When a bus full of elementary or middle school students pulls up in front of the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology (MOST), Tino Laterza ’19, M.S. ’21 cannot help but smile. That is when Laterza, who serves as the museum’s director of guest services, feels most connected to the museum’s mission of educating the next generation of scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians. Every visit is an opportunity to spark a child’s curiosity and imagination. Best of all, Laterza says, no two days are ever the same.
Laterza is sometimes asked what drew him to this work. After earning a bachelor’s degree in management and leadership and human resource management and master’s degree in arts administration from Le Moyne, he could have chosen to take his career in a number of directions, including working for a large for-profit firm. Yet he made a conscious, deliberate choice to pursue work in the nonprofit sector. Laterza’s reply to such inquiries is this: Nothing is more important than service. The Frankfort, N.Y., native has worked with teenage students who feel alone, helpless, and alienated; brought art to people with disabilities, the elderly, and the homeless; helped clean and paint rooms for a battered women’s and children’s shelter; run clothing drives; and participated in Le Moyne’s Dolphins in Volunteer Efforts (DIVE) Day.
Each of those experiences has taught him to think differently, to exhibit compassion for others, and to start what he calls “a domino effect of positivity” that he is bringing with him to the MOST. Laterza’s broad portfolio of responsibilities there includes overseeing a majority of the museum’s revenue streams including admission, membership, group visits, theater ticket sales, gift shop revenue, facility rentals, among others, not to mention managing a staff of eight and an even larger cadre of volunteers. Not a moment goes by when he is not drawing on his Le Moyne education, whether it is a finer point of HR law that he learned from Professor of Practice Renée Downey, Ph.D., or the leadership skills he cultivated as a member of Le Moyne’s Student Government Association. However, what stays with him most from his time at the College is simply the idea that we all have a responsibility “to look out for one another, to care for one another, and to lift up one another.”
And so, every time a bus pulls up and he greets a new group of children to the MOST, he is reminded of what a gift it is to be able to make a difference in his community, work with like-minded people and stretch his creative muscles.
“My heart is with nonprofits,” he says. “I always want to work for an organization that is focused on a mission and not just the bottom line.”
This story is part of a series about Le Moyne alumni who are now working in the nonprofit sector.