As her high school graduation approached, Tess Favini '14 of Fitchburg, Mass., realized that it was time for a change. She wanted to be part of a more diverse student body than her Catholic school offered.
When Favini toured MCLA and met with staff in the admissions office, the welcoming atmosphere was something she had not experienced while visiting other campuses. "After my first visit I just got an overwhelming sense of positivity and acceptance from the campus," she said.
While MCLA offers small classes similar in size to those at her high school, the College also features students, faculty and staff who come from differing backgrounds and cultures, and with varied belief systems.
"It was exactly the change that I needed," Favini said. "I think that what I've gained so far has just been the value of being a blank canvas. You learn much more when you're completely open to everything. The MCLA community's openness and general friendliness makes it stand out from other colleges. I hope to gain a more open mind from attending college here."
An arts management major, Favini's interests include fine art, photography, antiques and theatre.
She plans to participate in the Berkshire Hill Internship Program (B-HIP), a structured summer internship course that helps to integrate theoretical concepts and real-world experience. An intensive 12-week program, B-HIP combines an internship component with a seminar in arts management, talk backs with the area's leading arts professionals and participation in cultural events throughout Berkshire County.
An aspiring theatrical artistic director or casting director, Favini hopes to bring her passion for the arts - as well as her optimism - to the MCLA community.
She also aspires to go on one of MCLA's annual trips to New York City, to attend the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference, the world's largest marketplace for the performing arts, and the top destination for arts administrators who want to experience the very latest in artistic performances from around the world.
At APAP, students meet with agents, go to showcases, and discuss scheduling and the cost to bring a wide variety of artists to campus for an MCLA Presents! performance. Back in the Berkshires, the students also play a role in helping local cultural organization plan their performing arts seasons.
"MCLA has so many internships and opportunities that other schools just don't have. My major is very new and MCLA has cutting-edge experiences and opportunities for arts management majors, while many other schools don't," Favini said. "I hope that these experiences will give me the hands-on experience that cannot be taught in a classroom."
She finds her MCLA professors to be "extremely approachable."
"I love the small class sizes. I like that my professors know me by name. It makes asking questions easy," Favini said. "I feel like I was placed in the right level classes and I feel that I am succeeding in all of them.
"MCLA has helped me mature as a person and discover my strengths and weaknesses," she continued. "My experience here will determine how I will succeed as an adult. Just being away from home for the first time has made me discover what is really important to me."