BUA Family Picnic

August 23rd, 2018in BUA News and Stories, Homepage News

We hope you'll join us for the BUA Family Picnic on Tuesday, September 4 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on BU Beach. Bring your own picnic; cookies, ice cream, and lemonade will be served! Special BUA picnic blankets and other apparel and gear will be available for purchase from 3:00-5:00 p.m. See you there! 

20 Questions with Dr. Rosemary White

Most of you know Dr. Rosemary White. You know she has a PhD in chemistry from Vanderbilt, and that she taught chemistry at BUA for six years before becoming the assistant head of school for academics and student affairs two years ago. You know she is BUA’s interim head of school for the 2018-2019 academic year. You know she is a stellar teacher, a caring advisor, a no-nonsense administrator, and a flat-out, all-around rock star.

But we wanted to know more about what really makes Dr. White tick, so we sat down to ask her 20 questions about herself - some serious, some silly. Read on to learn more about the woman in Room 201.

Where did you grow up, and how did that impact who you are today?

I grew up in a small town in North Carolina. I have also lived in Tennessee, California, New Mexico, Australia, and Italy. Each place has been so different - the people, the culture, the lifestyle, the food - and I enjoyed each one for different reasons. I am glad to call Boston home, but all of the other places I have lived have paved the path to who I am now. I appreciate what I have picked up along the way: my education, a love for the outdoors, lifelong friendships, countless memories, my husband, exposure to new foods, appreciation of different cultures, and experiences that I would not have had if I had not lived in each of these places.

What drew you to chemistry as a discipline?

I knew chemistry was the major for me when I took Organic Chemistry my sophomore year of college. It just clicked in my brain: negative attacks positive, like dissolves like, etc. I found it logical and beautiful.

How has BUA changed in the eight years you’ve been here?

The number of students has increased and the length of the senior thesis has decreased. Fortunately, the students are still as amazingly bright, motivated, and kind as they were the day I started at BUA and instantly knew this was the place for me.

How do you unwind after work or on the weekends?

I love to read. I also enjoy running and spending time outside with my 5-year-old son and husband. Sleeping on my couch is always a favorite activity.

What does leadership mean to you?

A good leader must listen to various voices and go into decisions with an open mind. I won’t know the answer to every question or be ready to instantly make every decision - no one should claim that they will. Instead I will rely on the thoughtful input of my colleagues and the BUA community as I make decisions for BUA.

For you, what have been the biggest differences between being a teacher and being an administrator?

I feel more separated from the students as an administrator. I miss being in the classroom and getting to work directly students. They are what makes BUA so special and why I love the school. My administrative role allows me to lead them and help them in a different way than teaching so I embrace that and try to make a difference in their lives and make their experience at BUA the best it can be.

Are you a sports fan?

I went to Duke, where college basketball is “the” sport. I don’t have much time to follow them these days, but I will always be a Blue Devil fan.

In your view, what are some of the biggest benefits of being affiliated with a global research university?

You cannot beat the variety of classes our students have the ability to take - it is unmatched by just about any other high school in the country. I also love the research opportunities our students have, especially with summer lab work. They have the chance to do cutting-edge research with amazing professors, post-docs, and graduate students. Such an amazing experience for a high school student!

What are you binge-watching this summer?

American Ninja Warrior, Lost in Space, and re-watching Parks and Recreation (Leslie Knope is my spirit animal!).

Do you have a hidden talent?

Hmmm… I can recite all fifty states in alphabetical order in under thirty seconds. In graduate school, I competed in Irish step dancing and taught aerobics (and did chemistry, too, of course!).

Nutrition aside, if you could choose one food -- and one food only -- to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Candy. I basically have the eating habits of an unsupervised child.

What books have you read recently that you would recommend to BUAers?

I enjoy books with fascinating and unique characters like the female protagonists in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I also like learning about history through novels such as The Atomic City Girls, Persepolis, All the Light We Cannot See, and Beneath a Scarlet Sky. I have enjoyed several YA books this year: Turtles All the Way Down, Attachments, The Hate U Give, and Girls in the Moon.

What does it mean to you to be a female Head of School at BUA?

I have had a lot of strong female role models and in my life, and I look forward to the opportunity to serve as one for our students this year.

How has being a parent influenced your teaching?

It has taught me to appreciate the little things and the short time I have with each student. Children grow up quickly and students graduate before you know it; I try to embrace the time I have with students while they are at BUA.

How has being a teacher influenced your parenting?

I try to be patient and answer my son’s endless “Why?” questions as best I can. I want him to understand why we have certain rules, why we make particular decisions, and why things are the way they are. Just like my students, I want him to understand as much as possible rather than just taking my word for it.

Do you have any pets? Will you be bringing them to school with you?

I have a pet cat named Mumbo - she is black and white and has only one eye. And no, she prefers to nap all day at home.

We know you enjoy baking. Will you share your favorite recipe with us?

One of my favorite cookies to make is Cowboy Cookies (Google it!). They are simple to make and a delicious sweet and salty combination. And they have oatmeal in them, which makes them a breakfast cookie in my book! Expert tip: I add M&Ms because more candy is always the answer - see Question 11.

What is your vision for BUA for the upcoming school year?

I want to continue to enhance our work on the emotional and mental health and wellbeing of our students. The Student Council has come a long way in the past few years, but I want to continue to find new ways to give students leadership roles and voices in decisions. Finally, I want to give faculty opportunities to grow and develop in their various roles at BUA.

Who was the first person you met at BUA?

I actually took a jump rope aerobics class called Ae-rope-ics at FitRec with Mr. Stone a couple of years before I applied for a job at BUA. Thank goodness the job interview did not assess my jump roping skills (or lack thereof).

What is your favorite joke?

Where do you find a nosy pepper? Jalapeño business (say it out loud).



Message from Interim Head of School Dr. Rosemary White

The below message from Interim Head of School Dr. Rosemary White went out to the BUA Community on Friday, July 20:

Following the announcement of the separation of Dr. Ari Betof from Boston University, I wanted to reach out personally to reassure our community that, abrupt as this news is, BUA remains on strong, stable footing, with the support of Boston University.

This news came as suddenly to the administrators, faculty, and staff of BUA as it did to all of you. We are aware that some of you learned the news on Tuesday afternoon from the Boston Globe or another media outlet rather than directly from BUA, which we regret; unfortunately, the process and timing of the communication was beyond our control.

In conjunction with the BUA Parents’ Network and the BUA Head of School Advisory Board, the BUA leadership and I are working in earnest on a transition plan that both ensures the smooth day-to-day operations of BUA going forward, and also maintains the momentum of the strategic initiatives already underway. Our classes, student support, and other fundamentals of the 2018-2019 school year will proceed as usual. I look forward to sharing additional updates on our goals for the year ahead in my August letter to the community.

I’m grateful for the support of my colleagues as well as the Boston University Academy and Boston University leadership during this transition, and I am eager to partner with all of you to make the upcoming academic year a success.  Our school is extremely fortunate to have a team of committed, energetic administrators and staff; smart, dedicated teachers; exceptionally talented and kind students; engaged parents; and loyal alumni, all working toward the shared objective of ensuring that BUA continues to excel and thrive.


Dr. Rosemary White
Interim Head of School
Boston University Academy



Rick Florino ’02

Photo: Corey Soria

Rick Florino '02 owns, operates, and oversees the preeminent entertainment industry writing, media training, and messaging firm Written On Time, Inc. Since 2006, he has written official bios, press materials, speeches, statements, copy, and more for countless GRAMMY® Award-winning multiplatinum music legends, Academy® Award-winning actors and actresses, athletes, industry executives, and influencers throughout the worlds of fashion, lifestyle, technology, and beyond. The company is headquartered on Hollywood Boulevard with a staff of three.

He has written two critically acclaimed books: the underground phenomenon Dolor, and sought-after entertainment industry guide Do The Devil’s Work For Him (co-written with Amy Sciarretto). He has two film projects in development with major award-winning production partners.

His journey began in Boston, MA as a lifelong film and music aficionado. He attended Boston University Academy and graduated Magna Cum Laude in ’04 from Boston University’s College of Communications at 19 years old due to getting a jump start on college at 15 at BUA. His prior experience spans running various music industry web sites, handling film and video game marketing, and writing for countless publications. Outside of film and music, he loves playing video games, boxing, watching the Celtics, Red Sox, and Patriots, and spending time with his family and newborn son.

After writing for different magazines and media platforms, what led you to launch your business, Written on Time, Inc.? How do your copywriting and creative writing experiences influence each other?

It happened naturally. I was conducting so many interviews for other outlets that I had developed strong relationships with the record labels, publicists, and managers. One day in 2005, an artist manager asked if I wrote band bios, I figured if he thought I could do it, I probably could, so I said, “Yes, all the time.” I’d never written a bio at that point, but I dove headfirst into it. Typical bios range from one to two pages and function as marketing materials for a client regardless of industry. That first bio felt so natural and fun to me. I derived a real sense of fulfillment from being on the artist’s side and helping a record campaign rollout rather than simply covering it for a publication. As I was dealing with record labels frequently at the time, any time I did an interview for a publication, I mentioned to the label, “By the way, I write bios.” I was still new at the time, so I had to personally self-promote in every email. What typically ensued was a label, manager, publicist, or artist would need a bio last minute, and it would click, “Who’s that guy who said he writes bios in every email?” They’d reach out to me, and I’d deliver high quality copy within 24 hours. Most of this material is needed imminently, so my ability to focus and turn around compelling bios instantly separated me. It was all based on work ethic. To this day, if I promise someone a piece by a certain time or day, I always live up to that. Hence, the name Written On Time, Inc. Organically, the business grew from there, but it took ten years from 2005 and that first bio for me to become self-sufficient. Media training happened the same way. One day, a publicist said, “You do media training, right?” I said, “Of course, all the time!” Once again, it was my first time. Now, I do at least one session a week. Additionally, I like to remind all clients I do media training in every email [LAUGHS].

For me and the staff at Written On Time, Inc., copywriting IS creative writing. The copy is most compelling when it’s creative. They’re one and the same. If it’s an entertainment industry lawyer or a blockbuster actor, I approach the bio with the same energy, enthusiasm, and passion. Writing is writing. There are no boundaries, which make it the most magical thing in the world. One day, I’m writing a bio for a pop star, and the next I’m working on a speech for a yoga guru. Each experience influences and inspires you.

You have interviewed and profiled countless artists, celebrities, and business professionals. Who have been your favorite interviews and why do they stand out?

Wow, this year has been really intriguing as far as interviews go, so I’ll start there. The next three I'm listing have all happened in the last three months, and I can speak to them in depth.

I recently interviewed Lenny Kravitz, who was so amazing and inspiring to talk to. He’s just in tune with the universe around him as an artist, and the way he tells stories, you feel like you’re in the room with him. That was an honor. He’s a true artist through and through and he raises the bar with every record, movie, and project. 

Keith Urban is super cool as well. He’s another wonderful storyteller, down-to-earth, smart, and a hilarious presence. We spoke for an hour, and it was just passion for music all-around on both sides of the phone. I look forward to chatting with him again. Additionally, he elevates his game on every record!

Kirdis Postelle is the EVP and General Manager of HITCO, which is a really fantastic new label founded by L.A. Reid. I recently interviewed her, and she was so inspiring as well. She’s been behind-the-scenes of some of music’s most historic moments, but she couldn’t be more humble and simply driven to share great music. To me, that’s what this business is all about. Again, I can’t wait to hear more of her stories about working at Aftermath in the nineties and all of this incredible stuff.

Those are three recent interviews, but every interview has its own merits and they’re all special to me. Lifetime interviews that meant a lot were going to Las Vegas to hang out with the cast of The Hangover (Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Heather Graham, and Director Todd Phillips) and interview them during the first film, Quentin Tarantino at Amoeba Records, Robert Duvall, Mark Wahlberg, Hugh Jackman (My son is named after Logan!), Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, Ray Liotta, Elton John, James Hetfield, Maynard James Keenan, Chris Cornell, Pearl Jam, Lionel Richie, Drake, Nas, DJ Khaled, Travis Scott, and so many more I'd need ten interviews to really give this question its due. I will have to also say bringing together Corey Taylor of Slipknot and John Cusack together on one call was amazing as well as Corey and the late great Wes Craven—just because worlds collided in the most fun manner.

It can be challenging to get experience without having experience. What tips do you have for young alumni looking to “make it” in today’s entertainment industry?

It’s really just about doing it. If you want to write, just write. Start a blog and write consistently. If you want to make movies, post them on YouTube. If you want to make music, make a Soundcloud page. There’s nothing stopping you. I also think you need to do the most you can if you really want it. Don’t get one internship, intern at three places, because you will meet three times as many people and increase your chances of getting a job threefold. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be what you want to be either. Keep going no matter what. Nothing happens easily. It’s about perseverance and hard work more than where you went to school, who you know, or anything else. If you want it, go take it, but put the work in. For more tips buy Do The Devil’s Work for Him [LAUGHS].

BUA teachers remember you as persistent and an extremely hard worker. How did BUA help you develop these skills and how have they helped you navigate the media and entertainment industry?

BUA helped me by challenging me beyond anything I thought possible. I didn’t have such a rigorous and enhanced curriculum for junior high and elementary school. I didn’t come from the world of Algebra at seven and Rachmaninoff symphonies and concertos at four, but I did know if I worked harder than everybody I’d get there, so that’s what I did. BUA’s curriculum was wonderfully uncompromising. There were no shortcuts, either you stepped up or you got cut. It brought the best out of me. In some ways, nothing I’ve done since was as difficult as taking ancient history, ancient Greek, physics, and calculus all in my first year! I rewrote my notes over and over again to memorize them. I spent time with every teacher after class to see how I could improve. I learned how to write by reading. College was a breeze by comparison. BUA pushed me to be who I am, and I’ll never forget it. I’m thankful for my mom every day for pushing me to go there and believing I could make it through. As far as mental fortitude goes, the entertainment industry’s got nothing on BUA.



Important Announcement from the Office of BU Provost Jean Morrison

To the Boston University Academy Community,

I write to let you know that we have separated Dr. Ari Betof from employment as Head of School at Boston University Academy (BUA). While it is our policy not to comment on personnel matters, we can say that the reason for the separation does not involve any current or former BUA student or any other member of the BUA community.

Assistant Head of School Dr. Rosemary White has agreed to serve as the interim Head of School of BUA, effective immediately. Rosemary received a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Vanderbilt University. She was a Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow/Lecturer for two years at Boston University before she joined the Academy. Rosemary also has extensive teaching experience as an undergraduate and a doctoral candidate. Rosemary has been at BUA for eight years. Before she assumed her role as Assistant Head of School for Academics and Student Affairs, Rosemary served as BUA’s director of student affairs and was a chemistry teacher. We will begin the process of conducting a national- level search to identify the next Head of School, with the goal of having the new person in place by summer, 2019.

I will be in touch shortly with details about the establishment of a Head of School Search Advisory Committee and related next steps. I look forward to working with the BUA community to identify the next Head and am confident that, with Rosemary’s leadership, we will be able to sustain the continued momentum and progress of the Academy during the upcoming academic year.


Jean Morrison
University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Letter to BUA Community_7.10.2018

Ashley Stipek ’09

Ashley StipakAshley Stipek ‘09 graduated from the University of St. Andrews with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Affairs and a master’s degree in Terrorism Studies. Her master’s coursework focused on terrorism and trafficking, critical infrastructure protection, right-wing terrorism, and political violence. Since graduating, she has worked in Washington, D.C. in public policy, research, and communications. Ashley is currently a Communications Strategist with the Institute of International Education, a nonprofit which works to advance international scholarship, build economies, and promote access to opportunity. In her free time, Ashley runs the D.C. chapter of Nerd Fitness and enjoys powerlifting, playing board games, and traveling.

How does your academic background in international affairs and terrorism studies inform your current work at the Institute of International Education?

Doing both my undergraduate and master degree abroad taught me to look at experiences and challenges from a different cultural and contextual perspective. When I work on projects like newsletters and research papers with people from around the world, having that knowledge and using my perspective to further the discussion in a meaningful way is critical. And it means so much to me that my work helps new students and scholars discover the power of international education.

Has there been a moment in your education or career that was particularly surprising, challenging, or defining – something that sticks with you to this day?

I am the editor of our magazine the IIENetworker and producing the first issue was a challenge! It involved so much learning as you go and I had no idea how complex the process of editing and producing a magazine was. The review panel accepted too many articles to fit in the magazine so I had to figure out a solution that would meet our needs but still acknowledge the work the authors had put into their articles. I decided to run some of them as guest blogs on our company blog and created social media campaigns to promote them. The authors were thrilled and we could move forward with the magazine. When I finally had the printed copy in my hands, I remembered a moment at BUA -- in my freshman year, I told Mr. Gambone that I wanted to be an editor. He was so supportive and encouraged me. And even though it wasn’t the way I expected, that dream stuck with me and came true.

You clearly have an adventurous spirit! What was one of your most memorable adventures during your five years of studying and traveling outside of the United States? Why are you an advocate for living abroad?

As a reward for completing my master's dissertation, I went on a solo backpacking trip traveling north from Morocco to the Scottish Highlands. I camped in the Sahara, saw Viking ruins in York, and walked the shores of Loch Ness. And everywhere I went, I met people who shared their passions, their stories, and these experiences with me. Living or traveling abroad teaches you not just about the world, but who you are and what you are capable of. Our research at IIE shows that international experiences develops key skills that employers are looking for in job candidates in ways that few other student experiences do. The personal and professional growth I gained from living and working outside the U.S. is immeasurable and I hope everyone has the ability to have a similar experience.

Was there a class, teacher, or experience at BUA that sparked your passion for international affairs, and/or for the path you are pursuing?

The spring break trips to Spain, France, and Italy were some of my first international travel and they opening my eyes to the world and how much there was to learn. Dr. Horn encouraged me to take the leap and attend St. Andrews, despite my fears about living so far from everything I knew.

BUA Commencement 2018

On May 21, 2018, Boston University Academy hosted its 24th Commencement exercise.

Dr. Walter Fluker, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Ethical Leadership at BU School of Theology, delivered the keynote address. Diplomas were conferred by Dr. Jean Morrison, Provost and Chief Academic Officer of Boston University.

The complete video of BUA's 2018 Commencement ceremony is available below or here.

Congratulations to the BUA graduates of 2018 and their families!

BUA Celebrates 25th Anniversary

On May 4-5, Boston University Academy celebrated its 25th anniversary with two days of events and performances, culminating in a gala at the State Room, Boston, on the evening of May 5.

The anniversary celebrations brought together nearly 400 alumni, current parents, parents of graduates, current and former faculty, leaders of Boston University, and friends of BUA to honor the history and achievements of the school.

The Friday festivities included a Latin reading by BUA Classics Instructor Kristin Jewell; a retrospective slideshow; the unveiling of a commemorative time capsule; an alumni panel discussion; Senior Thesis presentations; and special classes taught by BUA teachers. At a reception on the lawn of the Academy building, assembled guests had the opportunity to toast departing physics instructor Gary Garber for his 19 years of service to BUA.  On Friday evening, the community enjoyed a special 25th Anniversary Spring Concert with a pre-concert talk by BUA Music Instructor Brett Abigaña.  This year's concert program was an especially ambitious one, featuring an original composition by alumna Joy Blanchard '16 and performances of Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Graduates of BUA had a chance to reconnect with one another and with former teachers on Saturday morning during two alumni events: basketball with Director of Athletics and Alumni Relations Dave Stone, and a tour of the Adams estate in Quincy with History Instructor Rich Horn.

On Saturday evening, over 350 attendees gathered at the State Room for a festive gala celebration of BUA. Featured speakers included Boston University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Jean Morrison; Boston University Academy Head of School Ari Betof; and alumna Njeri Grevious '13. Highlights of the evening's program included a performing arts showcase entitled "A Day in the Life," created by Music Instructor = Brett Abigaña and Drama Instructor Bill Gardiner and performed by BUA musicians and actors, and a surprise tribute to BUA Director of Athletics and Alumni Relations Dave Stone, presented by Katey Sullivan-Clerico '03. The performing arts showcase was highlighted as the "Close Up" feature in the May 11, 2018 edition of BU Today.

The 25th Anniversary Silent Auction and Fund-A-Need brought in $180,000 for BUA's Classroom Renovation Initiative, a multi-year project to improve BUA classrooms and student spaces. This effort will be the most significant physical plant initiative at BUA since the opening of the arts wing. It will begin with the renovation of two classrooms that will serve as "living laboratories," which will help inform our future renovation of all classroom spaces.

Photos, video, and media from BUA's 25th Anniversary celebrations are below: