Before she joined the Business School faculty at St. Thomas Aquinas College, Professor Christine Cahill was a corporate attorney at an international law firm for 13 years. She started out at Winston & Strawn as an associate and later, in 2004, became a partner, specializing in corporate finance, lending, and investment funds.
“I thoroughly enjoyed practicing law, and once I made a partner, I set my sights on the next goal,” Christine says. “I realized that the aspects I enjoyed most about practicing law were explaining the law to clients and mentoring young associates. Teaching was a natural progression.”
Christine has been sharing her knowledge and experience with business students at STAC since 2009, teaching Business Law, Sports Law and Ethics, First-Year Seminars, and GMBA Legal Environment of Business. She is also the Assistant Dean of the Business School.
“The School of Business is creative and resourceful,” Christine says. “We teach analytical thinking, critical thinking, and communication skills, and then give students experiential learning opportunities to hone those skills.”
One example of a real-world learning experience that challenges students to put knowledge into action is the IACBE Student Case Study Competition, an event that Christine has served as an advisor for over the past seven years. Students tackle complex business issues and analyze organizations’ management styles, decision-making, legal and regulatory issues, and ethics. “It is a great learning experience because it allows students to apply all of their knowledge, analyze issues and present their findings and recommendations,” Christine says. IACBE’s first virtual competition was held in the fall of 2019 and STAC students took first place.
Studying abroad is another way that students connect learning to the real world and Christine found it rewarding to join students on a trip to Europe a few years ago. The group visited the Tower of London, the Peace Palace in The Hague, and many other cultural and business sites. Her next study abroad trip is this spring and she and a group of 15 students will tour Japan.
Experiential learning is such an integral part of business education that Christine has made it the subject of her current research. “It grounds students’ theory to real-world practice and allows them to be problem solvers,” she says. Her past research includes social equality and gender discrimination, business ethics, and communication styles.
Christine, who earned her Bachelor’s Degree in political science at Binghamton University and her Juris Doctorate at Indiana University School of Law, is the recipient of several faculty research grants and the Trustees Award for Excellence. In addition to her role at STAC, she is a board member of Child Care Resources of Rockland and president of the board of the Academy of Finance at North Rockland High School. The academy helps students earn college placements through business courses and experiences.
A New York native, Christine enjoys hiking, snorkeling, and traveling in her spare time, and recently returned from a family vacation to Hawaii where she took surfing lessons and visited Pearl Harbor. When she lived in Chicago for six years after completing law school, Christine became a devoted Chicago Cubs fan, and even named her dog Sammy Sosa after one of the team’s players.
Working in higher education is very rewarding for Christine who says that she learned from a mentor early on that the key to success is connecting with students and conveying one’s passion and knowledge. “Teaching students and watching them grow into successful, contributing citizens is amazing,” she says. “The students at STAC are so eager to learn. They are bright, resourceful, and gritty. They get the job done.”