Michelle Madlansacay, Class of 2012
After graduating from The Berkeley Carroll School in 2016, Michelle went on to Carnegie Mellon University, where she double majored in Psychology and Global Studies, with a minor in Arabic Studies. “In eighth grade, I remember being able to choose a topic of interest for my Exhibition Project,” said Michelle. “This was the first time I explored the topic of psychology, specifically the theories of Freud. This is when I developed an interest in studying the mind and how humans think and behave.”
It was at Carnegie Mellon where Michelle was able to gain experience conducting psychology and behavioral science
research. She worked in Carnegie Mellon’s Infant Cognition Lab and conducted her own study on infant language learning. Michelle was awarded a research fellowship and went on to conduct language education research at the University of Haifa in Haifa, Israel.
When she wasn’t in the classroom, Michelle was serving in leadership roles as a section editor of The Tartan newspaper, president of CMU’s Arab Student Organization, and a residential assistant at CMU’s office of residential education to meet and learn more from people in the global CMU community.
“I was able to have so much fun connecting with people from across the world,” shared Michelle. “My experience was fulfilling because we became so close, finding opportunities to reflect and be our genuine selves with one another. I loved sharing my thoughts with others on the connections between the biological and cultural complexities of people, and promoting this idea that our differences are what actually make all humans very similar. I was determined to find a way to encourage more people to appreciate this interconnection between people, cultures and disciplines, and I eventually decided that education was the best field to do this kind of work.” These interdisciplinary learning experiences and passions are what led Michelle to get a Masters at Harvard, where she will graduate from in May 2021 and then begin to pursue a PhD at The University of Chicago in the fall.
Right now, Michelle is working at Project Zero as a Research Assistant. “I’m studying topics of formal and informal learning and the work I’m doing now reminds me of my time at Stevens engaging in play-based learning. I loved building with blocks, and remember how we learned to be thoughtful, respectful citizens when studying communities. Having that experience as a 1st grader taught me lifelong skills.”
When asked what she would like to do with all of her years of studying, Michelle shared, “I hope to contribute research to develop high-quality educational programs for children from underrepresented communities. I’ve been introduced to ways that research can bring different communities together, working alongside each other, collaboratively.”
This article was originally published in the 2021 Spring Issue of SCOOP Magazine.