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How did you decide on RCAH?
As a young student, I always knew I would never attend Michigan State University. It was too familiar, too close to home, too big, too impersonal, and too green. I applied to Michigan State my senior year of high school, however, along with six other colleges. After going on six college visits, I discovered that none of them were right for me. That left me with MSU. I wanted to see campus without the tour guide telling me how great the cafeterias were, so I took myself on my own tour and wound up in Snyder-Phillips hall in the heart of RCAH. I ran into Niki Rudolph, the Director of Student Affairs at RCAH, and after chatting about my interests, she took me on an impromptu tour of the college.
Suddenly, MSU felt like the right choice. I found a major that would not only allow, but encourage my many interests. After that MSU no longer seemed impersonal or too big because of the RCAH community. (It is, however, very, very, green here.)
What are your academic interests?
Both the breadth and depth of my interests have changed so much since becoming an RCAH student. Some of my biggest interests are civic engagement, literature, literacy, community building, and learning. Each RCAH class I have taken has helped me to learn about new fields of study as well as further discover my passions.
What are your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
One of the best aspects of the RCAH experience is the community atmosphere within a Big Ten university. Knowing my professors on a first name basis and small class sizes of RCAH, paired with Spartan Football, 300+ study abroad programs, and countless more opportunities makes for the best college experience. The small community that is RCAH balances well with the size of MSU.
Another valuable aspect of RCAH is the hands on experience built into the curriculum. I have never had an RCAH class that was also a lecture class. The more traditional RCAH classes are still participation and discussion based, which strengthens communication and critical thinking skills. The civic engagement classes are an opportunity to get real world résumé-worthy experience. I have led multiple creative projects, interned at multimillion dollar nonprofit, and worked with diverse populations. Many other programs take a passive approach to education, but an RCAH education is active and, ultimately, more valuable.
My final, favorite aspect of RCAH is the freedom that I am afforded as a student. Hand in hand with the concept of an active education, I am able to choose my focuses. Independent creative projects with professors, such as a photo project examining people’s relationships with food and a collaborative poetry writing display, were possible through the flexibility of RCAH. I also have been able pursue certifications in other interests, like Spanish and Peace and Justice Studies, while still graduating ahead of schedule because of the space for exploration that the RCAH curriculum provides.
What are your future plans?
This is a great question to which I do not have a simple answer. The RCAH has opened up so many diverse pathways for me, and I honestly cannot see myself doing one thing for my entire life. My plan right after graduation is to join the workforce to gain experience. After a few years, I would like to go to graduate school for Library Information Science specializing in public librarianship and community programing. I also want to continue learning languages and traveling, and who knows where that will take me!
What are your hobbies and interests within and outside of RCAH?
I love the arts! I paint, write, go to concerts and shows, but most of all, I love reading! I also enjoy crafting: rubber stamping, knitting, sewing, everything. Additionally, I enjoy baking, which is hard to do when I am doing another hobby of mine, traveling. I recently got back from a two week backpacking trip through Europe. I wrote about my travels on my blog where I also talked about my study abroad experience.
Have you ever taken part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU? If so, which programs?
Yes! I went on the Hispanic Studies in Valencia program in Valencia, Spain for the duration of spring semester. I lived with a host family in the city and attended college courses, all conducted in Spanish, at the University there. It was a great opportunity for language immersion and an awesome way to learn about the Spanish culture. Not to mention, the food was delicious! I firmly believe that every student should go on a study abroad/study away program and so do the many people and organizations that provide scholarships to help you go!