Senior Enjoys Semester in ‘Paradise’


An English/communications major with a minor in theatre, Shadea Blyther ’16 of Worcester, Mass., has her sights set on a career in television broadcasting.

“At age 8 I use to watch music videos, and in-between acted as if I were interviewing the people in them,” Blyther explained. “Since then, I expanded my horizons and dream of following in Oprah Winfrey’s steps. She is my number-one inspiration for who I want to be when I grow up.” 

Last semester, she studied at the University of the Virgin Islands-St. Thomas.

“It was awesome!” Blyther exclaimed. “I was able to visit almost all of the islands, including the British Virgin Islands, St. John and Water Island. I figured this is my senior year and I wanted to enjoy it in paradise.”

Blyther wanted to become part of a different culture and adapt to it on her own. She recommends the study abroad experience to other students, “because it builds character and helps you grow.”

She selected MCLA because of its proximity to her home: it’s far, but not too far, she said. “Also, because it’s not too big, I feel comfortable and can connect with everyone here.”

While on the St. Thomas campus, she joined the university’s dance team, and helped to choreograph their routines. At MCLA, she serves as a choreographer and the vice president of the Dance Company, a student-run club on campus.

“I have loved dance since I was a child, so I joined the Dance Company during my freshman year. In my sophomore year I was its treasurer, and now I am the vice president,” Blyther said.

She’s also a member of the Latin American Society (LAS) and the Black Student Union (BSU) clubs at MCLA.

The experiences, Blyther explained, have enhanced her educational growth by keeping her aware of various campus happenings, and by informing her on ways she might help to build a better community.

“When you know more people and introduce yourself, it makes it easier to connect with other clubs and to guide each other with events and shows,” she added. “These experiences will help my future career because it provided the first steps to networking, and helped me to come out of my shell so I could talk to people and grow as an individual.”

As beneficial as participation in MCLA’s many clubs and organizations is, Blyther advises new students to put their studies first. “Remember how and why you got to college in the first place.”

Overall, her academic experience has been a positive one. The best part of being an MCLA student, she said, is the potential for growth that the campus provides.

“It is easy to find professors and for them to know your name because of the ratio of professors to students who attend MCLA. There are a variety of students from New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and more, with whom I was able to have debates and share thoughts in class discussions, and while working on group projects,” Blyther said. “This helped me learn to work well with others with different opinions and views.”