Bryant Orientation Leaders
Jack Ryan ’26, Adrian Nuñez ’27, and Janell Gamboa ’25 are three of the student Orientation Leaders helping Bryant's Class of 2028 make a new start at their home away from home.
Meet the student leaders supporting the Class of 2028 at Orientation
Jun 18, 2024, by Stephen Kostrzewa

For Bryant orientation leaders, there’s more to the role than being a friend, a mentor, a guide, a role model, and a font of knowledge.

There’s singing and dancing, too.

During each of the three New Student Orientation sessions this June, the dedicated group of student leaders, representing a range of backgrounds, areas of study, and interests, kick things off with a choreographed routine introducing themselves and Bryant University. This year’s song, set to the tune of Lorde’s “Royals” and featuring new, Bryant-specific lyrics, covered everything from where to go for lunch to all of the friends the incoming students will meet at their new home away from home.

The nearly two dozen orientation leaders practiced the song and dance countless times during training  and kept going over it up to the last minute, until — they like to joke — they can do the routine backwards and in their sleep.

In the grand scheme of things, it seems a small moment to focus so much energy on, especially during such a busy time. But that dedication to making students feel welcome, says Laura Field, Bryant’s director of new student programs, is what makes them the right fit for their job.

“I really think it’s our OLs that help make Orientation at Bryant special,” says Field. “It’s a really amazing group of students who have stepped up and are really passionate about helping students find their community in their transition to college.”

They’re the best of Bryant, she says.

Below, meet three of this year’s orientation leaders:

Adrian Nuñez ’27
There are a million things you need to learn when you start college, reckons Adrian Nuñez ’27. And the bar for international students is even higher.

Nuñez had a lot of questions when he first enrolled at Bryant, and he wasn’t able to attend his own New Student Orientation as he was taking exams in his home city of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Instead, he attended Bryant’s Multicultural and International Leadership Experience (4MILE) program, which helps international and domestic multicultural students acclimate to campus, discover the resources that will aid them in finding success, and form lifelong friendships.

The 4MILE counselors, he says, were a key piece of the equation, and he wants to bring their work forward as an OL. “We are current college students who are basically just a year older than them,” Nuñez points out. “We have a completely different perspective from faculty and the staff here as we’re the ones experiencing this place and everything that it brings firsthand.”

“I think a big part of me is that I want people to succeed. I like bringing them together and helping to bring out the best in them.”

In addition to being a friend, says Nuñez, the OL should be honest: about the best parts of the college experience, but also the struggles — and the many people and resources  here to help.

Those connections, he says, are what makes Bryant special. “There’s such an uplifting aura and energy. The people here really, really want to support you and really want to see you become the best possible version of yourself.” He points to groups like Bryant’s aDvANCEd Evolution Dance, which allows him to express himself as a performer and choreographer. “We’re such a diverse group of people, but we’re really like a family, I think everyone brings something special to the group,” states Nuñez.

When asked what he, personally, brings to the group, he smiles. “My charisma,” Nuñez says. “I think a big part of me is that I want people to succeed,” he reflects. “I like bringing them together and helping to bring out the best in them.”

Jack Ryan ’26
Orientation Coordinator Jack Ryan ’26 arrived on campus nearly three weeks before the first session even started – and he’s been busy ever since. Ryan, who is in his second year as a member of the student Orientation team, has been working on everything from decorating classrooms to contributing to the Guidebook app for students and their families.

“Whenever people need help, I try to be there,” he says.

This year’s New Student Orientation, he notes, is one of the biggest in Bryant’s history, with nearly 800 incoming students visiting campus — many of them accompanied by their families. It’s a lot of responsibility for the staff and students who make it possible, but their Bryant experience has helped them rise to the challenge.

“It’s about putting yourself out there — and not selling yourself short.”

It was during his own Orientation, says Ryan, a commuter student and Marketing major, that he got his first taste of what Bryant’s students are capable of. He remembers his own OL, Gabriel Mullings ’25. “He had a megaphone and so much energy; he just stood out,” Ryan remembers.

It was Mullings that recruited Ryan, a clarinet player, to the Bryant Athletic Band. “He kind of adopted me,” he chuckles. Through the band, he found a way to express himself among a group of encouraging supporters — which made the transition to college as a commuter much easier.

“Trying new things can be uncomfortable,” he admits. “But it’s less uncomfortable when you do it with other people.”

When he looks back at his Bryant experience, Ryan says, he’s proudest of how Bryant has provided chances for him to grow, develop, and hone his skills — as a student, as a performer, and as a leader. Taking those chances, he says, is one of the key lessons they try to impart during Orientation. “It’s about putting yourself out there — and not selling yourself short,” Ryan says. “Sometimes people need a little push to make that happen; I did.”

Janell Gamboa ’25
If you’re looking for Janell Gamboa ’25, just follow the sound of the music. Throughout Orientation, she could be found playing a diverse mix of artists, including Tyla, Brent Faiyaz, and, of course, Beyonce. “Whatever lifts my spirit,” she says.

It’s a great way to keep up the energy over the course of a two-day session, but it’s also an easy icebreaker and conversation starter for a group of young students in a new place. “I always have so many people coming up, even people who aren’t part of my Orientation group, to talk about the music or to make suggestions,” Gamboa says.

“Then at the end of the conversation, they tell me, ‘I can’t wait to see you again in the fall,’ and it’s like, ‘Wow, I made a connection, just by playing my music,’” she laughs.

Gamboa’s aim is to make it as easy as possible for students to make connections. She remembers her own Orientation, where, as a shy commuter student and woman of color, she was inspired by OLs Patricia Adesanya ’23, ’24MBA and Veronica Wallace ’23, ’24MBA, who took her under their wing — even though they weren’t her assigned OLs.

"So, I said ‘Hello,’ and made my first friend.”

She also met Billie King ’25, who became one of her best friends, at Orientation. “There was one point in the opening session when Inge (Inge-Lise Ameer, Bryant's vice president of student affairs, dean of students, and chief diversity officer) asked us to introduce ourselves to someone we didn’t know. So, I said ‘Hello,’ and made my first friend.”

This year, she and King will be co-presidents of Black Women’s Blueprint, a student organization that provides support to women of the African diaspora. It’s one of many involvements for the once-introverted student, from singing in the Bottom Line acapella group to serving as editor in chief of Thrive magazine, a student-led publication devoted to amplifying student voices through written pieces and photography.

Her opportunities at Bryant, including being an orientation leader, she says, are helping her to live out a passion for helping others, which she discovered in high school while interning as an assistant conductor for a middle school music program.

“It was really fun being able to make a difference in students’ lives,” says the Management: Leadership and Innovation major. “It kind of lit a spark in me.” 

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