RL@Work Connects Class II Students With What’s Possible

This spring marked the sixth year of RL’s now-staple RL@Work program, which connects students at the end of their Class II year with professionals in a broad range of pursuits—each an example of excellence in their particular field. Led by Assistant Headmaster for Program Andy Chappell, the program provides boys with an off-campus experience of discovery and growth—through visits to places of work, encounters with professionals, facilitated group discussions, individual reflection, and engagement in hands-on design challenges and case studies. Consistent with the school’s mission, the program helps boys imagine how they might “lead and serve” in the years ahead. RL@Work offers boys exposure to various professions and types of leadership, challenging real-world problems, and solutions in-the-making, preparing them for citizenship, service, work, and the world. The program each year gives students a chance to pause and reflect; to imagine what the future might hold for them; to get a glimpse of some of the opportunities that exist in the world beyond RL; and to learn how their liberal arts education at RL intersects with that work.

Nearly 30 generous alumni, parents, former RL parents, and friends of the school—scientists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, judges, developers, investors, professors, business owners—shared their time and passions with 53 Class II boys during the final days of the school year. Students trekked throughout and around Boston, Cambridge, and Worcester over four days, some getting their first taste of the MBTA commuting experience.

The first of the program’s four days began with an orientation for the boys, in order to set clear the expectations and opportunities as they met, engaged with, and learned from the various individuals and organizations they would encounter over the following days. Afterward the group headed into Boston’s Longwood medical area to Harvard’s MEDscience Simulation Lab, where students sewed sutures and assessed vitals on high-tech practice “dummies” designed to blink, bleed, pulse, and cry as appropriate. There students also practiced assessing the symptoms of a test patient, working to diagnose the cause of the individual’s digestive complaints.  

Day two of the program began with a focus on a variety of professions and industries, ranging from investing to construction, cutting-edge research to the legal profession. Students learned from alumni and parents leading and affiliated with Bain Capital, Consigli Construction, Harvard’s Visualization Lab, the law practice of WilmerHale, and members of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

In the afternoon, the group headed into Cambridge to MIT, where they experienced a range of activities and learning experiences coordinated by John Werner P’21’26. They met with impressive researchers, designers, academics, scientists, and artists at work on inspiring and life-altering research and creations in MIT’s world-class laboratories. Students agreed that a highlight of the afternoon was hearing from Vladimir Bulovic, Director of MIT’s Nano Lab. The morning of day three offered a window into the world of real estate, entrepreneurship, private equity, and robotics design, through visits to areas and offices in and around Boston. That afternoon students returned to campus, where they heard from seniors presenting on their various Independent Senior Project endeavors, and then finally undertook a mini-course in college essay writing from RL’s College Guidance office.

The culminating day found the boys first at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-Pal), led in part by Global Executive Director Iqbal Dhaliwal P’21. J-Pal works throughout the world to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. J-Pal’s leadership and staff do this through research, policy outreach, and training. Students met with individuals at work on various initiatives around the world, focused on areas of healthcare and governance, food security and education.

On the afternoon of their final day, students and faculty chaperones headed to Worcester—first for an engaging tour of College of the Holy Cross, and then to meet with and hear from Dan Rea ’05, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Worcester Red Sox, and Mike McElaney ’98, Vice President of Commercial Real Estate for The Menkiti Group, founded by alumnus Bo Menkiti ’95. Students learned a bit about the history of and recent development in the City of Worcester, and they received a special tour of Polar Park, home of the Worcester Red Sox. Afterward, the boys stayed with members of the faculty to watch the Worcester Red Sox take on the Syracuse Mets under sunny skies.

Over four successful days, our generous partners and hosts reinforced to the boys—by virtue of their own professional experiences—themes familiar in any successful pursuit, regardless of the profession or discipline: the importance of teamwork and communication; willingness to fail and learn from that failure; creating networks and developing relationships; being open to the unknown, and to exploring new ideas; working hard and being persistent; and understanding that the path to meaningful success isn’t always traditional or straightforward. 

We are grateful to the nearly 30 men and women who generously shared their time, talents and spaces to provide our boys an insider’s view on so many possibilities and paths toward meaningful pursuits:

Julie Joyal and Britt Lee P’22, ’23, Harvard Medical School, MEDscience Simulation Lab

J.P Chilazi ’06, Brendan Hanrahan ’09 and Robert Shaw ’14, Bain Capital

Matt Consigli P’24, President, Consigli Construction

Rus Gant, Director of Harvard Visualization Lab

Frank Kanin ’06, Masai-Maliek King, P’28, Ramon Pascual ’07, Rob Settana ’01, Ed Zabin P’23, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office

Tim Silva ’88, P’17,’22,’24, and Arjun Jaikumar ’01, WilmerHale

Vladimir Bulovic, Director, MIT.nano

David Chang, Entrepreneur

Emilie Eldracher, MIT ’22

Ana Pantelic, Director, MIT D-LAB

Ramesh Raskar, Director of Camera Culture Group, MIT Media Lab

John Werner P’21 ’26, Link Ventures & MIT Fellow, Connection Science, MIT School Of Engineering 

Dave Grossman ’97 and Jake Grossman ’00, Co-Presidents, Grossman Companies

Pete Mahoney ’98, John M Corcoran & Co

Chris Mitchell ’89, Spectrum Equity

Jay Mitchell ’96, Audax Private Equity

Nathaniel Weinstein ’10, Boston Dynamics

Iqbal Dhaliwal P’21 Global Executive Director of MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab

Dan Rea ’05, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Worcester Red Sox

Mike McElaney ’98, Vice President of Commercial Real Estate for The Menkiti Group