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Student view: Finding my way to Madison and beyond

January 24, 2022 - Kacey Collins

Kacey Collins is a Detroit M.A.D.E. Scholar and is in her third year at James Madison College (and is graduating a year early), majoring in social relations and policy. Originally from Detroit, Collins works as an assistant recruitment coordinator and is the current vice president of the W.E.B. DuBois Society. Post-graduation, Collins will be working as an interactive analyst at Accenture’s Detroit office.

I did not discover James Madison like the typical student does during their college application journey. I had one serendipitous moment that sparked the beginning of everything.

My introduction to Madison occurred when I met JMC’s recruitment coordinator Emelia Hammond during an on-site recruitment visit to my high school. I had already applied and been admitted to Michigan State but, when I did, it was through the College of Social Science.

After learning of my admission, my adviser and I talked about my passions and the things I am interested in studying; she encouraged me to learn about the programs available in MSU’s James Madison College.  She walked me over to the JMC booth, and that’s where I met Emelia.

While  speaking with Emelia, I learned about how interdisciplinary JMC’s curriculum is and how easy it is to build relationships with faculty and staff. It was then that I knew that’s the place I was meant to be.

Knowing JMC was a reading- and writing-intensive program that will push me was exciting and a bit nerve-racking. I knew JMC would be a challenge full of rigor, and it would take perseverance and grit to be successful. Thankfully, I am one to never back away from a challenge. I knew JMC was going to help me build my skills toward becoming one of the best attorneys.

When I began at JMC, I fell in love with the study of sociology, especially as I learned more about various inequalities. Discovering this passion allowed me to expand my ideas about what is possible and how my career path could be better directed toward areas I had not previously considered.

If someone asked me this time last year what my plans for life after graduation are, I would’ve told them my next stop was law school. However, my recent summer experience working with Accenture and AmeriCorps helped me to realize that the dream to become a lawyer was more about my desire to help people.

While at Accenture, I worked to provide technical solutions for the average person. Whereas with AmeriCorps, I interned with a company located within Detroit dedicated to uplift Black entrepreneurs. Through Accenture and AmeriCorps, I came to the conclusion that I can help and advocate for people without worrying about whether my work would be considered billable.

Because of my experiences as a student in James Madison, I am a more engaged global citizen and I can be the change I want to see in the world. My future career plans include Accenture and, at some point, I hope to do a bit more non-profit work for students of color within urban communities.