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College Town.

Byline: Lisa D. Welsh


Reality check

Just two years ago, Thomas J. Severo was a regular in Rehm Library at the College of the Holy Cross and it seems he's put that to good use. The class of 2006 alumnus won top geek honors in the most recent "Beauty and the Geek" competition, which aired on the CW channel last spring. He split the $250,000 prize with his partner, Amanda Corey, a graduate of the University of Arizona.

The 25-year-old Suffolk Law School student flew out to California last January and taped the show, which aired over 10 weeks from March 11 to May 14. He and Ms. Corey remain friends and talk on the phone every couple of weeks. He says she has flown to Boston to visit him a few times.

"We are actually very good friends," Mr. Severo said. "I think that's the best thing that's come out in all of this, because I'd always felt out of my element around girls."

He also said that what you see on the televised version is an accurate presentation of what happened during filming. He really did wear pants two inches too short because of his height, and had been wearing sweater vests a couple of days a week since he was in the sixth grade.

"Apparently sweater vests are not in vogue anymore," Mr. Severo said.

"But what I really learned from the show is there is not a lot of difference between faking confidence and actually having it," he said. "The more you fake it, the more you seem to have it. The hardest part is convincing yourself, but once you do that, the others just follow along."

Producers of "Beauty and the Geek" are searching for intelligent and quirky guys who are at least 21 years old with high IQs or savvy intellects for the next season of the show. To audition, send an e-mail to with name, age, contact phone number, city of residence, a brief bio on how you are a geek, and a photo. If you are chosen to audition, you will be contacted by Boston Casting.

On the other end of I-290, Quinsigamond Community College freshman Daniel Pace won $50,000 on the "Live with Regis and Kelly" television show this fall, but another QCC student didn't have that same luck on the small screen. Bryan Gallagher of Worcester was cut "for being too shy" in the third episode of MTV's new reality show "Paris Hilton's My New BFF." Mr. Gallagher was one of 18 contestants - one of two males - trying to prove their Paris-worthiness. At least he got some frequent flier miles when he accompanied Ms. Hilton to Japan for the MTV Video Music awards.

Global relations

Speaking of traveling to distant lands, students at Nichols College can earn dual degrees by spending their junior year at European University sites in Barcelona, Geneva, Munich or Singapore - a full year at one location or one semester each at two locations.

In four years, students can receive a bachelor's degree in science and art from Nichols and a bachelor's degree in art from the European University. Nichols business programs are certified by the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education. The comprehensive international business program has been developed to give Nichols College graduates a global business edge.

Clark University welcomed six new Making A Difference scholars to campus this year. Past recipients of the MAD scholarship have been involved with community service organizations, political action groups, human rights campaigns and for-profit and nonprofit social entrepreneurship.

According to Micki E. Davis, director of Clark's community engagement and volunteering center, "This group of Making a Difference Scholars has a diverse background of community engagement activities. They are passionate and dedicated to social justice issues. I'm certain they will have an immediate and long-lasting impact at Clark and in our neighborhood."

The Making a Difference Scholarship is a $48,000 four-year scholarship ($12,000 per year) and includes a $2,500 taxable stipend and housing allowance to support an optional summer project that students may undertake in Worcester during the summer following their sophomore or junior year.

The 2008-2009 recipients are:

Lydia Biloskirka-Conley a recent graduate of Newton North High School where she founded the Microcredit Club and worked to raise money for entrepreneurs in Guatemala. She was also a violence prevention mentor and a peer mediator.

Tinyan Chan recently graduated from the Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill; as part of Ms. Chan's community work, she conducted an affordable housing survey among residents of Boston's Chinatown and volunteered at Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses.

Will Colan, a recent graduate of Maranacook Community School, was selected to be an ambassador to represent his school at Maine Youth Leadership. He later returned and served as a junior counselor. In 2006 he was appointed to a two-year term in the Maine Legislative Youth Council. He has attended both the Diversity Leadership Institute at Bates College and the Seeds of Peace International Camp.

Jennifer E. Pimentel is a recent graduate of Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School. Before arriving at Clark she was president of the Students Taking Action Now: Darfur and a member of Amnesty International. She recently took part in Clark TREK Operation Restoration in New Orleans.

Eve Rabinowitz graduated from Friends Seminary, where she was an active member of her school's Hurricane Relief Committee and traveled to Mississippi to aid in relief efforts. Ms. Rabinowitz also traveled to South Africa with the Bridges to Understanding Program to create an educational documentary. She is also raising money to help a young mother she interviewed who is HIV positive.

Whitney Smith graduated from Brattleboro Union High School in the spring. While in high school, Ms. Smith was a member of the student group Child Labor Education and Action. During her membership, she helped to pass a sweat-free policy for her school and headed a committee that has drafted a bill proposing that the state of Vermont become sweat-free.

Contact Lisa D. Welsh via e-mail at
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 23, 2008
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