Nervous about beginning a new chapter of her life, Dana Millio joined the Realizing Dreams Living and Learning Community (LLC) with hopes that she would make new friends who shared similar interests.
Despite her anxiety about the transition to college, Dana felt reassured that, by the end of Orientation, she already had 17 best friends.
Soon after Orientation, she met Michele Filling-Brown, Ph.D., the faculty director of Realizing Dreams, as well as the LLC’s faculty fellows: Courtney Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of history/political science, and Maya Gordon, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology.
“Knowing that these well-respected faculty members wanted to see me succeed and are invested in my future made me feel empowered to achieve my goals,” Dana says.
The LLC faculty not only wanted Dana to succeed, but also appreciated Dana’s contributions. Smith says Dana’s enthusiasm “played a critical role in transforming our classroom into a vibrant learning community.”
Dana’s relationship with these three faculty members has extended beyond the first year, and she remains in contact with them.
In fact, Filling-Brown continues to serve as her advisor, as she is now an English and Human Resource Management double major with a Leadership Studies minor.
Although the Realizing Dreams LLC went on many trips during her first year at Cabrini, including sightseeing in Philadelphia and Lancaster and a community-building day at Six Flags Amusement Park, Dana reflects that her most memorable moment was the fall Leadership Retreat.
“We were able to intellectually connect with each other and spend a really constructive day together.” This annual Leadership Retreat helps Realizing Dreams LLC students to learn more about each other and how to communicate effectively and develop leadership skills.
Gordon remembers “the look in her eyes when she learned something new that day” and how she utilized those leadership skills in the classroom as she motivated her peers to achieve new heights.
Dana’s experience in the LLC catalyzed her involvement and leadership during her sophomore and junior years. Dana is involved in the P.in.K women’s professional-development group, LEADstrong leadership program, and Delta Xi Phi sorority. She also has served as an Orientation Leader for incoming students, giving her time to help new students who might be nervous just as she was three years ago.
She’s so grateful for the experience she had in her first year that has catalyzed not only her success, but also her lifelong friendships.
She’s looking forward to walking across the graduation stage in 2015 with friends from the LLC who she met at New Student Orientation.