The Backdrop Behind Curry’s First-Year Coordinator

BY TYLER MILLIKEN // Feb. 28, 2017 //

Since joining Curry College as the First-Year Coordinator in 2015, Silas Pearman has played a crucial part in making sure first-year students begin their Colonel careers on the right foot.

Before making his transition to New England and Curry College, Pearman grew up in South Carolina where he developed an indistinguishable southern twang. He’d attend Furman University as an undergraduate in Greenville, SC, before returning to the university for work years later.

Pearman spent the next ten years at his alma mater, helping the school redo their entire general education program.

However, the combination of the Boston area and Curry’s employment needs drew Pearman to uproot his life in the South.

“I had never visited or lived in New England and I enjoy traveling and seeing new places,”  Pearman explained. “It was an opportunity to basically replant myself.”

Throughout Pearman’s first academic year at Curry, he fulfilled a role the college was implementing for the very first time; assisting in the development of Curry’s new and improved First Year Inquiries courses along with the newly established General Education curriculum. His ability to understand how the campus functioned and operated, made it easy for Silas to connect with first-year students almost immediately.

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First-Year Coordinator Silas Pearman’s passion and dedication reflects Curry’s mission. // PHOTO BY TYLER MILLIKEN //

But first-years wouldn’t be the only students who Pearman connected with, as he chose to become a faculty advisor for the Gender Sexuality Club.

“Being a gay man, I wanted to be an advocate for LGBT students. So, there was just an automatic connection,” Pearson noted.

Silas has been a constant voice for students being targeted by hate crimes on campus these last few months.

Passion has played a crucial part in Pearman joining the Curry community with such ease. In the time since he arrived, Silas has been focused on edging his way into the mix. He has hopes of working with as many students on campus as possible, even if they don’t correlate directly with his department.

Although year one was a significant adjustment for Pearman, year two has welcomed even larger challenges for the First-Year Coordinator. The addition of Curry’s new General Education program and the First-Year Inquiry Seminar has created some havoc, but the transition has enjoyed a fair amount of success.

“There’s challenges within any new program,” Pearman indicated. “Scheduling the classes is a challenge. We’ve had to use different time blocks.”

Despite the First-Year Coordinator role containing a large workload, Pearman continues to teach as a professor and be an advisor on campus.

“I do think if you’re going to be any kind of program coordinator or administrator, that you should also be teaching in the classroom as well,” Pearman vocalized. “Otherwise, you’re organizing a program for people that you’re not connected to or don’t understand,”.

While Pearman has played a crucial part in getting the General Education program off the ground, his goals have yet to be slowed down.

“I think my next biggest goal is to help students understand and communicate the value of the FYI [First-Year Inquiry], and to try and develop a system where students feel like they have the opportunity to select topics they’re truly excited about.”

When looking ahead at the new direction Pearson has helped lead Curry in, he believes there will be even more growth in the following years. As the school has the chance to discuss change and the assessments given to students, there is bound to be new information that arises.

Although Pearman has joined Curry rather recently, he offered some positive sentiments when it comes to his future at the school.

“I’ve made the decision to come to Curry because the college communicated to me that they value students and value faculty-student relationships. That’s kind of been my guidepost in my higher education career,” Pearman made clear. “If Curry remains committed to those ideals, then yes, I’ll be very happy in terms of coordinating programs that continue to promote that spirit.”

As Curry continues to establish new First-Year programs and prepare freshmen students for the stressful rigors of college, Dr. Silas Pearman will continue to have a large role in the school’s growth.

The passion and dedication he puts towards his craft each day, reflects the ideals Curry College preaches towards each one of their students when classes begin every Monday morning.

The Bellitti Backcourt

BY BRANDON WILFORE // Nov. 27, 2016 //

Out of 100 children born in the United States, three of them will have a twin. 3.1 percent of high school senior basketball players will make it to the next level. Combine those two statistics, and the odds of twins playing college basketball are slim.

Oh and don’t forget they are playing for the same college. These near-impossible odds were defied by Jaelen and Jordan George-Bellitti here at Curry College.

They grew up in Cambridge, Mass. with their mother Jasmine Bellitti and brothers Jermaine and Jacoby Houston. Basketball has been in their blood from a young age as they started playing in leagues at the age of five.

They both attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School where they played basketball. When asked about the school Jaelen said simply, “I loved it there.”hs-champs

That love may very well have been enhanced by the Division 1 State Championship that the twins won together in their final year wearing Cambridge across their chests.

Despite their similar faces and jerseys, don’t judge a book by its cover.

One big difference the brothers mentioned was their personality. Jordan mentioned that even in his daily life, “I [like to] go about every task like it is my last chance.”

This passion doesn’t only translate to the hardwood either, as he prides himself inside the classroom as well. Jordan says that from an early age, his family taught him to always put school first. Now being in college, working hard behind classroom doors comes naturally.

Jaelen, an easy going kid who loves to laugh, talked about that family influence saying, “Our mom encourages us to be the best that we can.”

He showed some of that admiration for laughing when he answered the question, ‘How are you and your brother different’? With a big smile on his face, he said, “We look different.”

However, when he is needed to ditch that flashy smile and go to work, Jaelen gets in the zone with thoughts of his late friend, Davonte Neal.sneaker-bands

Neal died of Leukemia in 2014 and whenever Jaelen feels like slacking, Neal comes to mind.

He is with him every minute on the court, as Jaelen wears orange bands for Leukemia awareness on his sneakers.

But when he does have the time to slack off and take a break from hitting the books or the Miller Field House gym to practice windmill dunks, Jaelen and Jordan still have that orange ball on their mind.

Jordan will take the time to watch and study basketball to add to his studious attitude. Even his twitter feed displays his passion for basketball, as almost all of the tweets are basketball-related.

Jaelen studies a little differently, turning on the old video game console to play NBA 2K or he’ll hang out with friends and play pick-up basketball.

The brothers went all-in on basketball, not even playing another sport in high school.

That specialization has led both of them to spend countless hours watching all the various styles of all the different players who have come in and out of the League. Jordan summed his game up by saying, “I try to play smart like LeBron James and jump like Vince Carter.”

Jaelen talked about Allen Iverson being his favorite NBA player because “He is a killer. He doesn’t fear anything.”

If you watch Jaelen play, you can clearly see that in him; driving the basketball toward the hoop against bigger guys who could be four or five years older. Jaelen doesn’t care, though; he will finish through, around, or even over you.

So, two brothers, good grades, great basketball players, admirable values and habits that will help them succeed on and off the court. This must mean colleges are drooling all over them, right? The two-for-one package already has the chemistry that coaches dream about in the backcourt. Who is going to turn that down?

Well, in Jordan’s case, apparently a lot; “I wear number 0 [here] because that is the amount of schools that recruited me [other than Curry].”

On the other hand, Jaelen had the attention of Suffolk University, Pine Manor, and Wheelock Colleges.

But Jordan noted that “My brother and I always dreamed of playing in the backcourt together.”

He went on to explain that nowhere else but “here at Curry [could] we would step into a high minute role and be expected to produce. Coach LeVangie told us his plan and we bought in immediately.”

Despite last year’s lack of success through a 0-25 campaign, the brothers both had faith in Head Coach Matt LeVangie.

Jordan added, “We believe this school will allow my brother and I to be the ‘Bellitti Backcourt’ we’ve dreamed about.” Now, these brothers are living out the scenarios they created in their own driveway nearly 15 years ago.

Their teammates have been some of the first to notice this special backcourt matriculating in front of their very eyes.

Senior forward Paul Preziosi has seen plenty of players come through the program over his roller coaster of a career but says the Bellitti’s are just different.

From winning a few games his first two years to not winning one his junior season, Preziosi wants to get it done his senior year. He thinks Jordan and Jaelen may just be able to help.

Even LeVangie knows what he has in these brothers from Cambridge; “They have the athleticism and skill to become great players; they just have to put in the work.”

When asked if the twins had any added chemistry because they have played together for so long, LeVangie joked, “I haven’t seen them make any out-of-this-world passes using twin telepathy.”

However, he did note that if one of them is in a funk, the other brother takes no time to encourage him, and it is effective.

That reinforcement shows on the court and only adds to their physical attributes.

“They are both 6’3” at the guard spots which gives them a height and length advantage over a lot of guards in our conference,” said LeVangie.

This should immensely help the Colonels defensively as they gave up more than 90 points in seven different games last season. In their first ever taste of the next level, the brothers both got the starting nod and were introduced from the bench where they sat side-by-side.

They wasted no time showing everyone what the next four years has in store as the crowd immediately started asking, ‘Who are number 0 and 24? These kids can play.’

By the end of a heartbreaking double-overtime loss, the brothers were all over the stat sheet.

Jordan tallied 41 minutes, 18 points and nine rebounds. It took no more than a single game to find out if he could indeed channel his inner LeBron in crunch time.

With the crowd on its feet and the pressure on, Jordan tied the game up with just tenths of seconds to play to send the game to a second overtime period.

Jaelen played 39 minutes, registering five points and four rebounds. Three of those points came with little time, though, when the Colonels found themselves down five late in double overtime. Jaelen dribbled down the court and hit a three-pointer to shave the lead to a manageable two.

Despite not coming out with a win, the twins showed a drastic change for the Purple and White.

When they were told they would get a high minute role, Coach LeVangie wasn’t bluffing. The twins played the second and third-most minutes on the team, behind only captain Preziosi.

At this level of basketball, the coach is going to play the best five players that give him the chance to win. Jordan and Jaelen were two of those five, and will likely be all season.

It was only one game and I’m not calling Jordan and Jaelen the next Westbrook and Durant or MJ and Pippen or even Shaq and Kobe.

But they are the Bellitti Backcourt and they are going to pave their own legacy.

From Touchdowns to Toddlers

BY ANDREW BLOM // MAY 10, 2012 // 

“Wait, we have a duck over here,” said Jason Margeson.

The 24-year-old, with arms the size of an ordinary man’s thigh, rose from a small blue chair that was built for a toddler. He then reached under a table to turn off a toy that someone had left on.

Just another day at the office.

“I would have never thought I would work with children,” said Margeson, who graduated from Curry in 2010 with a degree in psychology and a minor in education. He is now a full-time licensed teacher at the Curry Early Childhood Center (CECC).

Though he sometimes gets the “Kindergarden Cop” comparison from others, Jason Margeson destroys the stereotype of what it means to be a macho man. // PHOTO BY ANDREW BLOM

The CECC, founded in 1981, is a daycare and preschool on campus that tends to 55 children, from infancy to age 4. The Center employs certified teachers, such as Margeson, as well as Curry work-study students who assist teachers in providing the children a safe and fun learning environment.

As a student, Margeson was a member of the football team from 2007 to 2009. He played running back, cornerback and outside linebacker. As a teacher, he’s still playing, although his new “team” is filled with approximately nine 2- and 3-year-olds. Margeson is also the CECC’s lone full-time male employee, which makes the muscle-bound Brockton, Mass., native stand out a bit from his colleagues.

“Sometimes you don’t really have anyone to talk sports with,” said Margeson on the disadvantages of being the only male teacher. “Well, some of the girls do, but it dies out pretty quick.”

Other than that, Margeson said being the only guy has its advantages. “The women help me out a lot” on the job, he said. “That female influence makes it easy to talk to them about any problems I might have with the children and they have helped me grow as a teacher. They help me calm down.”

Margeson began working at the Center his sophomore year, needing a job—any job—to earn his work-study aid. He said his former teammates would often jokingly tease him about the one he got, but Margeson enjoyed the work and found that he was good at it, too.

“On the field, I was very physical and [my teammates] wouldn’t think I could calm down that much to work with children,” he said.

Margeson has used his love of sports to connect with many of the children, whether through baseball, soccer or any other sport. He said he once attempted to teach the kids flag football, but “that didn’t go too well. But we tried, and it was fun.”

Margeson said his primary responsibility is ensuring that each child is safe and that they have fun throughout the day. Prior to becoming the teacher for toddlers ages 2 and 3, he spent his first year on staff in the infant room, where his main responsibilities included giving the babies bottles and changing diapers. Among the infants Margeson cared for was then-6-month- old Owen MacDougall, son of Curry Communication Professor Robert MacDougall.

“He’s fantastic with kids,” said MacDougall, who first met Margeson when his older son attended CECC as well. “He fits the Hollywood stereotype for masculinity, but he’s nice, gentle and patient, and blows this stereotype away, which bodes well for these kids.”

Compared to playing college football, Margeson described working at the daycare as going from “one extreme to another.” Whereas he used to be intense and physical, his current responsibilities require him to be calm, mellow and patient. Yet, in some ways, Margeson said he takes inspiration from many of his former youth sports coaches. He often views his work at the CECC as simply a different avenue to “make a big impact on a child.”

Although Margeson said his job can be frustrating at times, he quickly remembers how young the children are and simply tries to find solutions that are unique to each child’s personality.

“Their interested in everything that we take for granted,” said Margeson. “They see everything in such a different way. They haven’t seen the negative things in the world.

“You can be yourself and they are not going to judge you,” he added. “You can be as silly and as goofy as you want, and they’ll just join in with you.”

The Secret Weapon

BY BRENDAN CRONIN // MAY 10, 2012 // 

Lynn Zlotkowski has been rooting for the underdog as far back as she can remember. As academic success coordinator at Curry College, she continues to do so.

As a sports fan from Buffalo, N.Y., Zlotkowski knows a little something about underdogs. She has witnessed her beloved Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres struggle mightily to win their first championships, and has remained faithful to both clubs in spite of their woes and failures. She even named her Boston terrier “Miller” after Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.

As academic success coordinator, Lynn Zlotkowski works closely with students to get their education back on track. // PHOTOS BY BRENDAN CRONIN

As academic success coordinator and assistant to the academic dean at Curry, Zlotkowski certainly has her hands full. She provides support to academically at-risk students, connects students to academic resources, collaborates with faculty to provide academic support to undergraduate students, and works with various departments to improve student retention rates. Zlotkowski also oversees the academic early-alert system, an online system that allows faculty to notify students—and her office—that they are missing assignments, missing too many classes, and/or aren’t putting forth a strong enough effort in their work.

Zlotkowski, 30, feels that struggling students often need support to succeed, and that they shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. “Whether it’s personal problems, transitioning from high school to college, or whatever the case may be, some students just need a little help and guidance to get back on track,” she says. “When it comes to the underdog, it doesn’t always work out, but when it does it makes it that much greater.”

Zlotkowski joined Curry in June 2011. She was previously the coordinator of new student orientation and assistant director of the Learning Commons at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa. Zlotkowski earned her bachelor’s degree in communication at SUNY-Fredonia and her master’s degree in student personnel administration at SUNY-Buffalo.

She says her experience in and passion for sports has served her well at Curry, given that so many students here are sports fans. As a former Division 3 athlete and coach, Zlotkowski says she can often get through to students in ways that others might not be able to.

PHOTO BY BRENDAN CRONIN

According to Max Andrus, a junior who works with Zlotkowski, she goes above and beyond to help students she barely even knows. “Lynn never gives up,” he says. “If a student is headed down the wrong path, academically speaking, Lynn makes sure that they get where they need to go.

“She understands that Curry College has trouble communicating between the faculty and its students, and Zlotkowski will actually take time out of her day to make sure the students have a clear grasp about their education,” Andrus adds. “So often at Curry College I have found that situations are handled like an assembly line, so…it is nice to finally meet someone who is patient and seems to care about what is in the best interest of the students.”

Away from work, Zlotkowski says she enjoys walking her dog, riding her bike or “just doing anything active.” Juggling and spinning a basketball on every one of her fingers are among Zlotkowski’s many random talents, and she keeps a bag of stress-balls in her office—largely for student use, but also for herself.

Zlotkowski is also an avid reader who is currently juggling three books (pun intended). “I mostly read higher education books and really anything that has to do with work,” she says. “But I also read for pleasure and look for fun and interesting books as well.”

Zlotkowski says she finds gratification professionally when the students she works with meet their personal and academic goals. It’s often a challenge getting them there, but they wouldn’t be underdogs if everything came easily.

Things Happen for a Reason

BY DANIELLE HAUSNER // MAY 9, 2012 // 

What began as “just a job” ended up becoming Kendra Patick’s calling in life.

As a freshman in high school, Patick landed a job at the Greenwood Nursing Home in Wakefield, Mass. Patick worked as an activities coordinator, planning BINGO contests, karaoke nights, crafts projects and spa days (mainly for the ladies). In her four years working at Greenwood, Patick says she became increasingly interested in helping people, both medically and mentally. She enjoyed seeing the pleasure she brought to patients by assisting and talking to them, and decided to pursue a career in nursing.

“I loved working with the residents and truly enjoyed caring for them and making a difference in their lives,” says Patick, who later notes that the deaths of various family members in recent years strengthened her resolve to work in the health care industry. “Becoming a nurse would allow me to share my compassion and have a greater impact on many more lives.”

Patick’s mentor, Melrose High School nurse Diane Ely, encouraged her to attend Regis College, Ely’s alma mater. But Patick instead chose Curry, citing the college’s highly regarded nursing program and the “close-knit feel” of the campus.

Many students are unsure of their futures, but Kendra Patick has sought a career in health services for the better part of the past eight years. // PHOTO BY DANIELLE HAUSNER

Four years later, Patick’s undergraduate career is coming to an end, and her full-time professional career will soon launch. She hasn’t yet settled on a job, but wherever she goes she’ll come armed with loads of experience.

Patick has worked as a patient care associate at Mass General Hospital in Boston and is in her third year as a resident assistant, currently in The Suites. She’s not too shabby academically either, having earned Dean’s List recognition the past seven—most likely eight—consecutive semesters. If that weren’t enough, Patick is also a member of Curry’s Alexander Graham Bell Honors Society and Sigma Theta Tau, the international honors society of nursing, as well as the National Student Nurses of America. She is a recipient of The Promise of Nursing Scholarship.

“My day is never the same,” she says. “There is always a variety of cases and people to learn from.”

Patick says she enjoys her ever-hectic schedule, particularly when she’s caring for others, whether in a medical setting or as an RA. She defines herself as dedicated, passionate and hardworking.

Patick’s efforts, both in the classroom and out, have caught the attention of many of her peers. She’s “outgoing, willing to speak her mind and a very hard worker,” said Brita Larson, a senior nursing major who has had numerous courses with Patick.

Although she’s extremely active on campus, Patick says she is excited to move on from college and find a good nursing job in the medical/surgical field.

“I truly put everything that I have within me toward doing my best,” she says.