Gabriel Sorrentino (Class of 2013)
- Fun Fact:
- Gabi enjoys many adventurous and outdoor activities including hiking, whitewater rafting and skydiving.
How did you decide on your major and minors?
I started at NU in the Academic Exploration Program as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in. After taking a few courses, I fell in love with marketing. I really enjoy the creative aspect of it. For my minor, I was drawn to the critical thinking aspect of philosophy. In addition as a freshman, I joined the EAGLE Leadership Program which is the Experience and Growth in Leadership Education led by Coordinator Mitchell Alegre. I was inspired to add leadership as one of my minors.
Please tell me about the EAGLE Leadership Program. How did you become involved?
EAGLE is a four year development program that focuses on developing leaders. I met for an entrance interview with Prof. Alegre where I explained my expectations of the program. The vision of EAGLE is to learn, serve, and lead. I am now in my fourth year with EAGLE and fulfill a mentor position where I actually practice my leadership skills by organizing service activities and team building challenges. Prof. Alegre commented that “Gabi has emerged in EAGLE as a leader of leaders. Her energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to service are contagious. She is an inspiration to EAGLE leaders and to me.”
What are some EAGLE activities that you have been involved with?
One event that stands out for me is an event I planned with the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper doing a clean-up. I learned exactly how much work goes into organizing an event from arranging transportation, providing snacks, and planning a moment of reflection for the end of the event. Activities and team-building events like this can really put you out of your comfort zone, which is a good thing.
One of the best aspects of the EAGLE program is that you are given free range to follow your ideas. Prof. Alegre always encourages us to take the initiative and run with it. Fellow student Sean Farber and I decided that we wanted to make an impact and do something bigger than classes and everyday life. We became involved with a charity Tabs for Kids Fund (www.poptabsforwheelchairs.ca) that was started by a young boy Robert Hampson. Robert was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 4, and he saw how many children in the hospital couldn’t afford expensive items such as wheelchairs. He, with the help of his family, came up with the idea to start a charity to raise money to buy wheelchairs for children by collecting aluminum tabs from cans and recycling them for money. Sean and I created an event at Niagara University where students donated their can tabs and in doing so they voted on different questions such as whether soft drinks should be referred to as “soda” or “pop”. We invited Robert Hampson to the university last fall and presented him with the funds that were raised for his charity. We are currently going on our third semester of fundraising for Tabs for Kids and have raised over $1,000 so far in monetary donations and have collected about 100,000 tabs. The aluminum from the tabs will be deposited and sold per pound for cash. We are in the process of transitioning this project to the next EAGLE members to keep this project going.
Your Philosophy minor has presented you with a unique opportunity that you recently presented a paper at the 19th annual International Conference Promoting Business Ethics that was held in downtown Buffalo, NY in October. Can you tell us about this?
My paper started out as an independent study project with Dr. Alexander Bertland, Assistant Professor of Philosophy. While writing this paper, I had the opportunity to draw connections between my marketing major and philosophy minor. The title of my paper, “A Philosophical Approach to Marketing Ethics: Slavoj Zizek and Psychoanalysis”, focuses on addressing the topic of marketing ethics in a new way. Instead of questioning whether or not marketing has harmful effects on the consumer’s autonomy, I suggest that we should work to uncover the actual role that marketers play in our society and contemplate the reasons why we need them to play this role. It was an amazing experience, challenging but worth it. I learned a great deal from presenting in front of so many educational professionals and I received a lot of very informative feedback that will help me in the future.
You have also had some interesting internships over the past few years. Can you tell us a little about the most recent ones?
I am currently working for the Erie County Board of Elections. I started out volunteering there in high school and over time my responsibilities have grown. I have recently become involved with database management, website updates, redistricting and mapping. I have also started an internship this semester at the J. Fitzgerald Group in Lockport. It is a small marketing and advertising firm that does everything from website creation to creating a new business marketing plan. The internship is very interesting and it is giving me real world experience in the field I plan on going in to.
What are your future plans?
I am currently working on my honors thesis “Online Advertising: Is it an Annoyance or Service?” with my advisor Professor Bohdan Pikas. Prof. Pikas advised, “Gabi is quite a determined student. She is doing her honors thesis with me and I work with her almost daily. Her focus is to write the thesis and then get it published in a professional journal. This, I know, she will accomplish.” After I graduate, I would like to work in a marketing manager position and eventually plan to get my MBA after working in the marketing industry for a few years.