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FALL 2020

Trailhead THE MAGAZINE OF THE COMMONWEALTH’S LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE

THE CHANGE MAKER HOW RICARDO ARROYO ’11 IS SERVING HIS COMMUNITY

TEACHING FUTURE TEACHERS PROFILING DRS. CLIO STEARNS AND MAGGIE CLARK

READY TO SERVE FIRST MCLA RADIOLOGIC TECHNOLOGY COHORT ENTERS THE WORKFORCE


125 years. 19,000 alumni. A lasting legacy. Learn more: bit.ly/MCLA125

Trailhead

Managing Editor Kate Gigliotti

FALL 2020

James F. Birge, Ph.D.

SENIOR DIRECTOR OF CONSTITUENT ENGAGEMENT

Christopher MacDonald-Dennis

PRESIDENT

Bernadette Alden DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER

CREATIVE AND BRAND STRATEGY MANAGER

Gina Puc ’07

Writer Shannon Cahill ’18

VICE PRESIDENT FOR STRATEGIC INITIATIVES

Curt Cellana

Dr. Adrienne Wootters

INTERIM DIRECTOR OF FISCAL AFFAIRS

INTERIM VICE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

Barbara T. Chaput EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES/PAYROLL OFFICE

Lead Writer & Editor Francesca Olsen

Robert P. Ziomek ’89 VICE PRESIDENT FOR INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT

ALUMNI COMMUNICATIONS & ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR

Design Julie Hammill WWW.HAMMILLDESIGN.COM

Catherine B. Holbrook

The MCLA Magazine is published annually in print and online for alumni and friends of the College.

VICE PRESIDENT OF STUDENT AFFAIRS

Address changes: alumni@mcla.edu

To view the digital version of this magazine, please visit alumni.mcla.edu/magazine


CONTENTS

Trailhead FALL 2020

FEATURES

6 The Change Maker

How Ricardo Arroyo ’11 is Serving His Community

11 Alumni Award 2020 Honorees

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12 Ready to Serve

First MCLA Radiologic Technology Cohort Enters the Workforce

17 Interview with the Author

Tom Rimer ’06

18 MCLA Alumni Find Success

at Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing

12 MORE

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Cover photo: Ben Mancino ’14

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Sound Off!

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Life in the Spotlight: Erik Dabrowski ’14

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Teaching Future Teachers

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Paying it Forward

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Alumni Spotlight: Kim Williams ’15

16 MCLA Bookshelf 20

Class Notes

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SOUND OFF!

What music takes you back to your college days? You know the songs. One chord and you’re instantly transported back in time. When we posed this question on social media, so many alumni responded with their musical memories. Let’s go back in time together!

‘AMERICAN PIE. ’ ALWAYS THE CLOSING SONG AT BEACON ST.” —Eva Coutermarsh ’90

‘TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS’ brings back baseball team memories.” —Brian Rucinski ’97

“I served a short stint as one of the co-hosts of the long-running(almost 20 years) Hangover Show. Our opening theme was ‘Always Saturday’ by Guadalcanal Diary, so of course it always reminds me of blurry-eyed Saturday mornings on the air at WJJW.” —Tim Clark ’94

STEELY DAN.” —John W. Kennedy ’78

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867-5309

HAS TO BE THE TOP OF MY LIST BECAUSE WE WOULD GIVE THAT NUMBER OUT IF WE DIDN’T WANT THE GUYS TO CALL US.” —Debbie Sjodahl ’83

“‘I GOTTA FEELING’ BY THE BLACK EYED PEAS AND ‘DOWN’ BY JAY SEAN FT. LIL WAYNE” —Hawa Ogresevic ’12

“‘SHOUT’ “ANY SHOW I HOSTED FOR WJJW WAS GUARANTEED TO FEATURE JASON ISBELL! —Jacob Vitali ’20

always brings me right back to the dance floor with my Pines sisters and brothers.” —Kaite Rosa ’10

“THE BEATLES and any musical theatre — we were a townhouse of theatre kids!” —Julie Menard ’08

‘SEXYBACK’ BY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. ALWAYS PLAYED DURING SUNDAY DANCE CO WARM UP! —Rebecca J. Ahamad ’11

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ALUMNI PROFILE

LIFE IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ERIK DABROWSKI ’14 Though Erik Dabrowski ’14 is now back home in Western Massachusetts, he doesn’t regret a moment of his years living in Los Angeles. “Living in LA as an actor is a grind,” he said. “It gave me a work ethic I brought back to New England that’s razor sharp.” An actor, performer, writer, and filmmaker who majored in performing arts at MCLA, Dabrowski headed to LA after graduation to earn his master’s degree from California Institute of the Arts. He stayed in the City of Angels after graduation, going to auditions, working on various projects, and honing his craft—but decided to return home to Chicopee in late 2019. He hadn’t seen his close-knit family in two years; ultimately, his choice gave him a familiar place to

land when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States earlier this year. “One thing I realized when I came back here and settled was I was still writing and sending remote auditions,” he said. And he was working on other projects—doing commercial and narrative work on the East Coast, and working on a writing project based on his grandparents that he is currently shopping at MGM studios in LA. As a creative working in the competitive atmosphere of LA, “if you have something unique to say, you better say it, and you better know how to say it,” Dabrowski said. “Creating your own work is the most important part, even as an actor, especially in a place that’s so oversaturated.” Dabrowski, who comes from a family of Polish immigrants, is retelling a dramatized version of his grandparents’ already dramatic story of being captured by Stalin’s Red Army and sent to a Siberian gulag at the start of World War II. Each of his grandparents spent time in a Russian labor camp and subsequently escaped. Growing up, “the way they talked about it was the most interesting part—so matter of fact about these atrocities to humanity they lived through and experienced,” Dabrowski said. When he was at CalArts, he returned home to interview his grandmother as she was close to passing away. “She talked about how lucky our generation is, even my parents—how lucky they are to live free and to have opportunities,” he said. “I don’t know a lot of stories (in media) about what happened to the Polish people through the Red Army. It’s not a story that gets told a lot; there are few narrative films.” At CalArts, Dabrowski had the opportunity to study under experienced actors like Fran

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Bennett, Roy Hart, and Peabody Award-winning LisaGay Hamilton, who acted as a mentor. “She made me understand the craft of acting, which is an unapologetic, controlled chaos,” he said. Comedy has also fueled Dabrowski’s creative work—he spent time doing improv at the Groundlings Theatre and School in LA, which counts Kathy Griffin, Melissa McCarthy, and Craig T. Nelson among its alumni. “That was one of my favorite things, and improv is an important tool. Being classically trained is important, and being able to land every single line with precision is important—but when that is thrown to the wind, it’s an unmatched experience.” But he also has been deeply inspired by classical performance and craft, studying the masters, and the idea of absurdism. He read play after play as a student, including a lot of German playwright Bertolt Brecht. Dabrowski is fond of the playwright’s quote “I am made to laugh about those who cry, and cry about those who laugh”— the absurdism, the revealing of the subconscious, the breaking of taboo, in performance. “Those things entice me. That’s what drives me, even in commercial work,” he said. These concepts have been combined in Dabrowski’s love of “creature work”—playing a monster on screen—which combine “literally every aspect of acting and then some,” he said. As a monster—such as Walter, the Santa-clad, childeating monster he played for a Crypt TV YouTube spot that has racked up nearly 4.5 million views— he combines body work, storytelling, costume, makeup, and more to become something entirely alien, different, inhuman. Dabrowski encourages young actors to prepare before they consider making a full-time move to a city like LA. “Start establishing credits first,” he said. “If that means putting yourself in your own work, or getting into semi-local work, do it. There’s a ton of stuff happening in New England. You don’t have to be in LA to create meaningful art.” View Dabrowski’s commercial work at www.facebook.com/husariaproductions.


FACULTY PROFILE: DR. CLIO STEARNS + DR. MAGGIE CLARK

MCLA’S NEW EDUCATION PROFESSORS ON TEACHING FUTURE TEACHERS As attitudes and practices around education change, so must educators— and the professors who educate them. Two new members of MCLA’s Education Department, assistant professors Maggie Clark and Clio Stearns, know this well. Clark, who grew up in Williamstown, went to Williams College, then spent time running an after-school program and teaching young children in California while earning her graduate degree from Sonoma State University and researching childhood social and emotional development. Her master’s thesis examined children’s understanding of the concept of peace, and how they define the term. She earned her Ph.D. from UC Santa Cruz in 2016. Stearns earned her bachelor’s from Bryn Mawr and a master’s degree from the Bank Street College of Education, and worked as a teacher before completing her Ph.D. in education, curriculum and instruction from the University of New Hampshire in 2017. She taught as a Peace Corps volunteer, spent time teaching English language and literacy to children and adults, and taught undergraduate classes at University of New Hampshire before coming to MCLA. Both professors have seen a lot of passion from

their students, and have been impressed with their input and reflections on how education works in the U.S. “I think people become teachers for one of two reasons: they had a great teacher they were inspired by, or they had a negative experience and they want to make change,” said Clark. “I think (teaching education) gives an opportunity to pause, but also to critically reflect: ‘What went well in my schooling? What went well I can carry on?’ When you’ve been a student for 12-13 years, and now you’re looking to become a teacher, there is an identity and perspective shift that needs to happen.” “My students are very honest about their ideas— and they want to get to work,” said Stearns. “I love the students here. We have an incredible mix of students with so many different experiences and interests and questions and openness—and a willingness to take risks.”  Our view of education is inextricably linked to our views about society, and Clark and Stearns have seen that reflected in their classroom discussions; they each teach a section of MCLA’s Education and Society class, and end up comparing notes. Students have their own ideas and experiences around consent, autonomy, and societal balance of power; they also have ideas about standardized testing, textbooks, and student evaluation.  “In a school, whatever is happening on a national

stage is an education issue,” said Stearns. “Teaching is not politically neutral…There is going to be some imparting of your views and your way of being in the world. But it’s important to constantly explore your own biases and be ever more conscious of what you are bringing to the classroom, and how you’re impacting people around you.” “I think there is a continued awakening to new and different ways of teaching,” said Clark. “I so appreciate their curiosity. I find them very willing to engage in a critical reflection—critical thinking is often at the core of what we are trying to do here—and I think they come in with so many of those skills.”

MCLA’s two new education professors, Dr. Clio Stearns (left) and Dr. Maggie Clark (right), began teaching here in August 2019. They both report seeing a lot of passion from their students, and have been impressed with their input and reflections on how education works in the U.S.

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THE

CHANGE

When Ricardo Arroyo ’11 was at MCLA, majoring in history and reading extensively for his classes, he made a rule: “I was doing a lot of reading that wasn’t entertaining or fun—so for every book I read that way, I would read two fun books, which is a rule I keep to this day.”

It turned out to be a good rule for someone who would go on to study law at Loyola University in Chicago, become a public defender in Boston, and then become the first person of color to represent Boston’s Fifth District on the City Council—all activities that require quite a lot of reading, whether it’s cases, legislative proposals, or emails from district residents. Born in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood, Arroyo was raised in the Fifth District, and won the council seat by a large margin—700 votes—in 2019. In addition to being the first person of color to win the seat, he’s the third Latino councilor in the city’s history. The first and second? His father and brother, current Suffolk County Register of Probate Felix D. Arroyo, who was an at-large councilor earlier in his career, and Felix G. Arroyo, who was an at-large councilor from 2010-2014. While Arroyo was growing up, his father served on the Boston School Committee, founded the Latino Democratic Committee, served as U.S. Senator John Kerry’s Latin American Affairs Director, and on Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn’s cabinet, among other posts. “My parents wouldn’t let me think otherwise that I had every right to have a say in our city, that my voice was just as important as their voices,” he said. “That’s a certain type of privilege in a country where people of color can feel they don’t have a voice. You

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MAKER He already loved history, taking several AP classes in high school on American history, meaning he couldn’t take the equivalent credits at MCLA, which forced him to branch out. He ended up taking classes in Asian, Russian, and modern world history, among others, which broadened his perspective.

After earning his J.D. from Loyola, Arroyo moved on to a lifelong goal of becoming a public defender. In his three and a half years defending Boston residents, “it was really clear that what happens in our systems is neither justice nor equitable,” he said. He served many people with insufficient cases, or cases based on constitutionally illegal searches, and met with people who were stuck in jail because they didn’t have the money to post bail. Those people would often end up losing their jobs, cars, or homes as a consequence of this— things that might have kept their lives stable after moving through the justice system.

“It’s important to know how we got here. There’s always an untold element to things we take as a given,” he said. “I love finding those elements. Doing those kinds of deep digs was a lesson I learned at MCLA.”

“Our criminal justice system destabilizes folks,” Arroyo said. “You take people who are not in stable systems or stable health—when you put them in the justice system it’s a shock to all that. They have to start all over again.”

At MCLA, Arroyo was inspired by then-President Mary Grant, who he still keeps in touch with, calling her “an absolute powerhouse.” Grant got to know him and regularly checked in on him when he was a student, which was meaningful. And Professor Paul Nnodim “introduced me to philosophy”—Arroyo almost added it as a second major because he took so many courses with Nnodim.

The experience motivated him to look into running for City Council as a way to work holistically on matters of equity and social justice. “From a macro level, I could work on policy, address bigger issues, and try to stabilize and help more lives,” he said.

didn’t have to tell me I could do it, because I was seeing my father do it in front of me.” The young Arroyo decided to attend MCLA because it was as far from Boston as you could get without leaving Massachusetts. “I needed a place I could breathe,” he said. “It was my own little Hogwarts.”

DECLARING RACISM A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS, FOR ME AT LEAST, WAS THE EQUIVALENT OF CALLING THE SKY BLUE.” —RICHARD ARROYO ’11

Arroyo (right) pictured with father Felix D. Arroyo

As a new councilor, Arroyo hit the ground running. In April, as Massachusetts shut

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KNOW YOURSELF AND KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN.” down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he called a hearing to discuss inequities in how ventilators and ICU beds would be distributed in the event of a shortage. As chair of the council’s Public Health Committee, he wanted to make sure that unequal access to care—for rich and poor, for white residents and minority residents—did not play any role in deciding who gets medical care during the pandemic. And in March, in his first speech on the Council floor, he pushed for Boston to declare racism a public health crisis. When Boston Mayor Marty Walsh made the declaration in June, following nationwide protests against police brutality and racism fueled by the police killing of Minneapolis, Minn., resident George Floyd, Arroyo was interviewed extensively by the news media. “The Boston Public Health Commission had already found that racism was a leading driver of inequity and had an independent impact on all of the 26 social determinants that are used to determine what your health outcomes will look like,” he told WBUR in June. “Declaring racism a public health crisis, for me at least, was the equivalent of calling the sky blue.” “Many people of color have been gaslighted on the fact that racism is playing a role in their ability to progress, their health, their housing, their education,” he said. “People of color have talked about this and known about it forever. Now there is an official declaration that makes that real. What was happening before is it was a personal opinion.” Where Walsh and Arroyo differ is the solution to the problem. “My solution requires changing the system,” Arroyo said. “Systems create an outcome. If it repeatedly creates a racist outcome, then that system is racist. If you treat the outcome without treating the system, you’re never going to change those outcomes.” Arroyo’s original proposal called for the creation of an office independent of the mayor that would, similar to the Congressional Budget Office, look

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at legislative proposals in terms of data and determine whether those proposals would create racist outcomes—a check on the system. “That was the proposal. What we got instead was “Racism is a public health crisis,” which was the easy part: ‘We’re gonna give twelve million dollars to treat the symptoms of racism,’” he told WBUR. “Nothing about the systemic root cause of it. No changes to the system itself. A systemic solution for a systemic problem was completely taken out of that proposal.” Arroyo’s work to change these systems—done from within an established system—makes perfect sense to him as a history major and lifelong Boston resident. “We started as a country where Black Americans were 3/5 of a human being, did not include the right to vote for women or anyone who didn’t own land, did not include the civil rights that many people have fought and died for,” he said. Pushing these systems to change “are really the only thing I’ve seen work,” he said. “It moves slowly. It reforms itself slowly. But it happens. Everything positive this country does now, all the things that make me proud to be from this country, came from the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears of marginalized people forcing this system to answer to them. We are not where we need to be but we’ve moved light years ahead of where we were in the 1800s, the 1900s, the 1950s. We’ve pushed this country further toward the ideal it wants to hold itself up to.” And as a son of Boston—and a son of someone deeply invested in the Boston community and deeply involved in these systems—Arroyo knows that he is continuing long-established work. “As young folks, we often think something we’re doing is new,” he said. “But coalition-building is not a new idea. Finding commonalities between different groups to work together—when Blacks, Latinos, progressives, the LGBTQ community come together to fight for equality, that’s not new.” Because he has a sense of that history and context, “I can bring that to the work I do every day.”

For young people looking to go into politics, the 32-year-old recommends first looking deeply within. “Ask yourself: Why do you want that? What’s driving you toward that goal?” he said. “For me, it’s because it’s the one place I can think of where I’m allowed to touch housing, immigration, schools, health care, public safety. I want to talk about racial and socioeconomic equity and justice.”


Arroyo (right), pictured with U.S. Senator Ed Markey (center)

He also recommends getting involved in community work—for example, he spent his high school and college summers as a youth coach in his district. He got to know more of his neighbors, which enriched his perspective as a young man, then as a councilor. “No one of us is smarter than all of us,” he said, noting that he was paraphrasing something his father would tell him often as a child. “The closer you can get to all these different

perspectives and experiences, the better it is for you in shaping the work you do. Be reflective of the places you want to make an impact.” “If you can talk about why, then you can have a vision of how you’d actually do in office. Know yourself and know what you believe in. Otherwise this is not a great place for you to be,” he said. “You likely won’t be very good without that compass.”

Ricardo Arroyo ’11 joined Michael Obasohan ’11 and Theresa O’Bryant ’86 in conversation for MCLA’s Third Annual Day of Dialogue.

REPLAY THEIR CONVERSATION “MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR COMMUNITY” bit.ly/MCLAArroyo

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THE FUND FOR MCLA

EARNING A DEGREE FROM MASSACHUSETTS COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS IS LIFE-CHANGING. JUST ASK OUR STUDENTS. Though 2020 has brought tremendous change to all our lives, one thing remains constant at MCLA: our commitment to our students. Our faculty and staff continue to deliver a high-quality, affordable public liberal arts education in an environment that supports the development of intellectual and practical skills, promotes scholarship and inquiry, and challenges students to model personal, social, and civic responsibility.

WE KNOW YOU BELIEVE IN MCLA. Join us in making life-changing

opportunities possible for current students by making your gift today. The MCLA Foundation will match your Fund for MCLA gift dollar for dollar, up to $25,000 for all gifts made by December 31, 2020!

YOUR SUPPORT OF THE FUND FOR MCLA WILL PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR THESE PRIORITY AREAS: 4 DIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP & PROGRAMMING 4 STUDENT EMERGENCY NEED 4 FOOD SECURITY 4 EQUITABLE INTERNSHIP ACCESS

MEET

MEET

MEET

He is a design major completing an internship with MCLA’s Institute for Arts and Humanities (IAH). Through this internship, Drew has been designing social media graphics, posters, fliers, and other materials that promote the Institute’s mission. “I feel like I really get to branch out and showcase my style and skills,” said Drew. “I’m also interested in educating, talking about diversity issues, equity, and everything the IAH stands for.”

She is an Interdisciplinary Studies and Early Education major and future educator who created Berkshire Buddies, a group where kids of all ages can connect and interact with each other. Kaylea is “absolutely in love with education,” and is happy to be able to study at MCLA, one of the best schools for education right where she grew up.

He is an arts management and theatre double major. AJ chose MCLA “because it’s in a new environment I could explore and has a small, intimate community where I knew I could thrive academically and socially.” AJ is involved with the Nexxus Step Team and also serves as a campus Admission Ambassador.

DREW THOMAS ’21

KAYLEA NOCHER ’21

AJ BURTON ’22

THANK YOU FOR INVESTING IN THE EDUCATION OF OUR STUDENTS!

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LEARN MORE + GIVE TODAY bit.ly/Give2MCLA


ALUMNI AWARDS 2020 HONOREES

JAMES CASEY ’00

ALUMNI HUMANITARIAN AWARD In honor of an alumnus/na who has demonstrated a record of service to their local community or to the world at large.

CHARLOTTE DEGEN ’73

KAITE ROSA ’10

SERVICE TO THE COLLEGE AWARD In recognition of an alumnus/na, faculty or staff member, or friend of the College who has demonstrated a record of service and support to the Alumni Association and/or the institution.

MARK HALLORAN ’77

BLUE & GOLD AWARD In recognition of an MCLA alumnus/na who graduated within the past decade from the College who has shown significant growth in their chosen profession as well as a commitment to supporting and serving as a role model to current and future students. This award was formerly titled the “Young Alumnus” Award.

OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR AWARD In recognition of a K-16 educator and alumnus/na who has shown dedication to the service and development of students and the profession as well as a commitment to innovative classroom practices, programming, extracurricular activities, and/or community work.

The MCLA Alumni Association honors distinguished alumni and friends who have made outstanding contributions in public or community service or in service to the College. Congratulations to each of our distinguished honorees!

BOBBY HOWLAND ’06

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD In recognition of an alumnus/na who has demonstrated a history of professional or community achievement and leadership.

ALUMNI

MEG SKOWRON ’71

OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR EMERITUS AWARD In honor of a retired K-16 educator and alumnus/na who spent their career dedicated to the education and development of students and the profession.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO NOMINATE AN MCLA GRADUATE OR FRIEND OF THE COLLEGE FOR THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION’S 2021 AWARDS?

READ INTERVIEWS WITH EACH OF THE 2020 ALUMNI AWARD HONOREES

Please contact Kate Gigliotti, Sr. Director of Constituent Engagement at kate.gigliotti@mcla.edu.

bit.ly/MCLAawardees MCLA

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READY TO

SERVE FIRST MCLA RADIOLOGIC TECHNOLOGY COHORT ENTERS THE WORKFORCE

Madison Frost ’20 is enjoying her new job as a radiologic technologist in Connecticut—along with most of her radiologic technology cohort, almost all of whom have secured work since graduating in May. MCLA’s first radiologic technology graduates have worked hard to get to this point, facing the closure of Southern Vermont College, which originally housed their program before MCLA became the school’s official teach-out partner, and then a pandemic that caused MCLA’s spring semester to move to a remote format. Still, the program earned a 91% pass rate on its board exams this year. “This is fantastic, considering we had to go remote in March,” said Julie Walsh, assistant professor of radiology.

“It’s definitely different than when I first started—I never thought I’d be having my first interview with a mask on. But it’s still welcoming,” Frost said of her job at Connecticut Orthopedics, where she floats to different offices to do radiology work. Madison Frost ’20 Earlier this year, Frost was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), which recognizes one graduating student from each accredited program in radiologic sciences. It’s given to less than 5 percent of national radiology students. “The criteria for this award are academic excellence, clinical proficiency, teamwork

The graduates of MCLA’s Radiologic Technology cohort have almost all found work since graduating in May, and the program earned a 91% pass rate on its board exams this year. “This is fantastic, considering we had to go remote in March,” said Julie Walsh, assistant professor of radiology.

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ALL THE PROFESSORS AND ALL THE CLASSES I TOOK REALLY HELPED ME WITH THE JOB I’M IN NOW.”

—MADISON FROST ’20

and professional ethics,” said Linda Lippacher, program director of radiologic sciences at MCLA. “Many of our graduates this year fit the criteria, so selecting just one was not an easy task.” Frost, who led the College’s radiology club and helped coordinate a fundraiser for each graduate to receive their own lead thyroid shield, an important tool in radiology work, said she appreciated the radiologic technology program’s clinical work as a way to get hands-on experience. The program has classroom and laboratory space at Berkshire Medical Center’s North Adams Campus. In addition to her work at BMC North, Frost was posted at two different hospitals for her clinical work—Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, Vt., and Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y. “You can read a textbook and see how they do it, but until you’re doing it hands-on yourself, you’re not going to get a full understanding of what it’s like,” she said. Frost said she appreciated the classes she took and the faculty who taught them. “All the classes really prepared me,” she said. “All the professors and all the classes I took really helped me with the job I’m in now.”

Read more about MCLA’s Radiologic Technology program at bit.ly/RADTechMCLA.

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PAYING IT

FORWARD AS A CPA, JULIE ARNOLD ’94 HAS VAST EXPERIENCE IN CALCULATING WHAT’S INDEBTED. PERHAPS THAT’S WHY SHE HAS CONTINUED TO GIVE BACK TO MCLA.

“MCLA did a lot for me, giving me the necessary skills,” she said. “I just feel like I owe them something.” Arnold grew up in Eastern Massachusetts and stayed in the area after graduation; she now lives in Pownal, Vt., and is a partner at Gadja, Arnold, and McConnell, an accounting firm in Williamstown, Mass. “I mostly put myself through school,” she said. “I’m OK where I am financially. If I can give money to make someone else’s life better, great.” A handful of MCLA interns have earned experience at Arnold’s firm over the past few years, including David Flight ’20, who was hired as a full-time employee after his internship concluded. “MCLA prepared David well and thus enabled him to pursue his career right away,” Arnold said. After joining the MCLA Foundation as a corporator in 2013, Arnold joined the foundation’s board in 2015 and currently serves as chair. She’s also a member of the College’s Taconic Society, which recognizes those who have given $1,000 or more to MCLA. The Foundation, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth, development and support of MCLA, meets quarterly. “It’s not a huge amount of your time, but it’s really important,” said Arnold. “It keeps you up to date about what’s going on at the school and allows you to make suggestions and be involved as much as you want to be involved.” Moving forward, the Foundation board will be talking about increasing the diversity of its members.

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MCLA DID A LOT FOR ME, GIVING ME THE NECESSARY SKILLS.” Arnold said that since Foundation meetings became virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now possible to recruit outside the Berkshires, which could mean more diverse participants (more than 90 percent of Berkshire residents are white). “We’ve been trying to move in that direction. We need to step up our efforts to include all people of color—we have people of color on the board now, we need to be deliberate in our recruiting efforts in order to be more diverse.” Asked what she would say to someone thinking of giving back to the College, Arnold is practical: “I think if they’re asking, they probably had a very positive experience at MCLA,” she said. “But giving back to the institution that got you to where you are today is really satisfying. You can be assured it will be put to good use. There are many students that benefit from the scholarships, the internships, the Resiliency Fund, and other funds. The efforts of donors don’t go unnoticed. It’s a big, and very important, part of the financial makeup of the college.”

LEARN MORE + GIVE TODAY bit.ly/Give2MCLA


ALUMNI

SP TLIGHT

KIM WILLIAMS ’15 Kim Williams ’15 graduated from MCLA with a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in elementary education, mathematics, and history. She is currently a special education teacher at the District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington, D.C. Previously, Williams has done extensive work at various non-profits with a focus on fundraising/resource development and programming in youth development, patient advocacy, and community service. Williams says MCLA’s courses, which emphasize organization, analysis, and research experience were keystones in her professional development. The College also taught her creative problem solving and critical thinking, allowing her to maneuver through any possible obstacles in her field. Looking back, Williams says she misses North Adams, namely her favorite college haunt, The Parlor Cafe. “The Parlor Cafe was a really memorable place for me when it snowed. It was a cozy place to sit and watch the snowfall. We don’t get very much snow in D.C. these days, so I miss that warm and fuzzy feeling!”

TELL US!

Nominate yourself or a peer to be featured on MCLA Alumni’s social media in an Alumni Spotlight. bit.ly/MCLAspotlight

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MCLA BOOKSHELF 16

AMANDA BRAUNEIS ’06

ROB CAMPBELL ’90

TABATHA BESHEARS ’07

“PROJECT NEW WORLD”

“AT EASE. ENJOYING THE FREEDOM YOU FOUGHT FOR — A SOLDIER’S STORY AND PERSPECTIVES ON THE JOURNEY TO AN ENCORE LIFE AND CAREER”

“KONSTANTINE” BOOK 1 “HAVOLINA” BOOK 2

Idona Sweetie is a typical college student. But after making a wish, her life is suddenly invaded by the characters from her favorite book series. Can she convince them to return to the safety of the books’ pages? Or will they stick around, and destroy her entire world?

For all who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, there will come a day when it’s time to separate — to “retire” or otherwise hang up your uniform, and to transition to a civilian world you may know little about. So now what?

Havolina Greene is a ginger at the crossroads in her film career who is offered a job on a reality TV show. Mason Porter is a cowboy who keeps screwing up. Havolina and Mason weren’t sure what to expect, but the last thing they were expecting was each other.

GEROL PETRUZELLA ’01

CHRISTY BUTLER ’89

If you’re an author and would like to see your book listed in a future publication, or know of an alumni author with a recently published work, please contact alumni@mcla.edu.

“THE CRUELLEST MONTH: 30 DAYS OF MICROFIC FROM THE PANDEMIC ERA”

“BERKSHIRE DESTINATIONS”

Enjoy Gerol Petruzella’s latest collection of microfiction and poetry, written daily through April 2020. The Cruellest Month, is a series of imaginings built on the uncertainties of worlds, and lives, disrupted.

T R A I L H E A D FA L L 2020

Hikers and families looking for fresh ventures, will locate exciting and satisfying destinations appropriate for every person’s interest and ability. Around every corner and within every season, “Berkshire Destinations” provides natural landscape or cultural locations that invite exploration.

DISCOVER MCLA AUTHORS Visit www.indiebound.org to order one of this issue’s featured books.


INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

TOM RIMER ’06 BY SHANNON CAHILL ’18, ALUMNI COMMUNICATIONS & ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR

Tom Rimer ’06 has come into the fold of debut authors of 2020. The first installation of Rimer’s young adult science fiction trilogy, The Glowing, published in April by Shadow Spark Publishing, follows a particularly resilient high school astronomy club and their quirky science teacher after they survive a global alien invasion. Set in the Berkshires, “The Glowing” begins on the summit of Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts, for a school field trip to view a meteor shower. When the meteors turn out to be an alien race hurdling toward Earth to conquer and destroy the planet, the astronomy club members find themselves among the few worldwide survivors. “The setting was crucial to the story,” Rimer says, noting that the altitude of the mountain was integral to helping the students survive the extraterrestrial attack. “You needed to be able to see the stars. It’s also secluded and difficult to get to,” he said, referencing the vast forests and steep mountain hills the Berkshires are known for, and which his characters find treacherous to navigate. The sequel, “The Glowing 2,” published in August 2020, follows the same cast of characters through their increasingly dangerous mission to save the world from a murderous alien race. Although Rimer was not thinking about it while attending MCLA, his experiences on campus would later give way to literary fodder—not just through the geographical setting, but also the smaller details. In book two, Rimer describes two college students that survived the alien attack because they were in their college’s radio station. As a student, Rimer was a DJ for

MCLA’s radio station, 91.1 WJJW. He said he chose to include a college setting (based loosely on MCLA) so prominently in the series because “MCLA was incredibly formative for me. I love it there.” Before becoming a published author, Rimer was a teacher at various institutions, citing these experiences as incredibly influential to the writing of the story. “I knew this particular series would largely involve teenagers,” Rimer said as to why he chose to write a young adult novel. Rimer reflects on how the global pandemic has influenced his experience publishing his first series; COVID-19 has made it profoundly difficult for him to participate in marketing activities that used to be standard for authors. “I can’t plan book signings at stores or anything like that. It makes it really hard to do any kind of events or publicity,” Rimer says. However, the author has also had impactful virtual discussions and meetings about his books with readers and other media outlets.

I’M A BIG FAN OF BOOKS AND FILMS THAT DON’T DISGUISE THEMSELVES. THEY’RE JUST FUN.”

“The entirety of the trilogy will be released in a pandemic, which is difficult to navigate,” Rimer says, noting that the third and final installation of The Glowing will be published in November 2020. When asked what he wishes people knew about The Glowing, he said: “It’s just for fun. Sometimes you just want to watch a bad horror or monster movie and not take it too seriously. I’m a big fan of books and films that don’t disguise themselves. They’re just fun.”

READ FOR YOURSELF: bit.ly/TomRimer

MCLA

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MCLA ALUMNI FIND SUCCESS

AT BERKSHIRE STERILE MANUFACTURING

Becky Cohen ’04, a graduate from MCLA, manages the production schedule at Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing.

HIRE

MCLA

As Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing (BSM) in Lee, Mass., has grown, many MCLA alumni have grown there, too.

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MA, but jobs that also offer management and experienced positions.

we’re always looking for, someone who can come in and work as part of a team.”

Founded in 2014, BSM provides smal-scale sterile manufacturing services, analytical method development, and stability studies for pharmaceutical and biotech companies that are looking to put new life-saving and life-enhancing therapies into clinical trials. This year, BSM broke ground on a major expansion project that will enable the company to broaden its mission, increase its production, and serve more clients.

Several MCLA alumni currently work in manufacturing, quality assurance, and project management. Although STEM degrees, including chemistry, microbiology, and engineering majors, are preferred, business-oriented majors can support administrative roles, and sometimes there are open positions in offices like HR and accounting. “People who have a liberal arts education or a business background could be a great fit for that,” Donnelly said.

“The expansion will come with a lot of growth in a lot of different areas,” said Jim Donnelly, BSM’s HR recruiter. That expansion and increased capacity means more jobs in the Berkshires— jobs that not only expand STEM in Western

Besides education or related experience, what makes someone a good fit at BSM? Because so many people are involved on single projects, “the one word that always comes to mind for me is collaborative,” said Donnelly. “That’s one thing

BSM Master Scheduler Becky Cohen ’04 joined the company in 2019. A North Adams native, she is appreciative that BSM regularly hires locally. “It has been rewarding to work for a company that plays a direct role in the testing of vaccines and treatments for COVID-19,” she said. “I look forward to developing and advancing my career in biopharmaceuticals, where I can continue to build relationships with companies that are developing drugs making a huge impact in the healthcare field and ultimately in patients’ lives.”

T R A I L H E A D FA L L 2020

Tanya Romero ’18 majored in biology at MCLA with a pre-med concentration. She began as an intern, and was recently promoted to lead associate in BSM’s manufacturing department. “My science


I HAVE BEEN VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE STUDENTS, THEIR INTEREST IN OUR COMPANY, AND THE QUESTIONS WE GET. THEY’RE VERY ENGAGING—MCLA IS A GOOD RESOURCE FOR US.” —JIM DONNELLY, BERKSHIRE STERILE MANUFACTURING

knowledge was a basic background that helped me take the step to apply for an internship at BSM,” Romero said. “I continue gaining valuable skills at BSM. After my graduation, I wanted to stay close to home and spend quality time with my family. It’s been amazing to be part of BSM; I enjoy been part of the team and I am fortunate to work alongside great people.” Donnelly has visited MCLA in his recruitment efforts, tabling at career fairs and during career events in the campus center. “We love getting candidates that are local,” he said. “I have been very impressed with the students, their interest in our company, and the questions we get. They’re very engaging—MCLA is a good resource for us.”

Located in Lee, Mass., Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing Manufacturing recently broke ground on a major expansion project. MCLA

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DO YOU REMEMBER?

CLASS NOTES

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Jean (Harnden) Wormwood ’87 relocated to Fort Pierce, Florida with her husband Tod. She is working remotely for Wipfli LLP as a technology consultant II in their Dynamics GP practice area. Jean’s responsibilities include providing technical support on Dynamics GP for customers as well as QA for custom software solutions. Jean’s son lives in New Hampshire and is running his own successful tree-trimming business.

Jan Myskowski ’87, co-partner of Myskowski & Matthews, a trust and estate law firm, moved the business to 15 North Main Street, Suite 204, Concord, New Hampshire, to make room for expansion in the fall of 2020. He and his writer wife, Dana Biscotti Myskowski ’87, live in Warner, NH. Their young adult children, Leo and Abby, live in Southern Maine and Bradford, NH, respectively, and each run their own businesses.

Alexandra “Alex” Romano ’17, is continuing to write and edit her own fantasy novel. She started it in her senior year at MCLA, and since then, it has changed drastically. From Alex: “I am utilizing my Spanish minor and knowledge I gained while studying abroad in Europe in creating my fantasy world. It’s been my dream to become a published author since I was young! My 9-year-old self would be so proud. Haha! Now, if I can find a publisher, I’d be all set!”

James Conboy ’78 just celebrated 32 years as owner-operator of CarpetFresh of Sudbury, serving Metrowest Boston with the finest in carpet and upholstery cleaning. “I enjoyed seeing some alumni at Reunion 2019, and hope we can do it again when it’s safe! Till then, be sure to check out the Beta Chi Gamma website on Firefox. Best wishes, Jim.”

Joan (Moraweic) Dario ’69 and her husband Gino of Dalton, Mass, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with their immediate family at a socially distanced get-together at Pontoosuc Lake in Pittsfield MA.

Congratulations to the following faculty members on their retirements from the College:

T R A I L H E A D FA L L 2020

Ann Scott, Education Dale Fink, Education Ben Kahn, Business Administration Matt Silliman, Philosophy Richard Yanow, Business Administration

Tell us what campus tradition is taking place in this photo by emailing alumni@mcla.edu and be entered to win an MCLA hat!

YOUR CLASSMATES WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOU! Did you get married? Have a baby? Get a new job or move to a new city? Retire? Tell us about your recent travels, career developments, family updates, or anything else you want to share!

VIEW OR SUBMIT A CLASS NOTE bit.ly/mclaclassnotes or email your Class Note to alumni@mcla.edu


JOIN US! We invite you to join us for these upcoming virtual events: NOVEMBER 14, 2020

Alumni Association Board Meeting NOVEMBER 17, 2020

Trailblazing the Path Career Roundtable: Arts Management NOVEMBER 19, 2020

Vadnais Lecture Series

Susan Natali, Woodwell Climate Research Center NOVEMBER 18, 2020

Alumni Art Show Opening Night

FOR MORE INFORMATION alumni.mcla.edu/events

FEBRUARY 13, 2021

Alumni Association Board Meeting

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD ELECTIONS Call for Nominees: December 1, 2020 – January 15, 2021 Elections: February 1, 2021 – March 15, 2021 LEARN MORE AT ALUMNI.MCLA.EDU/ALUMNI-ASSOCIATION MCLA

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