New program guides undeclared second-year students in exploring majors, expanding connections, getting ready for careers

BRISTOL, R.I. Brooke LaVallie, a sophomore at Roger Williams University, just discovered something about herself: She is a leader.

On Jan. 21 & 22, the Center for Student Academic Success held its first-ever SophoMORE Year Program specifically designed for undeclared sophomores.

LaVallie, a business management major from Montville, Conn., was one of the 20 sophomore students in attendance. The students participated in many portions of the event, but LaVallie enjoyed the strengths assessment most of all.

The goal of the program was to help students maximize their experience at RWU by guiding them to explore different majors, to expand their connections and to engage with opportunities to become career ready. The program included a strengths assessment and additional training. LaVallie felt that this portion was relevant and her results were extremely accurate.

“I thought this program would be helpful for me because I’m thinking about applying to be a peer mentor,” LaVallie said. “I thoroughly enjoyed the strengths assessment of the program. It was beneficial to everyone to identify some individual strengths. One of my top strengths is responsibility.”

Representatives from the Study Abroad Office faculty/undergraduate research, Center for Community Partnerships & the Feinstein Center for Service Learning & Community Engagement, Student Programs & Leadership, and the Center for Career & Professional Development presented a variety of opportunities to expand student experience.

Associate Dean of Students Allison Chase Padula, a member of the planning group, acknowledged that administrators tend to focus on first-year students, and she sees promise in this program for sophomores.

“We hope the SophoMORE Year Program will provide support to our second-year students as they prepare to make important decisions about their future,” Padula said. “Sophomore year is an exciting time for students, but it can also be a challenging one if they are unsure about major or career choice. We aim to build a support network during this time where they feel confident in exploring opportunities, stretching their learning and creating a plan. Ultimately, we want to continue to create an environment at RWU where sophomores thrive.”

This event is one that will continue for future RWU sophomore classes, and LaVallie is in full support.

“It’s great to see Roger Williams step up and give additional resources to students returning for their sophomore year,” LaVallie said. “I’m grateful to have had this opportunity to be a part of the inaugural SophoMORE Year Program and would love to see many more students go through the program, as well.”

For more information, contact Associate Dean of Student Success Allison Chase Padula at (401) 254-3456.