Student-athlete fast-breaking into valuable business internship

When Xavier Williams ’19 came to Dominican from Southern California to play basketball, he embraced the team effort that surrounded him on campus. In addition to scoring on the court, he has scored a big internship off the court.

Xavier, a Business Administration major in the Barowsky School of Business, contacted Sharon Morrison, Director of Internships and Professional Development, and “literally the next day she said apply here.” Xavier applied, interviewed and was hired for an internship with the accounting firm of Maxwell Money.

Xavier is one of 10 Dominican students who have earned internships at Maxwell Money, including Audrey Absulio ’15, a tax senior at Deloitte LLP; Fabian Valdez-Mendoza ’15, a sales development representative for the New England Region for Redis Labs Inc. in Silicon Valley; and Kristen Cepriano ’17 who is pursuing her MBA at Dominican while interning at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The internship is an example of the unique access Dominican students are given to opportunity and how they can progress when capitalizing on it.

“My sense of involvement on the campus has evolved over the years. It’s made me feel like I belong and deserve to be here. This is where I fit in, being part of multiple student clubs and growing as a basketball player,” Xavier says. “It’s helping me set up my professional opportunities, not only with alumni, but with some trustees on the board and seeing what kind of connections I can make for the future.”

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Xaxier, who scored the game-winning 3-point shot in a Pacific West Conference game in Conlan Center on December 2, was recruited to Dominican by Penguins men’s basketball coach Booker Harris, who established a family relationship years ago and maintained it. Coach Harris first met Xavier and his father when Xavier was in middle school and attending a kids’ basketball camp at the University of San Diego. Harris spent two seasons as director of basketball operations.

When Xavier, a graduate of JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, flew to Dominican for the first time for his official visit, Coach Harris picked him up at the airport and drove him to campus.

“My first thought was `Wow. There are so many trees here. This is what Northern California must be like,” Xaxier recalls.

Dominican had more to offer Xavier than plenty of shade. The Barowsky School of Business offered him a path to internships.

“I was attracted to business because of the versatility of it,” Xavier says. “There’s business in pretty much everything. I think I can do a lot more with a business degree and set myself up to be successful.”

Xavier was inspired by having “constant dialogue” with professor and faculty athletic representative Dr. Christopher Leeds and with professor Dr. Denise Lucy, Executive Director of the Institute for Leadership Studies, whom Xavier says is “such a joy to be around. She really opened my eyes to the different avenues you can take in business.”

In addition to being a Barowsky Student Association representative, Xavier is president of the Black Student Union on campus and the men’s basketball representative on the Penguin Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. His dream job is to be CFO of the NBA, but his goal is to be a financial analyst. He feels he is the right place now for that to happen.

“I knew that on a small campus I would get attention, but it amazes me the level of attention I have received from the teachers and staff and how they know you on a first-name basis,” Xavier says. “They ask you about what game is coming up and they ask you about internships and how they can help. It’s a family environment.”


December 1, 2017