While most MCLA students head home for the summer, Meghan Davidson '13 of Southwick, Mass., is boosting her college credit count - a move that will help her graduate a year ahead of her peers.
A sociology major with minors in social work and criminal justice, "I wanted to make next year a little easier by taking a class and doing an internship this summer," she said. "There's also a bunch of opportunities during the summer that might not be available during the year. There aren't as many students around, so it makes it that much easier to come across them."
Besides taking a course to fulfill a creative arts requirement, Davidson is learning the ropes at the Berkshire Juvenile Court. Her internship has her working alongside probation officers and doing such tasks as running files from court, helping to fill out paperwork and contacting clients.
In addition to the internship, she works as a resident area security monitor in Berkshire Towers, and in the Office of Admission, where her responsibilities include giving campus tours to prospective students.
Davidson says that this work - while not directly related to her ideal career with Massachusetts' Department of Children and Families (DCF) in foster care and adoption - helps her to develop the customer service skills she'll need.
"They're also keep me on my toes and, especially in Admissions, have taught me quick and polite thinking," she explained. "I also work in student development. That's teaching me how to work with different departments and is really honing my organizational skills. Because I am incredibly shy, all of my jobs are helping me to become more comfortable with myself and with larger groups of people."
During the regular school year, Davidson is active in PILLARS, the College's community service club, where she served as its president for the past two years. Her other campus involvement includes serving as a co-chair for the Berkshire All-College Relay for Life (a benefit for the American Cancer Society). And, she's a member of the planning committee for the Community Day of Service, as well as a co-coordinator of Building Bridges with Youth with MCLA's Center for Service.
"These activities are along the lines of what I want to go into, so it kind of backs up what we're learning in class," Davidson said. "It's also taught me that I don't want to hold an administrative position, ever. I'd rather be knee-deep in cases and working with people and clients."
She's hopeful that one of her professors who once worked with DSF will be successful in helping Davidson to secure an internship with the department next spring. That type of dedication to students is just one perk of being part of MCLA's campus community.
"I love that the College is small. I think it's fantastic that professors know their students' names and take the time to learn about them. The education becomes really personalized when professors take the time to make the work apply to what their students are interested in.
"MCLA is also so close to the community. I love that some of our professors teach classes about their everyday jobs. MCLA is very hands-on and provides opportunities early on to get out into your chosen field and to see if that's what you really want to do."