Every year a new batch of college students strive to find a job or get accepted into graduate school. Freshly-minted Mount Saint Mary College alumni Nick Tucker of Walden, N.Y. took that challenge in stride, obtaining both.
Tucker, who majored in Psychology with minors in Criminology and English, graduated from the Mount on Saturday, May 22. He is scheduled to begin a position in student life at a local college in August and he is also currently a graduate student at Pace University – Pleasantville Campus in the Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling program.
This dedicated student made the most of his Mount experience by joining the college's rigorous Honors Program, being an Orientation Leader, and serving as a Resident Assistant. Tucker was extremely active in student clubs, holding leadership positions in Catholic Relief Services (treasurer), StoryKnights (secretary and vice president), and Criminology Club (vice president and president), while also lending his aid to Active Minds, Habitat for Humanity, Latino Student Union, Student Honors Council, and more.
His intelligence and tenacity were rewarded: Tucker was named a Mount Ralph Scholar (top five percent of his class), and was invited to join both Psi Chi (the international honor society for Psychology) and Sigma Tau Delta (the international honor society for English).
But the campus community that had perhaps the largest impact on Tucker was the Dominican Scholars of Hope (DSH). A living and learning community for highly motivated Mount students, the Dominican Scholars are rooted in the values of the Judeo-Christian and Dominican heritage of the college. DSH is overseen by Charles Zola, director of the Catholic and Dominican Institute, assistant to the President in Mission Integration, and associate professor of Philosophy.
The Dominican Scholars of Hope program "helped me to become a better student," Tucker explained. "There were deadlines...we were expected to attend events throughout the semester, and provide community service and end of the year reflections. In other words, the DSH program helped me to [achieve] proper work/life balance at times and to practice time management, as I had to prioritize when to do schoolwork, when to do DSH work, and when to simply have time to myself."
Becoming a Dominican Scholar of Hope was an easy choice for Tucker, who is very dedicated to his Christian faith.
"Going to the Mount most definitely allowed me to remain connected with my faith in a multitude of capacities," he said. "In my freshmen year, I became a part of the choir....where I was able engage in weekly song with some of my peers to share the Word of God. More so, the Mount helped me to increase my faith, as it was during my time at the Mount that I truly came to discover who I am and what I can offer to the larger community. Additionally, the Mount helped me to remain connected with my faith through retreats, weekly Mass services, and acts of community service."
In addition to Zola, there were many professors and staff members throughout his time at the Mount who left a positive impact on Tucker both personally and professionally, including Jenifer Lee-Gonyea, associate professor of Criminology; Marie-Therese Sulit, associate professor of English and Director of the Mount's Honors Program; and Gina Evers, director of the Mount's Writing Center.
"I would just like to thank all those professors within my disciplines that helped me to think more critically and challenged me to reach my full potential," he said. "Thank you for always being there for me through thick and thin!"
Now with his years as a Mount student ending, Tucker has earned some time to reflect on what made his college experience so memorable. He's going to miss "the interpersonal relationships that I have formed with some of the faculty, staff, and students," Tucker explained. "I always looked forward to being stopped by someone, running into someone, or simply just seeing someone and saying hello on campus."