Alexa Callaway ’19 is passionate about building relationships and helping others. She put that passion to work as soon as she got to Manchester last year, in her First Year Seminar honors course, Lead Out Loud.

In Lead Out Loud, Associate Professor Heather Schilling ’90 focused on developing leadership skills and required the class to complete a service learning project. They adopted the organization International Justice Mission (IJM), which sponsors raids to free women who are sold into sex slavery around the world. A Color Me Free Run, organized by Schilling’s class, raised more than $2,000 to help IJM rescue women and girls held by traffickers and provide the after-care and counseling that they need to recover from their trauma.

“I came to Manchester knowing that I needed to be pushed to think differently about the world and gain new perspectives,” says Alexa, a double major in biology-chemistry and Spanish. The native of Caledonia, Mich., served as coordinator for the color run in North Manchester last April.

In helping to plan and execute the color run, Alexa says she became a stronger leader.  More broadly, she says, being in the Honors Program has enabled her to engage in challenging research and connect with faculty across campus.

Eventually, Alexa wants to continue her education in dentistry, specializing in orthodontics. Specifically, she wants to serve Spanish-speaking communities and provide a level of care they typically don’t receive. 

“Manchester is the total package” of what Alexa says she needs. The University “fits well with my personality,” she adds, and is a safe place to grow, become more independent, and discover who she is. “I became involved in the community and met a wide array of people. The support I had made the transition from high school to college easier than I expected.”

First Year Seminar is designed to help with that transition and Schilling says Alexa and her classmates didn’t disappoint. “I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of the class and how hopeful they make me feel about the future,” says Schilling. “This group embodies what we say Manchester is all about. As a faculty member, it is exciting to set something up, step back and watch these students soar.” 

By Karly Prichard ’18