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Jessica Watkins '24
April 25
When Jessica Watkins ’24 started her freshman year at MMC—just five months into the Covid-19 crisis—she was so stunned by how the pandemic had upended life that she passed through the first semester in a daze. The Virginia Beach, Virginia, native had dreamed of studying dance in New York City. But due to Covid, she spent the fall in her family’s living room, taking classes remotely—and wondering if coronavirus would rob her and her peers of a traditional college experience, just as it had eliminated milestones like the prom and graduation in their senior year of high school. 

“I had gone numb by that point, I think to protect myself from feeling so completely shut down,” she said. “I just kept wondering if this will ever be over.”

Four years later, Watkins, a BFA Dance and Business major, has been chosen to serve as the senior class speaker for MMC’s 2024 commencement. And she plans to sound a triumphant note at the ceremony, one that her freshman-year self might have had trouble imagining: If she and her peers started college in a time shaped by restrictions and fear, they’re leaving it stronger and with the road wide open before them.

   Ashleigh W. and Zarah Zee C. Photo: Harrison Walsh
May 6

Nearly 20 years ago, when Aileen Baumgartner, director of the college program at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for women, and Katie LeBesco, MMC’s associate vice president for strategic initiatives and a professor of communication and media arts, discovered they both lived in Westchester, they began to meet up and talk over cups of tea and coffee. Their conversations always came back to the same question: How to draw attention to the impressive scholarly work happening in the Bedford Hills College Program, which MMC has run since 1997. Though the program was flourishing, with more than 15 courses offered each semester to students earning associate and bachelor’s degrees, many at MMC’s 71st Street campus were unaware of it. LeBesco had only recently learned of it herself.

MMC advises students to take a proactive approach to the FAFSA process.
December 20

Big changes are coming to the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and after more than a year of delays, the revamped form is expected to be released by the U.S. Department of Education on December 31. So, what does that mean for you?