When Alyson Carey '13 of Dudley, Mass., graduates next spring, she will leave MCLA with a diverse and rich educational experience from a college community that truly cares for her.
"MCLA will give you the one-on-one attention you need to succeed and achieve what you want while in college," Carey said. "There are also many opportunities here for jobs, internships, travel abroad programs and community service programs. If you want to attend a school that cares about you, MCLA is a great choice. The people here are amazing and MCLA is very affordable."
One thing that Carey - who majors in biology with a pre-medical concentration and a minor in psychology - loves about MCLA is its diverse student population.
"Coming from a primarily white town with a lower middle-class background, it is so beneficial to me to learn about others, who they are and where they came from. I have learned the value of different cultures, race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We all are so different, but together we do great things."
Actively involved with the MCLA community, Carey's many interests and endeavors include participation in the Leadership in Education, Action and Development (LEAD) Academy as a freshman.
"Then, my first semester at MCLA I volunteered for the Student-Teacher In-Class Support (S.T.I.C.S.) program run out of the Center for Service. I got to volunteer in a fourth grade science class at Sullivan Elementary. I loved it," Carey said. "At MCLA, I saw a chance to get more involved with student development while academically challenging myself."
She also serves as a resident advisor and is a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary. A member of the Student Government Association and the Residential Area Advisory Board, Carey learned that her niche and greatest impact at MCLA is found in her efforts to create community within the residential areas.
"This year I used the connections I made as a resident advisor to recruit people to help more within the Center for Service. As the program coordinator for S.T.I.C.S., I was able to not only build community at MCLA, but also with the Berkshire region," she explained.
"Volunteering teaches you about others, but more importantly teaches you about yourself. The communication skills, listening skills, patience and optimism you learn while volunteering is invaluable," Carey said. "Helping others is what helps to create a positive community. I have learned many things about myself through volunteering, and it has helped me grow into a better person so I can better educate and help others."
In April, she will present her work on Edith Wharton with two other students at MCLA's Annual Undergraduate Research Conference.
"We started our research when Professor Mary Levitt took us to the Berkshire Athenaeum and then had us tour Edith Wharton's mansion, the Herman Melville house, and Hawthorne's house," Carey said. "We got more ideas to help us develop our thesis and got to meet many people who know a lot about Wharton and the development of the Berkshires, since she lived here.
"I hope this experience will help with my research skills and help prepare me for graduate school. I am glad to be working on it with people that are so determined, hard-working and passionate about the project."
Future plans include an internship with the Berkshire Medical Center and a study abroad experience.
Her dream job is to work as a part-time pediatric nurse practitioner and nurse educator, and as a part-time professor for introductory science courses. So, after MCLA, she'll earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, before going on to graduate school.