As the president of MCLA's Multicultural Student Society (MCSS), Kayla Hollins '12 of Flushing, N.Y., brings culture to the campus through special events that feature different languages, dances, customs and food.
Her participation in the Society is just one of four ways Hollins stays active on campus. In addition to her work with the MCSS, she is the co-president of the Dance Company and an orientation leader. Last month, she attended a conference of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA).
At the NACA conference, Hollins and 15 other students from the College watched potential entertainers for the campus and talked with performance companies about coming to MCLA. "It was an exhilarating and exhausting experience," she said.
Hollins - a sociology major who minors in anthropology and health, as well as aging and society - gains much from her extracurricular involvement. Her work as an orientation leader, for example, has taught her how to be a leader.
"It was a pleasure to work with a great group of students and help the incoming freshman learn to love MCLA and this community as I do," she explained. "I gained leadership skills like public speaking and how to work under pressure. I also learned how to work with a variety of people and personalities, and how to keep smiling no matter how stressed, irritated or tired I may be."
Her MCLA experience has not been what she anticipated it would be.
"Before coming to MCLA, I expected to sit in lecture after lecture until graduation. I expected to write endless amounts of research papers and presentations. These four experiences proved to me that, at MCLA, students can learn a lot outside of the classroom," she said. "Being a part of clubs taught me a lot about myself, as well. All of these experiences offered at MCLA have helped me become a well-rounded person."
Her experiences also give Hollins the courage to move forward with her life, beyond graduation, as she pursues possible careers in higher education or gerontology.
Hollins decided to be a sociology major while still in high school.
"My parents noticed that I was very good with people and helping people, so they suggested I take a sociology course in high school. After that, I met the sociology professors at MCLA and knew that this was the major for me," she said.
Hollins chose MCLA because, like her high school, it features a smaller campus.
"As soon as I visited I fell in love with the scenery, as well as the people," she explained. "I ultimately decided to come to MCLA for two reasons - my academic scholarship and MCLA is one of the few schools around with academics focused on aging and the elderly. Now, the sense of community at this school is almost overwhelming! I walk five minutes to class and recognize almost everyone I walk past. I could have conversations with everyone I walk by. Who would not want that at college?? MCLA stands out as a close-knit community."