Volunteer Spotlight: Bruno Gazzolo


“First Graduate helped a lot in the areas where I didn’t know anything about,” says Bruno. He stresses the relevance of non-academic tasks in propelling his career and enriching his college experience, such as networking with professors, whom he describes as important references with letters of recommendation that can open doors. “I had many opportunities pass me by because I wasn’t aware of this. I eventually overcame it by being more outgoing.”


Bruno is a Manufacturing Associate I at Minaris Regenerative Medicine, a global contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for cell and gene therapies. During his spare time, he volunteers as a college coach for FG. As a coach, he counsels students on all aspects of college life – from academics to financial matters, from socialization to cultural assimilation. The magnitude of this role has honed Bruno’s skills for listening and understanding. Although the struggle to acclimate into a new environment is universal, each student is unique in one’s outlook and personality. The key is to “adjust” to the student, says Bruno. Only then can a coach develop the empathy necessary to see a student through.


Bruno cites socializing as the most important element of college life. The eclecticism of a student body and of school organizations paired with a plethora of activities both on and off campus provide the unprecedented opportunity to break through into a world far beyond the boundaries of one’s hometown: “I would encourage them to get involved with clubs at school that they are interested in, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with their major or school. From my own experience, I was able to find my community at college when I did that.” He also underscores cooperating with a coach/mentor to develop the life-empowering habits of self-discipline, time management, and independence. As adults, college students are expected to exercise self-accountability, taking it upon themselves to attend classes, be punctual, and fulfill responsibilities: “If this is really what you want, then you’re gonna have to put in the effort, you’re gonna have to put in the time.”

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