Student Profile: Cassie Haley
For classically trained ballerina Cassie Haley, Alma College is as comfortable as a pair of worn-in pointe shoes.
“I love small schools, and Alma really fits,” she says. “When I met with the dance department and the other professors, it felt so inclusive. I could tell I belonged with the dance company from the start. We all love each other, and that makes dancing a lot of fun.”
The Florida sophomore has been dancing since she was 3. Even as an underclassman at Alma, Haley has gotten lead dancing roles, an opportunity that she says she probably wouldn’t have gotten at a bigger school.
“I did Sugarplum Beauty role in Sleeping Beauty, and this year, I’m dancing Clara in the Nutcracker,” she says. “Along with the discipline that dance gives me, I love the opportunities that I have to perform on stage and build my self-confidence.”
Haley, a psychology and dance double major, also praises Alma for giving her the ability to occasionally take off her pointe shoes and explore departments other than dance and psychology.
“My education at Alma has been very well-rounded,” she says. “I’ve been able to take art and science classes as well as classes in my majors, which I love. A couple of my pieces were actually chosen for the student art show this year. You’re definitely pushed to succeed here.”
When it came to choosing her majors, Haley, who also minors in gerontology, was drawn to psychology for a reason very dear to her heart and to her family.
“My dad passed away two years ago from cancer, and he also battled Parkinson’s disease, which inspired me to research the connection between aging and the mind,” she says. “I plan to go to graduate school for psychology and gerontology research after Alma, and if I can find a way to bring dance into it, I totally will. I’ll be a dancing psychologist, or at least I’ll find a way for dance to help patients with Parkinson’s.”