Curiosity in Cuba

Tyler Ambrose ’17 wondered what the changes to U.S. policy in Cuba could mean for its people. Thanks to the College’s Student Grant Program, he had the chance to explore his questions firsthand
April 20th, 2017 by 

Tyler Ambrose '17 stands next to a car in Havana, the capital city of Cuba.
Tyler Ambrose '17 visited Havana, the capital city of Cuba, as part of his research for his College Honors Program thesis. Photo by: courtesy of Tyler Ambrose '17

When Tyler Ambrose ’17 enrolled at Holy Cross as a first-year student, he was torn between interests in economics, political science, music and Spanish. While he ultimately chose to major in political science, he found an opportunity to embrace all his passions during his senior year: traveling to Cuba through Holy Cross’ Student Grant Program.

With help from his advisor Maria Rodrigues, associate professor of political science, Ambrose proposed the trip to study the implications of Cuba’s economic policy changes. His proposal was accepted, and he spent four days in Havana this past winter, conducting research to write a thesis for the College Honors Program. Below, Ambrose reflects on the trip that shaped his perception of the Cuban community — and his perspective on the world as he graduates this spring and begins work at JPMorgan in July.

Through Holy Cross’s Student Grant Program, I had the unparalleled experience of traveling to Cuba over winter break to conduct research for my college honors thesis. Working with my advisor, Professor Maria Rodrigues of the political science department, I am investigating the political implications of Cuba’s new economic opening; mainly, whether Cuba’s shift to private sector growth and foreign investment will induce any democratic political reforms. Reading the vast literature on Cuba available in Dinand Library may be one thing, but applying my interdisciplinary academic background in political science, economics and Spanish made the experience the essence of a liberal arts education.

Under the newly relaxed restrictions by the U.S. that permit travel for “educational activities,” I spent four days in the capital city of Havana. During my visit, I met with professors, restaurant owners, local artists and jazz performers to discuss the political and economic climate of their country. Meeting face-to-face with the Cuban people provided me with a better understanding of the tumultuous relationship between the U.S. and Cuba that has endured over half a century.

My trip to the island has facilitated my hypothesis that the Cuban people still live in a completely repressive regime. The locals I interviewed spoke with candor about their lack of personal and political freedom. From medical doctors that drive cabs as a second job at night just to feed their families, to professors at the University of Havana who are not allowed to speak at any conferences outside the country, the government remains a restrictive presence in the lives of Cubans. While respecting the sovereignty of the Cuban people, the U.S. needs to continue to further engage economically and fervently insist the Cuban regime make political reforms.

The experience changed my perception of the Cuban people. While the Cuban community is in many ways lacking modern, worldly advances, my experience was that the Cuban people are some of the most genuine, friendly, and hardworking people. Friends, family, and strangers are all greeted with “un beso,” a kiss on the cheek. Circumventing their government’s restrictions, the Cuban people enjoy listening to Broadway play soundtracks, watching Hollywood movies and following Major League Baseball.

Traveling to Cuba did not just provide me a sunny escape from the New England winter and exposure to Cuba’s time-machine culture of vintage cars; rather, this trip provided me a most meaningful exchange of culture and understanding — a truly liberal arts experience.

Ambrose is one of many students presenting their work next week at the College’s annual Academic Conference, scheduled for Wednesday, April 26 through Friday, April 28.

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Conference: Rethinking the Afropolitan
10/20/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
This conference, being held Oct. 19-21, "Rethinking the Afropolitan:...
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Conference: Rethinking the Afropolitan
10/21/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
This conference, being held Oct. 19-21, "Rethinking the Afropolitan:...
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COES HC Capital Club Meeting
10/23/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
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COES Dinner
10/23/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite A - 4th Fl
Open to Campus Community Only
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Book Launch: Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Jesuits
10/23/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Help us commemorate the newly published Cambridge Encyclopedia...
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COES Finance Club Meetings
10/24/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
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Athlete Alumni Networking Night
10/24/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite B/C - 4th Fl
The Holy Cross Career Crusaders Networking Night is...
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Athlete Alumni Networking Night
10/24/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite A - 4th Fl
The Holy Cross Career Crusaders Networking Night is a...
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Lecture: Charles Camosy Looks Beyond the Abortion Wars
10/24/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Charles Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University,...
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Washington Semester Program Information Session
10/24/2017
Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 401
The Washington Semester Program is a highly competitive, semester-long...
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Women in Business Conference
10/24/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
OSI Resources ChalktheWalk-Kimball
Open to Campus Community Only
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Open Enrollment Assistance
10/24/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
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COES HCEG Meeting
10/25/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) is the student chapter of...
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COES Sales Club Meetings
10/26/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
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Battle Hymn of a Federal Judge
10/26/2017
Political Science
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Judge Richard J. Leon, has served as a federal judge for the District...
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Women in Business Conference
10/26/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
OSI Resources Window 3
Open to Campus Community Only
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Women in Business Conference
10/27/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
OSI Resources Window 3
Open to Campus Community Only
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Women in Business Conference
10/28/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
OSI Resources Window 3
Open to Campus Community Only
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Women in Business Conference
10/29/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
OSI Resources Window 3
Open to Campus Community Only
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COES HC Capital Club Meeting
10/30/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
10/30/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Women in Business Conference
10/30/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
OSI Resources Window 3
Open to Campus Community Only
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COES Finance Club Meetings
10/31/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
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7 C's of Social Change (Event canceled)
10/31/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 320
Open to Campus Community Only
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
10/31/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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COES HCEG Meeting
11/1/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) is the student chapter of...
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Lecture: Alan Rosen on Jewish Religious Life and Practice During the Holocaust
11/1/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Alan Rosen, Kraft-Hiatt scholar-in-residence, will give a talk...
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/1/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/2/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
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Poetry Reading by Gabrielle Calvocoressi
11/2/2017
English
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Join us for a poetry reading by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Calvocoressi...
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PricewaterhouseCoopers Extreme Games Launch
11/2/2017
Economics and Accounting
Smith Laboratories 154
Open to the Public
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COES Sales Club Meetings
11/2/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/2/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Women in Business Conference
11/2/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 2
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/3/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
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Black Student Union Presents "Griot"
11/3/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Ballroom & Dunn Rcpt
Open to the Public
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Open Enrollment Assistance
11/3/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Women in Business Conference
11/3/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 2
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/3/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
See More >>


Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/4/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
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Lecture: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz on Googling for Hate
11/6/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former Google data scientist and author...
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COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/6/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/6/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Creating an Inclusive Campus: Skills and Practice
11/6/2017
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
This workshop will take diversity and inclusion from theory to...
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COES Finance Club Meetings
11/7/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/7/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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COES HCEG Meeting
11/8/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) is the student chapter of...
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The Human Consequences of Anti-LGBTQ Policies: Experiences of LGBTQ Asylum Seekers
11/8/2017
Africana Studies
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/8/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 3
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/9/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
11/9/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/9/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/10/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
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Race: The Power of an Illusion Part 3
11/10/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 519
*Episode III – “The House We Live In” focuses not...
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Talk by Prof Wiebke Deimling-Kant’s Theory of Sympathy
11/10/2017
Philosophy
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall 501
Open to the Public
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/10/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/11/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
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COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/13/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


Matthew Hughey Lecture
11/13/2017
Africana Studies
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
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COES Finance Club Meetings
11/14/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
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Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu Lecture
11/14/2017
Asian Studies
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
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Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu (Event canceled)
11/15/2017
Asian Studies
Dinand Library Levis Browsing Room
Open to the Public
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Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/15/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
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PricewaterhouseCoopers Extreme Games Competition
11/16/2017
Economics and Accounting
Smith Laboratories 154
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
11/16/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


"I Can't Remember What I Just Read!"
11/16/2017
Academic Services and Learning Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406(07)
Learn strategies to focus your attention and get more out of the...
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Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/16/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
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Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/17/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
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COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/20/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/20/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
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Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/20/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


COES Finance Club Meetings
11/21/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Open Enrollment Assistance
11/21/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
11/23/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/27/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


COES Finance Club Meetings
11/28/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


Study Smarter, Not Harder!
11/28/2017
Academic Services and Learning Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 408(09)
Why is it so hard to remember what you just heard in lecture or...
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COES HCEG Meeting
11/29/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) is the student chapter of...
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Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
11/30/2017
Theatre
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of the millennium. Sara wants to change the world; Callie simply wants to get by. They could be best of friends or even something more – if only they could make a decision. But making that decision isn’t easy and may even cause dangerous repercussions. An Alternate College Theatre production directed by Alexis Rappaport ’19. Tickets
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of...
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COES Sales Club Meetings
11/30/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/1/2017
Theatre
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of the millennium. Sara wants to change the world; Callie simply wants to get by. They could be best of friends or even something more – if only they could make a decision. But making that decision isn’t easy and may even cause dangerous repercussions. An Alternate College Theatre production directed by Alexis Rappaport ’19. Tickets
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of...
See More >>


Lecture: Quayshawn Spencer on a Radical Solution to the Race Problem
12/1/2017
Philosophy
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Quayshawn Spencer, assistant professor of philosophy at the University...
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Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/2/2017
Theatre
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of the millennium. Sara wants to change the world; Callie simply wants to get by. They could be best of friends or even something more – if only they could make a decision. But making that decision isn’t easy and may even cause dangerous repercussions. An Alternate College Theatre production directed by Alexis Rappaport ’19. Tickets
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of...
See More >>


Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/2/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Stop Kiss,” an Alternate College Theatre production, is being staged on...
See More >>


Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/3/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Stop Kiss,” an Alternate College Theatre production, is being staged on...
See More >>


COES HC Capital Club Meeting
12/4/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


COES Finance Club Meetings
12/5/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
12/7/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>

See All