Storytelling Circle with First Gen

Join us for an evening of storytelling as we honor the journeys to success of four MCC alum!

Shela Lavante

Shela Levante is the Director of Development at Berkshire Community College (BCC) where she is responsible for external fund-raising efforts on behalf of the College and the Berkshire Community College Foundation. Prior to joining BCC, Shela was a Community Engagement Officer at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and the Database Administrator at the Arizona Community Foundation. She has an M.P.A. from Northeastern University, a B.A. in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University and an A.S. from Mesa Community College. Shela’s community involvement includes serving on the boards of The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, Hillcrest Education Foundation, Inc., Junior
League of Berkshire County, and the Berkshire Business and Professional Women’s Association.

How Did MCC prepare you for your professional career?

MCC prepared me for my career in many ways. First and foremost MCC provided an environment that encouraged curiosity. Curiosity about why someone wants to donate to support education, curiosity about their life, curiosity about their philanthropic goals are all tools for better understanding why someone supports Berkshire Community College (BCC). Secondly, the education at MCC was rigorous, especially the honors courses I took. This prepared me to be task-oriented, manage my time, and find ways I could incorporate what I was learning in one class into another. These are all skills I need as I manage various projects at BCC in order to not work 12+ hour days. Lastly, my experience at MCC left me with a love of community college and learning. This passion fuels me every day. I understand the challenges and opportunities that face our students which makes me a better advocate for them and the College as I forge private and public partnerships to support students and our College.

Dominique Day Hunter

Dominique Daye Hunter aka DDaye (she/her/hers) is of Black/Sappony/Irish/Polish descent. Dominique seeks to heal through the power of storytelling. Using the mediums of poetry, hip hop, and wearable art her goal is to empower femmes and people of color by bringing awareness to social justice issues, environmental racism, womb wellness, and mental health. Dominique has a Bachelor of Science in Nonprofit Leadership Management with an emphasis in American Indian Studies from Arizona State University.

How Did MCC prepare you for your professional career?

MCC provided me with a solid college foundation. It was a great bridge between high school and university and allowed me to explore various career fields with less pressure and less debt. In my various student worker roles, I gained valuable work and life experience that I was able to add to my resume and grow my professional opportunities. As a student worker at the American Indian Institute, I was able to more easily connect with student groups such as the Inter-Tribal Student Organization and the Big Brothers and Big Sister Native American program. I was also promoted as acting Office Coordinator which eventually led to my position in the Recruitment department as a MAT employee. The Career Services Center taught me skills and experiences that I now use as a freelance copywriter. MCC provided so many opportunities to improve my own life and the lives of others at a price that I could afford and a pace that worked for me

Blake Wolf

My name is Blake Wolf, and I am a 2nd-Generation American, my grandfather was born and immigrated from Lebanon to the United States. After obtaining my associate's degree at MCC, I transferred to Northern Arizona University (NAU) to complete my bachelor's degree. I have also completed two master's degrees, one at NAU, and the other at Purdue University. MCC has also been the place where I have developed as professional nurturing students that come from similar backgrounds like mine. For eight years I was a full-time advisor helping students navigate their path in higher education, and now I am able to help them in the classroom as a residential communication faculty. I also serve as co-director of the Honors Program at MCC.

How Did MCC prepare you for your professional career?

Choosing MCC was one of the best choices I made coming out of high school because I was unprepared and overwhelmed about the idea of taking the leap into college. The faculty and staff made me feel comfortable like I belonged as a part of the Thunderbird family. MCC not only prepared me to transfer, but also gave me the skills needed to find my career path. I met so many inspiring people that still mentor me to this day.

Andrew Rios

Andrew Rios is a first generation college student and is an enrolled member of the Tohono O'odham Nation from southern AZ. He grew up in Phoenix, AZ and attended Mesa Community College, graduating in Spring 2017 with an Associate in Business and High Distinction. He then transferred to Arizona State University and completed two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Business (Communication) and Business (Sustainability), from the WP Carey School of Business in Spring 2019. Andrew currently runs a small business while also serving in numerous other capacities. Those responsibilities include serving on a board of directors for a Tohono O'odham tribal co-op farm and as a chair for his tribal district's finance committee. He is also a project manager leading three different tribal projects focused on building a 12 home subdivision, renovating a warehouse, and running a tiny homes project for under-income applicants.