Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Newsmaker: A multimillion-dollar idea

Colin Fahey ’11Unsure of what to do after graduation (but pretty sure he didn’t want to work in a cubicle), ColinFahey’11 started brainstorming ideas with high-school pal Scott Pirrello, a Merrimack College grad. After “rattling off bad idea after bad idea,” they thought of renting televisions to college students. “I had a good feeling that there was a need for it,” says Fahey, an economics major. “Wheaton has a lot of international students, and when everyone’s moving out, a lot of them end up having to throw away valuable stuff because it’s such a pain to ship it back home or try to sell it. We thought, people rent micro-fridges; why not TVs?” He and Pirrello established a partnership with electronics producer VIZIO and launched CampusTVs in fall 2012, starting at seven schools, including Wheaton. The next year, they expanded to 50 colleges nationwide. This fall, they expect to rent to students at 300 institutions. CampusTV partners with a national moving and storage company that delivers the TVs to campus for move-in, and campus reps install the TVs. It’s a business model that seems to be working. As noted in an April 2014 BostonBusinessJournalarticle, CampusTVs has attracted $2.2 million in funding from Boston investment firm Nauta Capital—money that is helping CampusTVs expand its workforce and relocate from a small office in Weston, Mass., to a larger place in Boston. It’s also enabling Fahey, the chief operating officer, to finally take a salary. So what has he learned from this venture? “The most important skill when starting or running your own business is the ability to problem solve. Every day I’m solving hundreds of large and small problems,” he says. “At Wheaton I took a wide variety of classes that taught me to look at problems through many different lenses. I believe that skill has carried over to my business career and allows me to be a better leader.”

A minute with…Bridget Brennan ’15

Minute withBiology major Bridget Brennan spent last summer getting a feel for marine biology as an intern at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod. In the deep end: “I’ve always been interested in marine biology, since I was a kid. My parents could never get me out of the ocean. At Wheaton, I took ‘Intro to Marine Mammals,’ and that really sparked my interest in marine biology and inspired me to seek this internship. In class, we discussed all kinds of physiological aspects of marine mammals, and we got to do an autopsy on a seal. The internship allowed me to take everything I learned in class and put it into real life, which was exactly what I was looking for.” Daily catch: “At the oceanographic institute, I did all sorts of work—from data entry to going out and responding to stranded animals. I also got to participate in marine animal necropsies. So some days I would work in the office, some days out in the field, and other days in the lab, which was my favorite part.” The ripple effect: “My internship definitely helped my educational experience. I gained leadership skills. I got to lead my own necropsy, and I had to come up with my own project for a stomach analysis, which required me to be innovative. I’ve found myself applying the same skills in the classroom with my academic projects at Wheaton.” Wait and sea: “After Wheaton I’m hoping to go to grad school for marine biology. I think this internship will provide me with valuable references, and it has helped prepare me for the work ahead.”

Vision, determination star in filmmaker’s success


Clenét Verdi-Rose made his feature film debut in 2008 directing Skyler, which won numerous awards, including for best director in the Los Angeles Art-House Film Festival.

The trailer for Sand Castles, a new film by upstart director Clenét Verdi-Rose ’04, tells just enough of the film’s painful story to make a parent’s heart and head ache: A young girl kidnapped, swept away at the squeal of tires and held captive for a decade, abruptly returns home to her dysfunctional and broken family, forever scarred by her disappearance.

It’s a somber and challenging story for a young filmmaker. However, Verdi-Rose’s commitment to the craft of filmmaking, not to mention the effusive praise of his supporters, suggested that Sand Castles would not miss the mark—long before it was screened at the Palm Beach International Film Festival in April. [Read more...]

Looking ahead

Wheaton College Sophomore SymposiumAlumnae/i representing a wide range of careers returned to campus to share their expertise and advice with members of the Class of 2016 during Wheaton’s Sophomore Symposium, which was held in January.

The annual event offers students the opportunity to network with alumnae/i and get career advice through a variety of workshops. This year, more than 200 students, 24 alums, 11 faculty members and eight staff members, including many from the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services, participated.

The day was particularly special for Molly Tobin ’13 (right), who participated in the Passion with a Purpose workshop; the symposium marked her first visit back to campus since graduating.

“It was great to be able to share with the sophomores just how much my time at Wheaton defined me and helped me in my professional life,” said Tobin, who works as a regional advisor for Hasbara Fellowships, a nonprofit that gives students the opportunity to take trips to Israel. [Read more...]