Faces of Xavier


Mike Chiafulio, during Xavier's
recent Costa Rica trip.

Faces of Xavier
Mr. Mike Chiafulio

Mr. Mike Chiafulio is kind of a Man of All Seasons around Xavier - since 2004, he's been the founder of Xavier's robotics program, he's played at the CFX Coffeehouses, and just about every year now, he's led a group of students on an exciting trip to Costa Rica. Next week, we'll have video from the recent Science Symposium and Botball tournament, and - secret here - you can learn much more about the robotics team in the upcoming print issue of Xavier Magazine, due out in the next few weeks. For now, E-news gives you: Mike Chiafulio.

E-news: What year did you get to Xavier, how soon after did you start doing robotics?

Mr. Chiafulio: I started at Xavier in 2000 teaching Web Design and Advanced Applications. In 2004 Fr. Ciancimino asked me if there was another technology elective that could be added to what we already offered. I immediately thought of how cool a robotics class would be.

E-news: What was your first experience with robotics?

Mr. Chiafulio: In the summer of 2004, I was awarded an Excellence in Teaching Grant from Xavier, and I used it to travel to San Jose, CA, to attend the Global Conference on Educational Robotics. I used the knowledge I acquired there to start the class in 2005.   

How did last week’s Botball go?

Mr. Chiafulio:
It was a blast as usual. Mike Gapanovich and Mike Mondragon won the tournament.  

E-news: What do you think is the best aspect of the program?

Mr. Chiafulio: The best part about the class is that it simulates real world, professional collaboration. It's like no other class at Xavier There is no way to fake your way through it. It's great to see the success we have achieved when students dedicate themselves to the program.   

E-news: You seem to be a guy that would relate to the "whole person" aspect of teaching here at Xavier - you’re involved in a lot, you play at CFX coffeehouse, direct Kairos and are a good role model for guys here. What’s your take on the giving one’s whole self, whether on the student side or on the teacher side?

Mr. Chiafulio: On the student side, the guys who invest themselves fully in the life of the school are always the ones who you can tell are changed forever by their experiences here. It's awesome to see it. On the teacher side, I've taught at six other schools besides Xavier and I've never been surrounded by such talent and commitment as we have here. I am continually inspired by my colleagues to do more and to do better. That makes Xavier a special place. Also, there's great support here for good ideas. At Xavier whether it be robotics, the Final Cut Pro class and student film festival, the Science Symposium, new science labs, the Costa Rica trip--anything I have proposed that would add value to the student experience at Xavier, it has received the full support of the leadership of the school.