Sherley Jules ’15 (back row, far right) says NeXXus was an important part of her MCLA experience. She is pictured here with club members (front row, from left) Maya Crawford '18, Tim Williams '17, Johnathan Chery '17 and (back row, from left) Tanisha Drysdale '17, Tenea Davis '17, Stacy Huel '17, Natalie Herbert '17 and Kyana Houston '18.
CSSE Promotes Alumna’s Success
Sherley Jules ’15 is headed to Washington, D.C., this fall to begin her master’s program at Howard University. Also accepted to Boston College, she attributes her success to the faculty and staff in the Sociology Department, as well as those in MCLA’s Center for Success and Engagement (CSSE).
“They’re like my second family,” Jules said of both departments. “There were times when I wanted to give up. That wasn’t in their vocabulary.”
She explained, “I wanted to drop out, due to some family issues, but CSSE helped me with my scheduling and to set up a plan. They asked me, ‘Where do you want to see yourself? How do you want to tackle it?’ If it weren’t for CSSE, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I am so grateful to them.”
At Howard University, Jules will pursue her master’s degree in social work in the area of “Individuals, Families and Groups,” with a concentration on criminal justice.
“Howard’s programs spoke to me,” she said. “Diversity is key. MCLA is so diverse, with varied classes. I could never go to a non-diverse school again. MCLA provided me with so many outlets, and I feel like Howard is similar.”
She continued, “As a woman of color and with everything going on in our society with Black Lives Matter and the chaos, I feel like we don’t have enough activists promoting good things. Violence is not the answer. I want to be in an environment where the connections are there. We need more women leaders.”
At MCLA, Jules was involved with a number of clubs and organizations, including the Black Student Union (BSU), Latin American Society (LAS) and ALANA. As part of the NeXXus step team, she served as president, and on its executive board.
“NeXXus is a phenomenal group,” she said. “It taught me so much discipline as I balanced my classes and stayed on task. If you’re part of a club, all the faculty members are looking at you, so it was really crucial for me to keep my grades up. If you are a leader, you cannot be failing!
“Being on NeXXus challenged me, and I made the dean’s list for three semesters in a row. It really was a key part of my experience at MCLA.”
She will bring that experience to Howard, especially as she begins an internship this fall, working at a courthouse with cases involving youth and the foster care program.
“MCLA really prepared me for this. Had I not joined clubs, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. It’s a lot on my plate, but MCLA prepared me for the best,” she said.
Jules also served an internship during her senior year at MCLA, when she shadowed the director of classifications at the Berkshire County Jail.
As part of that internship, she joined the inmates in group sessions, as they discussed substance abuse issues that oftentimes stemmed from their childhoods.
“Many of them said they were raised without a father, and their mom did drugs. It was really interesting to look at mental health in that way,” Jules said.
According to Jules, change begins with the youth. “A new generation is coming, so we need to tackle the youth before we fix anything,” she said. “Social workers are the change. No one’s perfect. I want to be a voice for someone.”