The thing I appreciate most about Stonehill is that it gave me a sense of purpose. I came in to college having a vague idea that I wanted to major in communication and political science, but I had no idea what I wanted to actually do with it. But through my classes required through my majors and the cornerstone classes, I realized that I could turn something I’ve always felt strongly about- elderly and disability rights, into a career. Fall semester of my junior year I had the amazing opportunity to intern in DC through The Washington Center Program with an elderly and disability rights advocate. I fell in love with the work I was doing while I was there and I knew right then that advocating for elderly and disabled populations was what I wanted to do.
When I returned to Stonehill for the spring semester I felt the need to bring my new found passion to campus. Throughout my college career I had a work study job in the Office of Academic Achievement and Dr. Martha Ucci- the director of the center, approached me about attending Stonehill’s Disability Services Committee meetings, chaired by Dean Grant. During those meetings we realized in order to bring disability awareness to the Stonehill community, it needed to be an effort brought about by the students. It was then that I started the initial steps of forming The disABILITY Enlightenment Project. With the help of so many other driven students, faculty, and staff, it eventually became a student government recognized organization that still is booming today.
I had so many wonderful opportunities at Stonehill. I was able to learn not just by reading textbooks and pumping out papers, but I was able to learn by doing. Not only did I have the benefit of interning in DC, but I was also able to volunteer at a shelter in Brockton through a community based learning project for my communication studies capstone course. It was a life changing experience and I gained so much more by volunteering and learning through experience than I ever could have learned in a more traditional setting.
Now that I have graduated I have come to appreciate what Stonehill has given me even more. I am currently working in higher education giving administrative support to scientists who research healthy aging and I could not be happier. I hope to further my studies by going to graduate school and eventually working on policy that affects the rights of elderly, disabled, and homeless populations. I have started on the path that is right for me, and it is Stonehill College that pointed my mind and my heart in the right direction.
-Ally Gotsell, Class of 2010
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