“I can’t say enough about how helpful my Commonwealth Honors College advisor was,” exclaims Melicia Morris. “I didn't start a semester without talking to her.” Having worked with the same advisor throughout her time in the College, Melicia highly values the guidance she has received. “My advisor never ushered me in and out of my appointments with her,” she says. “She took the time to help me map out my classes, think strategically towards graduation and even helped me find financial support for my summer internship.”
A first-generation college student, Melicia was introduced to UMass Amherst by her high school vice principal, an alumna. Even though Melicia initially thought she wanted to go to a bigger university, she found the campus overwhelming at first. Participating in an Honors Residential Academic Program, she says, made her feel more connected to the campus and to her peers. In addition to taking honors classes together, she and her hallmates would walk to the dining hall and go to the movies and the mall together. “It felt homey,” she recalls, and the connections created during that first year have endured. Students in her cohort have become some of her closest friends. The faculty members who taught her first-year honors seminars remain close contacts and mentors.
Beyond campus, Melicia’s experiences broadened her horizons. In 2010, she spent a month during the winter break in an eco-village in Mexico where she took a course with four other students on consensus-building and facilitation. In the summer of 2010 she worked as an aide for Governor Deval Patrick in Boston. Following graduation, Melicia worked as a Grant Writer for the Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation in her hometown of Hartford, CT. She currently serves as the Special Programs Manager for the Urban League of Greater Hartford. Most recently, Melicia has been admitted to Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY. She will enroll as a 1L in the fall of 2013.
“Commonwealth Honors College,” Melicia summarizes, “has deepened my commitment to my education and strengthened my self-confidence. I have been well prepared for the rigor and challenges of law school and beyond.”