Teaching Fellow and psychology major Aly Mann, ’17, came to Meredith full of enthusiasm and ready to learn. Thanks to professors who have challenged her and directed her toward a variety of hands-on learning opportunities, she feels well prepared to take on graduate school.
Her involvement has run the gamut. Field placements in education. Internships. Undergraduate research. And the Teaching Fellow program. She has served as a student advisor and was the Cornhuskin’ spirit co-chair her junior year. Each unique opportunity allowed her to connect with others and build on her own personal strengths.
“The celebration of everything from academic achievement, to professional excellence, to lively and spirited sisterhood makes this community the perfect environment to grow into strong women together,” said Aly.
Aly, who plans to continue her education at Meredith by earning a Master of Arts in Teaching for Special Education, said that two experiences in particular stand out.
As a junior, she became involved in the Special Populations dance, an annual event for adults with disabilities that has been organized by Meredith College for more than 30 years. She was encouraged by her faculty to take a leadership role in planning and executing the dance her senior year. Aly accepted the challenge – and enjoyed the chance to develop new skills.
“My passion for exceptional individuals pushed me to cultivate skills I didn’t have, such as decisiveness, multi-component coordination, and large-scale volunteer management.”
Aly also developed a close connection with several faculty, particularly Cynthia Edwards, professor of psychology and head of the psychology and social work department. Aly worked on a research project with Edwards, who encouraged Aly to explore her interests further. She also identified numerous opportunities for Aly to expand her education, such as taking an internship at a nearby high school in special education and presenting at a Girl Scout conference.
“Her availability to students is invaluable; she encourages self-reflection and consideration of ethics in a way that promotes personal development, which is fitting considering her research focuses on social support in young women,” said Aly.
During her four years at Meredith, Aly has found joy both in giving back to her community and drawing on the support she found among faculty, staff, and friends.
“I think it is sometimes difficult for people who have not experienced Meredith to understand the unique environment created by a community of women,” said Aly. “I didn’t choose Meredith because it was a women’s college, but being a part of that community provided me the freedom to grow into a strong woman, supported by my peers and faculty.”
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