Bryant senior Kiana Pino ’22 has been named a Newman Civic Fellow in recognition of her drive, accomplishments and focus on achieving positive change. The yearlong fellowship provides students with training and resources to nurture their talents and passions and develop strategies to enact social change that helps others.
As a campus community leader, Pino has been a catalyst for awareness and action on the Bryant campus and worked to facilitate productive dialogue that leads to real results. “Collaborative problem solving has always been important to me,” she says. “And my coursework is teaching me how to bring people together. We always have to remember: It’s not me versus you. It’s me and you versus the problem. Together we can fix that problem and we’ll all be better off.”
Ready to lead
Students selected for the Newman Civic Fellowship are leaders on their college campuses who are committed to finding solutions for local, national and international challenges. The program is named for Frank Newman, the founder of Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. The fellowship includes a variety of learning opportunities as well as networking with other engaged student leaders from around the country.
“Bryant University is recognized for our dedication to helping students cultivate leadership skills and the character of success,” said Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D., in his nomination of Pino. “We are proud to have such passionate and effective student leaders like Kiana, who are impact thinkers devoted to advancing social justice in the classroom and throughout campus, representing Bryant University.”
"The best way to come up with the best solutions is to look at the situation from different angles. By being multi-disciplinary, you're able to take in all those different aspects."
For Pino, whose drive to spark positive change was ignited at a young age, the fellowship is an opportunity to find new ways to help others alongside students from all over the world. “I’m looking forward to learning new skills and how to see situations from a different perspective, because that's one thing I think is so important,” she says. “There's so many different ways to look at things and the more perspectives you can look at the more–and more creative–solutions you can come up with.”
The skills to succeed
An International Business major with a double concentration in Team and Project Management and Spanish and a minor in Psychology, Pino has chosen a course of study that will help her make the biggest impact. “The best way to come up with the best solutions is to look at the situation from different angles,” she says. “By being multi-disciplinary, you're able to take in all those different aspects. You can look at the things from a finance angle. You can look at the things from a management angle, from a marketing angle, from an accounting angle, from a psychological angle. You can take all of those things and use them all together.”
One course she remembers as being especially influential was Global Foundations of Leadership, taught by Rich Holtzman, Ph.D. “We were talking about food insecurity and at first it seems like a simple issue,” she recalls. “But then we began to ask ‘But why does it happen? Why does this problem even exist?’ The class examined everything from the economics of the problem to the global supply chain solutions that could help resolve it.
“Everything comes down to project management–you'll utilize it everywhere, no matter what you’re working on. And a lot of project management is actually managing the people on the project.”
The lesson, says Pino, is that doing good means fully understanding an issue and taking care to take the right steps to resolve it. “We have these humongous problems in the world but so much of it boils down to details,” she says. “That means addressing them relies on the detail work.”
It also means practical application. Classes with her Management professors, including James Segovis, Elzotbek Rustambekov, and Robert Massoud, are showing her how to lead and collaborate effectively through real-world-focused assignments and discussion. Her multidisciplinary education, Pino says, aids her in empathizing with others so they can succeed together. “Everything comes down to project management–you'll utilize it everywhere, no matter what you’re working on,” she states. “And a lot of project management is actually managing the people on the project.”
Moving forward together
Through her work with Bryant’s Multicultural Student Union, Health Education Awareness Leaders organization and PwC Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), Pino has helped to educate, inform and motivate the members of the University community to positive action. Working with Kevin Martins, Ed.D., Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Mailee Kue, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs & Title IX Coordinator; and the rest of the CDI staff has helped her immensely, she says. “They genuinely listen to people,” she says. “They understand what you mean and they understand the best way to communicate with students to get a message across and to make it relevant.”
A CDI student manager, Pino recently started the Inclusive Influencer Certificate Program, which helps to facilitate productive dialogue on a wide range of issues including trust-building, exploring your identity, navigating difficult conversations and understanding bias.
“It’s about taking your interests and my interests and bringing them together to move forward.”
Professor of Management Lori Coakley, Ph.D., helped her with the preliminary research for the program, which draws from lessons she’s learned in her coursework, she notes. “Through courses like team building, conflict resolution and organizational behavior, I've learned so much about why people do the things they do, what they think about and how to motivate and work with them,” says Pino.
Those lessons, she says, are building blocks that, coupled with what she’s learning from the Newman Civic Fellowship, can help inspire others. “If you want to make a change, you can't force anyone to change their mind and you can't control anyone,” says Pino, who is considering a number of career options, including positions related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “But if you can get someone to take an interest in an issue–or even raise their awareness so they really think about it–you're halfway there,” she says. “It’s about taking your interests and my interests and bringing them together to move forward.”