Not only does Cheryl Mei ’25 have an enthusiasm for helping others, but she also has a clear knack for it. At an internship at Melmark New England, a special education school in Andover, Mass., the psychology major took on the responsibilities of an applied behavior analysis counselor, teaching and supporting children between the ages of 10 and 12.
It’s in situations like these that Mei feels most in her element. “Whenever someone tells me something that’s wrong, I always want to help them,” she said. “Being a therapist would allow me to do that in the right environment.”
As a recipient of Endicott’s Inspire Scholarship for first-generation college students, Mei has been able to prepare for a profession in which she can comfort, encourage, and empower others. Funds from the Endicott College Scholarship Classic on May 15, 2023, and the Misselwood Concours d'Elegance, which runs from July 21 through July 23, 2023, directly benefit the Inspire Scholarship.
“I’m so grateful because they’re paving the way for the future, and for future generations,” she said about the scholarship’s donors. “What they’ve done for our school, and for me personally, doesn’t go unseen. Somebody putting in the effort to help me go to college, help me get an education, help me build this career I want … it makes me more driven to want the career, makes me more driven to work for it.”
Mei is clearly tenacious, a quality she picked up from her mother and father. Her parents emigrated from China in search of a better life, bestowing that same passion in Mei. Enter Endicott.
“What drew me to Endicott? Both schools I looked at offered great education, great community, great clubs, great everything,” she said. “But I wondered where I would be comfortable, where I wouldn’t want to go home every five minutes. And I thought of Endicott.”
Other factors that drew Mei to Endicott were the school’s connections in the healthcare field as well as its internship program, which is affording her the experience-powered opportunities she needs to jumpstart her career.
“With the internship experience, I can really see where I want to go and know, ‘I am going to be good at this job. I will be comfortable here.’ That’s a good thing that Endicott provides,” she said.
Endicott has also provided Mei with an environment to give back and build others up. Currently, she’s involved in the school’s Psychology and Human Services Club, spiritual life activities, and SURJ: Showing Up for Racial Justice.
“Working a lot with SURJ makes me want to advocate more, speak out more, and promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity everywhere,” she said. “That’s also something I’m passionate about in my own life.”
She’s also pleased to see the school’s continuing efforts toward fostering belonging on campus, most recently with its PRIDE month activities. “The drag bingo was so fun. That was my first time seeing a drag show with drag queens, and it was a lot of other people’s first time, too,” Mei said. “It opened a lot of doors to people wondering about that culture.”
Making people feel comfortable, seen, and safe is a career goal for Mei. Right now, she’s focused on clinical psychology and the therapist-patient exchange of “going in, sitting down, and talking to your therapist on the couch,” she said. “I’m interested in that because I’m that person who just wants to give you help.”
In the coming year, Mei will also flex her supportive skills in her role as a resident advisor. She appreciates all the support bestowed on her, both financially through scholarships, and through friendships from her inner circle. That’s why she wants to “repay the favor … and help the world in a positive way, in the best way I could.”
Mei believes in the Finding Nemo mantra to “just keep swimming,” and after Endicott, she hopes to work in private practice.
“Don’t give up,” she said. “It’s kind of corny, but one setback is one setback. Something can hold you back eventually in your life, but just keep working toward that end goal.”
If you are interested in learning more about how you can support students like Cheryl through the Inspire Scholarship, contact Anthony Barbuto, Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement, at email@example.com or 978-232-2362.