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What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
Most recently, I have accepted a seat at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. I will be starting Dental School in June (2013), and if things continue as planned, I will be Dr. Adalene Chabon, DDS in 2017. Immediately after graduating from the RCAH, I was hired as the College Adviser in the Zeeland High Schools. I was a supplement to the Counseling Staff and helped the senior class of 2013 navigate the college application process. I worked for Destination Education with the intent of increasing the number of first-generation and low-income students that pursue post-secondary education.
How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
The RCAH provides you with these vital seeds of wisdom that can then be applied to any part of your life. The foundation of interdisciplinary thought, critical thinking, and creativity has gotten me into dental school and has helped me excel as Zeeland’s first College Adviser. In the RCAH, discussion and engagement are the modes of learning. In class, you will tackle such complicated and intertwined issues it is inevitable that you will be gaining thoughts and perspectives from multiple lenses and frameworks. Soon the world becomes a web of interconnected themes that you will be prepared to engage with!
What were your academic interests in RCAH?
I focused on the Nature and Culture pathway. This allowed me space to complete my pre-dental, science requirements. It was then my job to connect the themes of my RCAH classes to my goals in health care. This provided me a unique lens to view the dental field. Because of the RCAH, I can now look at the dentistry field as a humanitarian, an artisan, and a skeptic.
What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
I loved my creative workshops. My senior year, I worked with Anita Skeen and Laura DeLind on an independent study in linoleum carving. The experience I had with them exemplifies the RCAH’s student-professor relationship. The professors, most of which you know on a first name basis, will create a new project catered to your needs, take time out of their numerous endeavors, and sit down to share an art with you. At the end of the semester I had 10 pieces to display and a new lifelong craft to pursue. I actually took some of my prints to my dental school interview and showed the committee my hand skills and artistry. They were very impressed.
Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU?
YES! Vincent Delgado led my study abroad trip to Costa Rica during the summer of 2011. While in Costa Rica, seven other students and I stayed with host families in Santa Ana. We hiked to Conversa every morning during the first month to take conversational Spanish classes. Vince also led classes on the Ethics of Ecotourism and Civic Engagement. Studying in the mountains of Costa Rica didn’t feel like studying at all. The second month we split up and stayed with new host families in rural areas across the country. We were to practice all the engagement skills we had read so much about. After living with my family for a month, communicating through smiles, broken Spanish, and lots of charades, the goodbyes were very hard. The experience highlighted the importance of the RCAH, and how a more open, community-oriented, and interdisciplinary person is adaptable and able to collaborate with awareness and respect.
What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
Be bold and listen carefully. Your time in the RCAH exposes you many avenues and perspectives. The more time you spend discussing and debating, the more you will learn and be able to construct well thought-out opinions and connections. There really isn’t one correct answer, and only with variation can we evolve our thoughts and plans. The RCAH has something to offer everyone, you just have to be creative and make connections that others might not initially see, like an Arts and Humanities major going off to dental school.