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Class of 2023: Alexis Dudley

As soon as Alexis Dudley transferred to McDaniel, they were elated to ring in on Old Main Bell and become part of campus community traditions. As a Sociology major, Alexis collaborated with Professor Lauren Dundes on research for their senior capstone, “In Sickness and In Health, I Do.” As a member of the executive board for Green Terror Programs, Alexis helped organize thrilling campus events for all McDaniel students.

Alexis Dudley Class of 2023

Alexis Dudley is a Sociology major from Baltimore.

When I took my first step on the Hill, I was: Someone current day me wouldn’t recognize. Within two years, McDaniel helped me acknowledge the potential I could have and the potential I already had. Campus also helped me then take action on my potential to create flourishing relationships and opportunities on and off campus.

The me who will ring the Old Main bell on Commencement Day is: Proud, compassionate, and open to opportunities no matter the size.

Real world experiences: I had research experience during my last semester with Dr. Lauren Dundes. My research experience involved creating a survey for undergraduate students to complete about their views and opinions on marriage norms. We aimed to identify if heterosexual relationships may or may not have comparable values and dynamics as heterosexual relationships historically did. We also aimed to observe if homosexual relationships mimic these dynamics and values or varied.

I was able to connect with many wonderful alumni that are currently McDaniel staff! I’ve had Mel Brennan ’96 and Joanna Hamburg ’13 from the Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO) assist my development as a leader and my specialty in career and opportunity advancement. I’ve also had Alina Philip ’22 show me that compassion and care for others helps create inclusive communities anywhere by planning and nurturing everyone around you. Additionally, I had Erin Benevento ’15 see my potential as a leader, even when I couldn’t, and say yes to a student she didn’t previously know, but trusted.

My aha moment: I wanted to be a Sociology major. When I transferred, I had intended to study Psychology. I took Introduction to Sociology with Dr. Lauren Dundes and as the weeks passed, I found that Sociology was an area of study that I was truly passionate about; even though I had no knowledge of the area of study previously. I did the last thing any academic advisor would want you to do and changed my major the second semester of my junior year here. The idea that I almost didn’t change majors crushes me to think about, because of all the possible opportunities and experiences I wouldn’t have had that make me who I am today.

Footprints I’m leaving on the Hill: I hope to be remembered as someone who could exemplify potential and how each and every person embodies their potential in different forms. I hope I inspired my McDaniel Local students to take a chance to enjoy meeting new people and how friendship and leadership exists in every corner of the world. I hope I inspired my transfer mentees to not see McDaniel as just a finish line, but rather a place to make your own to meet your personal needs and wants. I hope I inspired students who visited the CEO to feel confident in their strengths and what each person can bring not only to a workplace but to everyone around them.

Faculty or staff member who most influenced who I have become: The faculty member who most influenced who I have become is Dr. Lauren Dundes. As a professor, she will impact everyone in a different way. What I can speak on is Dr. Lauren Dundes’ ability to push people to their highest potential, as long as they are ready to be there. The beauty is that all of her intentions are to push each student to the best version of themselves through her classes. She inspires me to not accept the bare minimum and to not ignore my own potential. Her guidance has brought me the confidence and critical mindset to question everything right in front of me, as well as observing the truth in our chaotic society.

Best class ever: Gender, Violence, and Crime with Dr. Sara Raley. Dr. Raley’s Sociology classes are always informative but also exploratory. Our class work was heavily based on our reflections after reading an article, watching a documentary, or even watching a Netflix mini-series on crime. Dr. Raley always makes students feel included and shares relevant content that keeps you interested. Her general demeanor toward teaching and education presents the opportunity for students to grow and comprehend aspects of sociology (and life!) that we may not have explored before.

Took me totally by surprise: That the students ring the bell in and out to signal their start to their college experience and then to their start of life post-grad. Coming from a community college, we did not have many unifying and community-based experiences, so ringing the bell at orientation felt out of place and honestly shocking.

My favorite spot on campus: The terrace attached to Roj Student Center, right beside the president’s office, is my favorite spot on campus. Even though the terrace can be a little windy at times, on warm May or September days the balcony gets the brightest sunlight. Once the sun sets, you can look over the terrace and see all of the lights from town and get a beautiful view of the moon and stars on clear nights.

Most mind-boggling idea I learned at McDaniel: The restorative justice system. Over my Jan Term, I took a class on restorative justice and how the system functions, even here in Carroll County. The idea that justice can promote healing and comfort rather than only punishment and consequence was amazing!

My capstone title: “In Sickness and In Health, I Do.”

What it’s about in plain talk: I observed if gender and political party affiliation had an impact on one’s response to the question, “Do you believe that a woman should be able to obtain a legal abortion in cases of a woman’s endangered health?” My study found that most people do believe that a woman should be able to obtain a legal abortion in cases of a woman’s endangered health.

Extra talk: I found that Republican women were the most likely to oppose an abortion even in cases of a woman’s endangered health. I spent a lot of my poster discussing the different pressures and values that come with your gender as well as what political party you identify with.

What’s next: I plan to attend University of Alabama, Birmingham’s online master’s program in Sociology. I plan to vacation the week after graduation at the beach to relax, read, and enjoy a break before starting graduate classes and my first post-grad job!

If you received financial aid, what did that mean for you and your family? Financial aid meant a chance for me to achieve a goal that not many others in my family had. Having the support of financial aid meant I would be able to focus on my schooling, because I didn’t have to work as much, as I didn’t have as big of a bill as it could’ve been.

Tell us a little about your activities, including sports, during your years at McDaniel: During my two years at McDaniel, I was involved in various activities such as the Green Terror Programs executive board, Student Government Association, 2023 Student Senior Committee, Peer Mentor Program, McDaniel Local, and the tennis team. Additionally, I worked for Athletics as event management staff, as well as in the CEO as a student ambassador. Although each activity was different from the next, they all helped me become who I am today and connect me to my home on the Hill!

Are you the first in your immediate family to attend college? What has the experience meant to you? I am the first in my immediate family to receive a B.A. I’ve always said that my college experience was for me and my personal advancement, but there has always been so much more behind the accomplishment. The experience has given me the opportunity to show my younger siblings that just because we may feel certain goals are improbable, it does not mean they’re impossible. My degree is not only a reflection of my hard work but what could be for my younger siblings and their futures.

How will you stay connected to McDaniel? I plan to stay connected to McDaniel through alumni engagement opportunities! Additionally, I plan to revisit campus during semesterly events such as Homecoming or alumni dinners!

About Alexis

Major: Sociology

Class of 2023

"Although each activity was different from the next, they all helped me become who I am today and connect me to my home on the Hill!"