Danny Sciolaro, Class of 2020

Danny was shy and timid when he arrived on campus. At Rivier, he pushed himself outside of his comfort zone … and across the globe.

Finding His Place

Education major Danny Sciolaro’20 knew Rivier was right for him for many reasons—but he was particularly impressed by an early interaction with men’s volleyball coach, Craig Kolek.

“The first thing he asked me was, ‘What’s your GPA? What do you do at school? How involved are you at your high school?’” recalls Danny. “The questions didn’t involve volleyball. He recruits the student—not the student-athlete.”

When the Wayne, New Jersey, native arrived on campus, he quickly discovered the care and concern Kolek had demonstrated was a reflection of the overall spirit of Rivier. Everyone, everywhere, on campus was interested in his success.

“The faculty want to know all of the students. They want to get to know you individually, and they want to know your story just as much as we want to know their story,” explains Danny.

The setting for one important chapter in Danny’s story was not Riv’s campus, though.

Getting Guidance. Going Global.

Danny had thought study abroad might be part of his college experience, but he wasn’t quite sure where he’d go or how it would factor into his schedule. After meeting with staff members in the Global Engagement Office, Danny found himself with a pile of 50 colorful brochures, each detailing a destination and program.

“They said, ‘Take all these brochures home, read through them, and come back with five you really like.’ So I did,” he says.

Danny discussed his top choices with the Global Engagement team and, eventually, he landed on a program that would take him to Galway, Ireland, the third largest city in Emerald Isle. He spent the fall semester of 2018 taking classes at National University of Ireland, founded as Queen’s College in 1845. This historic campus features a castle-like Quadrangle building as well as modern, state-of-the art facilities. During his time abroad, Danny explored more of Ireland and ventured to other European cities, including London and Frankfurt, Germany. His heritage contributed to his choice and made the trip more meaningful.

“My family comes from Mayo, Ireland,” he says. “It was so important to me that I was able to see how my ancestors lived and what their town looked like.”

Global Awareness = Self Awareness

Danny feels much more prepared to lead a classroom after his international experience.

“I will be able to share my experience with my students and tell them how important traveling is and how it makes you more knowledgeable about yourself and your peers around the world,” he says.

Danny admits he was hesitant about studying abroad at first. He knew traveling could be overwhelming, and the thought of being away from family for four months was unnerving.

“But it’s the best experience I’ve ever had in my life,” he says of the trip. “I would recommend it to anyone, anyone who’s shy, anyone one who is feeling like they want to step out of their comfort zone. Studying abroad is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your life.”

Back on Campus

The Rivier community probably noticed Danny’s absence for that semester abroad. He’s highly involved on campus. Not only is he a member of the men’s volleyball team, but he’s a peer mentor, a student ambassador, president of Model U.N., and a member of the Student Government Association. Danny credits these activities, as well as the semester abroad, for his personal transformation.

“Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t know what I wanted out of my college experience,” he explains. “Rivier pretty much made that decision for me. My professors and peers helped me push myself outside my comfort zone. And it’s changed me. I can’t thank the faculty and staff enough for that.”

Danny is certain he had these experiences because Rivier is a special place where everyone seems to live out the college mission.

“We believe that we’re here because we’re meant to be here,” he says. “I chose Rivier is because I believe in the mission of transforming hearts and minds to serve the world. And every day, I feel like I’m doing just that at Rivier.”

To see where an international experience could take you, visit the Rivier Global Engagement Office.