Meet Our Graduates

 

Michelle Crego

Nursing, B.S.N., R.N.

Michelle majored in nursing, graduated in 2014 with a 3.2 grade point average, and is currently employed as a nurse at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

 “I have changed a lot over the four years in college…when I was younger, I used to always think that the way I learned was a burden since it was more difficult for me…now I feel like it is more of a blessing because I met everyone here in the Learning Center – it wasn’t just the people that I work with directly, it even was the smile in the hallway, the test lab proctor. I feel like you guys have put into perspective that learning differently is more than okay. If I did not have a learning disability, I would have never met the people at the Learning Center…. I know I will always think about you guys and always be so appreciative and thankful.” 

While attending Wesleyan, Michelle belonged to the Student Nurses of Wesleyan (SNOW) and was an office holding member of Alpha Delta Pi, in charge of new member coordination, the sorority rituals, and alumnae relations. The sorority membership “gave me students to look up to as an under classman, taught me how to work with others, and prepared me to work with a bunch of women for the rest of my life.” 

Michelle became a nursing major because she wanted to work with and care for people: “You can do anything with a nursing degree, there is so much potential – you can work with so many populations and in different types of units; the possibilities are endless…I enjoyed my “clinicals” [hospital experience] the most because I like learning how to apply what I learned from the text to real life situations; I could piece together what I didn’t understand from the ‘book.’” 

During the summer of her junior year, Michelle had a great experience as a student nurse at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center: “All the people that supervised me were so supportive - not just my supervisor -  the LPNs, the doctors, and the RNs - all were wonderful and really cared about helping me grow as a nurse. I am so glad that I have been asked to work at the VA after graduation.” 

When asked about her experience at Wesleyan: “I wouldn’t change a thing! If I had the opportunity to go to college again…I would do this all over again.” 

And about her work with the Learning Center: “I don’t know where to start – I feel like you guys should get an honorary nursing degree, but I don’t want to cry…I learned as a first year student that I didn’t have much confidence – the Learning Center played a huge role in me knowing that I could graduate with a nursing degree. The most helpful thing the Learning Center staff has done is…I think it was believing in me….I have learned so much about studying from the staff that I feel if I want to go on in my education, I am ready to do so.”

 

Matt Griffin

Theatre Arts/Technical Design B.A.

Matt Griffin, a 2014 graduate, majored in Theatre Arts/Technical Design with a focus on lighting and electrics. Matt was master electrician for the Virginia Thomas Law Performing Arts Center where he directed lighting and equipment for all campus events – Wesleyan theatre as well as the Arts Alive series including productions such as Jabali Afrika, Mountain Stage, and the West Virginia Symphony – for his two-semester senior project.

Matt was a member of the Theatre Honorary, Alpha Psi Omega. His work in this venue promoted outreach to campus for social awareness events, student talent, and various endeavors of the Theatre Department.    

He especially enjoyed being a part of our campus productions Little Shop of Horrors and Pirates of Penzance. In “Pirates,” Matt learned quite a bit as he “got to work with new equipment – intelligent lighting fixtures – borrowed for the production….Being a theatre major takes all your time and commitment,” he mused. 

When asked if he felt prepared to go out into the world of work, Matt stated with an unassuming confidence: “I think I am prepared. I don’t know what it will be like until I really get out there…I’ve been told I am ready, I hope I am ready. I participated through internship in a professional theatre program last summer, the Berkshire Theater Festival. Every year the theatre department takes students to the Southeastern Theatre Conference – this is a set up where you can make job contacts and audition…I landed my electrics internship at this conference.” 

“This year I got a few offers in apprenticeship programs but my faculty have told me that I am ready to go into a salaried position, not an apprenticeship. I have been hired by Bard College, in New York, for the summer to work in the College’s performance festival which lasts from June to mid-August. The festival includes four different productions – a mix of all genres and types of performing arts – opera, dance, symphony, etc… I’ll be the ‘Swing Electrician’ and help with whatever space is in need.”  

“After that I will go to DC with the goal of doing freelance work - the guest lighting designer who came in to do Little Shop of Horrors gave me names of people to contact. She will be a great reference. This is usually the way to start out with theatre lighting; then you move your way up to being hired into one position. My long term work goal is to be able to move to New York or to tour with a musical group.” 

When asked about his experience with his academic department and the Learning Center, Matt responded: “Both Learning Center and my faculty advisors have pushed me to surpass my limits – to figure out what I really wanted to do with this degree. I learned that I could do more than I thought possible. I didn’t understand my own capabilities and now know that I can do much more than I thought I could…. I have become more independent than when I was first here, and more outgoing. I have grown and matured, and made lifelong friends with both faculty and students.” 

“Being part of the Learning Center was helpful. I learned how to get better at writing and doing research for papers. I was in the Mentoring Program four days a week; this overall helped me learn how to stay organized and utilize my time better. I left the Mentoring Program when my classes were totally art/theatre based….I learned through my Comprehensive Advisor and the mentors how to self-advocate; they showed me how to study, writing techniques, and other strategies that I began to implement on my own. I became more independent - that’s what you have to do when you come to college, you have to learn to take care of yourself. When when you leave home, your parents aren’t there to always guide you. With everyone’s help, I figured out what I needed to do to be successful here and in life.”

 

Drew Cumings

History, B.A.

Political Science, B.A.

Drew double majored in political science and history. During his final semester, he enjoyed working on the 2012 political campaign. He graduated from Wesleyan, December, 2012. Over the years, Drew held various offices in this fraternity, Theta Chi, of which he became president for the year 2011. As the Greek Liaison for the campus “We Lead” program in the fall of 2011, Drew helped coordinate fraternity participation for the issue team projects.

Q. Describe your work with the staff of the Learning Center Wesleyan.

A. The work was very helpful, especially the first few years coming out of high school. I attended my mentoring sessions to read and talk about the course material – this helped me really understand what I was reading as we discussed the meaning of the text. Editing papers was helpful as well – I made mistakes that I didn’t even notice; now I proof read my own stuff; I read my work sentence by with a new set of eyes, pretending I don’t know anything about the paper.

Also, now I write everything down so I can start my work in advance. My political science thesis is due Thursday and I stared weeks ago so I am not so rushed. I have learned that I need to work well in advance instead of rushing through it. I enjoy the work more and I am able to learn and discuss more about the topic; it gives me the time to explore and think about lots of aspects of the issue. If I could go back to first year, I would kick myself because I just did the bare minimum, I didn’t see my whole potential. I feel so good about working this way now.

Q. What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center?

A. I worked with all the mentors and my Comprehensive Advisor – what really helped me was learning to break down the parts of a research paper. I was taught how to organize a paper – I had to do a lot of research and organize the material for my first really big project. My mentor helped me break down the reading and she also helped me appreciate the Russian literature I was reading. Now I am going to take a post-war Japanese literature class.

Q.  Are you ready or prepared to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life?

A. Yes, with time management. The last time I worked with the Mentor Advantage Program I was doing two sessions a week and worked with my mentor on another research paper. I learned to do an annotated bibliography, the paper’s rough outline, etc… and to break the work down into parts. I also learned how to map out my ideas on paper. I was able to use these strategies on my own when I completed my senior thesis this year. I also learned not to start my work the day before it is due!

Q.  What was the most helpful thing the Learning Center has done in your opinion?

A. Probably helping me to become more independent. I started my first year by coming in to tutoring five days a week, then I came in twice a week – the Learning Center supported my independence by letting me know that coming in for help was my decision. Last fall I just decided to work on my own, without the mentoring; this worked out well for me.

Q. How have you changed over the four years?

A. As president of Theta Chi I learned that I had to grow up. I went from a 2.2 to 3.4. Also, I worked in Colorado at a day camp for kids one summer and met a lot of intelligent people. It was then that I realized that I needed to study harder – I needed to pick it up a little bit. I was spending time with people who read a lot, knew a lot, it was cool to listen to them - they were very successful in their colleges. I knew that if I pushed myself, and decided not to do just the bare minimum, I could do well. I realized that I needed to work hard. My first weekend back after working at that summer camp, my friends at school went to the beach on Labor Day. I made the decision to put the fun aside and to read my book for a paper that was due – my first big decision. A lot of my friends can just read a book very quickly; it takes me more time because of my learning disability. So I realized I needed to focus on school work – this was a hard decision. You always want to do something fun. That weekend it was just one of my friends and me at the house; it was quiet but I got a lot done. After that, I saw my academics go way up. When I was secretary of the fraternity house, I had to get more serious about school and time management.

I have grown up a lot, learned how to deal with a lot of different things that came up with the fraternity. I learned how to listen to myself and to block out caring too much about what others’ thought about me in striving to do the right thing – I grew through the challenges of leadership.

Another change took place when I enrolled in Dr. Rupps’ Parties and Elections class fall of my junior year - it kind of blew my mind. It was the year of the special election between John Raese and Joe Manchin after Robert C. Byrd passed away  - I just really liked how the class was taught and the research we did, following the campaign, and looking at the poles. I really enjoyed it and now that is my career choice!

First semester I was going to transfer – I saw my buddies at larger schools that had different facilities. Now I know that I am lucky that I am in a class with 12 rather than 400 or 500 students. I am glad I looked past the fact that Wesleyan is a smaller college in a smaller town because the educational experience was much better. In the end, when you are in your major seminar classes, the professors really like helping you with the material, they want to work with you rather than doing this as an obligation. It has made a huge difference to me.

 

Brianna Wilbur

Educational Studies, B.A.

Brianna graduated in May of 2012 with a degree in Educational Studies.  While at Wesleyan, she was a member of Kappa Phi, the Wesleyan Singers, and the Fellowship of Christian Students.

Q.  How did working with the staff in the Learning Center contribute to your success at Wesleyan?

A. The staff in the Mentor Advantage Program helped me to learn the course material and helped me check to make sure I had my work done. I especially needed help with spelling and grammar when I wrote papers and answered questions. I needed help getting things done correctly.

My Comprehensive Advisor helped me to organize things; she really helped me, in the beginning, to get into a college mindset. I learned to organize my work plans and to check them again; I learned that I needed to find out and understand everything that I needed to do for a class.

I also learned to find out what the instructor expects ahead of time so I can be better prepared to do the assignments. This is the kind of help I have had all four years.

Throughout my four years, I have been helped to succeed as a whole with papers, organization, knowing the expectations of the professor, and finding out what I need to do to complete each class.

Q. What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center?

A. Through the Learning Center, I found out I have been able to do more than I thought I could when I first came to college. In the realm of just being able to work as a college student, I learned that I could actually proceed and complete a college degree. The Mentors and my Comprehensive Advisor kept encouraging me with the work that I had to do. I would come in with a paper or an assignment – they would go through these with me and look at what I had done and then explain what was good and what we needed to work on or change, challenging me to do better in my work. Through this, I felt like I could do better work.

With the help of the mentors and my Comprehensive Advisor, I have been able to complete a 4 year degree. Throughout my education, I questioned my ability to complete a college degree with good grades. I have a 2.9 right now. I chose this College because of the Learning Center – knowing that I would get the right help because I have learning disabilities.

Q. Are you ready or prepared to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life?

A. I believe the Learning Center has helped me prepare for future education and the world of work; I have learned a step-by-step process to complete tasks. Right now I am planning to go to school in occupational therapy and what I have learned here will help me in the future. I want to go on to school because I know I can do this. The staff knows about how I learn best, and that helped me learn how I learn better. I will take this with me.

Q.  What was the most helpful thing the LC has done?

A. Teaching me about the best way that I can learn and learning what the staff knows about the classes I’ve taken – they share what they know and this has helped me.

Q.  How have you changed over the four years?

A. I know what I am doing now – in general – what I am doing as a person.  I know myself better and know my skills better. I came from thinking that I could not complete a college degree to actually really knowing that I can. I am more confident in going out after graduation. In high school, I was told what I needed to do at every little step. Here, I have found out what is best for me; I learned to tell others what I need and how I learn best.

 

Jessica Aleshire

Communication Studies, B.A.

Jessica graduated in May 2012 earning a 3.1 GPA as a communications major and business minor. Jess was a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority and the training director for Campus Radio Broadcasting in 2010 and 2011. In her semester long internship with Wesleyan’s Admission Office, she administrated and organized the campus photo shoot to generate new marketing materials related to faculty and campus organizations. When she graduates, Jess will be working for a CBS affiliated radio station in Pittsburgh.

Q. Did working with the staff in the Learning Center help your success at Wesleyan?

A. Yes. My first year when I was trying to get into the swing of things, my Comprehensive Advisor taught me how to study  for classes, different ways that I could study, and even how to take notes in class. I was able to find my own way to do things – she gave me different ideas. I took the first year study strategies class that showed me different study options. I was able to find what worked best for me and how I could my best. I found out how I could do best on a test including studying for the test and taking notes so I would be able to study well for the test.

I had the freedom to work with the Learning Center – It was a safety net. In high school, I had to go to a certain resource room; here, I had the choice to come for help if I needed it. And I did feel and know I had somewhere to go if I needed the help. I used the Learning Center mostly my first year; although, I have taken a couple of tests throughout my four years. I used the test lab when I needed extra time on essay tests, for example.

Q.  Are you ready or prepared to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life?

A. The Admission internship helped me to organizing myself– I am pretty organized anyway but this experience took me to a new level. Being with the photographer I learned the composition of a good picture – how to arrange the people for good lighting, things like that. I liked interfacing with the admission staff they were really helpful and gave me good feedback…

I also had a promotions department internship with a CBS affiliated radio station in Pittsburgh last summer where I learned to represent the radio to local businesses. This was a really good experience and a stepping stone for something else later on.

The Learning Center made me more independent. I didn’t have to come if I didn’t need to. I found out how I could do things on my own; I learned to try harder because I knew that I could be on my own. When you have a job, no one is going to babysit you, you have to figure things out on your own.

Q. Did you feel prepared to go into these internships?

A. Yes, the communications major in general and one class in particular that helped was interpersonal communications. I applied what I learned when I was working with a lot of different types of people – I learned how to handle different situations. My business minor helped as well – it gave me an idea of what the school as a business has to do to get new students, how to market itself.

Q.  What was the most helpful thing the College and the Learning Center has done?

A. Knowing that the resources were available if I need them; no one was pressuring me to come – I knew you were here when I needed it. The College offered so many different opportunities with internships – it was easy to find one in my field.

Q. How have you changed over the four years?

A. I have definitely seen myself grow – really trying to do my best in school, trying to get good experience for the real world and working. I have learned to do better with my time management skills. Joining a sorority has been a growing experience and working at the campus radio station helped me to be organized and manage my time. With the radio station, I had to stay organized and teach a group of new students each of the four semesters I was director for Campus Radio Broadcasting. That was challenging – you have to deal with the difficult students and help them learn the material so they can pass the test to go into broadcasting. I learned to develop patience with difficult students who didn’t learn quickly or follow the rules.

With the membership in the sorority I realized that I could be a part of something else that is not only me but that I represented a group of people. I wasn’t really interested in this before but once I got involved, I understood it was not just a social thing. The work that we do with our philanthropy and supporting other organizations was important – this is something that I hadn’t done before, it opened my eyes as to the different ways I could help. We support “Autism Speaks.” I really didn’t know that much about it before – we tried to raise others’ awareness and that is when I really learned  -  I could understand and empathize more.

 

Lisa Crites

Secondary Education, B.A.

Earning a GPA of 3.3, Lisa Crites – a Buckhannon native – graduated in May 2012 with a degree in Secondary Education, teaching concentration, English. While at Wesleyan, she was a member of Student Education Association, Kappa Delta Pi, the education honor society, and Zeta Tau Alpha, her sorority. Lisa is currently working at a middle school teaching reading to 7th grade students.

Q.  How did working with the staff in the Learning Center contribute to your success at Wesleyan?

A. My Comprehensive Advisor was helpful and easy to talk to. We worked things out when I was having a hard time. When I was worried about student teaching, for example, it was good just to talk about this. She was able to help me get perspective and convinced me that it would work out. I reworked my portfolio and my exit interview.

Also, early on, my Comprehensive Advisor installed and taught me how to use the Kurzweil which helped me get all my reading done so I wasn’t up forever at night.

Meeting with my Comprehensive Advisor helped me get through all my classes; we met weekly when I first started school and decreased to monthly meetings, then to twice a semester. We also emailed back and forth a couple times, when I had a problem. 

Q. What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center?

A. I got a different perspective on my courses as we talked through them – I began to understand what could to help me prepare for class and assignments and how to improve my time management skills. My Comprehensive Advisor gave me a couple of different ways to keep track of my time; I started using my computer and color coding my files to stay organized.

Q.  Are you ready or prepared to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life?

A. My plan is for grad school - I’m looking at technology integration. I am also considering going straight into teaching. I’ve worked with smart boards and want to learn more about this because integrating technology into teaching is so important.

Q.  What was the most helpful thing the Learning Center has done?

Using the Kurzweil program helped me stay on top of all my classes. I know that I really benefit from using audio books; listening and reading visually helps me stay on task. My Comprehensive Advisor was very nice and very helpful.

Q. How have you changed over the four years?

A. I’ve grown in independence; I keep myself on task. I have learned to open up to people more and I have made some great friends. I was able to double major in both English Literature and Education – I never thought that would happen!

 

Zach Fleming

History, B.A..

Zach graduated with a degree in history earning a GPA of 3.0. He was involved in the Campus Activities Board, various social awareness groups, and started a video game club during his enrollment at Wesleyan.

Q.  How did working with the staff in the Learning Center contribute to your success at Wesleyan?

A. I learned to become more organized and to be better prepared for tasks ahead of time…tasks such as papers, long term projects, and especially tests.

I learned that I can’t do it all by myself; I needed to learn that I need help – I had to admit that to myself, that I could not accomplish everything on my own. Once I got past this past this and was willing to work with the mentors, I did much better in my classes. For example, in the beginning of my first year, I thought I could easily pass a test, but I got Cs instead. By my sophomore year I was willing to turn to the Learning Center for help and I ended up doing a lot better in classes as a result. Now I am getting straight Bs in all my classes.

Q. What did you learn about yourself through working with the Learning Center?

A. I was pushed to do more than I would have done on my own, to study more, to put more time and effort into my work. After more encouragement, I finally learned that I had to put the time in. I keep reminding myself that if I make that effort, it will pay off. My mentor was very positive; she helped me to see this and gave me ideas about what could work, how I could do better.

Q. Are you ready or prepared to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life?

A. I don’t know how ready I am but I do know that I can turn to others for help and that I can also take full responsibility to get things done on my own – even if that means needing people to point me in the right direction.

Q. What was the most helpful thing the LC has done?

A. Just being available made all the difference – if I hadn’t used this program I wouldn’t have done as well as I have.

Q. How have you changed over the four years?

A. I grew up over the past 4 years – my professors, advisors, and friends gave me good advice and kept me going in the right direction. I want to work in management and staff training, to teach people how to work together. Right now I am focused on getting out there in the world to get experience. I am looking at a graduate internship for management and training. The experiences I have had at the college have been amazing and I want to say thank you to the entire Learning Center staff and especially to the Mentor Advantage Program – without it I would not have gotten his far.

 

Rachel Taylor

Chemistry, B.S.

Rachel Taylor, Chemistry major, graduated from Wesleyan magna cum laude in May, 2011. She will be attending the University of Maryland - Baltimore County to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry on full scholarship as a teaching assistant. While Rachel was a student at Wesleyan, she participated in the following activities outside the classroom: Women’s varsity soccer – all four years, office holder and member of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority, and member of the Benzene Ring Chemistry Club. Rachel also was selected for the following honors during her stay at the College: Alpha Lambda Delta – first year honorary, Beta Beta Beta – Biology Honorary, and Wesleyan’s Mortar Board. Before graduating, Rachel was invited to be a member of Phi Kappa Phi and was selected as the Outstanding Laboratory Assistant for the Chemistry Department. 

Q. Tell us about your work with the staff in the Learning Center.  

A. When I first met with my Comprehensive Advisor she showed me ways to study without letting my dyslexia impact me. I used to read and write the information I was studying, multiple times, in high school…when I talked with my Comprehensive Advisor, I learned to use note cards and learned to use the Cornell note taking method. Also, being able to talk with someone regularly helped me to find perspective – it helped me to pace myself and prevented me from getting overwhelmed by the work. 

Q. What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center?  

A. I learned that I am capable of doing the things that I want – my parents used to tell me this, I believed them but it was good to have the support of my advisor in the Learning Center telling me that I can be very successful – this help gave me the confidence that I could do whatever I wanted to do in academics and in my career. When I made a mistake on a test, I would bring the test to my comprehensive Advisor and we would talk about the mistakes and how I could change my study habits and test taking strategies. An example of this would be when I would plug in the wrong number or mix the numbers up on a math or science test. We would look at the mistake and figure out how to change things for the next time. We talked about relaxing before, during, and after my tests – I learned how to break and to read over my tests with a clear head. 

Q. Are you ready or prepared to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life? 

A. I feel like I am ready for the academic part of graduate school - the Learning Center has given me many techniques to be successful academically. It has also helped to prepare me to be a teaching assistant because I have learned how to be successful from my advisor in the Learning Center. I can apply what I have learned here to working with my future students in graduate school. I also know how to help my current friends at school learn. I have seen how the other Learning Center advisors have helped their students as well. 

Q. What Learning Center services were the most helpful for you? 

A. The most helpful thing I think was learning new study strategies my first and second year because it set me up for good study habits for my hardest years in chemistry  -  my sophomore, junior, and senior year. My study habits allowed me to excel in the advanced courses. Not everyone knows how to study and I know younger students in my major that are still struggling to learn how to study. 

Q. How have you changed over the four years?

A. I feel that I have grown more confident in my personal abilities as a student – I feel fully prepared for graduate school… Leaving here, I feel confident that I will succeed. There is nothing that will stop me from being successful, not even my learning disability. For the first time I know that my dyslexia will not get in my way…or impact my success in a negative way. I was really terrified of coming to college while in high school – I thought that I would get in to college but wasn’t sure about whether I would be successful. I am more prepared, more confident, and a stronger person as a whole. 

 

Wesley Hughes

Physics, B.S.

Wesley Hughes, Physics major, graduated from Wesleyan summa cum laude in May, 2011. Wes has been accepted into the Master’s Industrial Internship Program at the University of Oregon for fall, 2011. He enjoyed tutoring high school students in Calculus at the local youth center while a student at the College. Wes received the College’s 2009 Inspiration Award and was selected to Who’s Who Among US Colleges & Universities. He was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, pledge master for Sigma Theta Epsilon, and secretary of Alpha Lambda Delta. In addition, Wesley was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, received the Outstanding Physics Student Award - Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years, and was selected to be a 2010 ACA STEM Scholar. His research includes the following NASA Fellowship and Scholarship studies: “A Study of the Quadrupole Effect on the Lithium Atom,” “Electron Spin Resonance,” and “Young’s Modulus.” 

Q. Tell us about your work with the staff in the Learning Center?  

A. First year, working with my Comprehensive Advisor, helped me out in the sense that every week I was able to meet with him and talk about anything I was struggling with, anything I needed help with and anything that was going on in general. It was a way to talk to someone to help me monitor my progress through freshmen year and it encouraged me and motivated me to do the best that I could. Having the communication with my advisor – meeting with him and taking the study strategies class I took first year helped me transition into college very well. It allowed me to figure out the best study strategies for me and the best way to organize my time - not just what’s best for anyone. As I became more active in organizations, time management became a key aspect to my college life and I feel that the interaction I had with my Comprehensive Advisor allowed me to manage my time in an efficient manner so I could be part of and take leadership positions in multiple organizations. After my accident, when I was in Ruby Memorial hospital, the staff in the Learning Center came to visit me. Obviously my Comprehensive Advisor understood and knew what I was into [physics] and brought me some gifts from the staff that I was really appreciative of  – including the Wesleyan sweat pants I have that are falling apart now. This shows how much the staff in the program care about their students – the staff were willing to do anything they could to make my transition back to the College a smooth one. This whole experience has shown how supportive and willing the staff was to help me accomplish anything I needed to when I got back. 

Q. Are you ready or prepared to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life?

A. While I was in college starting with first year, in order to understand more about what I was going to be do doing in the future, the Comprehensive Advisor was very helpful in getting my schedule together and pointing me to the right track - ultimately working cooperatively with my academic advisor my sophomore year. I would have to say that having the Comprehensive Advisor to assist me with scheduling and a college game plan was very helpful – that was one of the biggest things because I was undecided about my major.  Once I decided to major in physics, I grew close to my new professors who have been very supportive and helpful in directing me towards life after graduation - whether it was scholarship opportunities or ideas about grad school or even talking with the professors – they have helped me with my decision to go to the University of Oregon after I leave Wesleyan.  

Q. How have you changed over the four years? 

A. Coming into college, I was only 17 years old and my mom felt as though I was too young to handle the college situation on my own. Through the relationships formed at Wesleyan Freshman year, I have matured both spiritually and academically. I have learned to manage my time, as well as study. First year I was not very social but I strived to be more social because this college offered an environment with new friends and new people that I didn’t know in high school. It provided me with a fresh start - each subsequent year I took initiative to be a part of new organizations which helped me learn to manage my time accordingly. Ultimately, the things that I have learned have included how to manage my time, to know when to work and not play or have fun, to know when to study and how much to study,  as well as the career aspect of life after I leave Wesleyan. I have matured to the point that I will now feel comfortable going into interviews as well as being able to write a resume. In general, my social skills have greatly improved. 

 

Kaylan Nock

Educational Studies, B.A.

An Educational Studies major and Psychology minor, Kaylan Nock graduated from Wesleyan in May 2011. Kaylan was a member of and office holder in Zeta Tau Alpha all four years. She was active in the Student Education Association and participated in intramural volley ball. Before graduation, she was picked by the Education Department to receive the Outstanding Student Award. Kaylan would like to work in a hospital setting to help children who are facing serious illness. She completed her internship experience at the Child Development Center, on campus, with 4 and 5 year olds. 

Q. Tell us about your work with the staff in the Learning? 

A. I think it was helpful that I could build a personal relationship with the mentors in the Mentor Advantage Program. I could ask them questions that I wasn’t comfortable asking a friend. Working with the Learning Center also helped me stay more organized – they didn’t let you or slack off procrastinate – not that I would, but they helped me work ahead.  I found that I was done with my assignments way before they were due because of the help.  Now that I am not working with the mentor, I have learned to work ahead.

Q. What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center?

A. That I am an organized person, that I don’t like to wait until the last minute to do assignments because I end up getting more frustrated. If there was an assignment that I interpreted differently than my mentor, at first I was frustrated, but then I learned to be understanding and patient with myself. I learned that there was another way to approach the assignment, not just my view of it. I became more patient with myself in understanding how I needed to complete an academic task.  

Q. Are you ready or prepared to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life? 

A. I am prepared for the real world, I have learned how to manage time and how to put my priorities straight, what should come first. I was in Greek life, which is a big time commitment. Greek Life has helped me to manage my time with academics and to figure out what I should spend my time on. I was on executive council and programs council with Zeta Tau Alpha and this helped me to learn to be a better person, to be understanding and to be there for others, and how to help others academically. I tutored girls in my sorority and learned how to explain things differently if the first way didn’t work.  

Q. What Learning Center services were the most helpful for you? 

A. It helped me realize that I can actually make it through college – this was something I was told that I could never do – the staff constantly reassured me that I could do this. I have been on the Dean’s list three times and I am also in a National honorary leadership society, Omicron Delta Kappa. 

Q. How have you changed over the four years? 

A. I think I have grown up a lot – I don’t let the small things in life bother me anymore – I just look past them to find the good.  

 

Shane Early

Athletic Training, B.S.

Shane Earley, Athletic Training major, graduated cum laude in May 2011. Nationally ranked, Shane played varsity tennis three years for the Bobcats. He minored in Communication studies and Psychology and belonged to Pi Lambda Eta, the national communication honorary and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society. 

Q. Tell us about your work with the staff in the Learning Center.  

A. For me, the extra time is always something I’ve needed – having my Comprehensive Advisor or others in the Learning Center helped me verify that I do need the extra time for testing. I am usually slow at test taking, I need extra time to do things – I am pretty methodical. Being able to take tests in the Test Lab has helped me out as well – that’s different than just staying late in the class - the test lab helps you focus and be less distracted – it keeps you in the mode of testing. I don’t use this all the time but if I need it, it is always there for me. Another thing is having the staff as advocates because there are definitely professors that are unaware that I needed accommodations – that I had a disability. I did well in my most of my classes and I never had to disclose because I knew what I needed to do for myself - but having people on my side to go to, from day one - when I was in a class where I needed help - kept me on track.  

Q. What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center? 

A. Meeting with my Comprehensive Advisor was not essential but if there were problems with a class, it was nice to have someone to help me out. It was also nice to have someone who understood where I was coming from, which is different than another student or a friend - that there was someone who was educated to support me or listen to me. 

Q. Are you ready or prepared to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life? 

A. I like the college and the Learning Center because it is small supportive campus where you are not just a number. All of the professors have been available – especially the ones that play a bigger role in my major or minor. It’s nice in how much they invest their interest in your success because your success is a reflection of how good of a job they do. The professors take our education very seriously, they are not just giving the same test year after year to a herd of students – they make learning an active thing and you can tell they like what they do. That definitely shows; that’s something that I have appreciated over the years. Especially now, as a senior, I can tell this. The professors go out of their way to help you – they answer their emails anytime, and they give you their phone numbers – that doesn’t happen at a bigger school. I have been surprised at how responsive the faculty has been. My professors have also been very active with me in my research and case studies - it is like they care about my work as if it is their own. Along with that, they give you that extra push – I have been encouraged and I have published 2 of my articles in a professional journal. I also wrote a response to the editor in another magazine. Because of this, I have a step up on a lot of students going into the world of work; this makes that transition easier because I have been working in my field already. 

Q. How have you changed over the four years? 

A. In the last four years I have learned a lot about myself – that is how I have changed. I am still the same person but I feel like I am a completely different person walking out of here compared to when I came in because of what I have learned about myself. When I came in here I was very tentative about my disability – I didn’t want to admit I had a disability – I stereotyped disability with weakness or inability. And that’s not true. At first, it was just admitting to myself that I had a disability. Now I know that a disability does not make you dumber or smaller or weaker.

I still want people to think I am normal. I think I maybe had a hard time accepting my disability because I was diagnosed so late. There are other people out there that have been getting treatment since a young age. I had those problems then, but things just built and built until I couldn’t put up with myself. I wanted to know there would be help or a treatment but at the same time I was reluctant to use it because that would mean that there actually was a root or cause. I wanted to take care of my disability by myself – but I had to overcome the mental barrier that I needed help.

Very slowly I started to work on my treatment and to work with the Learning Center. I did this at my own pace – everyone at the Learning Center had been very accepting of my need to do this at my own pace. This has helped in the process of dealing with it. It was important to be able to work this through in my way – that was key and I am grateful for that. Once I had come to terms with everything, I still had not made the decision to advertise it [my disability] to my professors, in the dorms, with my friends, or in playing sports – I didn’t want to be labeled. I guess the idea that people stereotype existed more in my mind. I told two of my best friends last year – I had debated about telling them for months. I mentioned this to my friends and they laughed at me – they said they could tell and that they didn’t care - they never thought of me differently – this eased the pressure in my mind. No one has ever treated me differently.

I think I made it up to be bigger than it needed to be and this eased the stress; I didn’t need to harbor this huge secret any longer. Knowing that my friends and my family would still be there for me and support and love me no matter what – that any diagnosis doesn’t change you as a person – knowing that, helped me in my own acceptance. It is something that you deal with on a daily basis, there are still aspects that you will face as a problem but my experience has really helped me to put things into perspective. I have talked to others that also have a disability – having that connection makes an instant bond and gives you that sigh of relief. There is someone else, it’s not just me. I’m not facing this alone – whereas before, I probably thought that. Absolutely nothing about this has been easy at all – the easiest part is talking with others who have a disability – they get it and having these conversations really help this connection…Having someone say yeah – “me too” – is the best thing you can hear sometimes. This has helped me try to be more open with people…I feel people can definitely learn from me now. On some level I feel I have a calling to make sure people don’t go through the needless struggle that I faced because of my denial. A disability does not define you any more than the color of your eyes defines you – it is just part of who you are. 

 

Doug Roberts

Criminal Justice , B.A.

Doug Roberts, Criminal Justice major, graduated cum laude in May 2011. Doug was a student assistant in both the Learning Center and the Library. He was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta freshman honorary and the social sciences honorary, Pi Gamma Mu. Doug interned with the Buckhannon Police Department and plans to work for the FBI. He was selected as Wesleyan’s student representative to the Buckhannon Police Department Community Board. 

Q. Tell us about your work with the staff in the Learning Center.  

A. I got my study habits in right order - I learned how to study for my tests and to review my notes each week so when it came to preparing for a test, I wasn’t scrambling at the last minute to try to get everything crammed in. I used the note taker’s notes for my classes; this helped me to know what was being discussed in class because I don’t write everything down. If I had any questions about a class, I could always talk to my Comprehensive Advisor. For example, I had a question about how to approach a professor, my Comprehensive Advisor helped me figure out what to say. She helped me schedule my classes with professors who work well with my learning style.  

Q. What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center?

A. I learned that I am a hard worker – it took a lot of effort to earn the grades I wanted to earn but I know that this will help me to reach my goals in the future. It takes a lot of work to be successful. 

Q. Are you ready or prepared to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life? 

A. I am ready to go out to work; working as a student assistant helped me learn responsibility and to know what I need to do in the workplace. I have to put all my effort into my job – I learned that I can’t just do the bare minimum. 

Q. What Learning Center services were the most helpful for you? 

A. I learned from my Comprehensive Advisor how to approach a professor – what questions I should ask and how I should talk with my professors. If I need to talk with a professor about something, I need to be active about it; I learned that I can’t just sit there and wait for the answers to come to me. 

Q. How have you changed over the four years?

A. I have taken on more responsibility; I can’t rely on others to take care of me. In high school, they tell you what to do – they take care of you. When you are in college you are expected to hand in your work when it is due – no extensions are given the way they are given in high school. I have gotten used to doing a lot more work; I think that this has helped me because in the workplace things need to be done well and in a timely manner -you just can’t slide by. 

 

Matthew Jablonski

Art, B.A.

Matthew Jablonski, Art major, graduated in May 2011. He was an active member of the Campus Activities Board and Student Art League. While he was a student, Matt enjoyed attending most of our campus events and due to his love of photography and sense of belonging on campus, took numerous pictures. His excellent work led the College to use many of his photos on the campus website! Matt received Wesleyan’s Inspiration Award in 2011 for his “positive attitude, persistence, and commitment – regardless of the challenges he faced…”  

Q. How did working with the staff in the Learning Center help your success at Wesleyan? 

A. By being a student working closely with Wesleyan’s Learning Center staff, I succeeded in courses that I might not have otherwise passed without their accommodations and supports.  An example of this is when I needed assistance on summarizing large bodies of text and needed to fully understand the key elements of various courses.  Both your professional tutoring and reading programs have contributed to my learning many techniques to use now and when I get into the workforce after graduation when I encounter even more challenging tasks.   In addition, their willingness to work with staff from other departments on making sure that I have had the most productive experience has been a great benefit to my ability to learn.  One example of this has been the note-taker service. In terms of my difficulty with listening and writing, this accommodation has been a great help.  It has assisted me with doing homework assignments and studying for tests. 

Q. What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center?  

A. Having a good understanding about my own strengths and challenges is very important to me.  It gives me a vivid picture of how I should approach my long-term goals and what requirements need to be met involving what kind of career I want to have.  My quality of interpreting things has continuously improved throughout my six semesters here because of your tutoring and reading programs.   At the beginning of my relationship with the reading program staff, we worked on my fluency to speak in both reading and improving my overall interaction with people.  A year later, we started to work on my being able to understand key components of short written passages. Now, in my last two semesters of college, I have reached my goal of having a good understanding of large bodies of text. In the tutoring program, I have been able to get help and supports on a much broader basis.  I have worked with their instructors on countless number of assignments.  They have assisted me on writing assignments and understanding text, and were especially helpful studying for tests.  I have been truly grateful for their commitment and dedication to help me pass my courses.   

Q. Are you ready or prepared to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life? 

A. After having several years of college experience behind me, I feel very confident in getting a job and living independently. Although I still have to live with my current medical condition and its limitations, I think that there are many opportunities that would work well with accommodations.  In addition, by having such a successful experience living independently on Wesleyan’s campus, without my parents beside me all of the time, I now know that I can live on my own without very much support.  The Learning Center’s teaching to individual students’ needs, such as my own, has been a great factor in my success. Staff patience and open-mindedness to what accommodations a student could benefit from is something that I think you have achieved.  In my case, an example of this is when I have read a paragraph, the staff member asks me questions or to summarize its meaning. This technique has been incredibly helpful to my ability to understand and recall things that I have read.   

Q. What was the most helpful thing the LC has done? 

A. Out of all of the contributions the Learning Center has given to me, I think that the quality of my reading comprehension changed the most through the reading program.  The reading curriculum has been very structured toward my individual needs.   

Q. How have you changed over the four years? 

A. Out of my seven years attending two different institutions, the last three have been the best. Being a Wesleyan student for those three years has demonstrated to me that I can accomplish things that I had not before I came here.  Many of those things relate to having a much more independent lifestyle. Those include: taking-on challenging academic tasks with limited help, feeling that my disabilities have a smaller impact on my daily life, becoming a distinguished figure throughout a campus community (by contributing my skills in photography), building a large social life, and much more….

 

Allison DiPietro

Elementary Education, B.A.

Alli DiPietro graduated from Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree and certification in elementary education. While a student, Alli played varsity women’s soccer, belonged to Alpha Xi Delta sorority, was a member of our Catholic Campus Ministry, and worked as a student assistant in the Learning Center.  Now she is working on her special education master’s degree through the College’s five year program.  We asked Alli some questions right after she graduated. This is what she has told us about her experience as a Wesleyan student who used the Learning Center:  

Q.  Tell us about your work with the staff in the Learning Center.

A.  If I was having difficulty in a course I would meet with the staff to talk about how to bring up my grades; the staff was always there when I was struggling, telling me to never give up no matter what. I always had someone to come to … whether it was PRAXIS preparation or to get help with reading or math.

Q.  What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center?

A.  I learned that there is always someone there who is willing to give a helping hand to work with me – they are sure to be there as long as I showed up too…I’ve never been a very good communicator but now I am able to communicate with my supervisors to let them know what is on my mind. Instead of having a question and keeping it inside, I come out and ask it to find out what I need to know. I’ve also learned that nothing is going to come easy to me and I learned that I have to work hard and do what it takes to get there.

Q.  Are you ready to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life?

A.  I feel prepared for anything – I’ve learned to always give it your all – even if you don’t get a certain job, I don’t give up – I know that it may take years to get there. I have learned to try never look at the negative side – and to always look at what happens positively because something good will come out of it in the end.

Q.  What services were the most helpful to you?

A.  Note taking – I usually take too many notes and the note takers summarized the main points of the information I needed to know. Also, being able to test in the Test Lab – the quiet environment and having my own space helped me to concentrate on the material and to not be as stressed while I was taking my tests.

Q.  How have you changed over the four years?

A.  Coming in as an unconfident freshman, the experience in college helped me change.  Leaving as a senior, I accomplished what I came here to accomplish. I grew up and had to cut a lot of things out of my college experience to get where I needed to be. There would be friends who wanted to do things and go out on the weekends. I learned that academics had to come before going out.

Being in a varsity sport was hard…you had to do your work on the bus.  I brought my books and laptop to the games. I had to stay on top of my work or I would get behind…I also had to communicate with my professors about missing classes because of away games. I had to stay organized and on top of things. I thought this was helpful because it made me get my life together… college is where you need to take things seriously because this the last step before the real world – you can’t fool around – being in soccer helped me stay on organized and on task.

 

Lindy Orduña

Graphic Design, B.A.

Lindy Orduña graduated from Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree in graphic arts. After graduation Lindy interned with the Walt Disney World College Program where she gained more exposure to the field of animation and computer graphics. While a student, she was a member of Kappa Phi, the International Student Organization, Omicron Delta Kappa (the national leadership honor society), Wesleyan Singers, and worked as a student assistant in the Learning Center.  Lindy is pictured above in front of her senior art thesis exhibition.  We asked Lindy some questions right before she graduated.  This is what she has told us about her experience as a Wesleyan student who used the Learning Center: 

Q.  Do you see any relationship between your success and the Learning Center?

A.  The Learning Center staff helped me organize myself physically and mentally, and taught me how to work productively…before college I was scattered…I learned to know my sharpest time to think and how to approach a problem quickly without wasting my time. I learned how to use my time wisely and how to make decisions wisely. I broke out of the biggest thing I was hiding – my disability – I learned that I can’t hide this anymore – it is part of me.

I also got help with language processing…first by having others read to me and then I learned to read aloud to myself.  I learned how to pronounce words and to write what I learned on paper. Writing was my biggest issue, but now I have improved; I am still struggling with correct tense formation and sometimes I leave out words. In high school – I had the ideas but I couldn’t think things through or process them down on paper, but now I can.

Q.   What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center?

A.  I am more confident in myself – that was the biggest thing I have been missing … I was never truly confident with myself. I used to hold things back at the exact moment when I needed to show them, like my talents or thoughts or speaking up for myself. I feel more confident with myself than ever…there are still things I need to work on – it is a work in process. I’ve been holding my personality back but I am more open now; I realize I have to accept who I am and be myself.

I may not be the smartest or the most talented in my class or as a student but I learned through my process in the four years to use what I have or my hidden skills. I discovered myself to my advantage. If I hadn’t suffered during my first year, I never would have been the person that I am now.

I am aware of more things – now when I am stuck, I can brainstorm my way out of the problem. I realize how to go around a problem. I know about my strengths and how to overcome my weaknesses. I have been given more recognition this senior year compared to senior year in high school. My senior exhibition proved to be the most outstanding project for me and for the whole exhibition itself.

I am looking forward to the internship with Disney to get an idea of my career path for computer graphics – something in digital art, computer graphics, animation, or another computer art field.

Q.   How have you changed over the years?

A.  I am starting to speak more fluently, think for myself, make decisions, use time wisely, do things efficiently and quickly and in a short amount of time without wasting my time, and to organize myself. I realize my strengths and weakness and how to go around or work with them. I found ways to overcome what I can’t do – that’s the biggest story of my life – I’m persistent. Now I am persistent with an organized foundation compared to my first year.

 

Jon Fatemi

Marketing, B.S.

Jon Fatemi graduated from Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.  Jon’s post graduate plans include interning with the Walt Disney World College Program and attaining his MBA. During his college experience, Jon also interned for the Alexander Graham Bell Association in Washington, D.C. and for Wesleyan’s Alumni Office. While a student, Jon was a member of Theta Xi fraternity, the International Student Organization, and Wesleyan Men’s Lacrosse Club. Jon is currently enrolled in the MBA program at Lynn University. During the spring of his senior year, Jon received the Wesleyan Spirit Award. This is what he has told us about his experience as a Wesleyan student who used the Learning Center: 

Q.  How did working with the staff in the Learning Center help your success at Wesleyan?

A.  The staff always cared about me; they were always there for me 24/7. If I had a bad test, I would be required to show the staff to understand my mistakes and change the way I studied. Even though I complained about it, I made the changes because I knew I had to study this way as I got older.

Q. What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center?

A.  I was taught how to study differently. I learned that I had to really understand the material instead of just memorizing it. I was helped to be organized with my work and if I needed anything else on campus, I was directed to the right place. I was helped to put my academic schedule together. 

Q.  Are you ready to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life?

A.  I was taught time management that I didn’t know before. I am a person who likes to work, every summer I worked 40 hours a week and I enjoyed that.

Q.   What was the most helpful service?

A.  The good Testing Center - extended time testing, reading my tests, tutoring , both professional and the Walk-In peer tutoring …Everybody was there 24/7 to help.

Q.  How have you changed over the four years?

A.  I have learned how to study better, I have better time management – I have grown up. I got the services that I needed, note taking, extended time testing, test readers. When I came to Wesleyan, I went out more than in high school – probably too much – I made friends here that I belong with. I have places to go where everybody knows who I am, knows my name…Lacrosse was a good thing to be involved in, it helped me make friends, this brightened up my day because I was part of a group that played sports. I was used to playing sports in high school. I belonged to the International Student Organization for almost the whole four years. I enjoyed this because I have had international friends all my life. During my first year, I belonged to the Young Democrats Club – it was there that I met a Theta Xi brother who asked me to get involved with this fraternity. This experience has been good even though there have been a lot of changes. I have made a lot of friends in ISO, the fraternity, and with lacrosse, and friends outside of these groups – I don’t depend on one group to hang out with. I have made some friends that I will be in touch with for a long time.  

 

Cara Sherbow

Elementary Education, B.A.

Cara Sherbow graduated from Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree and certification in elementary education.  She married right after her December graduation and is currently seeking a full-time teaching position in the state of North Carolina. We asked Cara some questions the semester before her graduation. This is what she has told us about her experience as a Wesleyan student who used the Learning Center: 

Q.  How did working with the staff in the Learning Center help you be successful at Wesleyan?

A.  They have helped so much, I am trying to narrow it down – I learned to read and comprehend things faster…The staff in the Learning Center were more than just professors or teachers - they were friends, yet they were still very professional. They cared about me and I really liked that. It made me feel more comfortable and able to work on what I needed. They were also very patient. They were always ready to help when I needed help; they always pushed me too. They knew I knew the right answer, they asked the question in a different way so that I would recognize that I knew it – they wouldn’t accept that I didn’t know the answer. They gave me the confidence that I understood what I was reading – that gave me confidence because I tend to doubt myself about my reading comprehension.

Q.  What did you learn about yourself through working with the staff in the Learning Center?

A.  That I am capable of doing more than I thought I was…for example, with the test readers – I was using a reader for every test. My Comprehensive Advisor encouraged me to take my tests without the reader by the end of my junior and early senior year. When I was able to test without the reader, I realized that I had come to the point where I no longer needed the reader. I just slowed myself down to comprehend the questions. I learned that I am able to comprehend more than I thought I was.

Q.  Are you ready to go out into the world of work? Did we do anything to help prepare you for life?

A.  Yes, I was helped to  build confidence in myself – I now believe I am able to do more than I thought I was capable of – I believe I am ready, I have the tools to succeed in my field [of teaching].

Q.  What was the most helpful thing the LC has done?

A.  The staff definitely helped me to build my confidence because I came to college with low confidence in my academic abilities.

Q.   How have you changed over the four years?

A.  I have more confidence in my abilities to read and comprehend; I am able to read faster and understand more. All the people working here are wonderful. I remember when I came in at first, a former student told me I was going to do this thing with reading comprehension.  I thought they were crazy…When I ended up doing that, I remembered that the person who told me this said that it would definitely help me and it did…So much so, that I would like to learn how to teach this method.