Harvard President Lawrence Bacow | San Diego, CA

ML Cornwall documents a SoCal Alumni event as Harvard’s new President Lawrence S. Bacow visits San Diego!

Bacow was named the 29th President of Harvard University on July 1, 2018.

Along with an educational Q&A on the consensus of Harvard, the night was full of great networking, delectable food & wonderful company for all.

See the recap video along with a few photos of the event as Southern California welcomes Harvard’s newest President to the San Diego Museum of Art.

Tags: Alumni Storyteller | Documenting Higher Education | College Event Journalism

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Blacks @ MIT History Project

Began in October of 1995, the Black at MIT Project set out to document the contributions, experiences and history of members of the Black community at MIT.

From students to professors, Deans and notable staff, a key group of people curate this rich history and legacy at the Institute. Through research, use of archival materials and real time efforts, they are able to tell the Blacks story at MIT.

Clarence G. Williams, Emeritus Professor of Urban Studies & Planning and former Special Assistant to the President, hires ML Cornwall to take a portrait to also document who the curators behind the scenes are. Here are a few shots from the photo shoot and an impromptu meeting, of course.

Tags: MIT Storyteller | Documenting Higher Education | Blacks @ MIT



Haben Girma visits Stanford University

Haben Girma is the first Deaf-Blind graduate of Harvard Law School. She is the 2015 White House Champion of Change and a Staff Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley, CA.

Last year, at the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act celebration, she welcomed President Barack Obama & Vice President Joe Biden. Here, Girma speaks at Stanford's Africa Table about Disability Inclusion in Africa and beyond.

Tags: Stanford Storyteller | Documenting Higher Education | College Event Journalism



ERG Conference @ MIT

How does an organization like MIT attract & retain great employees? And once there, how does the organization help them assimilate with, connect to and strengthen bonds with like-minded individuals within the institute?

Lorraine A. Goffe-Rush, Vice President of MIT Human Resources invites Melissa Bass Donaldson, of Diversity and Inclusion at Walgreens & several universities to a first-of-it's-kind Employee Resource Group Conference at MIT. ERG best practices & overall strategy in higher education is shared.

ML Cornwall Films covers both Photo & Videography of the 6-hour-long conference. Re-cap video & select photos below.

Tags: Faculty Engagement | Alumni Affairs Employee Recource Group | HigherEd HR



Alesia Latson visits the ABAC @MIT


ML Cornwall was on hand to document a talk by renowned speaker Alesia Latson of the Latson Leadership Group held at MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research. Latson touched on topics such as influencing others, seeing other people's point of view and learning how to persuade other people without being pushy. 

See the video on Influencing with Impact:  Alesia's Visit ABAC @ MIT Video

Tags: MIT Resource Group | Documenting Higher Education | College Event Coverage



ML documents the 2014 SEED Academy Fall Final Ceremony

Wrapped a shoot for the SEED Academy — a program at MIT that grooms local students on the weekends to prepare them for life after high school in STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields. See the the wrap-up video which documents the culmination of the year-long program from showcase to graduation.

Tags: MIT Outreach Coverage | Documenting HigherEd | Engineering Event



Harvard | MIT Profile


ML—Just writing to confirm that we're on for Tuesday at 8 a.m.

You can park in the guest spots right in front of school. My office is on the 2nd floor when you come in the main entrance, take a left, go past the chapel and up the first set of stairs on the left.  I'll keep an eye out for you!  If you need to reschedule, give a call or email.



At 7:35 a.m., they begin to arrive in droves: a silver minivan, an SUV, and a bus release young boys at the front glass doors of Catholic Memorial High. While in one of the visitor parking spaces out front, I see a few boys help what looks like a coach carry folding chairs from the Donahue Hall across the street into the main entrance.

They are neatly dressed in khaki pants that fall squarely on the tongues of brown shoes. Almost all wear a collared shirt that cradles a tie. They walk quickly, some shouldering bags that seem to weigh more than they do. They look eager to learn.

Main entrance…past the chapel…first set of stairs

“May I help you?”

My roaming halts. “Who are you here to see?” an inquisitive woman with short dark hair asks. “Is someone expecting you?”

I tell her. She ushers me into her office and places a call to Joseph McGonegal, whom the school’s staff directory lists as “Teacher, Director of Communications,” and leaves a message.

“Joe, I have Marsha here to see you ... I will take her down to the office.”

At 8:06, Joe hurries into the office and inquires if I've been waiting long. He holds himself back from greeting me with a professional handshake. Joe and I are enrolled in Magazine Writing at Harvard and are assigned to tackle a class project together.

As we enter his office, I see that it has one rare window and a horseshoe-shaped, wooden desk. A desktop computer, a laptop, and a Cannon DSLR jockey for position on his self-described messy desk. He removes an outer layer to reveal that a crisp collared shirt, too, outfits his slender frame.

I notice that his computer monitor is under siege: Yellow sticky notes are suspended from its bottom edge and work their way up, north, along the right side of the screen.

“We’re competing against schools that have three of me,” says Joe, legs crossed ankle to knee. “I feel people are grateful for my work, but I do feel very short-staffed.”

The salt and pepper gray-haired, six-time marathon runner is still, however, composed and shows comfort working at his desk.


Born in New Jersey, Joe grew up in Burlington, Vermont, with three older brothers, all of whom went to the University of Vermont. When it came time for Joe to go to school, his father sat him down to reveal that they had nothing left for his higher education. He applied and received a full scholarship to Marquette in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for Navy ROTC.

"I was kind of into boats growing up," says Joe, whose uncle manned a boat called Sense; recently Joe has purchased a 14-foot aluminum boat he’s named Nonsense.

An English major from the start, his love of boats couldn’t keep him in school. A year and a half into it, he dropped ROTC and had to repay the Navy the money they had invested in him. His English studies then took center stage, as he moved in an accelerated fashion through the program in three years. Unable to land a job by graduation in 1995, he went on to complete a master’s in English at Marquette.

In 1997, master’s in hand, he landed a teaching job in Boca Raton, Florida, which he found while perusing the New York Times. No Internet then, he reminds me.

He points to a framed photograph hanging over my left shoulder. “That’s a picture of me with my first class.”

He was much larger then; his warm smile illuminated round cheeks that glistened in the wake of the camera’s flash.

“I had gained 30 pounds with all the Jewish mothers feeding me," Joe laughs. "Thirty minutes of Jewish prayer a day in Hebrew. I shared a class with a Hebrew teacher so I learned a lot of Hebrew. But I was a Catholic boy, born and raised.”

He remembers making a lot of teaching mistakes while there, at times even yelling at the kids. But after a three-year stint, when he'd gained his “teaching legs,” he grew nostalgic for home.


His next job in rural Peterborough, New Hampshire, paid $27,000-a-year as a freshman English teacher.

"It was as full-time as you could get, grading papers all night and just sweating it…and the kids were just rotten to me,” says Joe, giving his eyes a contemplative rub.

He remained in that position for only one year and eventually moved to Catholic Memorial in 2001, where he was an English teacher for eight years.

He moderated the school newspaper, helped with the yearbook, and crafted other alumni publications as well.  He began freelancing in 1997 for the West Roxbury Transcript and convinced the president of Catholic Memorial that they needed someone to manage the school’s communications.

“We don’t have a marketing director here, and I keep doing stories about our school for the local paper. Why don’t I do that in-house?” Joe implored.

He's been Communications Director at Catholic Memorial for four years now. About two years ago, he married an altruistic public defender who is now an assistant DA in Woburn.

Joe recently began the journalism master's program at Harvard, and he says one of his greatest accomplishments came this past summer, when he wrote a piece for about the dismantling of the vessel used in the filming of the Voyage of the MiMi.

Currently, Joe is working on a piece about tracking right whales along the eastern seaboard. Ten years from now, he sees himself either writing a novel or a piece of nonfiction. But whatever he chooses to write, it should involve a low beam of sun dancing on water, tree roots tangled in mangroves, a receding shoreline, or a maritime adventure with his Nonsense, perhaps.

 by ML Cornwall



Living and Working: a Triple Life

On Sunday morning, Antonio Rabbi, a native of Villa Vera, Brazil, suits up. He puts on green and white knee-high socks and a matching jersey. Black shorts and black cleats complete his uniform. He is 49 and plays in a 45-and-over soccer league.

By day, he is a working foreman at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center waxing and polishing emergency room floors.  He shampoos waiting room carpets and performs various other tasks to keep the facilities in good order. His shift begins at 3 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m. 

By night, he works at Massachusetts Institute of Technology doing the same. Only now he restores shine to chemistry lab floors and various lobbies around the institute. The drive from St. Elizabeth in Brighton to MIT takes no more than 15 minutes. He begins his shift at MIT at 11 p.m. and works until 7 a.m.

He dry mops the halls with a shaggy red mop and then guides a self-propelled scrubbing machine down the maze of corridors. He constantly stops to drip Visine in both eyes to diminish the burn from having to stay awake for back-to-back shifts. He works both jobs full time. He has the benefit and perks, like a pension and 401k, from both. But that’s not all that he does to make a living. 


On the weekends he also bargain shops to find deals on consumer goods at sixty to eighty percent off. Three to four times a year he takes a flight for the sole purpose of selling these goods in Brazil. He sells to corner stores, individual retailors, or vendors who in turn hike up the price and resells them. 

At the game, he stretches to avoid stiff joints. He says that he might not play due to injuries. Most all the guys here are injured though, one wears an elbow sleeve, another pulls a black knee brace tight. He plays, even scores a goal, but their team still loses 4-2.

The referee blows the extended whistle signifying the end of the game. The men linger a bit. Some complain about missed opportunities. Others blame losing on being a few men down. Antonio doesn’t linger too long. He stretches on the grass one last time and rubs a sore right shoulder. He removes his number 17 jersey and drives home for a quick shower.


“Now, I go shopping,” he says with a thick Portuguese accent. 

The rest of the day finds him at various shopping locations. His next trip home is May 7th so the casual shopping that he normally does is ramped up now to a more frantic pace. He leaves in just a few days. 

He has coupons for Macy’s and Kohl’s. He has the TJX card which helps him save at Marshalls and TJ Maxx. He heads straight for the clearance area. He combs quickly through the racks. The metal tipped hangers shrieking along the metal racks. He hunts pulling and searching for clothes. 

“I need a good deal,” he mutters as he inspects the red clearance stickers on a Polo shirt by Ralph Lauren. “This is not a good price.”

He leaves Marshalls; TJ Maxx is next, then the Braintree mall. And before the day of is done, he finds himself at his favorite shopping location, the Wrentham Outlets. He will spend hours there. He shops for sunglasses, name-brand bag, watches, shorts, and T-shirts. He buys warm-up suit from Puma and Hurley. 

The trunk and then the back seat of his 2013, gray Hyundai Sonata soon fills with bags. He heads into Quicksilver and cleans out their entire stock of beach shorts. His favorite stores are Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and PacSun. They are all good for resale in Brazil.


Custo Brazil or the cost of doing business in Brazil is high. “They keep it this way because they don’t want competition…its economic politics,” he says. It includes taxes of up to 40% and steep customs fees associated with the import of foreign-made goods.

Bolstered by oil production and other good fortunes of their emerging economy, the middle class is strong. As a result, the Brazilian people are used to paying high prices for the things they want. The International Monetary fund reports that the GDP of Sao Paulo, one of the states of Brazil, is more than that of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, and Bolivia combined. 

A Big Mac in Brazil is $6.17; in the U.S. its $4.07, a mark-up of 51%. An iPad2 costs $887 in Brazil and $499 in the U.S., a mark-up of 78%. The worst mark-ups occur in vehicles. A Honda CRV is marked-up 110% to $46,020 in Brazil from $20,895 in the U.S.  


He packs his suitcases efficiently and points to about 30 hats nestled inside one another. He gives a quick example of what he can make by selling just one hat back home in Brazil. They sell for triple and sometimes quadruple the price here. He buys them for $5-$10 and sells them for $30 American dollars, which is $60 Brazilian reals. 

The store owner typically sells one hat for $180 reals. The Brazilian real is two to one American dollar. So, the hat he buys here on discount for a maximum of $15 should only be $30 in Brazil. The mark-up is staggering with the end price being as much as four times more. Multiply that times the 40 hats he is bringing and then times four suitcases. Then one can see the possibility if how much there is to be made. 

He will also bring a few international cell phones with him. He is still looking for an iPhone at a good price, but its intended for his daughter and not resale. He will bring four suitcases this time. Two of which, he will pay the $100 extra baggage fee for. 

One has a busted wheel but he doesn’t have time to shop for a new one. The most suitcases he ever brought down was last December. He and his wife took eight. He says that he made $20,000 and that’s was after paying for both their $1,200 airplane tickets and $5,000 seed money used to buy the merchandise.


He has works for St. Elizabeth for twelve year and MIT for ten. He has a condo here in America and owns what he calls an apartment in Brazil. He owns two cars, the Sonata as well as a black 2010 Toyota Camry that has a personalized license plate that bares last name and first initial “ARABBI”. 

He has taken advantage of the 401k match at both jobs. And after working both jobs for the required ten years, has locked in a pension from both organizations: MIT and St. Elizabeth. It’s as if he had been working for twenty years.

He says the American winters are wearing on him and this year he might consider retiring both jobs and returning home. A better climate might be good for his aching joints. He uses a lot of sick time and goes home early from MIT often, leaving at 5 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. Having made upwards of $100k+ each year, he can afford to. When asked if life in Brazil will suit him, Rabbi's response is this: “I will live like a king there.”

Tags: MIT Feature Story | Documenting Higher Education | College Journalism



Choose to Reuse @ MIT

A few times each year, the Department of Facilities @ MIT holds a Choose to Reuse Event. Students and Faculty can bring usable and wearable items they no longer need.

Volunteers then sort the items in to neat segments making it easy for anyone who would like to reuse the items are able to navigate. Electronics, clothing, dorm furniture, art pieces etc. were all donated and most all items reuses/repurposed by the end of the day.

Below you can find a recap video of the event:

Tags: MIT Campus Event | Documenting Higher Education | Facilities Event Coverage



ML Cornwall | MIT Comparative Media Video Contest Winner

ML enter's the MIT Comparative Media Video Contest and wins in two categories: Best Documentary and Best Non-Undergraduate Entry.

William Charles Uricchio, MIT Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Principle Investigator of theMIT Open Documentary Lab and the MIT Game lab was on hand to present ML with both awards.

Prof. Uricchio also voted in the Video Contest, which had categories ranging from Best Animation, Best Experimental and Best Undergraduate Entry, to name a few. 

The short documentary film, which was ML's final in her Photography and Video for Journalists class at Harvard University,  chronicled ML's work life and was entitled: A Day in the Life.