MCLA To Hold 2nd STEM Academy For Incoming Freshmen


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) next week will welcome 20 new students to campus a little early as they attend the Second Annual STEM Academy, Aug. 3 through 7.The five-day program is designed for incoming freshmen who plan to major in science or math, or who are interested in science.

The program, which will include a presentation by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut Catherine "Cady" Coleman, Ph.D., also will give the freshmen a sneak peek into what the next four years at MCLA will hold.

This year, eight participants are from Berkshire County, with seven coming from elsewhere in Massachusetts. The remaining five students are from New York State. According to Christopher Himes, STEM program manager, they will attend classes in chemistry, physics, biology and math, as well as those in psychology and environmental science, both of which were added to the Academy this year. 

The experience will give these freshmen a taste of the type of work they'll be doing as science majors, and allow them to discover what faculty love about their field.

"The idea is to help them explore what it is to be a science major," Himes said. "Last year, one student who was a fine and performing arts major switched to biology, after attending the Academy."

The students will work with "STEM Academy Fellows" - current or recently graduated MCLA science students - on skills they'll need to be successful in college; such as time management, organization, and ways to help them study and prepare for classes.

This year's fellows include 2013 STEM Academy graduates
Shelby Gauthier '17 of Clinton, Mass., Breana Gladu '17 of Adams, Mass., and Svetlana Morrell '17 of Stillwater, N.Y. In addition, Mikaelle Olivier '15 of Gardner, Mass., will return as a STEM Academy fellow, and Susan Bloom '16 of North Adams, Mass., also will serve as a fellow.

"The students who participated last year were very excited about the program," Himes said. "They're very excited about being able to provide experiences for the incoming group of students."

According to STEM Academy Coordinator Amanda Beckwith, "They want to pay it forward. They're very proud and feel thankful for what they experienced and the difference it made in their freshmen year by being connected to other students, knowing some of the faculty, and already being comfortable on campus. It gave them an edge in their freshman year."

In addition, resident program assistants will be Gabriella Prata '16 of Danbury, Conn., and Alison Gilbert '16 of South Windsor, Conn., as participants will live in the residence halls during the STEM Academy.

For more information, go to stemacademy .