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Making a Difference

02/29/2012

Growing up in Revere, Mass., Jennifer Baptiste '14 spent time at the hospital where her parents worked. "Knowing that everyone there had a part in saving lives or helped mothers give birth fascinated me. I want to make a difference, just like them."

A biology major with a concentration in pre-med and a minor in Spanish, Baptiste (pictured left with Gov. Deval Patrick) aims to work as a physician's assistant after she earns her bachelor's degree. But her life's dream is to become an obstetrician/gynecologist.

In the meantime, Baptiste is making a difference throughout the campus and the greater community, whether it's to help clean up the City of North Adams or to inspire local youth to stay in school through MCLA's Pathways Program, where she serves as the organization's coordinator.

"Volunteering has helped me to understand the value of helping others," she explained. "We all make a difference one way or another, but the impact that a whole group can have in a community is amazing. Learning to interact with different people to obtain a common goal is definitely an educational experience within itself. Each person in a community is crucial to the well being of the community and, through volunteering, a community can never crumble."

In addition to her volunteerism, Baptiste works in the office of MCLA President Mary K. Grant, and is a teacher's assistant and a student ambassador. Previously, she was a resident advisor, and, last fall, she was a student speaker at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Center for Science and Innovation, where she met Massachusetts' governor, Deval Patrick.

Baptiste also is a proud member of the Nexxus step squad.

"I am Haitian and the youngest in my family," she explained. "I am going to be the first person to graduate in my family from a four-year college. I see myself as not only a student leader, but also an average student who takes pride in her school."

In summer 2013, she plans to participate in a study abroad program that will take her to travel to three different South American countries - Peru, Argentina and Chile. "My goal is to indulge myself into Latin culture and to become completely fluent in Spanish."

This semester, she most enjoys her anatomy and physiology class.

"I've been waiting to take this course since I've started at MCLA," Baptiste said. "Learning about the structure and function of how our body works is definitely something that I think everyone should be doing."

MCLA students are "extremely friendly," she said. "There is not a day I go by without saying hi to someone walking by.

"MCLA has definitely influenced me in the path that I have taken and made me more of a leader. This College has given me the confidence and the tools to excel at everything I do," Baptiste continued. "I recommend MCLA to anyone, especially those who want to grow as an individual, as well as a leader. MCLA prepares students for the real world while guiding them through all four years."