SFC Strengthens Ties to Trinidad and Tobago
By Tearanny Street

SFC Alumni Spearhead Successful Recruitment Event

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In late October, St. Francis College (SFC) President Miguel Martinez-Saenz, Ph.D. and a contingent from the college traveled to Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies, at the invitation of members of SFC's Caribbean alumni network. The goals were to facilitate a resurgence of the Caribbean alumni network, increase enrollment from the Caribbean, officially kick off the SFC Caribbean Alumni Fund, and build mutually beneficial partnerships with Trinidad and Tobago universities and corporations.

The planning committee for the trip was comprised of SFC alumni both in the U.S. and in Trinidad and Tobago, which included several SFC employees. They helped develop the trip's itinerary by contacting their high school alma maters as well as community organizations, universities, government officials, and businesses.

U.S. based alumni included SFC employees Alicia Browne '05, Antonevia Ocho-Coultes '04, Marlon Joseph '05, Jason Whittaker '06, as well as, Denzil Streete '02 and Anthony Valley '98, who live in the tri-state area.

SFC alumni living on the island included Arnold Piggott 71', Evol Phillip '05, Giselle Bartholomew '08, Saleem Abdul-Rahman '05, Jason Ifill '04, Jason Kangalee '04, Kevin Joseph '05, Krisson Joseph '05, Keisha Israel '08, Meisha Trim '04, Raynata Wiggins '04, Shonda Moore '03, and Solange Francis '06.

"These individuals actively engaged in spearheading the planning and making the necessary connections to ensure the trip was a success beyond our expectations," said President Martinez-Saenz.

President Miguel Speaks to High School StudentsAt each high school visit, alumni shared their personal stories about SFC and how it can be an ideal choice for today's students. SFC Director of Recruitment Rob Oliva and President Martinez-Saenz also presented information about the college and the opportunities available to students. Several U.S.-based alumni made the trip and combined forces with alumni who live on the island.

They spent the week accompanying the SFC team on visits to six high school as well as the 2018 USA Education College Fair, in which more than 75 U.S. colleges and universities participated. Approximately 4,000 students and their families attended, and SFC fielded more than 400 inquiries while over 150 students applied to SFC on the spot.

"At the end of each presentation, dozens of students eagerly approached alumni to hear their personal stories of why SFC was a great choice for them," said President Martinez-Saenz. "I am certain that without the dedication and enthusiasm of the alumni and staff fielding endless questions, our inquiries would've been far less."

There were also successful meetings with the Minister of Education, the former Trinidad and Tobago Canadian High Commissioner (a SFC alum), the University of Trinidad and Tobago, the University of the West Indies, the Speaker of the House for Tobago, the Catholic Education Board of Management, and the National Gas Company (NGC). Each conversation laid the groundwork for further discussions, including potential faculty collaborations and student exchange programs. Additionally, two paid internships at NGC were secured.

Over 40 alumni gathered for a SFC dinner with generations of graduates from 1969 to 2014 in attendance.

"We look forward to replicating this experience with other alumni throughout the United States and possibly other countries," he continued. "With this type of highly engaged alumni involvement and the support of faculty and staff, I believe more than ever that we can embark on a comprehensive internationalization strategy. Thank you to the amazing alumni, many of whom took vacation time from their jobs to volunteer for this recruitment initiative."

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