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MiShaye Hearn: Finding a Family at Alma College

First-year student quickly making new friends while studying for future career

ALMA — In order to eventually cross the Pacific Ocean, MiShaye Hearn figured, she first needed to cross Lake Michigan.

That’s why Hearn, a first-year student from Harvey, Illinois, decided to attend Alma College. She was drawn to mid-Michigan because Alma was the only school she was considering that offered a minor in Mandarin Chinese language.

An international business administration major, Hearn envisions a career criss-crossing the globe and making big decisions in bilingual board rooms, all the while making a positive impact on the world by helping people everywhere.

“My high school in Illinois offered Mandarin Chinese, so I starting taking classes in my freshman year and fell in love with the culture. I was able to take a trip over to China in my sophomore year, and that really solidified everything for me,” Hearn said.

“I’m looking forward to continuing those studies and taking part in a study abroad during my time at Alma. I’m so happy there’s a college that offers those opportunities, not too far from my home.”

Hearn acknowledges that moving from the Chicago metropolitan area to Alma didn’t come without its adjustments. Alma is more contained, she pointed out, while the big city is spread out over many miles.

However, Hearn said the mid-Michigan lifestyle has proven more comfortable than she might have expected. Her residence hall, Gelston Hall, is full of sociable students who are eager to get to know one another.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes and challenges across all aspects of life, Hearn said, one positive has been a feeling of solidarity among students.

“I know students who would like to have more freedom to move around the area, but the college has taken steps to make sure we’re safe and restricted our travel,” Hearn said. “That’s been a positive. I think in the future, my class will be more likely to hang out with each other than other classes were.”

Among the clubs and organizations Hearn has joined in her short time at the college are the King-Chavez-Parks (KCP) Mentorship Program, the Multicultural Student Union, the Black Student Union and the College Chorale. She said her involvement in those groups has allowed her to explore her interest in social issues, while getting to know the campus on a deeper level.

“The mentor I was assigned through the KCP program has become a good friend of mine, someone I can talk to about anything,” Hearn said. “These organizations host tons of great events to go to and put us in touch with faculty and staff who care about us as people. I think every student on campus should join an organization.”

Story published on March 08, 2021