finding a Home away from home

Mary Kate Lynch '18

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Mary Kate Lynch '18 defines home as the place she knows she belongs. A freshman, Mary Kate’s first year at MCLA has given her the opportunity for growth in a comfortable welcoming environment. She attributes the hominess to faculty and staff like her resident advisor, who is constantly coming up with new and exciting ways to promote community. One event Mary Kate's RA organized was a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving feast, complete with all the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving staples, toast, jelly beans, and pretzels. “It’s really nice to spend time with everyone on our floor,” Mary Kate said. “She also just put up new Divergent themed door tags and took the time to try and put all of her residents in the faction where they seemed to fit.”

An English major, Mary Kate can appreciate the novel themed door tags. She came to MCLA undecided about what she wanted to study. Now she’s working towards completing two English concentrations in literature and writing, a minor in philosophy, and belongs to the Honors program.

“I think I've just always enjoyed reading and writing more than anything else I did in school, but I didn't know if I could turn that into a career,” Mary Kate said. “The Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE) and the English department were really encouraging and helped instill the confidence I needed to become an English major.”

When she’s not bonding with her floor mates, Mary Kate can be found on the bench outside Eldridge hall, a book in hand, or exploring North Adams and the surrounding areas.

“I really enjoy going out on the weekends and just exploring the area because I live three hours away and it's a lot different here,” Mary Kate said. “It's really cool to be in this area because there are great places to appreciate nature, but there are also concerts and art galleries and good food.”

Mary Kate knows she chose the right place to call home. Though she’s still growing and just beginning her college experience, Mary Kate knows that her Liberal Arts education will lead to great things.

“One of the main reasons that I chose MCLA is because I believe it can provide me with the education to pursue any aspirations that I have,” she said. 

During her time at MCLA, Shadea has fully embraced the many opportunities available to her, participating in theatre, the WJJW Radio Station, and Dance Company. This semester, Shadea is embarking on what may be “one of the most rewarding experiences of her life,” studying abroad at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. While there she will be taking classes in English, Communications, and Theatre, auditioning for their dance team, and exploring opportunities with the University’s radio station. Shadea’s study abroad experience was made possible through the National Student Exchange Program and was funded by applying her financial aid awards from MCLA. 
Shadea is just one example of the impact financial aid makes. Did you know that 46% percent of all MCLA students were eligible for Federal Pell Grants last year and that 90% of all MCLA students applied for financial aid? Due to this increasingly pressing need, this year the College has introduced a special scholarship initiative to help increase funds available to our students and their families. The need is greater now than ever before. When you give to the Alumni Fund, you are making it possible for MCLA’s students, like Shadea, to begin and complete their journey; allowing them to fulfill their dreams and discover their passions. 



Copyright 2015 Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts