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Mount Made: More Than an Athlete


Another Slam Dunk for Drew Curiel ’18

On February 22, 2018, Andrew ‘Drew’ Curiel ’18 suited up in his Dolphins gear one last time.

A budding student athlete, Drew started in 27 of the team’s 29 games, while averaging career highs in minutes played per game (28.9), points (10.4), and rebounds (8.1). But the semifinals matchup against Purchase College resulted in a loss, ending his final season—something he didn’t take lightly.

“My last Skyline Conference game was one I’ll never forget,” he said. “It just wasn’t the ending I had envisioned for my collegiate athletic career.”

Yet this loss was only a small setback in Drew’s otherwise impressive student athlete experience.

Aside from his dedication on the court and in the classroom as a business major, the Bronx native also established Be You Stay True (BYST), a program he founded during his freshman year with his roommate, Francisco Zeno ’19. What started as a passion project focusing on self-empowerment, giving back, and expanding opportunities for young athletes through basketball, BYST has flourished into so much more. The group now hosts annual events including youth camps, a Jr. NBA Skills Challenge, community service initiatives, and workshops both at the Mount and across the Bronx.

“We know many families don’t have the resources to pay for leagues and camps—so we did something about it,” he said. “We wanted to give all children the chance to have fun, shoot some hoops, and learn essential skills that will allow them to really understand the game of basketball.”

Be You Stay True group photo.

Drew spent the rest of his time at the Mount fully dedicated to BYST, channeling his passion for learning, commitment to helping others, and love for basketball into the program. His dedication inspired everyone around him—from his fellow athletes, coaches, classmates, professors, administrators, and even the NBA—to support various events hosted by the organization.

And that dedication paid off.

At the end of Drew’s senior year, athletic directors and head coaches, including Men’s Basketball coach James Mooney ’06, received an email promoting the Victory Scholar Program from Linda Bruno, commissioner of the Skyline Conference. Located in Northern Ireland and designed in partnership with Sport Changes Life’s founding university partner Ulster University, the Victory Scholar Program brings hope to young people in local Irish communities through alternative forms of education—teamwork, sport, and confidence-building skills—facilitated by a select group of American student athletes who pursue fully-funded postgraduate degrees during their time in Ireland.

Coach Mooney had the perfect candidate in mind.

“I sent Drew the details about the Victory Scholar Program immediately since I knew he was still searching for what would be next after graduation,” he explained. “I couldn’t think of a more ideal candidate who would cherish such an opportunity to expand his skills both on and off the court.”

Throughout his senior year, Drew was weighing his post-commencement options—pursuing graduate studies, expanding his work with BYST, and, of course, landing his first job.

“I realized that all of the boxes I wanted to check as I approached graduation would be hard to come by,” said Drew. “I didn’t want to sacrifice my passions. Once I saw the Victory Scholars Program, I knew I might have a chance to achieve all of my goals.”

After more than three months of numerous rounds in the selection process, multiple references, and intensive interviews, Drew, like many other Mount students, made the impossible possible.

He was accepted and eager to start the next chapter of his life. He traveled to Ireland and began his master’s degree in business marketing at the Limerick Institute of Technology, was a member of the Limerick Lions basketball team, and had the opportunity to coach and mentor underserved children in the local Limerick community.

Upon arriving overseas, he reflected on the many things he learned at the Mount, which prepared him to adjust easily abroad.

“I don’t think a day passed when I didn’t mention a Mount friend, professor, employee, or peer in conversation,” he said. “The University of Mount Saint Vincent is such a special place—the people, the diversity, the programs, the opportunities. Each and every day I had something new to look forward to. Talking and interacting with different people in different dynamics as either a student, player, club president, or class representative prepared me for what I did with Sport Changes Life and will always prepare me for what’s next.”

Andrew Curiel photographed at graduation.

This past spring, Drew returned home with a master’s degree and a fresh outlook on life. After he wrapped up another successful BYST summer camp, he applied for his first job—Assistant Director for Admission at the Mount. It’s no surprise that, again, he was the perfect candidate. His passion for the College, as well as his exceptional record of student engagement in and outside the classroom, on and off the court, and with the community at home and abroad, landed him the position.

And as in Ireland, he’s ready to take his latest challenge head on, further exploring his passions and launching his career.

“When I went to Ireland, I had to adapt to a whole new environment with new people. I had to learn how to work with every person I encountered,” he said. “Now that I’ve returned to the Mount, I’m going to be doing the same thing: talking to new people, prospective students, their parents, and guidance counselors. I’m ready to talk about the place I love—the place that changed my life.”

Are you Mount Made? Do you know other alums carrying out the mission of the College? Let us know—we’d love to share how the Mount launched your career. Contact us to be featured!

Andrew Curiel '18 on the basketball court.

Read how the NCAA showcased Drew’s continued success as a postgraduate student athlete

About the University of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the University of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.