our society is facing. It’s very important to take an active role in changing the world.”
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