Melanie Leary MEd ’21 Found Her Career in Education Outside the Classroom

Melanie Leary ’21 head shotFor Melanie Leary, the third time was the charm. The Regis College associate bursar originally wanted to pursue a career as a teacher but shortly after starting the elementary education program at Framingham State College, she discovered that “this was not for me.” Eager to choose another helping profession, she changed her major to psychology but decided it wasn’t the right career path, either. When she joined Regis as student accounts coordinator in 2016, Melanie says she found “a position that matched my administrative background as well as be back in education.”

Having completed her Framingham State undergraduate degree in business administration and worked as a finance specialist, Melanie might have pursued a master’s degree in business administration or accounting. Instead, she chose a MEd in Student Success. “I wanted to learn more about the education field from an educator and student affairs perspective that wasn’t necessarily a classroom perspective,” Melanie explains. When she read that the program “is ideal for individuals drawn to the teaching and helping professions who wish to work with secondary and post-secondary students to help them succeed, using academic strategies as well as building social/emotional skills such as self-advocacy and resiliency,” Melanie decided “the program fit what I was looking for.”

While Melanie was no longer seeking a teaching job, she found the student success degree applicable professionally and even personally.

“My son is on the autism spectrum,” she explains. “As a parent, I have gained a better understanding of laws and regulations, accommodations for special needs students, and about universal design for learning. I have more knowledge that will better prepare me to advocate for his individual student success.”

The degree also enabled Melanie to be more effective in her current student services role. “I genuinely wanted to learn and improve how I could better help the students I interact with,” she continues. “From the program I was able to get a better understanding of the support skills for students to increase their chances for success. With that, I was also able to become more aware of psychological and neurological factors which might hinder student success. Most importantly, I think I can now better advocate for students and their success.”