Alyson Carey ’13, second from right, attended a community engagement fair during the
time she worked in her previous position at MCLA's Center for Service and Citizenship.
Biology alumna aims for healthcare career
While she was a student at MCLA, Alyson Carey ’13 worked as a residential counselor at a camp for diabetic youth. That experience convinced her that her life’s calling was in healthcare, so she went on to shadow physician’s assistants at nearby hospitals, like those at Berkshire Medical Center.
“I learned that I really liked the role of a physician's assistant (PA) on a healthcare team, the flexibility of changing medical specialties as a PA, and the high quality of work life balance it offers,” Carey said.
Carey, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a pre-professional concentration and a psychology minor, recently completed a certified nursing assistant (CNA) course at Berkshire Health Systems and earned her CNA licensure.
Now, with plans to enter graduate school in 2017, she works at Spaulding Rehabilitation Outpatient Center in Framingham, Mass., as a rehabilitation aide.
“Within the upcoming years, I hope to gain more exposure to the healthcare field and obtain more direct patient care experience,” Carey explained. “It’s important to me to work at a healthcare facility that emphasizes teaching, supports the professional development of their employees, and is truly dedicated to providing quality patient care.”
At Spaulding, she learns about physical therapy and rehabilitation at an outpatient center, while strengthening herself as an applicant for PA school.
“Working one-on-one with patients and physical therapists has been a rewarding experience so far, and Spaulding is definitely helping to grow and develop my future education and career goals.”
Just before her final semester at MCLA, Carey traveled to Costa Rica for an International Service Learning experience as a medical volunteer. There, she performed community health work in poor neighborhoods, including various screenings and treatments, presented educational health information, and conducted patient interviews and exams in Spanish.
As a result, in addition to her work at Spaulding, she plans to enroll in a Medical Spanish certificate program in the fall.
As her MCLA graduation approached in 2013, Carey searched for a job where she could make a difference, while she refined her long-term career goals. As the community engagement coordinator for MCLA’s Center for Service, she worked to strengthen and expanding community engagement at the College as she collaborated with MCLA students and community partners to advance and conduct civic learning programs and initiatives.
“One of the most rewarding parts of the position was mentoring and guiding students and student leaders,” Carey said. “My experiences at MCLA in the Center for Service after graduation honed and developed my leadership and management skills. These transferable skills will be very beneficial in the medical field when dealing with patients and working on a healthcare team.
It was MCLA's emphasis on learning – both inside and outside of the classroom – that helped Carey to develop a very diverse skill set.
“Faculty and Student Affairs staff challenged me to explore many different opportunities and acted as an invaluable resource to me over the past years. I really enjoyed how many courses incorporated service learning,” she said.
According to Carey, her experiences at MCLA – both undergraduate and post graduate – instilled core values of service and leadership.
“I now feel comfortable diving into new opportunities and places, and MCLA truly helped develop my skills to build and strengthen my community,” she said. “MCLA offers a wide variety of resources and opportunities, and can help to create and provide them with new opportunities. So students should not be afraid to think big and try something new, there are plenty of people willing to help and support them along the way.”