Student Features

FPA major is at home at MCLA

When she began her MCLA college career last year, Nia Scott ’17 of Brooklyn, N.Y., knew she wanted to major in the arts. Although she started out in theatre, she soon realized that music was a perfect fit for her.

“I grew up surrounded by music, so the choice to change concentrations wasn’t difficult,” Scott explained.

C:\fakepath\Nia Scott Belize kids crop.jpg

By the end of her freshman year, after spending time as a volunteer in a local elementary school, she added a second major – education. “It reminded me how much I like children. I knew that I had to add education into my career at MCLA and, luckily, I could,” Scott said.

She plans to teach music in an early childhood setting. Her plans include a graduate degree in music therapy so she might help children with special needs “experience the joy and healing powers that music has.”

“Music is very important for children. Being able to learn music at a young age affects a child’s development, and I want to be able to help a child develop,” Scott continued. “Music was introduced to me at such a young age, and has influenced me throughout my life. I want to share that experience.”

According the Scott, MCLA’s Fine and Performing Arts (FPA) professors connect with their students on a personal level, and promote a relaxed atmosphere when it comes to teaching. At the same time, they’re also very passionate about the material, “which in turn makes me absorb what they are teaching.”

In addition, the small FPA classes have resulted in close friendships among the students. “There is a nice community within the Music Department,” she said.  

Three things brought Scott to MCLA – location, affordability and the academic programs. 

“I knew as soon as I stepped on the campus that I was going to come here. It felt like home,” she said. “The best part of coming to North Adams from Brooklyn is the mountains! I was immediately taken away by how beautiful they are. The atmosphere is completely different. The air is cleaner, and I feel a lot closer to nature than I did back in the city. I also like how quiet it is, compared to the hustle and bustle of New York.”

MCLA’s small and close-knit community makes Scott feels as though she has a second family.

“The campus is so welcoming,” she said. “I still feel the same way about the campus that I felt as a junior in high school, visiting for the first time.”

MCLA also is a great place to get involved. “I didn’t look at volunteer opportunities when I applied to MCLA, but … the more you get involved the more opportunities open up,” Scott said.

In addition to winding up her second year with the Allegrettos, the campus’s a capella group, Scott’s many activities include volunteering for STICS (Students-Teacher In-Class Support), and serving as the secretary for Colleges Against Cancer and the YMCA program coordinator. This past spring, she traveled to Belize (see photo of Scott, above, with children she met on that trip) through the Alternative Spring Break program.

“This school is great for anyone who wants to be involved on campus, because here you will have a chance to do that. There are so many clubs and activities to join, and so many ways to get involved – whether it’s Athletics or community work, there is a place for everyone,” Scott said.

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