Rosalia Mannino Davi Assistant Director of Experiential Education Office: Career Services Campus: Manhattan
Member of NYIT Since: 2010
Convincing students to use higher education to improve their community brings rewards and challenges to the job for Rosalia Mannino Davi. As assistant director of experiential education, she manages an Internship Certificate Program and oversees a student-led Community Service Center at NYIT's Manhattan campus. The center provides an outlet for students to apply what they're learning in class to solve public problems.
"The best part of my job is watching a student grow and develop professionally, through successfully completing an internship, and personally, by becoming a conscientious, responsible citizen," Davi says. "I am proud to work with such ambitious proactive young men and women who understand the importance of putting their education to work, even in a tough economy."
Davi is charged with expanding a successful partnership with Citizen Schools, a nonprofit organization that pairs NYIT students with knowledge and expertise in the STEM fields (science, technology, education, and math) with underserved New York City middle school students. She helps to recruit NYIT students who volunteer as mentors on topics such as social entrepreneurship, emergency responsiveness, robotics and engineering, and web design.
Inspiring students to make time for volunteer work, Davi says, is always a challenge. Community service tends to be a lower priority for students who must juggle coursework, part-time or full-time jobs, and family obligations.
"It is our responsibility as citizens of NYIT, and its surrounding communities, to use the skills and expertise gained in higher education to better society," she says.
Davi's conviction about education comes from family. She was raised on Long Island by hardworking parents who grew up on the island of Sicily in Italy.
"Despite going up to only the fourth grade in school in Sicily, they managed to move to a new country, learn a new language, and successfully raise five children, with six grandchildren and counting," she says.
Davi considers Sicily a second home and ascribes an outgoing personality and nurturing character to her Italian roots. She even met her husband on the island during a chance encounter at the airport.
Prior to NYIT, Davi earned a dual master's degree in gender and cultural studies and communications management at Simmons College in Boston, and worked for the nonprofit Let's Get Ready, a group that trains university students to help underserved high school students get into college. Her next step was higher education.
"Coming to NYIT was the best career decision I could have made, and because I enjoy what I do, I am able to encourage students to pursue their dreams despite any obstacles," Davi says. "I feel very fortunate to be able to have a positive impact on even one student's life."