Meet Christine Ochola ’22, from Agawam, MA. As a Communication major, Christine, a talented writer and editor, is learning how to convey important information in ways that resonate with others. During her years at Bryant, she’s chosen to convey a simple but powerful message of her own: You are capable of great things, and you can find the support you need to achieve them.
“We have so many different opportunities for growth at Bryant, both academically and socially,” she says. “It’s really something special.”
One of those opportunities, says Christine, is Bryant’s interdisciplinary curriculum, which combines the best of business and the liberal arts. “There’s information in both disciplines that we can call upon in different environments,” she notes. She points to her own diverse skillset as an example. A minor in Marketing is helping her understand how people think and how to communicate to broad audiences. Another minor in Human Resource Management is lending her a personal touch.
By combining strengths, she says, “We learn a variety of skills in each discipline, which combined, help us to become more well-rounded and versatile students and members of the community.”
Choosing a path
A supportive community helped Christine create her path to success. “So many people here, whether they’re professors, faculty or staff, can see the potential in students even before they can see it themselves,” she reflects. “They help us find our start and once we start to gain confidence it helps to motivate us to continue to improve, reach higher and achieve more.”
“I think it's incredibly important for students to explore, especially when you’re starting out, because you don't know what you like before you try it.”
Professor Stanley Baran, Ph.D., her Introduction to Communication professor, talked with her early on about her goals and how best to achieve them—the first of several guides she found among the faculty. “The professors in the Communication department are really great mentors,” she says. “They’re very enthusiastic about the subject, excited to answer questions we have, and show us how valuable these skills are outside of the classroom.”
Bryant’s MyPATH (Make Your Passion And Talent Happen) program, a unique partnership between the University's Academic Affairs department and Amica Center for Career Education, helped her to consider all of the opportunities available to her. “I think it's incredibly important for students to explore, especially when you’re starting out, because you don't know what you like before you try it,” says Christine.
Now, as a MyPATH Student Mentor, Christine aids other students in matching their passions with academic and cocurricular possibilities, sharing her experience, advice and perspective as they chart their own courses. “I really like helping undecided students figure out their path,” she says. “I don't want to pressure them or sway them, because it's important that they make their own decision. I just want them to have the information they need to decide what's right for them."
“4MILE is about making multicultural, domestic and international students feel important and welcome. And I really loved being a part of the team that facilitated that."
Coming full circle
Before starting as a first-year student, Christine took part in Bryant’s 4MILE (Multicultural and International Leadership Experience) orientation program, a week of cultural and leadership activities uniquely designed for first-year international and domestic multicultural students. That experience, she says, helped her to find her footing and build her own community of support. “Participating in 4MILE can be really valuable for first year students because it helps you to make your start at Bryant with a network of diverse friends and classmates,” she says.
It can also be empowering. This summer she returned to the program as a Peer Counselor, an experience she considers to be one of her proudest moments. “4MILE is about making multicultural, domestic and international students feel important and welcome,” says Christine. “And I really loved being a part of the team that facilitated that.”
It was an opportunity, she says, to bring her time at Bryant full circle. “Someone helped me as a student and I want to help someone else and pay it forward. I’ve developed skills and knowledge that someone else might not have yet. I want to make sure I share them with others.”