Student Features

Want to read more about our MCLA students and their outstanding accomplishments?
Check out these featured articles:


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MJ Shannon ’17 (center), along with team members Avery Woodbury ’18, Katrina E. Staaf ’17 and Anthony J. Cote ’18, pitches her idea for ‘LoCal’ to the judges during MCLA’s inaugural Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge on April 19.

A childhood dream, some unexpected partners, and $10,000 in first place winnings at MCLA’s first Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge brought MJ Shannon ’17 of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.,  a big step forward to realizing her career goals last month. Shannon – along with team members Barbara Reeves ’18, Avery Woodbury ’18, Katrina E. Staaf ’17 and Anthony J. Cote ’18 – created “LoCal,” low-priced, healthy snacks for on-the-go consumers. Their goal is to become a national restaurant that specializes in locally sourced, healthy snacks for people on the go.

“I have always had the idea for healthy fast food since I was a child, and when I heard about the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge, I just knew that this was my shot to act on it.”


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MCLA student Zack Page ’16 is passionate about theatre and dreams of becoming a professional actor. An arts management major with a minor in theatre, this summer he’s serving an internship in New Hampshire at The Barnstormers Theatre. As a marketing intern for Barnstormers, Page works to promote the theatre company.

“It was a great experience full of wonderful experiences, and I truly felt it prepared me to partake in an internship of this caliber.”


16730329_971192806346787_6625065037395715291_n-640x426MCLA student Izzy Heltai ’18 recently released a five-song album “Izzy Heltai and Secret Creature,” where he is able to showcase his original songs, as well as an original arrangement of a traditional song, in the acoustic/indie genre that he plays.

“Folk music, good 4 your soul.”



MCLA student Brianna McDermott ’17 directed the 2016 fall production of The Best of Everything on the Venable Theater’s main stage. It was a first student-produce event the college has produced. McDermott is a double major in arts management and fine and performing arts with a concentration in theater, yet never pictured herself as a director until the opportunity arrived.

“Academically, I had been splitting my focus between performance, management and education; and directing seemed like the perfect way to intersect all three of those interests.”

MCLA student Rebecca Waterhouse ’17 of Fairport, N.Y., spent a semester in Spain, studying at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. While studying “Urban Interventions, Graffiti and Public Sculpture,” she devised a final project that would create a graffiti piece on one of several walls located throughout Barcelona where it is legal to do so. Her focus is on how cities use public space – not just artistically, but also socially and politically.

“Keeping a piece of work behind walls that has the potential of inspiring and connecting communities is limiting its power. The creation of work in public spaces should be encouraged.”


From serving as a gallery attendant during her freshman year to attending the Cecilia Wright crop 2.jpgAssociation of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference in New York City as a junior, as well as this year’s internship at a renowned museum – The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown – Cecilia Wright (right) has gained a plethora of experience during her time as an MCLA student. As the membership assistant at The Clark, Wright is involved with all membership-related activities of the museum. MCLA prepared Wright for success in the position, she said, by providing the fundamental tools she needed through group projects, oral presentations, and papers.

“Through classes such as ‘Arts Marketing’ and ‘Writing in the Arts,’ I am gaining professional skills needed in the workplace. I am learning jargon and current events in the field. They provide hands-on, real-world skills. The group projects done in these classes are actual reports for organizations that are well thought-out.”


As the new community engagement coordinator at MCLA’s Center for Service and Chris Hantman crop.jpgCitizenship, Chris Hantman ’14 works with our undergraduates to help them reach their goals as they strive to better themselves. Although his duties include oversight over MCLA’s Bike Share Program, the fulfillment of civic engagement grants, and serving as a resource to students, Hantman said the best part of his position is the opportunity to work with the diligent and compassionate staff in the Office of Student Affairs.

“Everyone here shares the number-one goal of helping students to reach their own goals and better themselves, and that is a great mindset to have. Working with the students is a fantastic opportunity to grow and learn to approach projects from a different perspective.”



MCLA student, Rebecca Patterson, was chosen out of 700 applicants to participate in the ’21 Voices’ program in which she is tasked with documenting her experiences as a college student through various mediums including art, video diaries, and writing.

“I feel like there’s no limit to what I can do at this school, and afterward. If anything, there’s more opportunity than at other schools because of the size.”


Deanna Boucher ’15 has served as a residence assistant for Berkshire Towers and a Deanna Boucher1liaison to the residence hall’s advisory board. She’s also a choreographer for the Dance Company and is on the RPS Recycling Committee. In addition, she’s the National Residence Hall Honorary Secretary, a youth program assistant for Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) National, Inc., a member of the National Organizations For Youth Safety Board, and a volunteer at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). It’s no wonder this arts management major – whose minor is leadership – was honored with the 2014 Newman Civic Fellow Award. Her leadership in SADD served as a catalyst for her interest in social change, according to Boucher.

“It also helped me discover positive ways to influence lives; I felt that I was actually able to help create change in communities, and that was very important for me. I became the leader I am today through this organization.”

tumblr_mlsetsKySj1rkz363o4_1280.png“I AM A SCIENTIST” JENNY BEERS ARTICLE


Jenny Beers is a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Her case study of the Lowell Leaders in Stewardship Program was recently published to the Seen and Heard Massachusetts Cultural Council blog. Her study expressed that youths involved in this program gained a greater respect for their community and themselves.