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Diversity: A Win-Win for Students and Enterprise

Since 2009, Professor Chet Hickox ’84 has identified promising minority students in his Introduction to Business classes and recommended them for summer internships at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young. It’s a policy in line with President Dooley’s goal of creating a diverse student community, and it has huge practical impact: It prepares students for the workforce as it really is and promotes creative thinking back in class.

“The firms invite students who succeed in the initial six- to eight-week programs to return for subsequent summers,” Hickox explains. “Students hope to secure a job offer during their senior year.”

Andrea Osorio ’14, of Pawtucket, R.I., a Colombian-American whose parents came to the U.S. before she was born, took Professor Hickox’s entry level business class the summer before she entered URI as part of the Talent Development Program. Hickox has served as her mentor ever since, and Osorio attributes her growth as a person and as a student to the support she has received from him and others at COBA.

In fact, she says her definition of success has changed: “Before, I was a bit one tracked. Now, success will come when I help a student from a financially underprivileged background like me.”

Osorio has been a PricewaterhouseCoopers intern since the summer after her freshman year, has shadowed professionals, presented on “How to Keep the Millennial Generation Motivated in Corporate America,” and even traveled to Belize to teach financial literacy to grade schoolers. She has already accepted a full-time offer from PwC, plans to return to school for a Ph.D. in accounting, and eventually wants to teach, influencing others as her professors influenced her. “It was not until recently,” she says, “that it hit me just how much learning and development I have undergone throughout my three-and-a-half years here.”

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