August 9, 2018
When Erica Barreto ’18 of Rhinebeck, N.Y. arrived at MCLA, she had no idea what kind of career she wanted, but opportunities like an internship to help create a regional arts network and work as the administrative research associate for MCLA’s Mellon Grant led her to an opportunity to do what she loves – working with the community.
At BART Charter Public School in Adams, which focuses on art and technology as it prepares students for college, Barreto works in communications and enrollment. “The greatest reward of my work is being able to positively impact the community,” she said.
Barreto’s work with the Mellon Foundation Planning Grant included assisting the MCLA faculty members on its advisory team, which was tasked with creating a model for a digital asset map and outlining a humanities fellowship program, to be hosted by the College.
“It revealed to me the power of community conversation, the value of interdisciplinary studies and the capacity of this work to positively impact future generations of students,” she said.
Barreto also conducted research and managed data for the Brainworks Berkshire Regional Arts Integration Network project. Its goals include the creation of a digital map that identifies a variety of humanities assets throughout Berkshire County, with the goal of increasing access and possibilities for engagement with the arts for all those who live in region. She also was responsible for attending meetings with area arts and culture organizations to record discussions – a practice she continues today.
“Berkshire County is a hub for arts education,” Barreto explained. However, not every school has the same resources. “This regional arts network will address equity and establish alignment so that every student in Berkshire County has equal access to these incredible resources, no matter what district they’re in.”
An English/communications major who concentrated in professional and creative writing, Barreto also minored in arts management. One of six graduates to earn All College Honors, she received the Outstanding Student Award from the MCLA Faculty Association.