Options News

Founder’s Feature – June Edition


Throughout the academic year, Melinda Giampietro, Options Founder/President, will share some of her favourite things in her monthly Founder’s Feature. Melinda loves reading, data, research, and following academic and adolescent news around the world.

June Book of the Month

My husband and I traveled to Sicily in May for a belated 25th anniversary trip. It was amazing. When traveling, I like to read historical fiction set in the places that we are visiting. In this case, I enjoyed Lisa Scottoline’s Loyalty. It explores the origins of the Sicilian mafia by weaving several stories together. There is a kidnapping, an agricultural empire, and a madhouse. It delves into the stories, myths, and superstitions of the period while also explaining Sicily’s history. While we were there, I was fascinated to learn about the different groups who ruled the land over centuries and to see how those cultures and influences remain today.

June Recipe of the Month

Ice cream is a food group in our family. It’s allowed at all meals. So, I was thrilled to learn that Sicilians eat their dairy-free version, granita, for breakfast with a warm brioche roll and whipped cream. My favourite flavour was espresso and my husband’s was pistachio; although, almond is the traditional Sicilian flavour. I have been playing around with it at home to recreate it for our summer guests. It’s so easy.

Here is my favourite recipe so far: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/espresso-granita↗

June Concert of the Month

I was so excited to see Sarah McLachlan in Vancouver for her music school fundraiser. As someone who attended multiple Lilith Fair concerts, I consider her music part of my “coming of age” story. I’ve been trying to explain its impact to my younger staff members. For women in my generation, we were expected to do it all: use our degrees, raise families, climb the corporate ladder, be fashionable and fit, travel, and build on the foundation the generations before us worked hard to establish. It was a tall order, and I think Lilith Fair reminded us that we were only going to conquer it if we banded together. It was a great show. I loved how she told the story behind “Adia.” It was also great to hear “Beautiful Girl,” “Song for my Father,” and “Ice Cream” live.

Article of the Month

We spend so much time in the spring helping our students decide which post-secondary institutions to attend. For some, it is an easy decision. For others, it is a real struggle. I found real value in the perspective of Wesleyan’s president↗, Jeremy M Lang. He argues, “Choosing a college based on where you feel comfortable is a mistake. The most rewarding forms of education make you feel very uncomfortable, not least because they force you to recognize your own ignorance.”

I found his approach inspirational, asking students to think about the personal growth that occurs in the four years of university.

While I don’t think this is the right approach for every student, I did like the idea of encouraging some of our independent thinkers to follow this argument: “That’s what young people checking out schools should really be looking for: not a place merely to fit in, but a place to practice freedom in good company.”

June Elite Achiever of the month

During our May professional development day, we were so lucky to have a presentation from Dr. Kendra Coulter. I really enjoyed getting to know Dr. Coulter. She is a full professor in Management and Organizational Studies (MOS) and coordinator of the new Animal Ethics and Sustainability Leadership (AESL) program↗ at Huron University College – the first program of its kind in the world.

Her enthusiasm and genuine nature will surely make the new AESL program a success. She is also an author; her latest book is Defending Animals: Finding Hope on the Front Lines of Animal Protection with The MIT Press, and her first novel, The Tortoise’s Tale, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2025. We can’t WAIT to read it.

Graduation Gifts

I love everything about graduation season. This year, I’m going to highlight some of my favourite books for high school graduates. They are very diverse, and I am hopeful you can find one just right for your graduate (or someone special to you who is graduating).

Books for Graduates

Stay True↗ (for everyone)

by Hua Hsu

When in Doubt, Play Dead↗ (for everyone)

by Ally Burguieres

The Algebra of Happiness↗  (for the business student)

by Scott Galloway

Originals  (for the out of the box, independent thinker)

by Adam Grant

The Genius of Women (for all the girls out there)

by Janice Kaplan

Gmorning, Gnight!  (for the student who needs a little motivation)

by Lin-Manuel Miranda, illustrated by Jonny Sun

Don’t Worry↗ (for the student who struggles with anxiety)

by Shunmyo Masuno

1000 Places To See Before You Die↗ (for the adventurer)

by Patricia Schultz 

Assume the Worst↗ (for the students who like humour)

by Carl Hiaasen

There’s Always This Year↗ (for the students who love sports)

by Hanif Abdurraqib

Dreyer’s English↗ (for potential English and Humanities majors)

by Benjamin Dreyer

For more move-in essentials and graduation gift ideas, see our teen holiday gift guide↗. Remember, too, to follow along on our Instagram page @optionssolutions! Happy summer!

To read more Founder’s Features, check them out under the Options News↗ category.

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