Madeleine Gorman

Student Info

Graduation Year:
Plymouth, Michigan
Degree: RCAH and Environmental Studies and Sustainability

What made you decide to attend the RCAH?
I took an Arts and Humanities Class in High School at the Plymouth - Canton Educational Park with Ms Lang and I didn't know how it would translate into a career, but I knew I wanted to be in a place that combined philosophy, the importance of art, literature, and RCAH also had a community engagement element. I found out about RCAH in an informational session about MSU and I never looked back. I knew that's where I would succeed the most.

Do you have any favorite memories?
RCAH 292B It's Great to be a Girl with Pati

What were your academic interests in RCAH?
History, philosophy, civic engagement, community activism, community level change.

What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
Getting to know the faculty and staff. Their stories of how they found their passions and came to be at RCAH, what research they're doing, what partnerships they have and how they began are fascinating and inspiring.

Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU? If so, which programs?

What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
Coastal water quality coordinator, michigan office of the great lakes.

Which RCAH experiences influenced the work you do today?
Civic engagement classes, philosophy classes, critical thinking, analyzing, active listening, small community governance and working together in small groups (rcah council)

Did you know while you were in college that you wanted to do the type of work you’re doing now?
No way, not until my internship with OGL.

How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
Critical thinking and creative thinking are a huge part of the work that I do as well as learning how to fit into an established team. You can learn technical skills, but you can't teach someone to be genuinely nice to others and to be creative. Being compassionate and understanding of other's opinions and experiences that formed their opinions.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?
The people I work with. They have taken me under their wing to show me how to be successful at the State and in my field so I can do everything I can to be a great resource for Michigan's coastal communities. Every single one of my coworkers is inspiring and fantastic to work with, I cannot express how lucky I am that THIS is my first job. It's an honor and a privilege.

What are some of the challenges?
Effective communication to multiple audiences continues to be something I work at every day at my job. RCAH taught me how to form opinions and speak for myself and present my opinions/arguments effectively, but communicating a fact or message to ensure understanding which leads to positive actions can be a challenge.

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of work?
I take care of an adorable 5 month old puppy named Hazel, looking to start volunteering at Lansing REC, and drive to my hometown to see my parents and grandparents.

If you could plan an event for alumni in your area, what would you do?
Tailgate, group volunteer event/group, create volunteer opportunities at sny-phi that are after 5pm, reunion dinner/happy hour.

What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
Think about what you're passionate about, but also think of what skills you can bring to the table. How can you combine those in order to effect the most change in your community? Find out how you fit into a team, being a leader can take many forms and being a leader isn't always the most important role. If you have  5 people in a group, all trying to lead and assert their authority, that group is not going to accomplish their goal. Listen to understand, not to respond. Even though some days it may seem like it, "the world is not split into good people and death eaters." Seek to understand.