Interview with Miss New York

My name’s Lauren Molella. I am a DCC graduate
from 2012 and 2014, and now I am an adjunct faculty member teaching biology, psychology
and physics here at Dutchess Community College. So, I actually graduated right here at Dutchess
before I walked my high school graduation. And then I left for Troy, Alabama, which I
found through the Miss America Organization and I double majored in pre-med and psychology
with a double minor in dance and international honors, and during my four years there I came
back and took classes at DCC in the summer months. So, I graduated again from Dutchess
in 2014 and then I graduated from Troy with my double major in 2016 and then I got my
masters at Sacred Heart in Connecticut in applied psychology with an emphasis in PTSD
and suicide prevention for veterans. Teaching biology is so special because it’s
one of the introductory sciences that all science students take when they come to college
and I think it’s very important, especially for women, to give them that knowledge in
the STEM fields and that education and love and passion for science, because it’s not
something that always taught to them in a manner that they understand or that they recognize
as something that a woman could be so successful in. Well, I love teaching at DCC because a lot
of my students, I think, connect with me because not only was I a student here at DCC who graduated
here, but I also grew up in the area, so I understand what it’s like to be a Hudson Valley
resident. I understand what it’s like to be a DCC student and I think they’re kind of
inspired because they can see where that’s taken me. I think they see that there aren’t limitations
just because they’re at DCC later in life or they stayed at DCC after they graduated
and they’re still in the Hudson Valley. The world is such a big place and everybody’s
timeline and education is so different and they have such incredible things ahead of
them and I think that seeing me as an example of where you can go from graduating at DCC
is very inspiring to them. There are a few students who are aware of
my title as Miss New York because they’ve seen it in the Poughkeepsie Journal or online
in social media, those types of things, but it’s more brought up conversations of why
I chose to do it and a lot of them have kids and so, to me, being able to talk to them
about the importance of scholarship and education and continuing their education and the resources
that are available to you outside of the university has been really wonderful to talk to students
about. Being a teacher makes you very open-minded.
You deal with a lot of different types of learners and a lot of different types of individuals
in your students and you try to cater your teaching style towards what students you have
in a particular class so that you can help them succeed to their maximum potential, and
being Miss New York is the same. We go out on a daily basis to perform service or advocacy
and we try to do that one hundred percent as well as we can, depending on the population
that we’re interacting with. So, the lectures that I would give to a third grade class on
confidence are much different than the lectures I would give to a high school senior class
about confidence, so we definitely cater those the same way. Miss America is December 19 at 8 p.m. on NBC

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