A lot of factors go into choosing a college. A certain passion. A sense of community. An eventual career path. When considering his options, Mike Magnotta asked himself a simple question: “What do I like to do?”
He originally envisioned himself becoming a military professional or a specialized surgeon. His partial blindness, however, made these endeavors beyond reach. And so he was left with his question again.
The answers led him to seek a small environmental college on the east coast to pursue his interests in the environmental studies, sustainable building and history. After a visit to Green Mountain College, Mike knew this was where he belonged.
As a freshman at Green Mountain, Mike did not seek out leadership opportunities, but his organizational skills had a way of finding an outlet. Eventually, he found himself actively involved in the student financial committee, which, in turn, gave him the skills he needed to be elected, then re-elected, as student body treasurer.
As treasurer, Mike’s main charge is to coordinate and organize the clubs, and he is leader of the club assembly (he also is president of the Quidditch club on campus).
Over his time at Green Mountain, Mike believes the most important skill he learned is developing a critical eye, something most students strive to achieve and most adults fail to. Mike believes he owes this in great part to Andrew Duffin, professor of history. The ability to look beyond what is there, Mike says, will benefit him most in his future endeavors.
“He taught me that you can’t look at things as they are. And you’ve got to pick your battles,” he said.
Mike also credits Duffin with the vast improvements in his writing—he winces a bit when looking back on his early work as a freshman. These abilities of analyzing and critical reasoning are valued skills in almost all professions. And its use in renewable energy and design is exceedingly practical.