Senior Christina Melendey didn’t need to go too far from her native Lebanon, N.H. to find a college that had the right amount of familiarity and diversity. Throughout Christina’s extensive searching, GMC made quite an impression on her from the very beginning.
“This was the first school I visited out of probably fifty schools,” she explained. “I hadn’t known anyone who had come here, my parents didn’t know about it, or anything like that. I just really enjoyed my first visit here.”
She also found out about GMC right about the time her ecological awareness was in full bloom.
“I was reading Thoreau at the time as a sophomore in high school and I remember the GMC mission statement mentioned Thoreau,” she says. “I really connected with that.”
“I also really liked that it was a liberal arts school. I’m kind of indecisive,” she laughs. “I wasn’t one who could say ‘Okay – environmental studies. Forget everything else.’ I really liked having the freedom to choose and integrate different things into my education.”
After spending her first two years undeclared, Christina eventually realized her passion for “changing attitudes.”
“At that point I had taken a lot of psychology classes, but one in particular – social psychology – really helped me bridge the gap between my interests in the environment and psychology,” she says.
A GMC-sponsored trip to Brazil helped her solidify this interest in a context that was more than academic. Although the trip was geared to environmental studies students, Christina tagged along and, resultantly, found her own focus. “Once you see the level of poverty that is present in some areas of the world, it makes you want to change things. [The trip] was definitely one of the most memorable experiences of my life.”
For the latter half of her collegiate career, Christina has indeed been changing things. She has interned as an assistant at Rutland Regional Hospital and as a mentor for an organization called DREAM, a youth-based village mentoring organization that is sponsored by AmeriCorps. Christina cites both of these experiences as useful in different ways, giving her varied background in undergraduate psychology.
Thanks to her continued hard work, she’s also lined up a couple of important appearances. As Vance Jackson’s (psychology) research assistant, she will co-present their research on domestic violence to the APA (American Psychological Association). She will also be presenting her own undergraduate research at a conference held at Ithaca College in the coming weeks. Although Christina’s senior research project is ongoing and needs to remain confidential, she hinted that she is looking at various attitudes student’s have toward attending GMC and college in general.
Christina has graduate school in her sights, as she hopes to make the most out of her interest in psychology. In the interim, she’s hoping to land a case management position, working directly with people in a way that is similar to her mentoring work. In any event, she’s set on the path to doing what she does best: expressing sincere care for others, bettering their attitudes, and, in turn, bettering their lives altogether.
By Chad Skiles ‘12