Did you know that the CEO of Wawa went to Villanova? Or that NASA astronaut Andrew M. Allen is a Villanovan? Villanova has a network of over 123,000 alumni, many of whom have gone on to do incredible things. They have stories to tell, advice to share, and amazing memories of their own Villanova experiences. In this column, we will share their stories, both of their time here at Villanova and beyond.
This week, we feature Roxanne Chalifoux. In 2015, Chalifoux gained national media attention as the “crying piccolo girl” after Villanova lost to North Carolina State in the second round of the NCAA tournament. She appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and was even immortalized as a bobble head. We caught up with Chalifoux to learn about what that experience and the rest of her time at Villanova was like and find out what she’s been up to since.
The Villanovan (TV): What do you do now?
Roxanne Chalifoux (RC): I am currently in my third year of optometry school at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University. I am scheduled to graduate in May 2019. I take my first Board exam next week, and then I have a year of traveling the country for my extern rotations.
TV: If you could be a Villanova student again for a day, what would you do?
RC: If I could be a Villanova student again, I would take full advantage of the dining halls for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’d probably study in Falvey after getting a Holy Grounds coffee and Biscoff cookies. I’d go to Mendel and visit the sea urchin lab for a little bit since I really miss working there. I’d finish off the day with a late-night snack of chicken fingers and mac n’ cheese from Second Storey.
TV: Do you have a life motto?
RC: I feel like I live my life through quotes, but probably my favorite is “turn the page.” It reminds me that with the end of every bad day, there is a new beginning and with every good day, there is still more work to be done.
TV: In 2015, you went viral and gained national media attention as “crying piccolo girl” after Villanova lost to NC State and missed out on the Sweet 16. What was that experience like?
RC: The Piccolo Girl experience was truthfully overwhelming. I live a very quiet and private life and being thrown into the spotlight certainly had some perks, but negativity too. When I look back on it, I stay focused on the positive aspects because I made some genuine, once-in-a-lifetime memories. I had incredible support from my family, friends, and Villanova as a whole, and I couldn’t have made it without everyone.
TV: Where were you when Villanova won the Championship in 2016?
RC: I was in Houston at the game! It was conveniently not a busy time in optometry school, so I took a quick vacation and watched the Cats win it all!
TV: What was the most surprising thing you learned after you graduated?
RC: After I graduated, I definitely learned a lot about the “real world.” Probably the most surprising thing I learned was how even being in different cities and with different niches in life, my friendships with Villanova friends have gotten stronger. When you graduate, it’s hard to know what the future will throw at you and what you’ll keep from college, and I’m grateful to say the connections I made are lifelong.
TV: What’s your go-to CampCo order?
RC: My go-to CampCo order, which I wish I had right now, is a cheesesteak with American, Old Bay fries, and a chocolate shake.
TV: What’s your best piece of advice for a current Villanova student?
RC: I know you hear it all the time, but college goes by so quickly and there really is nothing else quite like it. Treasure the late nights, whether you’re studying or with your best friends for a night out. Work hard and do your best. You’ll make mistakes, but pick yourself up and learn from them. Life after Villanova will be very different, but it certainly isn’t bad. College is the means to an end, so make it the best journey it can be.
TV: What’s your favorite Villanova memory?
RC: I don’t know how I could ever pick just one Villanova memory but I’ll try—I think I’d lump all the post-season tournaments together. I made some really special memories with the band and some of my best friends by attending the Big East tournaments. The NCAA tournament in 2015 may have ended a little early, but I can definitely still call it memorable.
This interview was conducted via email and has been edited for length and clarity. To nominate an alum to be featured in a future edition of ‘Where Are They Now,’ email firstname.lastname@example.org.