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Campus activities inspire career path

05/28/2014

Recent graduate Devon O'Dowd '14 of Methuen, Mass., lists her professors and international travel among the highlights of her college career, but it was her participation on MCLA's Student Activities Council (SAC) that proved life-changing.

O'Dowd, a history major, joined SAC at the start of her freshman year, but it wasn't until her junior year that she realized she could "have a career in having fun" through student activities. As a result, she'd like to find a "dream job" in student development.

"I took me a long time to decide on a career, but when I was a student working in student development, I realized that was where I belonged," O'Dowd said.

As a senior during this past academic year, she served as SAC's Saturday Night Spotlight chair. In charge of planning weekend activities, her programming included events such as Bingo, bowling and outdoor movies.

"I have never seen people have so much fun at the spring concert! I am so proud to be part of the SAC family," she said. "I really have loved my time here at MCLA."

Looking back, she said MCLA's professors are "really top-notch."

"My professors really cared about me, not only academically but on a personal level. I have never felt like a number, and even in classes where I felt like I didn't stand out, they still remember my name a few semesters or even years later," she explained.

"I recently ran into a professor I had freshmen year and we had a lengthy conversation about my future plans. When it ended, I was shocked how much she remembered about me and my plans as a freshman," O'Dowd added.

"Everyone who works here wants you to succeed, and they will try to make sure that you do. I have never felt like a number, or felt that I could not reach out for help," she said. "No matter how many times I heard that on campus tours, at open houses and at the Accepted Student's Day that I came to as a high school senior, it was when I came here as a freshmen that I saw those points were actually true, and not just lines that people were saying to get my money."

O'Dowd participated in a number of high impact activities at MCLA. In addition to her work with SAC, she was a residence advisor and an orientation leader, participated in the Undergraduate Research Conference held yearly on campus, and volunteered for the annual Committee Day of Service.

Last year, she and other students traveled with history professor Dr. Anthony Daly to Ireland as part of a travel course. "I loved every minute I spent in Ireland, traveling from Belfast to Derry in Northern Ireland and then down to Dublin," O'Dowd said.

O'Dowd plans to work for a year, before starting graduate school.

"Looking back, MCLA really was "My College, Right from the Start," she added. "This small campus is a wonderful place to be, full of people who want to help you to be the best you that you can be. There is a clique here for everyone, and the students that go here help to create one of the most diverse and open-minded places I have ever been to."