“It’s one of the best feelings ever,” says Gemaers Dorvil ’19 of the moment he discovers a solution to a software application he’s working on. Gemaers came to Assumption with a general interest in engineering, but it wasn’t until he took his first computer science course that he believed he found the right career path.
That belief was reinforced in summer 2018, when Gemaers participated in the Emerging Professionals Summer Internship Program at nearby UMass Medical School. While there, he developed a website application for the school to track its patents and patent applications and he credits Assumption with preparing him well for the task. “Programming involves a lot of trial and error,” Gemaers explains. “I was patient in my internship because my math professor, Dr. Alfano, modeled patience for me. He taught me to use failure as an opportunity to dig deeper and get to the crux of any problem.”
Although he loves computer science, at Assumption you’re just as likely to find Gemaers running student programs as developing software programs. As a head resident assistant, Gemaers plans and leads game nights, group discussions, and other activities aimed at fostering an open, welcoming, comfortable, and inclusive campus environment.
The Assumption community believed in me when I didn’t always believe in myself. Because of that, I was able to find my voice.
Gemaers has similar goals as president of the ALANA (African, Latino/Hispanic, Asian and Native American) Network. He creates opportunities for people to open their minds and hearts to those of different cultures and backgrounds—and, for him, that often means cultivating conversations around subjects that many people find difficult to discuss. One of his proudest achievements was bringing together students, professors, administrators, and campus police for a major, inclusive panel discussion on race issues and semantics. “If we are too reserved, we can’t create change,” Gemaers says. “Assumption taught me to feel comfortable sharing my opinions and having productive conversations with diverse groups of people.”
Taking on prominent leadership roles—and embracing difficult dialogues—aren’t things Gemaers ever expected he’d do when he first arrived on campus, but he came out of his shell at Assumption. “The Assumption community believed in me when I didn’t always believe in myself,” Gemaers says. “Because of that, I was able to find my voice.”