Director of Graduate and International Student Life Is Passionate About Fostering Charger Pride
Meet Steve Macchiarolo, director of graduate and international student life, who has enjoyed spending some time this summer relaxing with his family to recharge in advance of an academic year that promises to be full of connecting with and inspiring confidence in University of New Haven students.
July 20, 2021
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
The lifeblood of the University of New Haven are the faculty and staff members who dedicate their lives to helping our students reach their goals. Periodically, we’ll introduce you to a member of the staff so you can learn more about them – beyond their day to day work.
Next up is Steve Macchiarolo, director of graduate and international student life, who has fond memories of his own time in college and who will never forget one piece of advice from his most trusted mentor.
Renee Chmiel: What is your favorite thing about summer? Steve Macchiarolo: My favorite part of the summer is that it gives me an opportunity to take some vacation time with my family. My daughter, Natalie, is three years old, and my son, Lorenzo, is two. My wife, Valerie Macchiarolo ’24, just completed her first year at the University of New Haven, so we are all ready for some summer fun. We spent a week in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, and I am actually writing this while on our second vacation at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA.
We will spend the rest of the summer relaxing by our pool in Wolcott and making some homemade pizzas. We will end the summer like we do every year at the Holy Rosary Church Italian Festival in Ansonia, where I help my buddy Nick and his family by working the fried calamari booth every year.
RC: What did you study when you were in college? What activities were you involved with? SM: I actually started out my collegiate journey as an undergraduate at the University of Hartford studying physical therapy. I ended up graduating with my bachelor’s degree in health science, and I decided to change my career goals. I received my master’s degree in sports administration from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida.
As an undergraduate, I was involved in numerous leadership positions on campus – way too many to list here! – but the main leadership positions I held included serving as executive vice president of the Student Government Association; director of the orientation called Red Caps; member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity; captain of the Hartford Cheerleading Team; chair of the Student Conduct Board; writer for the school newspaper, The Informer; and contributor to STN Channel 2, the University of Hartford’s Student Television Network.
I juggled a few jobs when I was in college. I worked as a security guard at Lake Compounce Amusement Park in Bristol, CT, and I was a waiter at Cugino’s Italian Restaurant in Farmington, CT. The funniest job I had was when I was hired by the campus Public Safety Department to give out parking tickets to students. I accidentally gave some of my friends tickets for parking illegally, something that they will not let me live down to this day.
RC: What is one of the most important lessons you have learned? SM: Don’t be afraid to say “NO.” As you can see from my previous answer, I was involved in a lot of extracurricular activities while an undergraduate student. I was constantly getting tabbed to serve on different committees, workgroups, or getting nominated for different student leadership positions. One of my biggest mentors in college was Dr. Edward Weinswig, who is now a Professor Emeritus with the University of Hartford, and his advice has stuck with me to this day. He told me that I was taking on too much and told me not to be afraid to say NO. Dr. Weinswig told me to identify the things that were most important to me and focus 100 percent of my attention on those commitments versus spreading myself too thin.
RC: As things go back to “normal” post-pandemic, what are you most excited about? SM: I am excited about going back to hosting in-person events for our students. It has been a challenge to keep our students engaged virtually. Many of our new students have not had the opportunity to network, make friends, or even get to know their classmates outside of class projects, study sessions, and weekly lectures. I can’t wait for the start of our fall semester when, hopefully, we can get back to a somewhat normal programming calendar for our students with off-campus trips, on-campus events, and RSO meetings. We will certainly continue our virtual programs, but it will be exciting to see students engaging and making those human connections as part of in-person at events that we host.
RC: What is something embarrassing or funny that has happened to you? SM: One of the most embarrassing things that happened to me in college probably was when I was serving as director of orientation. During our summer orientation program, we hosted comedy hypnotist Jim Spinnato on campus. Yes, Jim has been around a long time. I agreed, after much persuasion from my peers, to volunteer to be part of Jim’s show, and that is the last thing I remember. Apparently, I put on a very funny show for all of my fellow orientation leaders and the incoming first year class during Jim’s “R-rated hypnosis show” …maybe it’s a good thing I don’t remember all the details.
RC: Tell us about your first car. SM: My first car was a 1987 dark blue two door Nissan Sentra. The car was owned by my grandfather, and he refused to give up driving or his car for anyone except for his 16-year-old grandson. These were not the fancy looking Sentras you see today. This car was a box with no power windows and spotty air conditioning. However, it did have one thing that I was excited about, that some students may not be familiar with. It had a cassette player, and I was able to rock out to all my favorite cassettes of Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, and Huey Lewis and the News.
RC: What is the most rewarding part of your work at the University? SM: The most rewarding part of my job is working with our students. I serve as adviser to three different recognized student organizations on campus, and I get to work with student leaders on a daily basis. Nothing is more rewarding then helping a student and watching their growth, development, and confidence soar during their time at the University of New Haven.
The other exciting part of my job is the opportunity I have had to serve as chair of our Charger Pride committee. This has been very rewarding for me personally, as the purpose of our group is to build community and Charger Pride, not just with our students but with our faculty, staff, and alumni as well. It is an absolute privilege to be a member of our Charger community!