RIT, Mercy High School collaborate - Catholic Courier

RIT, Mercy High School collaborate

In her day job as global alliance director at EDS, an HP company, Lynn Garski creates partnerships among major corporations to help businesses streamline their technology spending.

As part of her job, she’s always on the lookout for new ways that companies can work together.

That’s why Garski recently helped forge a partnership between Brighton’s Our Lady of Mercy High School and Rochester Institute of Technology by demonstrating the value in the schools’ collaboration. Garski, an involved parent of a Mercy student, is a member of the advisory board for the management information systems major at RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business.

“I kept hearing, as I was participating in different meetings, that RIT was looking to get a bigger diversity of enrollment,” said Garski, a parishioner of Fairport’s Church of the Assumption. “Here we have this great all-girls high school of high achievers.”

For the university, the partnership will offer a way to recruit local female students as part of its longstanding goal to increase the percentage of female students on campus, Garski said. For the high school, the partnership will offer its students additional academic opportunities and its faculty a chance to collaborate, she said.

“No one needed a lot of arm twisting to make this happen,” Garski remarked. “I am extremely pleased at the level of commitment.”

The partnership also was facilitated by Jim Baroody, a distinguished lecturer in management information systems for the Saunders College of Business, and Peter Rosenthal, assistant director of undergraduate recruitment and marketing.

Rosenthal said the partnership will help to expose Mercy students both to a college setting and to features unique to RIT, including its quarter system and its required cooperative-learning programs.

“It’s absolutely a win-win situation,” Rosenthal said.

One of the first events in which about 20 Mercy students who are interested in business took part was an entrepreneurship conference that was open to RIT students and community members.

“They loved being in a professional environment,” said Suzanne Johnston, Mercy’s president. “It was an entrepreneurship conference for professional people and graduate students at RIT.”

Another example of the college and high school partnership is an ongoing project by RIT’s management and information systems students to develop a three-year technology plan for the high school. The college’s Women’s Business Association also is planning a tea on campus with Mercy students.

There also is a significant amount of interest in expanding the partnership beyond the Saunders College of Business to RIT’s other colleges. One of the first events that will expand the boundaries of the partnership is a full-day program on April 21 for Mercy’s middle-school students. This event will feature sessions on some of RIT’s specialties: marketing, imaging science and computing. For example, in the marketing workshop, students will have to sell a product made out of provided materials. The day also will feature a lunch with a panel discussion and campus tours.

“Unless (middle schoolers) have a sibling in college, this is probably their first campus experience,” Johnston said of the April 21 event. “We envision that this will be an annual event.”

Johnston said she also believes the partnership will continue to grow.

“There’s just a tremendous amount of energy around this partnership from both sides,” she said.

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