Graduate Students Take on Reality
Students in Marlboro’s Graduate and Professional Studies program learn to apply their new skills and perspectives to real life needs, as demonstrated in their class of 2013 commencement last August. Just like their counterparts in the undergraduate program, they explore deeply, take on new challenges, find interconnections, and learn face-to-face and in personal ways. But unlike most undergraduate students, they bring their new expertise and commitment to address pressing needs in their respective communities.
“I started at Marlboro because I wanted to help people remain living safely and happily at home,” said Christine Hazzard, who received her master’s degree in managing mission-driven organizations (MDO) in August. She coordinates a program called Support and Services at Home, based out of the Brattleboro Housing Authority, a job she acquired while enrolled in the MDO program. “SASH connects people to services in the community, helps people transition in and out of hospitalization and offers wellness coaching.”
Christine started with SASH shortly after Melrose Terrace, the public housing site she would work with, was ravaged by Tropical Storm Irene, displacing all 80 residents for as long as four months.
The housing authority worked tirelessly to move them back, but the community was still very disoriented and fractured by the experience. Christine’s capstone project was going to be about building a volunteer program, but she soon realized there was a much bigger problem to address.
“After 25 hours of interviews I realized that this project wasn’t about volunteers, it was about rebuilding our community,” Christine said. “At Marlboro I learned how to implement programs. I learned how to design projects. But the big thing that it helped me to learn was to rebuild a piece of my community. And I’m really thankful for that.”
Kate McNally, who received her master’s in management–health care administration in August, is program coordinator for the Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco Free Communities, through Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock Keene. She was recently recognized for her work with a leadership award from the medical center for her efforts to help Cheshire County become the healthiest community in New Hampshire by the year 2020.
“Over 440,000 people die every year from tobacco-related illnesses—that’s about four jumbo jet crashes every day,” said Kate. “The burden of tobacco use on health care institutions in New Hampshire was about $564 million last year. The purpose of my capstone was to identify and remedy gaps in tobacco treatment at Cheshire Medical Center.”
To start with, Kate made it easy for health care providers to refer people to her program, raising the number of referrals from six a month to 47 a month. “People who smoked for more than 60 years are quitting because providers can send them to a program that they are confident really does work,” said Kate. “Marlboro College is not just about the credentials. It’s about confidence and about solving real-world problems and making change happen.”
Karen Trenosky, a teacher and technology integration specialist at Brattleboro Union High School, graduated in August with a master’s in teaching with technology. She started out teaching graphic design and media production at BUHS, but after starting the MAT program she approached the high school principal with a proposal to support teachers and students with technology in the classroom.
“Marlboro College has helped me define my new job description at Brattleboro Union High School,” said Karen. “My learning journey has taken off. Robert Frost famously wrote, ‘Two roads diverged in a wood. And I—I took the one less traveled by.’ Well that’s great for Robert Frost, and all who have taken that road less traveled, but what about the road that hasn’t been traveled yet? Why not make your own path?”
“There are many stories our students have to tell about the power of education on their lives and in their communities,” said Sean Conley, associate dean of graduate and professional studies. The ceremony celebrated the conferral of 52 master’s degrees in technology, management, and education, as well as four certificates and three bachelor’s degrees in managing information systems.
“I see our undergraduate liberal arts studies and our graduate and professional studies as one strong, small college,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Marlboro College president. “We serve different learners with different motivations and varied delivery systems, but all with a common sense of community, integrity, and the value of teaching—that is, to bring out the best in the individual.”