Berkshire Museum Fond of Hiring MCLA Grads
MCLA saw a need for arts administrators and launched its unique arts management degree program just over a decade ago. Today, our graduates fill positions at arts venues throughout the Berkshires, and the Berkshire Museum is no exception. Its employees include Victoria Page ’16, Lo Sottile ’12 and Kristina Alexander ’16.
Students Broadcast to Campus and Beyond via Beacon Web News
They’re on television screens in the cafeteria, in the Campus Center, and also online, delivering MCLA’s news to an ever-growing audience, with increasing recognition. Samantha Kniskern ’18 and Dan Wohler ’17 are the students behind Beacon Web News, which broadcasts each Wednesday.
MCLA adds Public History Minor
According to Katherine Rowell ’17, MCLA’s public history minor is providing her with a solid foundation on which she can build her master’s degree, as she pursues admission to graduate programs in history museum studies, history and archives management, and public history.
Mac Lab Supports Creative Technology
Our new, state-of-the-art Mac Lab provides a learning environment that allows students to experience a platform that is an industry standard for creative art professionals, and accommodates the growing need for a dedicated resource to support graphics design and film editing classes.
Alumna Promotes Sustainability through Blog
For the past few months, Kayla Degnan ’15 has reduced her personal trash to what she can fit into a jar, which attracted some attention. “That’s why I created the ‘Simply Sustainable Site.’ I wanted to share my journey in the hope that people could relate to me, and be inspired to begin their own zero-waste journey.”
MCLA Shares Design Thinking Practices at National Conference
Last spring, Zachary Feury ’16 took an integrating design thinking course. Now the project facilitator for the Feigenbaum MCLA Leads Initiative, he recently joined Dr. Jake Eberwein to speak on the subject. “Design thinking requires a student to apply everything they’ve learned across the disciplines for a liberal arts education, into a project that is tangible.”
Students Prepare for First Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge
Nicole Hall ’18, Elizabeth Dawson ’18 and Daniel Heinen ’18 may study in diverse academic fields at MCLA, but all three are among the students who plan to pitch their original and inventive ideas to area business leaders next month, at the culmination of the College’s first-ever Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge.
Downtown Design Lab a ‘Game-changer’
Erin D’Entremont ’17 is among the students who take a class in MCLA’s new Design Lab, on Main Street in North Adams. “I really enjoy the fact that we're studying the North Adams community, off campus, in a space within the community we’re learning about. It allows for a more immersive learning experience.”
Ski Club Enjoys Snowy Season
MCLA Ski Club members like Christopher Gamble ’19 are enjoying some great skiing this year as they introduce others to the sport. The club’s goal is to spread the love of skiing and boarding. Although it can be a rather expensive sport, students who ski with the club can enjoy a day on the slopes at a much lower cost.
Beacon Web News Presents First Spanish-language Report
Karen Canela ’20 recently reported the campus’s first-ever news story in Spanish last week, on Beacon Web News. Looking ahead to future stories, “I’m trying to find some that are relevant today, and work for both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking students.”
Class Trip Changes Career Course
As a freshman, Rachel Durgin ’18 thought she had her career all figured out. However, a trip to South Florida that first year at college changed everything, and she switched to environmental studies the following semester. “The challenge is what makes it interesting: I do not think I could ever lose interest.”
Freshman Engaged in Politics for Positive Impact
Jacob Vitali ’20 served an internship in the office of State Rep. Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica), before MCLA. “Too often, I’ve heard people around my age say that politics don’t matter. I couldn’t disagree more. So much of the change we seek is possible if we organize, advocate and, most importantly, vote.”
New Alum in Management Position at New England Newspapers
At New England Newspapers, Gary Lavariere ’16 oversees the circulation department for three daily newspapers and one free publication. “A large part of my decision to go to MCLA was the affordability, but I ended up getting so much more. My experiences at the College have shaped my professional success in the work world.”
Science Major Prepared for Career with ‘Amazing’ Experiences
Kennedy Valois ’17 said it is through teaching others that the environment might be improved. “There are so many amazing places, ecosystems and species on our planet. I am very passionate about conservation because I strongly believe that all species have a right to this Earth just as much as we do, and deserve a chance.”
Alumna Earns Master’s from Harvard, Now at Dana-Farber
Alexandra Nichipor ’12 said her MCLA professors prepared her well for Harvard by holding her to a high standard and by promoting critical thinking. “MCLA encourages fresh perspectives and unique ways of viewing old problems. At Harvard, I was willing to take intellectual risks and make connections between ideas.”
As a peer advisor, Ritshly Bissereth ’19 is assisting a group of freshmen from this year’s Class of 2020 as they adjust to life at college. “It was a good opportunity for me to do something that was community service-based, and help people through the First Year Experience (FYE) program.”
MCLA is the first and only institution out of the nine universities in the Massachusetts State University System to offer a new program that allows business students to graduate in three years, instead of four. Its general business concentration allows flexibility to earn a business degree that meets students' needs in a shortened time frame.
Students Explore South Florida’s Ecosystems
Kayaking through a mangrove forest, exploring cypress domes and observing wildlife such as manatees, alligators and crocodiles in their natural habitats were just a few of the activities a group of environmental studies majors experienced when they took a class field trip to southern Florida over their winter break.
FPA Professor Leads Arts Integration Field
Her research and work at MCLA led Dr. Lisa Donovan to realize “there is not another place that has the cultural and arts assets like we do, and the openness in terms of what we could create. We should be a national model for regional collaboration in arts education in rural areas. We have everything we need. We just need to connect the dots.”
MCLA, Local Community Give Back
Johnathan Chery ’17 was one of the many MCLA students who volunteered on Monday at the 24th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, which included projects on campus and at sites throughout region. “Giving back to the community is something that is essential. It helps to make this world a better place.”
Business Major Aims for International Career
When Drasana Johnson ’17 envisions her future, she sees herself working somewhere out of her comfort zone, and in a challenging environment that offers the opportunity for advancement and adventure. “International business is something that attracted me because I’m always in the mood for something new, whether it’s a scenery, food, or even people.”
Alumnus Makes Community Involvement a Priority
Through his work with MCLA and in his personal life, Chris Hantman ’14 has made a practice of being involved in the community. Last summer, he completed hours of training to enhance that effort. “I wanted to learn more about the community, and be able to better connect the wonderful people of Northern Berkshires to the countless and under-utilized resources.”
Alumnus Prepares Students for Film Careers
With more than 20 years in the animation and entertainment industry, Leonardo Quiles ’16 is sharing his knowledge of the film industry at MCLA. This semester, he’ll teach an introductory course on animation to include a variety of projects, including those with hand-drawn, stop-motion and computer animation. “It’s not just Saturday morning cartoons.”
Psychology Grad Heads to Ireland for Master’s
Now working on her master’s degree in psychology at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, Tanelle Ciempa ’16 aims for a career as a researcher of behavior and crime patterns for the FBI. “My freshmen year I would have never imagined that I would be accepted into a top graduate school, and that I would travel halfway across the world to attend it.”
Freshman Excels on Go Cart Racing Circuit
Courtney Crews ’20 selected MCLA in part so she could continue her passion of go cart racing. The biology major, whose concentration is allied health, is one of just a few women to participate in this male-dominated sport. “I’m glad I chose MCLA. I can continue my job. I can still race when I want to.”
New FPA Prof Brings Love of Theatre and Teaching
Andrea Williams combines her love of teaching with her passion for the theatre, history and sewing for her costume design-focused career. “I want to teach students to be competitive in the field, whether they want to go to graduate school or get out and get to work,” she said. “Being at MCLA gives me the chance to help grow what I love.”
Biology Major Reports Successful First Semester
Months before he first stepped foot on campus, Matthew Gilbert ’20, a biology major who aspires to a career in medical technology, helped to develop a medical device to improve the lives of others. The idea resulted in a patented pair of sunglasses that helps visually impaired people put eye drops into their eyes.
Sociology Major Wins National Award
Alyssa St. Franc ’19, who recently received the Society State of Mind Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success, says her life’s career calling is to work as a school social worker. “My ideal career would allow me be to be influential in the lives of youth, to let them know that their dreams are achievable.”
Journalism Student Jumpstarts Newspaper Career
Mitchell Chapman ’18 is one of several MCLA journalism students who staff the news page design desk at The Berkshire Eagle. According to Kevin Moran, vice president of news at New England Newspapers, “They have the skills and the talent to do this work, and what you see every day … is their news design work product.”
Pittsfield Business Owner Earns ‘Dream’ Degree
KidZone owner Susan Robert ’16 is one of 20 students who just finished their Bachelor of Arts degrees in interdisciplinary studies for early childhood educators this month, through MCLA’s accelerated degree completion program. “We made it,” she said. “MCLA made it possible.”
Junior Creates Mentoring Program to Aid Local Youth
Rebecca Godbout ’17 created the “Colegrove Mentoring Program” this semester.The experience was not a first for her. Last year, she co-created KEEP (Keeping the Elderly Engaged Program). At Colegrove, she coordinates the efforts of 25 volunteers. “The connections they have created in a few short weeks are absolutely amazing.”
MCLA Community Members Honored for ‘Neighborlie’ Efforts
Kayla LaVoice ’17 and Chris Hantman ’14 were among the MCLA community members to be recognized by the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition for their volunteer service in the region. Hantman said, “I want to leave my community better than when I found it. I want my neighbors to be happier for me being here.”
Students to Decorate Christmas Trees for Habitat for Humanity
Calling all creative students with the spirit of holiday giving: come make an ornament to decorate some miniature Christmas trees in the Marketplace this Thursday, Dec. 1, 12-5 p.m. The trees will be auctioned off this Saturday at the Christmas Tree Showcase during Williamstown’s annual Holiday Walk, to benefit our local Habitat for Humanity.
New Prof Specializes in Natural Resource Economics
Originally from Zambia in southern Africa, economics professor Dr. Chali Nondo was a civil engineer who discovered his love of teaching while training others in construction. “I want students to know that I believe in their ability to succeed; and therefore, they must develop a strong will to persevere while following their dreams.”
Alumna Pursues Master’s Degree in Athletic Training
With a dream to work with college athletes at a Division I school, Gabriella Prata ’16 recently headed to Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. There, she began work on her master’s degree in athletic training, for which she was well prepared. “The biology program at MCLA was phenomenal,” she said.
Science Educator Named to Jorge Professorship in Education
As MCLA’s newly appointed Evelyn H. and Arlindo Jorge Professorship in Education, Dr. Nick Stroud says he aims “to support and encourage excellent science education in local public schools, positively impact the science learning experiences of undergraduates, and foster a love of science in current and future teachers.”
Alumnus Entertains Crowds in NYC
When Bengey Asse ’06 began his career at MCLA, he was the only DJ on campus, which provided a unique opportunity for experience in his field. Today, he continues to bring that distinctive flair to his work in New York City. “I love to see people happy, clapping and dancing along to the music I select for them.”
Professor Studies Shakespeare during Sabbatical
Dr. Rosanne Denhard is off to London again this month to gain additional perspective on Shakespeare to benefit her students next semester. “The intellectual and creative adventures of eclecticism, and constant study and exploration, are vital to the interdisciplinary focus of my scholarly life and teaching practice dedicated to liberal arts education.”
Journalism Students Contribute to Local Election Night Coverage
Emma Monahan ’18 was one of seven journalism students who headed to the Berkshire Eagle on election night to help with the newspaper’s live, online coverage. “This was my first time in a professional newsroom, and it was different than what I imagined,” she said.
Diverse Institutions Collaborate on Suffragist-themed Project
During this presidential election year, a group of our faculty and students joined others from another university across the country to collaborate, converse and create art. Together, they looked at the Suffragist movement and the impact of Susan B. Anthony. The results are on display through Nov. 20 in the exPRESS gallery.
Alumnus Enjoys National Archives Position
As an archivist in the cartographic branch of the National Archives, Corbin Apkin ’13 works with maps, charts, architectural drawings and blueprints. “Being able to work hands on with records that mean so much to our history and tell the story of our past is an amazing experience. I can't imagine doing anything else.”
Student's Research Published in Academic Journal
As a junior, Sara Peck ’17 of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., conducted a study and co-authored an article about her findings with her professor, Dr. Thomas Byrne. Now a senior, her work was published in a recent issue of the Behavioral Processes journal.“The experience gained by this opportunity is priceless to me,” she said.
Student Directs Fall Play
It was a first for both MCLA and Brianna McDermott ’17 when she directed this fall’s production of The Best of Everything on our Venable Theater’s main stage. “Now that I have directed a production, I can definitely see myself committing to a profession like that in the future.”
Double Major Serves Two Internships
The opportunity to have two very different internship experiences made it clear to Kaitlin Wright ’18: her future career path leads to a life devoted to public service. While she plans to start out by running for city council in her hometown after she graduates, ultimately, she is aiming for the White House.
Freshman Aims for Broadcast Career
Karen Canela ’20 joined her sister, Kircys Canela ’18, as an MCLA student this semester. Broadcast media is her passion: she envisions becoming a news anchor. “I want to keep people aware of issues that are prevalent in today’s world. To me, that’s all that matters.”
MCLA’s ‘Supercomputer’ an Invaluable Research Tool
Dr. Elizabeth Hartung traveled to China this summer to share research data generated from MCLA’s supercomputer. Acquired in 2010 through a partnership with Nuclea Biotechnologies, this supercomputer has been used for projects by members of MCLA’s mathematics, biology, physics and chemistry departments.
Freshman Aspires to Teach English Literature
Inspired by her high school English teachers and the great impact they had on her, Amanda Botelho ’20 has decided to follow their examples as she double majors in secondary education and English – with a concentration in literature. She also participates in our 4+1 program.
Alumnus to Return to Campus with Fashion Show, Concert
During his senior year at MCLA, Anthony Barbosa ’15 helped lead the Trailblazers as captain for the men’s basketball team. Now, the sociology graduate is helping others through fashion, music, sports and community. “American Pyramids is not just about fashion and music. We are really here to support communities and help the youth.”
Bahamian Baseball Player Joins Trailblazers
“I decided to attend MCLA not only because of the great program I know Coach Gladu has in store for the team, but also because of the feeling I got when I set foot on campus during my first visit here,” said psychology major Schamal Forbes ’20.
Biology Prof Excites Young Students about Science
Biology professor Dr. Ann Billetz often can be found sharing her time and talents with members of the greater community. “I love biology. I love science, and it’s fun to see little kids excited about science. Little kids who are excited turn into college kids who are excited.”
Students Throng to Workshop Series on Election Strategies
A standing-room-only crowd of students recently gathered at the first of two “Punch Bowl” workshops held in Murdock Hall, which focus how to decipher the rhetorical techniques and strategies used by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during this presidential election.
Shanghai Students Attend MCLA
Tianlu Chen, a student at China’s Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, decided to study at MCLA after seeing our website’s home page: “There’s tons of useful information, and you certainly feel the welcoming atmosphere and passion.” Now on campus for the fall semester, “The professors and my classmates here are amazing.”
Freshman Aims for Medical Career in Africa
Issa Jalloh ’20 grew up in Sierra Leone, Africa, before moving to the U.S. as a teen. Now he’s pursuing his biology degree with the ultimate intent of returning to his homeland to practice medicine. In the meantime, he’s enjoying life at MCLA, and playing soccer for the Trailblazers.
Senior Previews Her ‘Dream’ Career at Tanglewood
Rebecca Patterson ’17 spent her summer serving an internship at Tanglewood. Back on campus, she’s writing her honors thesis on “Youth Engagement in Symphony Orchestras.” She said, “I love this organization, and I'm going to apply for every job they have available when I graduate.”
After Growing Up Around the World, Freshman Attends MCLA
Ava Zigmand ’20 is an American who grew up in Taiwan, the Dominican Republic, China, Egypt and India. An environmental studies major, she looks forward to her classes, playing intramural sports, joining clubs – such as those that involve hiking, animals and the environment – making lifelong friends, and exploring North Adams.
Junior, Alumni to Perform at MoCA Music Fest
Izzy Heltai '18 and Secret Creature will perform on Friday at MASS MoCA’s Freshgrass Festival. A junior, he those in his contemporary folk band are just a few MCLA community members whose music is produced by Sounds and Tones Records.
Musical Theatre to Take Center Stage for Freshman
For the past four years, Koree Woodley-Adjei ’20 of New York City, N.Y., has been an active member of the Harlem Vocal Ensemble. At MCLA, she looks forward to joining the Allegrettos, the sign language and filmmaking clubs, the Black Student Union, and maybe even women's lacrosse!
Alumna Aims for Career as a Clinical Psychologist
Nicole Hansen ’16 is pursuing her master’s degree at The College of Saint Rose, to become a clinical psychologist. In addition to her internship, “The best thing about the psychology program at MCLA is that it encourages students to discover their interests by offering a wide variety of classes.”
Raised in Mexico City, Freshman Looks Forward to MCLA
Sebastian Phillips ’20 will bring his love of soccer to MCLA when he joins the Class of 2020. But despite being one of the best things he takes away from his home in Mexico City, Mexico, this talented athlete says he plans to forgo soccer for the theatre.
College Resources Prepared Alumna for Success
How did Abigail Lucas ’16 find her online marketing job? She used Google, of course! She’s using her degree in business administration and concentration in marketing to ensure that her clients’ websites, blogs, online listings and other social media rise to the top of Internet search engines.
It's All Here: First Year Experience
New students will jump into the MCLA experience with a variety of activities that not only will immerse them in college, but help them discover what life and learning at MCLA is all about. Activities include the 22nd hike up Mt. Greylock, which illustrates the heights they can reach.
A Guide to Catching Pokémon at MCLA
With millions of users worldwide, Pokémon GO has been getting people moving in hopes of catching them all and becoming a Pokémon master. The augmented reality game allows users, or trainers, to track Pokémon and catch them using Poké balls they’ve collected. Here's a guide--map included--to Pokémon-hunting on campus.
MCLA Alumnae Teach at Summer Program for Berkshire Museum
Three alumnae spent the summer teaching area youth about science through the Berkshire Museum’s GSK Science in the Summer™ program.Elementary school students worked together to construct experiments and see how their creations reacted, explained Courtney Keefe ’16. “We built electroscopes, string instruments, circuits and race cars!”
MCLA is ‘Where I Needed to Be’
Being part of the women’s soccer team proved to be pivotal to Paige Fairman ’16. “They helped me overcome and accomplish so many things through my four years, both academically and personally. … I became a member of so many different honor societies, and I graduated summa cum laude.”
Future Teachers Embrace 4+1 Program
MCLA is pleased to offer this second story in a series of student profiles about our incoming Class of 2020. This week we introduce two freshmen who will participate in our new 4+1 program, Jade Schnauber ’20 of Pittsfield, Mass., and Morrison Robblee ’20 of Hopkins, Minn.
Admissions Expands Reach with New Programs, Projects
Assistant Director of Admission Dayne Wahl ’09 is among the many alumni who staff our Office of Admission. “It’s great to be able to share my stories, friends’ stories, and current students’ stories about MCLA. I truly love MCLA, and it’s a hidden gem," he said. "I love sharing it and bringing it to new places.”
Musician, Pilot Ready to Join Class of 2020
MCLA is pleased to offer this first story in a series of student profiles about our incoming Class of 2020. We are proud to introduce just a few of the many accomplished and diverse students who belong to this distinctive group as they begin their MCLA careers, including Trevor Wheelock ’20.
Alumna Finds Dream Jobs in the Music Industry
After she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, with concentrations in business administration and music, Brittany Kish ’14 found work with CakeMix Recording and iHeart Media in Dallas, Texas. At MCLA, “I was taught not only the knowledge of the music, art, and entertainment industry, but how to get there.”
CSSE Promotes Alumna’s Success
Sherley Jules ’15 will head to Washington, D.C., this fall to begin a master’s of social work program at Howard University. She’ll also start an internship, working with youth and the foster care program at a local courthouse. “It’s a lot on my plate, but MCLA prepared me for the best.”
History Major Attends Historic DNC
While much of the country watched the Democratic National Convention (DNC) from their living rooms, Amber Coombe ’17 was in the Wells Fargo Center. The experience, she said, was transformative. “The chance to be a part of this historic convention was beyond surreal.”
Two Interns, Two Stories, One B-HIP
Patrick Engle ’16 is serving his B-HIP internship at the Clark Art Institute, working with its graphic design team. In addition, “the classroom work, group outings and visits from professionals in the field are a tremendous learning experience that I know I will draw from years from now.”
New VP to Orchestrate a Culture of Philanthropy
Over the years, Mary Hastings observed MCLA’s growing visibility as the campus gained repeated recognition. Now, as our new vice president of institutional advancement, she will play a key role in supporting the College’s success.
MCLA Adds Biochemistry, a Field of the Future
Over the past 100 years, advances in the biochemistry field have been staggering. Today, it’s a very exciting time to study this laboratory-based science. With our new biochemistry concentration poised to roll out this fall, it’s also a great time to be a science major at MCLA.
Physics Prof Participates in Cutting-Edge Research
It’s summer, and for physics professor Dr. Emily Maher, that means one thing: another opportunity to spend some extended time working with scientists and engineers from across the globe on the MINERvA experiment at Fermilab in Chicago. Their cutting-edge research is shedding some light on one of the most mysterious particles in the universe – the neutrino.
Region’s Cultural Programs Introduce Youth to MCLA
Our students and young alumni are a big reason why many of our undergraduates – like Sapphire Holland ’20 – choose MCLA. Her relationships with MCLA alumni who work with the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition were an important part of her decision: their happiness with their educational experience led her to check out MCLA.
After Discovering Her Passion, Alumna Eyes Ph.D.
Jenna O’Connor ’16 was accepted into five of the six graduate programs she applied to, and this fall will head to Boston to pursue her master’s degree in gender/cultural studies at Simmons College. “MCLA nurtured my confidence, and I am now able to apply everything I’ve learned in my majors and minor to my everyday life.”
Internship Decided Alumna’s Future
For Sierra Bailey ’16, an opportunity to serve an internship at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction changed the course of her career. “I did a lot of one-on-one and group work with the inmates. I loved hearing their stories and trying to figure out how I could help them.
Board Approves Applied Behavior Analysis Coursework
Psychology students like Sara Peck ’17 who desire careers in applied behavior analysis benefit from a recent approval by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.®, which recently approved a four-course sequence at MCLA; an eligibility requirement to take the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst Examination®.
J.K. Rowling Selects Local Setting for New Story
First there was Nathaniel Hawthorne, then Herman Melville, and later, Edith Wharton. Now, J.K. Rowling has claimed her own connection to the Berkshires, placing her newest story in a location steeped in MCLA tradition, and with a sweeping view of our campus. What better place for Ilvermorny than Mount Greylock?
Senior Looks Forward to Career as a Historian, Educator
With the goal of being a positive influence on others and as his graduation grows closer, Jason Adams ’17 of Carmel, N.Y., eagerly anticipates embarking on a career as a high school history teacher. At MCLA, “I will be better prepared as a historian and an educator than I could have been anywhere else.”
Junior Expands Leadership Skills at National Conference
After attending this summer’s NEW Leadership New England conference, where she met with a number of successful women, including political leaders, Brianne O’Rourke ’18 is poised and ready to take on her new responsibility as the student trustee for MCLA’s Board of Trustees. “It was inspiring to learn what these women did, to come to where they are today.”
Prof Joins $10M STEM Effort by NASA, WGBH
Dr. Nick Stroud, associate professor of technology and science education at MCLA, is part of a $10 million effort, “Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms,” which will develop new STEM teaching tools to benefit students across the country.“MCLA is a player, not only within the state, but nationally in terms of science education,” he said.
DSA Pairs Students with Creatives in Business Incubator Program
Samwise Fox '17 and local artist Christina King are participating in a new DownStreet Art (DSA) program this summer. The “Creative Business Incubator Program”pairs local artists and creative workers, and their pop-up galleries, with student interns from MCLA. According to Fox, the program can change lives.
Alumnus Combines Degree, Military Experience in Programming Position
Joseph Melillo ’16 stepped off the Commencement stage and into his software engineer position at General Dynamics, which he attributes partly to the internships he served. “To stand out to managers we need experience. MCLA promotes internships, and even goes so far as to give students scholarships to encourage internships, to ensure their completion.”
Students Benefit from Visits with Elderly
Unable to visit with their own moms last Mother’s Day, Allison Clark ’17 and Rachel Mills ’17 headed to a local nursing home. They also stop by other times during the year. “The best part of the visit was our company. Many of them are not visited often, so being able to be that person to make their face light up with joy is something very special for both of us.”
Students Snorkel for Research in the Caribbean
Amanda LeBarron ’16 was among the students who traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands to conduct research as part of Dr. Anne Goodwin’s “Field Studies in Marine Biology” course. They spent much of their time in the ocean as they snorkeled to collect data, and also visited habitats including mangrove forests and coral reefs.
Trailblazer Begins Soccer Career
Tyler Vona ’16 of Highland, N.Y., plans to become a dentist one day, but for now he can be found drilling on the soccer field as the newest member of the Hudson Valley’s semi-professional Kingston Stockade Football Club. He secured a spot on the team after beating out more than 120 players in multiple try-out sessions.
Opportunities to Lead Provide Pivotal Experiences
As president of the Student Activities Council (SAC), Alex Lopez ’16 learned to support and encourage those he worked with, while the experience revealed his leadership style. According to Celia Norcross, director of student development, “The opportunities for leadership are endless because, here, you create your own opportunities.”
From Dance Company to Jacob's Pillow
“I’ve always been dancing, but up until I went to MCLA, I’d never called myself a dancer,” said Bryanna Bradley ’17, who this summer will study dance at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow at its “Improv Traditions & Innovations” program. She is one of 24 dancers from around the globe who were selected among hundreds to participate.
Teaching Strategies Revolutionize High School Math Class
An idea Donna Quallen ’16 developed for a capstone course as part of her Master’s of Education degree program not only transformed the way she teaches math at Taconic High School in Pittsfield, it changed the trajectory of her students’ education by improving all of their Accuplacer math scores by at least 28 percent.
Waiting Prompts Collaborative, Cross-Country Exhibition
MCLA Gallery 51 intern Maggie Kase ’17 spent much of last semester preparing for a collaborative exhibition with Utah’s Brigham Young University. “My favorite part of the exhibition is the fact that it really taps into the community. It’s an art form that is accessible to anyone, and everyone was able to participate in it and make beautiful art.”
Faculty Attend MCLA’s Annual TechFest
An event like TechFest, according to event organizer Dr. Gerol Petruzella, humanizes technology. “We want our faculty to feel as comfortable with technology as they do with a book or a pencil, so it’s as natural and integrated to use as a laptop or a tablet.”
29 Who Shine Recipient Plans Medical Career
The future is bright for Grace Ngobo Toko Mbonda ’16 who, previous to receiving her Bachelor of Science degree last Saturday at MCLA’s Commencement ceremony, was honored at Boston’s State House as one of the Commonwealth’s “29 Who Shine” award recipients.
Summer Courses Save Students Time, Money
By taking a summer course at MCLA, our students – as well as others from different campuses – save both time and money. With a choice of online or a traditional class setting, students will find a wide variety of courses in three summer sessions, starting on May 23. Other sessions begin on June 20 and July 5.
Sophomores Help Local Students in Need
Each week, Kircys Canela ’18 and Miesha Adams-Mclean ’18 welcome 10 local high school juniors and seniors to campus. As the coordinators of MCLA’s “E3” program – run through the campus’s Center for Service – Canela and Adams-Mclean encourage the teens to finish school as they teach them leadership skills and elevate their aspirations to attend college.
Students Experience Life in England
Jason Adams ’17 and the other students in Dr. Rosanne Denhard’s “Arts of Medieval and Renaissance Britain” class recently went to England, where their travels included taking the Thames “River Bus” to the Tower of London. They also danced with locals at a traditional English ceilidh, a social event with Scottish or Irish folk music.
Senior: Sociology Department is a ‘Family’
By the time he was a sophomore, Josh Hunter ’16 knew he wanted a career in social work because it would allow him “to give people a voice.” He plans to use his degree to help the elderly in a nursing home setting, or as an advocate for senior citizens in need.
MCLA Students Showcase Research at NCUR
Ten MCLA students, including Sara Peck ’17, recently traveled to the University of North Carolina at Asheville to join other undergraduates from throughout the United States who presented their work aimed toward finding solutions to real-world problems.
Journey to Japan Inspires Students
From visiting emotionally moving sites in Nagasaki like the National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, to taking a cable car to the top of Mount Hieizan and enjoying remarkable views as they traveled in a bullet train across the country, MCLA students had an unforgettable experience in Japan.
Alumna Returning to London for Grad School
Rhea Werner ’15 is headed back to King’s Cross Station, where she visited during a travel study class to England two years ago as an MCLA student. However, instead of continuing on to Hogwarts, this time she’s going to City University London to continue her arts management studies as she earns a master’s degree in culture, policy and management.
Students Explore their Irish Roots
For Jessica Wojcik ’16, whose great, great grandfather came to America from County Cork, Ireland, the opportunity to visit the homeland of her ancestors was irresistible. She and 14 other students recently visited the Emerald Isle with Dr. Anthony Daly to explore its rich history and culture as part of a travel study course.
Recurrent Theme Flows through Art Prof’s Sabbatical
On sabbatical this academic year, Melanie Mowinski presented her art in a solo exhibition and taught a printmaking course at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy, explored the levees of the Mississippi Delta, and currently is serving an artist residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska, near the Missouri River.
Financial Aid Makes College Possible for Psych Major
Thanks to financial aid and the work-study program, Davis Turell ’17 has the funds she needs to earn her bachelor’s degree at MCLA. The staff in MCLA’s Office of Financial Aid are always helpful when she has a question or concern, she said. “Since my freshman year I have always had the best support system here.”
Trip Combines Caribbean Adventure and Caring for Others
Twelve students combined a vacation in the Caribbean with helping a community in need when they spent an Alternative Spring Break in Belize. In addition to helping to build walls inside a medical center in the small, rural village of Mahogany Heights, the students climbed Mayan ruins, explored caves, canoed, snorkeled, and swam with sting rays.
On Thursday, April 21, 145 students will offer 129 presentations – nearly double the number from last year – making this 14th annual event MCLA’s largest Undergraduate Research Conference thus far. “Undergraduate research at MCLA has become woven into the fabric of the curriculum,” said Graziana Ramsden, Undergraduate Research Council chair.
‘Seizing Opportunities after a Liberal Arts Education’
Chloe McGrath ’13 will deliver the keynote speech at the 14th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference. “I’ve found firsthand you can shape an experience or position to make it all your own. I’ve learned that you are ultimately in command of your education and learning, and the only limits are those that you set on yourself.”
Alumnus Begins Career at Harvard
Soon after beginning his job at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, Osakpolo Igiede ’15 advanced to a new position. As a development assistant, he supports the associate vice dean of campaign and development, and the directors of development. “MCLA’s classes taught me how to think outside of the box, and to expect the unexpected.”
Students Participate in Model United Nations
From stepping into the role of Israel’s minister of defense to representing India during a convention on genocide, seven MCLA students were among the 400 delegates from colleges and universities around the world who tackled issues like terrorism and cyber warfare, and debated the finer points of international law and diplomacy.
Junior Plans Graffiti Project in Barcelona
An emerging arts manager with passions for the arts, activism and the environment, Rebecca Waterhouse ’17 of Fairport, N.Y., will create a graffiti piece in Barcelona, as part of a class she’s taking during her semester abroad in Spain. Art, she said, can encourage action, especially when displayed in accessible, public spaces
History Major: ‘Opportunity Abounds’
First-generation college student Amber Coombe ’17, who wants to teach history to high school students, said MCLA provides much more than an affordable education. “From published historians to well-travelled intellectuals, the history department at MCLA is made up of a dynamic group of professors who each bring a unique perspective to the study of history.”
Senior Attributes Position to Professorial Support
Austin Hannaleck ’16 won’t graduate for another two months, but his first job as a software engineer at General Dynamics Mission Systems is waiting for him. The offer came after the summer internship he served there last year. His professors prepared him for success. “You will find your specialty, and when you do, you will be encouraged to dig deeper.”
History Prof Publishes Book on Irish in America
With a deep interest in the history of the Irish in America, Dr. Ely Janis recently published A Greater Ireland: The Land League and Transatlantic Nationalism in Gilded Age America. “My research on immigration and ethnic history has had a big impact on my teaching. And, in my classes, I think my students appreciate my enthusiasm and love of these subjects.”
Bowman Hall Adds New Makerspace
As of January, Bowman Hall boasts a makerspace with a technological bent. According to physics professor Dr. Adrienne Wootters, director and creator of the new facility, it’s just beginning to be discovered by students. “That’s how you learn – when you build something. You can think and dream, and build something fun.”
MCLA, Shanghai University Form 2+2 Program
Through 2+2 Dual Degree Academic Exchange Program, students from China may earn a degree from Shanghai University of International Business and Economics and MCLA. According to the business department’s Ben Kahn, “Cross cultural and global education are essential elements of education in the 21st century as our students develop an understanding and familiarity with key international players.”
Alumnus Begins Career in Grad School
As an instructor at UMass in grad school, Max Dilthey ’13 pushes the benefits and importance of a diverse, rich, and multifaceted education to his students, using his time at MCLA as an example of the power of interdisciplinary learning. “I am immensely proud of our school, and I am lucky to have started there. I would not be here without MCLA.”
Junior Eyes Genetics Career
In addition to genetic research she conducted at the Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program in Maine, Annie Gagnon ’17 teaches science to elementary school, middle school and college students. It’s one of the best ways, she said, to learn. “In order to teach a topic you have to have a great enough understanding to simplify and explain it.”
Senior Poised for Computer Science Career
With two successful internships – one of which led to a part-time job – and many hours logged on her laptop, Kristen Nadeau ’16 will be ready to enter the workforce once she graduates this May. She attributes her accomplishments in computer science to her professors, whom she says have challenged her academically as they’ve taught her to think independently.
MCLA Works to Strengthen Youth Arts Education
Working with others in the community, Fine and Performing Arts professor Dr. Lisa Donovan recently brought an Art Works grant to a conclusion. The goal of “Leveraging Change: Improving Access to Arts Education for Rural Communities” is to foster the development of creative skills in the region’s youth so that they might participate in this expanding sector of the economy.
MCLA Expands Dual Enrollment for High School Students
Bev Maselli and her daughter, Jenna, a Drury High School student who is spending part of her senior year taking college courses for credit at MCLA, recommend the Dual Enrollment Program. MCLA is in the process of expanding this program. The result will be even greater access for more high school students.
Psychology Major Helps Youth
Miesha Adams-Mclean ’18 co-created “E3,” which benefits some 10 local high school students who struggle with traditional studies. “We create different activities that help them gain leadership skills and to learn more about college and how to get there. I definitely would love to continue to work with youth.”
Berkshires Provide 'Living Classrooms' for Students
Dr. Elena Traister’s environmental studies students often pull on a pair of wading boots and plunge into their studies at the nearby Hoosic River – one of many “living classrooms” to be found throughout the Berkshires – where they conduct research, and more, as she includes them in real-world investigations that are essential to their college experience.
Students Attend COPLAC Meeting
Amanda LeBarron ’16 and Daniel Heinen ’18 were among the 10 MCLA students who traveled to Ramapo College of New Jersey to attend the COPLAC Northeast Regional Meeting, where they presented papers and posters on topics that ranged from “The March on Washington and the Rise of Martin Luther King” to “Exploring the Genetic Mechanisms of Exfoliation Syndrome and Glaucoma.”
Degree Completion Programs: Flexible & Responsive
MCLA’s degree completion programs are building an economically stronger region through education. This pathway to a bachelor’s degree reflects the demands and the pressures that adults have in their lives – including family and financial constraints, and timing around a daily work schedule.
‘Blazernet’ Upgrade Heightens Campus Connections
It’s the biggest change on campus that students, faculty and staff may never notice. A huge, behind-the-scenes undertaking – nicknamed “Blazernet” by MCLA’s technology professionals – has the campus community accessing the Internet and college resources four times faster.
Alumna Applies Psych Degree in Abu Dhabi
Less than two years after she graduated from MCLA, Elaine Previl ’14 was off to Abu Dhabi to use her psychology degree. “I felt like the world was my oyster at MCLA, because I knew my professors were on my side. … With your professors’ support and help, you can make almost anything possible.”
New Writing Studio Opens
Located on the first floor of Murdock Hall in room 120, MCLA's new Writing Studio is a place where all writers from across the campus community may meet to collaborate and create, said co-director Dr. Amber Engelson. “We want it to be a vibrant, generative space, filled with conversations about writing in its many forms.”
New 4+1 Program: An Accelerated Path for Education Majors
Beginning this fall, students who enroll at MCLA as education majors may embark on a unique 4+1 program through which they can earn not only their bachelor’s degree and teaching license, but also their master’s degree – all in just five years.
Continual learning has been the theme of Peter Allmaker’s career, as he kept up with the fast pace of ever-changing technology. “Over the 30 years, I’ve had the opportunity to see tremendous changes in the campus, especially over the past six to 10 years. We’ve refurbished buildings, built new buildings, and are using the techniques and software that would rival any large institution’s catalog of offerings.”
Class Project Leads to Internship at The Clark
From serving as an art gallery attendant during her freshman year to attending the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference in New York City as a junior, as well as this year’s internship at the renowned Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., Cecilia Wright ’16 has gained a plethora of experience during her time as an MCLA student.
Computer Science Student: Learning Transcends the Classroom
Richard Chiu ’16 began work at the MCLA Computer Help Desk as a freshman. Since then, he’s also served two internships, created a mobile application for his senior project, and soon will move on to his first job as a software developer, after graduation. “My success here has been built upon the support of my classmates and amazing professors.”
Senior Plans Local FIGMENT Arts Festival
Inspired by a professor’s challenge, Krystal Henriquez ’16 is spearheading a FIGMENT arts festival at Windsor Lake in North Adams. Last week, she put out a call to artists who’d like to take part in this free, inclusive, participatory, family friendly festival, which is slated for April 30.
Community Unites for Day of Service
Hundreds of MCLA students and community members participated in the 23rd Annual MLK Day of Service, which included service projects throughout the region and a celebration of Dr. King’s life, as people from different backgrounds came together to connect with one another and make a difference in the lives of others.
Computer Science Prof Keeps Current in Rapidly Changing Industry
Dr. Mark Cohen of our Department of Computer Science spends his summers learning the latest technologies so he’s ready to teach his students the cutting-edge skills they need to compete in a rapidly changing industry. “It’s a blast. I absolutely love it. It’s why I went into teaching.”
Junior Hones Leadership Skills on Campus, in St. Croix
Timothy G. Williams ’17 recently spent a semester immersing himself in the culture of the Caribbean. Back for the spring semester, he said that MCLA “really helps you to grow and pushes you to experience new opportunities that you probably never thought you were capable of doing.” He recommends MCLA to others: “You’ll walk across that stage in four years knowing that you’ve made an impact.”
New App Guards Students’ Safety
With the press of a single button, students, faculty and staff instantly may contact Public Safety via the Guardian App, a new Smart Phone application intended to help keep our campus community safe in the event of an emergency.
Art Students Collaborate with Susan B. Anthony Museum
As a new member of MCLA’s art faculty last fall, Josh Ostraff set about exploring the museums in the area. At the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum in nearby Adams, Mass., he was struck by the dynamic person that Anthony was, and the vibrant time period in which she lived. As a result, Ostraff developed a collaborative project between the museum and his students.
Alumnus: Discover What's New at the Library
An evening and circulation assistant at the Freel Library, Alex Marshall ’12 hopes students will enjoy some newly added features there. “By diversifying the services that we offer here at the library, we are better able to meet the needs of the community we serve, whether they are looking for a specific book for a research project, or simply a place to unwind.”
Recent Grad Explored Dual Passions
From singing solos with the Allegrettos to presenting his research at conferences, recent graduate Paul J. Groff Jr. ’15 enjoyed a full experience at MCLA. The sociology major wants teach disabled and minority children. “When students don’t have the necessary resources – even at young grade levels – they tend to drop out of school. That’s what I’d like to change as an educator.”
Senior Enjoys Semester in 'Paradise'
This past fall semester, Shadea Blyther ’16 studied at the University of the Virgin Islands-St. Thomas because she wanted to become part of a different culture and adapt to it on her own. An English/communications major with a minor in theatre, she recommends the study abroad experience to other students, “because it builds character and helps you grow.”
Longtime SGA Advisor to Retire
Soon, after more than 40 years on campus and over three decades as the office manager for the Student Government Association (SGA), Diane Collins will retire. “Fall in love with what you want to do for a living, and try to find work that fits your personality," she advises students. "When they do, like I did with SGA, they’ll be successful.”
Senior Serves Golf Internship at Hilton Head
With a love of sports and intrigued with how that industry works behind the scenes, Nathan Gutmann ’16 decided to major in business with a concentration in sports management. With the ultimate goal of becoming a director of athletics for a college or a high school, he anticipates finding a position with a sports marketing firm upon his graduation this spring.
Student Art Displayed at Inaugural Bowman Show
Bowman Hall renovations include spaces for students to display their works of art. This week, for the first time, students in Laura Christensen’s “Intermediate Art Lab” have their work on display for a brief exhibition. The show will conclude with a reception on Thursday, Dec. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m., in celebration of the students’ art.
Professor Offers Investment Advice
In a recent Greylock Glass podcast, business professor Dr. Richard Yanow gave some advice on how investors in the stock market, whether they’re just beginning or have years of experience, can overcome the “noise” – information gleaned from news reports and as a result of world events – that can be distracting to investors when making decisions.
Advising with Canvas at MCLA
We've developed an innovative use of our online course management system, Canvas, to build online communities for advising. The result? Our retention rates are rising as we continue to use this powerful method to support student achievement while we develop and maintain deep and sustained advising relationships with students.
Program Inspires Teens to Education Careers
Through the Greylock Teach Fellows program, some teens who aspire to teaching careers are getting an early launch to their college careers as they work with mentor-teachers as teaching assistants in area classrooms, serve as mentors themselves to younger students, and even earn college credits.
Students Team Up with United Cerebral Palsy
Dr. Thomas Whalen and his students recently were among those from MCLA to be recognized by the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition (NBCC) at its Fall Neighborlies Community Recognition Award Ceremony for their work in the community. “People learn by doing. Plus, there’s the added benefit of helping out others.”
‘One Team’ Theme Sweeps Campus
Brought to MCLA by Laura Mooney, who joined the campus last spring when she stepped into her new position as the director of athletics, the “One Team” theme aims to inspire and encourage all students to excel and achieve their best – not just by themselves, but together.
New Visiting Art Faculty Member Aims to Inspire
At MCLA, the newest member of our visual arts department, Joshua Ostraff, aims to help build awareness of the art program and the importance of art in a balanced liberal arts education. "We teach students to learn creative processes and develop craftsmanship that is inspiring."
New Technology = Innovative Learning in Bowman
Thanks to new technology, the walls in Bowman Hall can transform into touch-screen computer monitors through the use of innovative, short-throw projectors. The opportunities are endless, as faculty enjoy a myriad of teaching options and students access exciting new ways to learn.
Students Serve Community to Fight Hunger, Homelessness
During this year’s “Hunger and Homelessness Week,” MCLA students are at it again as they help prepare meals at Berkshire Food Project, volunteer at the Friendship Center food pantry, and conduct various drives for items to assist those in need.
New Physics Prof’s Expertise: Experimental Optics
After spending just one month in her high school physics class, Dr. Kebra Ward knew she wanted to teach physics. The newest member of MCLA’s physics faculty, Ward said physics not only made sense to her, it explained everyday events, and gave a context and reasoning for the way the world works.
Alumnus Excels in U.S. Army
Tom Mellone ’11, an Army sergeant who was deployed in Kuwait, earned his expert field medic badge – achieved by only 18 percent who attempt it – was named ‘Soldier of the Month,’ participated in the Southern Regional Best Medic Competition, and graduated as a distinguished honor graduate from Warrior Leader Course, the first basic leadership course for enlisted soldiers.
New Assistant Professor: ‘Writing Transforms’
Dr. Amber Engelson gains a new perspective on the world with each student writer she meets and works with: “That’s why I love teaching, and in particular, the teaching of writing.” She finds her MCLA students to be bright, enthusiastic, honest and ready to learn, and says the most important thing she hopes they learn from her is that their voices matter.
Education Students Teach ‘Virtual’ Class
They’re part of the generation that grew up with realistic-looking video and computer games, and 3D films in movie theaters. So it’s only natural that this group of aspiring educators would have their first teaching experience in a virtual “classroom” of avatars.
Votes Needed to Bring Concerts to Downtown
With the help and support of everyone who loves North Adams, one of its oldest parks could be the site of a free, 10-week-long concert series for all to enjoy next year. If successful through an online voting process going on now, Colegrove Park will showcase some family friendly concerts beginning in August 2016.
New Political Science Prof Provides Global Perspectives
Dr. David Cupery graduated from a liberal arts college, so he understands the value of small classes, frequent faculty-student interactions and a tight-knit college community. “Teaching at MCLA allows me to work for an organization that shares my values, and to hopefully have the same positive impact on my students that my professors had on me.”
Sophomore Previews Future Career in Higher Ed.
A double major in both English and math, Kayla LaVoice ’18 envisions a career where she can help others. Her dream job is a position where she can assist incoming college freshman prepare not only for higher education, but for the rest of their lives.
Agreement Creates Faster Track to Law Degree
MCLA students who desire to become attorneys will save both time and money, thanks to an agreement signed with the University of Massachusetts School of Law on Monday, that established a joint program allowing them to substitute their first year of law school for their senior year at the College.
Stanley Cup Winner among Alumni Award Recipients
This year’s six alumni award recipients include a two-time Stanley Cup winner, an educator whose diverse students include those from throughout the globe, and the co-chair of Sowing Seeds for Success. On Saturday, they joined the ranks of MCLA’s many distinguished alumni who make a difference in the world, every day.
Digital Journalism Prof Joins Faculty
Dr. Shawn T. McIntosh says the skills journalism students learn – such as how to write well, tell a good story in different formats, do research and critically analyze information – will be more relevant than ever in a social media world.
Transfer Student Finds Process 'Almost Effortless'
Art major Molly Gurner ’17 says, “There are tons of really amazing museums in the area. Professors do not hesitate to take advantage of the surrounding resources and are always taking their classes beyond the walls of the classroom.”
Alumnus Gains Recognition as a Playwright
Playwright Bill Doncaster said the two-and-a-half years he spent at the College gave him the best theatre education he could have asked for. His play, “Two Boys Lost,” has garnered multiple award nominations, and he most recently was selected by SpeakEasy Stage for the 2016 Boston Project for his proposal of “Ward 9.”
California Volleyball Player at Home at MCLA
Previously a junior college athlete at Foothill Community College in Los Altos, Calif., Allison Clark ’17 attributes her decision to transfer to MCLA to Women’s Volleyball Head Coach Amanda Beckwith, who contacted and recruited her. “I love the warm culture here. It has been such a smooth transition because of the environment that surrounds the campus as a whole.”
Sociology Grad Creates Change in Boston
One of 25 to be selected from 250 applicants, Giselle Sabido ’15 works as a development and membership fellow for the Episcopal Service Corps’ Life Together Program in the Boston, Mass., neighborhood of Roxbury. It’s a position she’s well prepared for from her four years at MCLA.
Senior Serves Internship Behind the Scenes at MoCA
At her MASS MoCA internship, Kathleen Sansone ’16 served in many positions. She worked at large-scale music festivals and on small-scale residencies, provided hospitality to artists and gave public tours of the museum. But the best part of the experience was the opportunity to work directly with the Grammy Award- winning band Wilco during the Solid Sound music festival this past summer.
Senior Enjoys ‘Amazing’ Semester Abroad
Before she traveled to Barcelona, Spain, as a study abroad student over the last spring semester, Adrianna Carter ’16 had never been beyond this country’s borders. Now, after having met a multitude of people from throughout the globe, she’s ready to tackle the world.
Software Students Track Tourism
Two computer science students who aim for careers in software development are helping Lever, Inc. – a non-profit organization that encourages social innovation and economic development in northern Berkshire County and southern Vermont – to understand how visitors move between cultural locations in the region.
An International Education
Cristian Sanchez ’16 got a great boost to his future career in international business as he spent his entire junior year abroad, studying in China and Brazil, at Shanghai University and the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis.
Western New England University Law Professor to Speak at MCLA for Constitution Day
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will observe the 228th anniversary of the enactment of the United Stated Constitution on Thursday, Sept. 17, with a talk by Bruce K. Miller, a professor at Western New England University’s School of Law.
MCLA to Host Mayoral Debate
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), in cooperation with the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, will host a general election debate for this year’s contested race for mayor of North Adams on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. in the MCLA Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.
Perfect Match: Snowboarding and Physics
Why prompted Cody Gawle ’16 of Huntington, Mass., to major in physics? His passion for snowboarding, of course, as he takes what he learned from studying kinematics and mechanics, and transfers it to his riding.
Professor Meets with Syrian Refugees
Anthropology professor Dr. Sumi Colligan headed to Amman, Jordan, and Istanbul, Turkey, this summer to participate in the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) International Faculty Development Seminar.
A Year Abroad: Shanghai and Barcelona
As Troy Segala ’16 returns to campus this month, he does so with a world of experience under his belt: the business management major spent his entire junior year studying abroad in not one, but two vastly different countries.
Preparation for a Global Career
For Kircys Canela ’18 the opportunity to design her own program of study by majoring in interdisciplinary studies is providing the perfect foundation for her anticipated career in global social work.
STEM Academy leads to major decision
When computer science major Alexander Switzer ’18 of Brooklyn, N.Y., first arrived on campus last fall, he wasn’t interested in interacting with anyone other than the friends he’d made at STEM Academy. But as his first semester went on, the shell he’d built around himself began to crack.
Behind the scenes
Throughout her life, fine and performing arts major Veronica Sniezek ’16 of Adams, Mass., has loved the theatre. At MCLA, she’s found her niche in theatre and costume design.
One class changed everything
Rebecca McBrien ’14 loves arts management, but she nearly missed out on the experience. Had it not been for one class, her life would be on a much different trajectory.
Internship provides video game experience
The work Bradley Gradneigo ’15 does as a computer scientist can be just as unique as his artwork. “At the core of my being, I love to be creative. Art and computer science give that to me,” he said.
Senior combines marketing internship with love of theatre
Passionate about theatre, Zack Page ’16 dreams of becoming a professional actor. An arts management major with a minor in theatre, this summer he’s serving an internship in New Hampshire at The Barnstormers Theatre.
Alumna: Studio manager position is the job she envisioned
It didn't take long for arts management major Deanna Boucher ’15 to find a job after her May graduation. She's the studio manager for Shire City Sanctuary in Pittsfield, Mass.
STEM Fellows help incoming freshmen prepare for fall
The fall semester still is a month away from starting, but this week 16 incoming freshmen are attending classes and forming new friendships as they kick off their college careers a little early at the Third Annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy.
Physics professors: Students enjoy advantages of small department
Ask the professors in MCLA’s physics program about the most important skill they want their students to learn from them and they will tell you: It’s how to tackle a problem.
413 STEM Ready Academy prepares community college students for bachelor’s programs
This week, some community college students from throughout the region are finding out what life is like at a four-year college campus.
At MCLA’s Center for Service and Citizenship, Chris Hantman ’14 works with our undergraduates to help them reach their goals as they strive to better themselves.
Summer leadership conference prepares political science major for junior year
Kate Rowell ’17 of Billerica, Mass., attended the NEW Leadership New England conference this summer.
Intern gains ‘tremendous experience’ at Berkshire Museum
With the goal of running her own community arts center, SUNY-Albany alumna Johnae Galloway is serving an internship at the Berkshire Museum through MCLA’s Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP).
Semester in Spain provides senior with international perspective
The international aspect of business is especially relevant and interesting to Noelle Dumont ’16, after she attended the University of Barcelona last semester.
National Student Exchanges, travel courses provide view of America
For a number of our undergraduates, studying away from campus doesn’t necessarily mean travel overseas. They can explore the United States through travel courses and spending a semester at other universities.
Honors Program promotes scholarship and learning
Students who wish to extend their liberal arts education beyond the core curriculum may opt to join MCLA’s Honors Program, which draws hard-working scholars who often bring recognition to the College through their achievements.
Pennsylvania interns soak up the Berkshires
A pair of interns from Pennsylvania are learning about arts management this summer in two distinct gallery settings: in MCLA Gallery 51 and at Kidspace, a child-centered art gallery inside Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA).
New athletics director eyes bright future for Trailblazers
A former Division III student-athlete and coach, Athletics Director Laura Mooney knows that little things can make a big difference between a few wins and a winning season. As a result, the Athletics Department will take a new, intentional approach.
Alumna to serve NCAA internship
Kaleigh Anderson ’15 will serve as the assistant to the director of athletics and the sports information assistant at Elms College.
Alumna selects New Mexico school for first job
Even before her May graduation, Martha Pratt ’15 of Denver, Colo., had her choice of a number of teaching positions, beginning with two job offers she received as a result of attending an education career fair in Boston.
Intern works to strengthen the Berkshires
When Max Dakin of Lenox, Mass., looked for a summer internship to support his desire to work in business development for a non-profit organization, he did not need to go far: MCLA’s Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP) was the perfect match.
Eighth DownStreet Art features large spaces, emphasis on community
MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center is gearing up to launch this season of DownStreet Art on Thursday, June 25, with a focus on community connections and the largest galleries the summer-long celebration has ever seen.
Alumnus enjoys position at U.S. Department of Justice
Chris Goodell ’13 always loved to read and write, but it wasn’t until his freshman year at MCLA, when he took an introduction to news writing course, that he realized he could make a career in the writing, editing and publishing field.
Alumna devotes career to finding treatments for childhood brain tumors
Dr. Katherine Foster Warren '82 is head of the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology division of the National Institute of Health at the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., where she searches for treatments for childhood brain tumors.
Arts management prof, students, support new Makers’ Space
Makers’ Mill opens in the downtown this week, but assistant arts management professor Diane Scott and her students have been at work on the North Adams’ Makers’ Space – the first of its kind in North Berkshire County – since last semester.
Freshman innovates 3D science app
Daniel Heinen ’18 is poised to change the way students study science through an educational mobile application he created for smart phones and tablet devices.
Students gather at BCRC for arts management internships
One sure sign of summer at MCLA is the arrival of our Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP) students. Now in its 11th year, this unique program educates tomorrow’s arts managers at cultural venues throughout Berkshire County.
Alumna: Supplemental instruction is an incredible benefit to students
This fall, recent graduate Mikaelle Olivier ’15 will head to Connecticut to teach high school science through Teach for America. She will arrive on the job with some good experience: she served as a supplemental instruction leader in organic chemistry during her senior year.
Part of the community
Timothy P. Williams ’17 became interested in political science after his father, a firefighter who responded to the 9/11 terror attacks, fought for a year to receive his social security benefits when injuries he sustained at Ground Zero left him unable to return to work.
From the Berkshire Hills to Capitol Hill
Chloe McGrath ’13 took a step closer this month to her dream of becoming a Congressional policy analyst when she began an internship with Franklin Partnership, as part of their research team.
Biology alumna aims for healthcare career
With plans to attend graduate school to become a physician's assistant, Alyson Carey ’13 works at Spaulding Rehabilitation Outpatient Center in Framingham, Mass.
New library staff enjoy helping students
The Freel Library welcomed two new faces this academic year as Janet Lexow, a part-time reference librarian, and Access Services Associate Young-In Kim joined the campus community.
Alumna: MCLA teaches you to believe in yourself
At MCLA, Hannah Sterrs ’14 enjoyed multiple internship opportunities, but it wasn’t until she participated in the Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP) that she found her niche. Now, she’s a graduate student in the community arts program at Lesley University.
Professor looks back at 46-year career on campus
As the 2014-15 academic year comes to a close, physics professor Dr. Carl Wolf is winding up a remarkable 46 years at the College.
FPA major is at home at MCLA
When she began her MCLA college career last year, Nia Scott ’17 of Brooklyn, N.Y., knew she wanted to major in the arts. Although she started out in theatre, she soon realized that music was a perfect fit for her.
Library to provide Stress-Free Zone during finals
The Freel Library may very well be the most popular place on campus next week as students take advantage of a new program to help them relax while they prepare to take their final exams.
Students enjoy Florida as part of environmental studies class
Seven students recently took the opportunity to combine their spring break with a study of the Sunshine State’s environment as they camped, canoed and snorkeled their way through Southern Florida – and even enjoyed some close encounters with alligators.
Former BCRC program coordinator returns as director
It had been only a year since Jennifer Crowell left her position as program coordinator at the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC), but when she saw that MCLA was looking for a new BCRC director, she couldn’t resist the pull to return.
Students help children in need, explore Belize
During MCLA’s Alternative Spring Break, 10 students found themselves making cement from scratch to provide the foundation for a facility that will feed hungry children.
URC prepares students for what’s next
The 13th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) will be held on Thursday, April 23, when 120 students present 65 projects during this all-day event.
Grad uses psychology degree to help students
Experience Christopher Tate ’14 gained both in and outside of the classroom benefits the students he assists through his new position as a program specialist for MCLA's Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE).
Alumna to deliver keynote at April 23rd URC
Alicia Girgenti ’07 never thought she would go to college. But at age 21 she did just that, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in criminology. An assistant professor at Merrimack College in North Andover, she will speak at our Annual Undergraduate Research Conference.
STEAM educator ignites love of learning
Recently hired by MCLA through the Improving Teacher Quality grant, Dana Schildkraut collaborates with preschool through second grade teachers as she models lessons in their classrooms and provides support as they implement STEAM curriculum.
Mothers and daughters attend MCLA together
First they raised their children. Now, a number of women are taking time out for themselves as they earn their Bachelor's degrees - along with their daughters.
Alumna’s first job is the perfect fit
Tess Favini ’14 combined her Bachelor of Arts degree in arts management with her love of event planning and came up with her ideal job: She’s the junior events producer for Design Museum Boston.
First cohort of early educators to graduate in May
MCLA’s first cohort of childhood educators will be among the graduates to walk the Commencement stage this May as they receive their Bachelor’s degrees – something many of them had thought might never be possible.
Senior enjoys language, culture during semester in Spain
Immersed in the Spanish language at Pablo de Olavide Universidad in Seville, Spain, Rominda DeBarros ’15 quickly moved past beginner status during her study abroad experience last fall.
Senior travels throughout Europe during semester abroad
For Nicole Ngoon ’15, spending a semester in Prague was the “cherry on top” of her college experience.
Biology lab instructor: There’s always something new
MCLA recently welcomed Dr. Anne Todorki to campus and the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation, where she is a biology lab instructor.
As winners of the Annual Berkshire Art Association Fellowship competition, the artwork of five MCLA students is on display this month at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, Mass.
Student studies in London for entire junior year
Right from the start, Courtney Smith ’16 planned to study abroad. Now the English major – who’s focusing on creative writing – is spending her entire junior year abroad at Kingston University in London, England.
Senior spends semester studying in Thailand
Kimberly Williams ’15, who aspires to become an elementary school teacher, received the education of a lifetime last semester when she studied in Bangkok, Thailand, and explored Southeast Asia.
Student internships provide crucial experience
Experience gained through serving an internship is crucial for students as they enter the job market and embark on their career.
Future Civil War historian studies at Gettysburg
History major Hannah McClearnan ’15 of Albany, N.Y., aspires to become an American Civil War historian. So, when the opportunity to study for a semester at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania arose, she did not hesitate to take advantage of it.
Senior enjoys semester abroad with MCLA friends
Business major Lily O’Neill ’15 of Worcester, Mass., wanted to shake things up a bit in her life so she decided to study abroad for a semester. However, she was hesitant to travel outside of the United States for the first time by herself.
Alumnus offers video gaming internships to students
Although he didn’t take a single computer science class while at MCLA, David Rubicki ’01 of Dalton, Mass., a teacher with Pittsfield Public Schools, is in the midst of starting up a video gaming production company, Rebel Games Interactive (RGI).
Semester in London allows junior to explore favorite novel setting
A huge fan of gothic literature and Dracula stories in particular, Jeri “Mina” Beeler ’16 of Cohoes, N.Y., studied in England last semester, at London’s Queen Mary University.
Alumnus headed to Hawaii to direct AP bureau
Caleb Jones ’05 will trade in his snow boots and winter coats for flip flops and Aloha shirts next month as he heads to Honolulu, where he will oversee breaking news and enterprise for the Associated Press (AP).
Gallery manager encourages conversations through artwork
In addition to serving as the manager of MCLA Gallery 51, Julia Morgan-Leamon is an artist and an educator who has traveled to Egypt and India to provide others with cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary experiences with the art world.
‘Virtual’ opportunities: Students serve remote internships
Career Services staff at MCLA’s Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE) secures “virtual” internships for students. All they need are their laptops.
Krystal Henriquez ’16 isn't wasting any time in getting involved as she pursues her Bachelor of Arts degree in arts management. A transfer student, she arrived at MCLA with a MassTransfer Block of core credits she’d earned at Holyoke Community College, which set her up for a successful two-year plan.
Veterans’ Resource Center offers support, connections
As a veteran of the United States Navy, Brian Nelson ’15 is familiar with the needs of students who have served in the Armed Forces. His idea resulted in the Veterans' Resource Center.
Alumna publishes her first book
Gillian Jones ’91 found time to publish her first book, even while teaching courses at MCLA and working full-time as a photo journalist for the Berkshire Eagle.
Art in NYC: Students attend APAP conference
Ten students recently returned from a whirlwind trip to New York City where they participated in the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference.
Athletic Training major earns EATA scholarship
Elizabeth Doughty ’15 finished up her winter break with a trip to Philadelphia, Pa., where she was awarded a $3,000 scholarship from the Eastern Athletic Trainers' Association (EATA).
Political science prof to speak at Rockwell about war and public opinion
Dr. J. Benjamin Taylor will be a presenter at Norman Rockwell Museum’s “Four Freedoms Forum” series on Thursday, Jan. 15, at 5:30 p.m., when participants will look at the cultural legacy of war.
CSSE devoted to student and alumni success
MCLA is dedicated to student success – not only on campus, but beyond, whether they choose to continue their studies in graduate school or find meaningful employment once they finish their degree.
New alum earns bachelor’s degree in 30 months
Just two days after he finished high school, Jared Kahn ’14 became an MCLA student. From that point on, he was off and running, attending classes year-round, and graduating just two and a half years after he started.
Freshman finds success on the fairway
Despite longtime plans to play college hockey, Nick Young ’18 found himself on the green instead of the ice last fall, earning honors such as “Rookie of the Year.” He concluded his freshman season with a sixth place finish in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Championships.
Alumna poised to begin Nashville career
Brittany Kish ’14 founded “The Soldier Prayer Project” to support the military and their families. The non-profit organization recently attracted the attention of Marcus Luttrell, a former Navy SEAL who was the focus of the 2013 film, “Lone Survivor.”
Students publish research findings with professor
While many professors in the sciences conduct research and publish their findings in academic journals, it’s not every day that they work side-by-side with their students in those scholarly endeavors. But that’s exactly the opportunity that Dr. Thomas Byrne gave four MCLA seniors earlier this year.
Student-athlete: Trailblazers are innovators
Sarah Murphy ’15 knew she wanted to play tennis in college, but even more than that, she wanted to play at a school where she wouldn’t be “just a tennis player.”
Sophomore feels at home in residential life
Involvement with residence hall activities, says Aunna Shamlian ’17, has been integral to her MCLA experience and has influenced her life in many different ways.
Hardman scholar: MCLA trains real journalists
This year’s Hardman Scholar, Makayla McGeeney ’16, says college is the time for students to become independent, work hard, and become aware of all the opportunities available to them.
Clubs and events valuable to college experience
An important part of the MCLA student experience includes its vast array of clubs and organizations, as well as the many activities they offer.
Deanna Boucher ’15 named 2014 Newman Civic Fellow
Over the past academic year, Deanna Boucher ’15 has served as a residence assistant for Berkshire Towers and a liaison to the residence hall’s advisory board. She’s also a choreographer for the Dance Company and is on the RPS Recycling Committee.
Softball player gives ‘110 percent’ to MCLA experience
As a child, Alexandra Romano ’17 of Peabody, Mass., was very shy – so shy that she spent her time on the school bus writing in a notebook instead of talking to the other children. Fast forward a decade. She hosts a campus radio show, is involved in theatre and is a student-athlete on the women’s softball team.
New professor: Exercise is the best Rx
A new assistant professor of biology at MCLA, Dr. Sarah Herrick is the go-to person when it comes to human anatomy. But while that’s her specialty, she’s also an exercise physiologist.
Physics major follows in his parents’ footsteps
Jon Oleson ’15 of Florida, Mass., had an easy decision when it came to college. He simply followed in his parents’ footsteps. His mother and father are not only alumni of the College, they also majored in physics – the major he selected, as well.
FPA grad poised to complete physics degree
Jesse Egan-Poirier ’15 of Nashua, N.H., had no sooner completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine and Performing Arts (FPA) with a concentration in theater, when he turned around to begin a Bachelor of Science degree in physics.
Philosophy major: ‘My voice has been heard’
Like many MCLA students, Colby Harvish ’16 of Queensbury, N.Y., involves himself in activities that compliment his growth and learning. Participation, he said, is the real-world application of classroom experiences.
Student-trustee: ‘An unforgettable journey’
Athletic training major Alyson Stolz ’15 of Oxford, Mass., has immersed herself in student government – not only on the campus, but beyond. In addition to serving as the student-trustee on MCLA’s Board of Trustees for the past two years, she recently was elected as the secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education’s Student Advisory Council.
MCLA adds IT upgrades
Over the past several months, MCLA has gone through a series information technology (IT) upgrades that enable them – as well as faculty and staff – to use the newest technology tools with greater ease and faster speed than ever before.
Freshman builds company while studying business
When business major Brandon Valdes ’18 of New York City, N.Y., arrived on campus this fall, he already had started the company he hopes to make his life’s career. His consulting business, Devant, which he started two years ago in high school with five others, caters to artists.
Sophomore takes her studies to Alaska
TaylorJae Taber ’17 of Swansea, Mass., is studying far from MCLA this semester. With the goal of specializing in wildlife conservation and saving endangered species, she’s at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) through the National Student Exchange (NSE) Program this fall semester.
Success with CSSE
Kristcha DeGuerre ’14 of Saratoga Spring, N.Y., applied to five graduate programs. She was accepted into each and every one of them.
Sophomore reports college experience through art
After a national search that attracted some 700 applicants, Rebecca Patterson ’17 of Framingham, Mass., was selected to be one of 21 students to document her undergraduate experience through “21 Voices.”
MCLA journalism alumna at work in Abu Dhabi
Jennifer Thomas ’07 took her double majors in English/communications and philosophy from MCLA to Abu Dhabi, where she’s the home page editor for The National, a government-owned, English-language, online newspaper. There, she’s responsible for content viewed by millions.
Diverse classes visit NYC to view Middle East exhibit
Events in the Middle East are on the forefront of global happenings and part of the discussion at MCLA. Here, students consider many aspects of this region through events such last week’s talk by a United Nations expert on “ISIS and the Implications for the International Community,” and courses like “Peoples of the Middle East” (anthropology), “Modern Middle East” (political science) and even “Museum Studies” (arts management).
Senior leads state student advisory board
Keenly aware of how politics and government affect our lives, Brendan Peltier ’15 of Worcester, Mass., as a youth set his sights on a career as a political leader. He took another step toward that goal last month after he beat out three other candidates to be elected as the chair of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education’s Student Advisory Council.
Alumna pursues international environmental law degree in England
For as long as Rebecca Geraci ’13 of Ulster Park, N.Y., can remember, she’s been interested in the environment. So, she began her freshman year at MCLA as an environmental studies major. A year later, she decided to pursue a degree in political science, as well.
MCLA introduces alumna to the world, non-profits
As the volunteer program coordinator for the Riverside Park Conservancy, Jordan Pagán ’09 oversees the hundreds of people who maintain Riverside Park, a scenic, 267-acre, public expanse that runs along the Hudson River on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
New prof shares passion for social justice with students
It was through Dr. Kerri Nicoll’s experiences as a pastor, as well as an outreach and fundraising assistant for a non-profit organization, that she discovered her passion for social justice, particularly around issues of poverty and inequality.
Students participate in historic Climate March
In New York City on Sept. 21 to participate in “The People’s Climate March,” Fitzpatrick – along with environmental studies professor Dr. Dan Shustack and five other students from MCLA’s Students for a Democratic Society and Environuts clubs – were among the enormous crowd that made their way through city streets as heads of state prepared to gather for a historic summit on climate change.
New prof focuses on Anglophone literature
MCLA’s newest assistant professor of English, Dr. Jenna Sciuto, says it’s important that students study literature to learn more about society and the range of cultures that make up the world in which we live.
VP Degen to retire after 40 years
The College’s name change, a new mascot, new Division III sports teams and the creation of a multitude of programs that benefit students are but a few of the many changes that Charlotte Degen ’73 has seen throughout her four decades of service to MCLA.
New prof brings spirit of lifelong learning and leadership to campus
Throughout the past 30 years and three distinct careers, Dr. Thomas Whalen – the newest assistant professor to join MCLA’s Department of Business Administration – has studied and practiced leadership.
Professor brings back firsthand report on the Middle East
Anthropology professor Dr. Sumi Colligan traveled across three war zones to Amman, Jordan, to learn more about the people who live there.
NSF funds unique program
MCLA leads “Teaching to Learn,” a collaborative effort with Williams College North Adams Public Schools, that has our undergraduates developing and teaching science curriculum to local K-7 students.
STEM student aims to solve medical mysteries
As a double major in biology and psychology with a concentration in biotechnology, Svetlana Morrell '17 wants to research medical mysteries like autism, cancer and diabetes with the expectation that she may discover not only treatments, but cures.
Part of the MCLA family
Daniel Wohler '17 had a great experience at his orientation one year ago, so over the summer he served as an orientation leader to prepare others for life at MCLA.
MCLA Ranked in U.S. News & World Report as Top Ten Public Liberal Arts College for Fourth Consecutive Year
U.S. News & World Report has once again recognized Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) as a top liberal arts college. In the publication's "Best Colleges" 2015 edition, MCLA is ranked one of the top ten public liberal arts colleges in the nation, and is one of only 6 non-military institutions in the top ten.
STEM leader attends national institute
Dr. Christopher Himes found himself part of a select group this summer as one of 10 early career professors who attended the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science Summer Leadership Institute.
First-year students reach for new heights
The traditional hike up Mount Greylock will happen a few days later this year, as incoming first-year students got things moving in a different way this past Labor Day.