Melissa Franklin, Community Health
“I love this campus. It just feels like home. ”
You would think that between taking a full course load, working 32 hours a week and bringing up a child, Melissa Franklin wouldn't have the time or desire to take on more.
But the community health
student, who transferred from Middlesex Community College, became president of the Community Health Education Club to get more involved in the community.
“The club was a great outlet for my passion to help others,” says Franklin. “I get that drive from my mom, one of the biggest advocates I've ever met.”
Franklin grew up in Beverly with three siblings. Her mother, who has a background in mental health, works for the Department of Children and Families.
“She advocates for so many people on so many levels that I know she rubbed off on me. I have this huge passion for advocating – the urge to be involved, and help others has always been there, and now I have an outlet,” she says. “As we North Shore people say, it's 'wicked awesome'."
With the help of fellow student Peter Saing and 27 other club members, Franklin has already made an impact by working with the Lowell Public Health Department on outreach for the opioid prevention program and proper disposal of unwanted medications.
“When I started, I felt lost, like a small fish in a pond,” says Franklin. “It was a huge learning experience, and one I’m glad I had. There's so much opportunity to immerse yourself in the full college experience here that you’re really only limited by the choices you make.”
Before attending UMass Lowell, she didn’t know much about the Lowell campus, but figured that if it was not a good fit for her, she would go back to Boston. But she never had to make that decision.
She says: “I love this campus. It just feels like home. The funny thing is that I don't even live on campus but I still feel like this is my home. I love that about this place – even the non-traditional students can feel connected.”
“Even with the stress of finals and the work load that comes with them, going to college here is a lot of fun,” she says. “The faculty teaches from a real-world perspective and work hard to keep us updated on the world around us, not just what's written in the textbooks. They draw a line for us that really explains where we have been as a society to where we are now and they fill in all the 'whys' as they go. It's nice because it keeps you immersed in the world while learning the history of your discipline.”