Staying on Track


Choosing to major in interdisciplinary studies was an easy decision for Will Dunbar '13 of Beverly, Mass. With concentrations in both music and art, this choice enables him to pursue his multitude of interests in a way that won't delay his graduation.

Because he took some time off from college before transferring to MCLA, Dunbar considers himself an "unconventional" student.

"MCLA is a very approachable school, from my experience. It was very easy for me as a transfer student to settle in, despite being on a different timeline than the other students," he said. "I decided to attend MCLA because they offered a program that would allow me to stay on track with my degree, while keeping the areas of interest that I had focused on from the school that I transferred from."

As a result, Dunbar - whose career goal is to become a professor - will graduate from MCLA with his bachelor's degree next December.

Besides his time in the classroom, this semester Dunbar began work as an intern in the PRESS gallery in downtown North Adams, where he's a gallery attendant, helps with installations and workshops, and posts entries on the letterpress blog.

"I am the guy who gets stuff done. I have been working with art professor Melanie Mowinski on the Web site and organization of PRESS, while at the same time learning tons about how printmaking is done and how a public art studio operates," Dunbar explained.

"It has already been an incredibly impacting experience - not only in the methods of printmaking - but also in the sense of what it takes to run and maintain a public studio," he added.

Mowinski, PRESS gallery founder, said Dunbar demonstrates many of the characteristics of someone who falls in love with the letterpress process: he likes to solve puzzles; he's able to concentrate and focus on fairly minute tasks; and he pays attention to detail.

"He asks questions and offer suggestions that are insightful and helpful, and gives me the opportunity to look at the project with different eyes, with the goal of making what we do more efficient and stronger," Mowinski said.

According to Dunbar, "Music and art are what make us human. It is an expression of what it is to be human and alive in the world today. It is important."

A member of MCLA's outdoors club, Dunbar also serves as a teaching assistant for a music theory class, and this spring will visit Japan with his travel study class.

"MCLA has shown me how to take on as much as I can academically and structure my time accordingly," Dunbar said. "It is a lot more fun to take on more rather than less when you are in the Berkshires. From this experience I have gotten very good at pushing myself to work and have gained a greater ability to structure my time effectively."

What's the best part of being an MCLA student? According to Dunbar, it's the small class sizes.

"You will be on a first-name basis with all your professors, advisors and the staff," he said. "It is a very approachable school - you will have no problem getting in touch with the people you need to get the ball rolling for things like financial aid, study abroad, registration, or anything else you may need during your time at MCLA."