What sparked your interest in Saint Michael’s and what about Saint Michael’s made you want to attend?
I loved the homey feeling that I got. And everyone says it, but the sense of community. That’s what I was looking for, is something that felt right when I got here, my “home away from home.” I love that you can get a personal relationship with the professors and the students. The whole community works together. I toured a lot of schools, and this was the first school that I came to. My parents brought me sophomore year of high school, and I thought it was too early to start looking for colleges, so I was really mad. I remember sitting in McCarthy, arms crossed, head down. I was mad to be there, but I was looking around and I thought, this is actually pretty cool. Touring other colleges, I just kept coming back to this place. I actually visited three times and had the same amazing tour guide every time. On the third day, an accepted student day, I made my decision right then and there and took my picture with Mike the Knight. It just felt right.
What are you passionate about and how have you been able to explore that passion at Saint Michael’s?
Community service is a huge passion of mine. Getting to work with kids through MOVE or at the Boys and Girls Club with the community-engaged-learning class, which helped me to get my job at the King Street Center, have been amazing opportunities, as well as the service through Campus Ministry on those retreats. Those have been incredible both to have been a participant and a leader. I’m also passionate about projects, which sounds weird, but I love to be hands-on. I love DIY projects and getting things organized so having an internship that St. Mike’s is giving me credit for has been incredible. I’m doing an internship at an event planning company over the summer, and it’s phenomenal. I’ve been offered a job for post-grad already. St. Mike’s gave me the skills to blossom and flourish, and I’ve found my dream job.
How would you say you’ve been challenged and inspired by what you’ve done here?
I like a challenge, so I personally love when teachers challenge us and hold their standards high, because I like feeling that I have to work for something. And I think those have been my favorite classes. Maura D’Amore is an excellent professor, and she keeps her standards really high. And I just took a class, it was boring Research Methods, but Molly Millwood was phenomenal. She holds us to a high standard, and I think that helps us so much in our futures. I love being challenged like that. It’s those teachers that inspire me to do more and to work harder that have been my inspiration. I’m also inspired by the teachers that reach out. My summer research was actually brought to my attention by my professor, Valerie Bang-Jensen, and she asked, “I think you would be very qualified to do this, is this something you’re interested in?” I would never have given it a thought beforehand, but the fact that she showed interest and reached out got me excited about it, something I think again is only something you can get at small colleges.
Is there any one person that’s been the most influential?
There can never just be one! The first would be Patrick Standen. In my first year I took his Intro to Philosophy class and that’s where I learned to speak up. He’s a brilliant professor. He and I could talk outside of class about philosophy, which was something I was never exposed to in high school, and was just fascinating. Maura D’Amore helped me to create an Honors curriculum for my English class, Never Never Lands. We read children’s literature, and I absolutely loved it! She again pushes us and makes us work hard just like Molly Millwood, and I love them both for it. Reza Ramazani, who I had for Honors Macroeconomics, was such a joy to have class with, and made our class really engaging. I looked forward to his class every Tuesday and Thursday morning, which is a lot to say for an intro economics class. Then there are people who aren’t professors who are just inspiring. Jay, who worked in campus ministry, who’s no longer here but is still an influence on campus— he was inspiring. He reached out to me over the summer about the first year retreat, and that was incredible for me. Jay helped me to conquer my fear and to be a leader on that retreat, and that’s what led me to do it for LEAP. There’s also Beth, a dance teacher here. She is so kind and supportive, always constructive and an absolute joy to work with. She gave me an opportunity to choreograph part of the final performance for my class which was an amazing experience. I also had an upperclassman mentor, and I guess that’s my favorite part, when people take you under their wing, and give you that support to start and let you blossom on your own. Having an upperclassman friend who was willing to let me be shy and do my own thing and then help me to grow in confidence is what helped me here.
Why did you want to do summer research, and what is your project?
My professor reached out to me. I would never have thought of it otherwise, but I was thrilled that she did. We were chatting about what was going on in my life. I had just started my position at the King Street Center, tutoring and working with the kids from the community, and I was talking about how I felt that there was a lack of a focus on literacy, and what resources the kids did and did not have access to. I’m a psych major and an education minor, and we developed this project to look at bibliotherapy, which is about having kids read books they see themselves in, mirroring situations that they’re in, and then using their books to understand their emotions, to look at the situation and see possible ways of dealing with it. Our idea was taking those principles and informally getting those principles into afterschool programs, which have kids who don’t typically have access to these resources, often low income families. My project is all about getting books that kids would be interested in that have topics that are relevant to them into the programs, using books as a resource for kids who otherwise might not have access.
What would you say makes you unique?
Professor Bang-Jensen calls me “Task Master,” so if that gives you any indication… I’m really hard working and dedicated, and when I’m passionate about something, I’ll give it 110 percent. Working with kids and doing event planning are things that I absolutely love, and that I’ll put every second of my day into.