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Blake Blair, '16

Blake Blair, ’16

When asked to describe his Albion experience in one word, Blake Blair, ’16, says that it’s been “incredible.”

“If I could go back to when I was a senior in high school, I would ask myself why I was even considering any school but Albion,” he says. “Now that I’m here, I can’t picture myself anywhere else. I found my home!”

As an accomplished distance freestyler on the men’s swim team and a biology major looking forward to graduate school, Blake feels the support he has received at Albion is what has helped him thrive as a student-athlete. “Coaches understand that you’re here to be a student first and professors know that you’re an athlete, so you receive support from both ends. Some professors have even had me over to their house to help me get caught up on lessons that I missed because of swimming,” he says.

Despite the substantial amount of time he commits to training and studying, Blake is also a member of the Institute for Healthcare Professions, Delta Tau Delta, and Phi Epsilon Kappa. “At Albion, you don’t have to worry about spreading yourself too thin. You can dive into as many things as you want, and you’re set up to be successful in all of them.”

Blake is grateful for the opportunity that Albion College has given him to continue competitive swimming, while also providing him with the environment he needed to discover that he loves biology more than chemistry, which came as a surprise. He credits this realization to the liberal arts curriculum and the professors who take a personal interest in the lives of their students. “The professors here actually care. You’re not just another number. They will make sure they help get you to where you’re trying to go in life.”

Learn more about hands-on learning at Albion

Madeline Drury, '15

Madeline Drury, '15

For Madeline Drury, ’15, much of her college experience has happened in the community rather than being confined to the campus setting. In fact, she has been so involved with the local committee to bring The Big Read to Albion, as well as the Build Albion Fellows Program, that she has been asked to continue working on these programs after she graduates. “If you’re not trying to just fade into the background, this is where you need to be,” she says.

As a sociology major, education studies minor, and a member of the Ford Institute, leadership and social justice issues have always been on Madeline’s radar. It made sense for her to get involved in the projects being initiated by the College and the community, and her close connections with her professors provided her with the perfect opportunity to do so.

“I’ve worked a lot in the community since my freshman year, so I was looking for something that was more than just a community service project,” she says. “These are not the type of projects where you just clean the park and leave. You walk away from these with relationships that you never would have had otherwise.”

When choosing which college to attend, she distinctly remembers the moment when her tour guide said that Albion teaches you how to think, not what to think. The hands-on experiences she has had here, particularly those in the Albion community, have done exactly that.

“This is an opportunity to really grow into the person you want to be," she says. "You can ramp it up or dial it back as much as you need to. I’m an enhanced version of myself now."

Learn more about hands-on learning at Albion

Mikal McKoy, '16

Mikal-700x292

Mikal McKoy, '16, describes Albion as a small school with a big name and even bigger connections. "You could end up in California somewhere and there might only be one person who knows of Albion, but that one person can make a huge difference," he says.

In terms of his personal hands-on experience, for Mikal it's all about relationships. He speaks fondly of the Intercultural Affairs office, filled with a staff that helped him get readmitted after taking a semester off. Upon his return, they helped him secure on-campus employment so that he could pay his way through college. "They really made a big impact as far as helping me move forward," he says.

Mikal also says that he learned how to be a better student because of the relationships he has built with his professors. "Even when office hours aren't available, they make the time. That connection has always made me feel more welcome." He recently went on a trip to New Orleans with professors Marcy Sacks and Dominick Quinney to visit the Whitney Plantation. "I took African American History with Marcy Sacks, and she kept in touch with me throughout the years to make sure I was doing ok. She told me this trip was a great opportunity and she really wanted me to go," he says. He's not sure whether or not he would have ever had this experience if not for the Albion professors that care about him.

As a receiver on the football team and member of the MIAA championship 4x100 relay team, Mikal still finds time to help others despite his busy athletic schedule. He's a member of the Black Student Alliance, the Smooth Transitions Mentor Program, and currently has five mentees on the football team. "They remind me a lot of where I was at as a first-year student," he says. "It's always really rewarding when I can help someone."

After completing his degree in psychology at Albion, Mikal hopes to help in the community, attend graduate school and eventually work with youth. He says that his professors and peers have made an invaluable impact on his life, and he hopes to one day do the same for others.

Learn more about hands-on learning at Albion

Mikal McKoy, '16 (2)

Mikal-700x292

Mikal McKoy, ’16, describes Albion as a small school with a big name and even bigger connections. “You could end up in California somewhere and there might only be one person who knows of Albion, but that one person can make a huge difference,” he says.

In terms of his personal hands-on experience, for Mikal it’s all about relationships. He speaks fondly of the Intercultural Affairs office, filled with a staff that helped him get readmitted after taking a semester off. Upon his return, they helped him secure on-campus employment so that he could pay his way through college. “They really made a big impact as far as helping me move forward,” he says.

Mikal also says that he learned how to be a better student because of the relationships he has built with his professors. “Even when office hours aren’t available, they make the time. That connection has always made me feel more welcome.” He recently went on a trip to New Orleans with professors Marcy Sacks and Dominick Quinney to visit the Whitney Plantation. “I took African American History with Marcy Sacks, and she kept in touch with me throughout the years to make sure I was doing ok. She told me this trip was a great opportunity and she really wanted me to go,” he says. He’s not sure whether or not he would have ever had this experience if not for the Albion professors that care about him.

As a receiver on the football team and member of the MIAA championship 4x100 relay team, Mikal still finds time to help others despite his busy athletic schedule. He’s a member of the Black Student Alliance, the Smooth Transitions Mentor Program, and currently has five mentees on the football team. “They remind me a lot of where I was at as a first-year student,” he says. “It’s always really rewarding when I can help someone.”

After completing his degree in psychology at Albion, Mikal hopes to help in the community, attend graduate school and eventually work with youth. He says that his professors and peers have made an invaluable impact on his life, and he hopes to one day do the same for others.

Learn more about hands-on learning at Albion

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