Hometown: West Redding, Conn.
MINOR: Conflict Resolution
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology/Sociology with honors, cum laude
Internships: Participated in an archaeological excavation of an ancient sanctuary in Cyprus as part of the Athienou Archaeological Project. After the dig, wrote a paper, “Textile Production at Athienou-Malloura: The Case for Processing Flax in the Venetian Period,” which will be published in the book "Crossroads and Boundaries: The Archaeology of Past and Present in the Malloura Valley, Cyprus."
Activities: WCSU Student Trustee, Connecticut State University System Board of Trustees; member of Student Life and Academics Affairs committees (2010-11); justice, WCSU Student Government Association (2011); senior editor, WCSU Social Sciences Journal 9; president of Social Sciences Journal Club (2010-11); senator, WCSU Student Government Association; member of Environmental, EPIC (External Political Issues Committee), Archives, and Rules Committees (2010); president, WCSU Anthropology Club (2010); assistant editor, WCSU Journal 8; vice president, Social Sciences Journal Club (2009-10); student representative, Strategic Planning Implementation Team for Student Engagement (2009-11); student representative, Hancock Student Leadership Steering Committee (2009-10); Distinguished Hancock Student Leader, Hancock Student Leadership Program (2008-09); organizer, “Really Really Free Market,” a free event promoting community development and recycling on the WCSU campus (2010); guest host, “R.A.P.! Radio (Raising Awareness to Prevent Dating Violence and Sexual Assault),” WLAD, 2010); panelist, Women’s History Month panel, “Women and Popular Culture,” (2010)
Honors and Awards: 3.79 GPA;
Truman A. Warner Anthropology Recognition Award, 2011;
Dean's Award, 2011, Vice President’s Award for Student Leadership, 2010; Rosa Parks Global Citizenship Award, 2010;
Dean’s List, School of Arts and Sciences, Spring 2005, Spring 2007, Spring 2009, Fall 2010;
Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, 2008-09, 2009-10;
Alumni Association Scholarship, 2007, 2009, 2010;
Howard G. Post Excellence in Sociology Award, 2009;
Merit Scholarship, Fall 2007;
Elizabeth Fields Women's Studies Scholarship, 2007;
WCSU Honors Program;
National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS)
Forget every stereotype you've ever heard about high school dropouts because Mercedes DeMasi doesn't fit any of them. "I began taking classes at WCSU because I dropped out of high school and wanted to continue my education," she says. "Originally, I had planned to transfer the credits to another institution, but I was so impressed with how WCSU managed to feel like a small, private university that I decided to matriculate because I knew I could get a great education at an affordable cost and stay close to home."
DeMasi says she's always been interested in culture and society, "but after I took a class with Dr. Laurie Weinstein, my mind was made up: I was meant to be an anthropologist. Dr. Weinstein teaches from a holistic viewpoint that encourages and challenges students to examine their world view, and as a result of her class I began to question things that I had previously assumed to be fixed and constant, such as time and space. Anthropology helped develop my writing and critical thinking skills, as well as giving me an excuse to do international research."
Like many Western students, DeMasi says she was fortunate to have had several mentors at WCSU. "They led by example in providing me with the guidance and support I needed to become the person I am today," she says, acknowledging Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Walter Bernstein, Professor of Social Sciences Dr. Averell Manes and Professor of Anthropology/Sociology Dr. Laurie Weinstein. "Dr. Bernstein helped me recognize my potential for leadership when I didn't see it in myself; Dr. Manes taught me about conflict management, peace and leadership; and Dr. Weinstein nurtured the anthropologist and teacher in me."
Asked what she will remember most about her WCSU experience, DeMasi says, "Winning the election to serve as WCSU’s Student Trustee on the CSUS Board of Trustees. It’s a real honor to know that the students of WCSU elected me because they believed in me to represent the students in CSUS. I’m very proud of my work on the Board of Trustees and the privilege that I was able to serve my school and my state in public service.”
After graduation, DeMasi plans to rack up some frequent flier miles. "I’m going to travel after I graduate because many of my most valuable educational experiences at WCSU occurred as a result of my travels abroad," she says. "I see myself working in education or international development, as WCSU has helped me realize my interest and potential in these areas by providing me with the opportunity to travel to places such as Ghana, Jamaica and Brazil to volunteer with development projects. I also plan to continue to serve my community through public service however I can."
DeMasi’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "Get involved on campus through extracurricular activities, because they're a great way to build important life skills that you won't learn in class. Extracurricular activities are a great way to meet other students, as well as faculty members and the administration, who can help provide you with guidance and support throughout your college years.”