Alyssa DePlonty

Student Info

Graduation Year:
Spring 2011
Saginaw, MI

What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
After graduation, I joined AmeriCorps NCCC and moved to Denver. After training in disaster relief, first aid, and community building, I (and a team of 10 others) moved around the southwest to different communities to work on projects. My favorite was working at the Boys and Girls Club in New Mexico. I highly recommend this program - I learned a lot!

After a busy year, I moved to Seattle and began graduate school at the University of Washington in Museology. After receiving my master's degree, I accepted my current position at a local art museum in my hometown where I act as curator and registrar. 

How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
RCAH encouraged me to pursue my interests, and as obvious as that sounds, not all college programs are like that! No one, be it a student or professor, questioned my love of museums and instead encouraged me to pursue it as a profession instead of just a hobby - which lead to my master's program and my current position. RCAH taught me to explore, question and learn no matter where I am, and I've carried that with me since I graduated.

What were your academic interests in RCAH?
I followed the Art and Public Life pathway! Through that I took a lot of direct engagement classes, working with students and elders in the community, which I really enjoyed. I worked with Refugee Development Center through RCAH and that was life changing - I actually based my graduate thesis on my experience there! You never know when an experience can build to something else. 

What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
I have so many favorites, it's hard to choose! The top one, which I still talk about to this day, would just be the community of RCAH. I originally set my major for Anthropology, and then read about RCAH through research on the MSU webpage. I set up a meeting with Scot Yoder and I was just so impressed by his energy and passion. Everything he said about the program felt like a perfect fit, and I'm so glad it was. RCAH was home for so many years and gave me so many fantastic memories. I wouldn't trade that for anything. 

That being said, one of my all-time favorite memories of RCAH is when construction was finally finished on the theatre in the basement of Sny-Phi and we had an RCAH party. Complete with guitar hero on the projector screens, dancing in our socks to music from the speakers and teaching Dean Esquith the Soulja Boy dance (the song was popular then, okay?). I also still talk about my time in Chris Scales' Appalachian string band - so fun! 

Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU? If so, which programs?
I did! It was an amazing experience, and I would so highly recommend taking advantage of MSU's programs. Mine was for "Expressive Arts, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies" in South Africa. South Africa was a place I never thought I'd travel to, but it was incredible and I learned so much. Through RCAH, I went to West Virginia with Chris Scales' Appalachian music class, and on an alternative spring break to Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Both trips are some of my favorite college memories. Travel while it's easy (and set up for you)!

What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
RCAH is a strong and encouraging community - don't take that for granted! Yes, there are kind people everywhere and you will encounter them (sometimes) unexpectedly throughout your life, but RCAH is really the place to learn about yourself. Take different classes, join clubs, take up new hobbies you've always been intimidated by. There's no time like the present, and you have so many opportunities in RCAH and at State! You'll carry these memories forever, so make them good ones. On the flip side though, don't be too hard on yourself - life is about taking chances, but it's also about balance. Give yourself time to adjust and relax if needed. I've been there, and most of the time I was so hard on myself for not doing more. So have fun and most of all, be kind to yourself and others.