Meet Your Orientation Leaders: Shayla Melanson ’24 and Maggie Wettergren ’26
This Labor Day weekend, Simmons’ new residential students enjoyed a lively orientation featuring barbeques, games, and urban excursions. This year’s Orientation Captains and Leaders exude a palpable enthusiasm as they help their fellow students transition into on-campus life. Two of the Leaders, Shayla Melanson and Margaret (“Maggie”) Wettergren, spoke with us about their role at orientation and their love for Simmons. Photograph by Ashley Purvis
What is your major? Why did you decide to pursue this field of study?
Melanson: I’m a Social Work major. I chose this field of study because of my own interactions with counseling staff and social workers at my high school and my desire to help others.
Wettergren: I am a double major in Psychology and Public Relations/Marketing Communications. I chose both of these fields of study because of my love of humans and my desire to understand how they think and why they behave the way they do.
Why did you choose to attend Simmons?
Melanson: Initially, I wasn’t sure about going to school in a city, but as soon as I visited Simmons for the first time and met the tour guides and some faculty members, I knew this was the place for me. There are so many opportunities in the Boston area, but the Simmons community still makes things feel cozy, which is one thing I thought an urban school would lack.
Wettergren: I chose Simmons because of the sense of community. To be able to know so many people by name and feel that close connection to other students as well as faculty and staff is something big schools cannot always offer. And the location is unbeatable!
Why did you decide to become an Orientation Leader?
Melanson: As someone who entered Simmons during the COVID-19 pandemic, I wasn’t able to experience an interactive orientation, so I wanted to be able to provide that experience for incoming students. I love this school and there’s so much to share about it!
Wettergren: When I was a first-year student, my own Orientation Leader was very inspirational. She had such a positive impact on me, and I wanted to give future students that same experience.
How do you facilitate new students’ integration into life at Simmons?
Melanson: Everyone is coming from a different place in their life, and I think it’s important to recognize this. I facilitate their integration by sharing my own experiences and sharing all the resources that are available to them while making sure they know that I’m also a resource.
Wettergren: By having events specifically designed for first-year students on campus, it makes it easier for them to meet each other and to see the amazing things Simmons has to offer.
What was it like to meet select members of the class of 2027 during the initial one-day orientation back in June?
Melanson: For me, it was really special, especially since they’re a part of the incoming class and I’m graduating with the Class of 2024. But along with this, I’m a first-generation college student and the oldest child in my family, so I saw a bit of myself in a lot of my orientees.
Wettergren: It was wonderful to see some of the incoming students this summer. I hope to be a friendly face when they return this fall.
Are you especially looking forward to any specific orientation events this fall?
Melanson: The two events for which I am most excited are bracelet-making and the major mixer.
Wettergren: I am extremely excited about the Shark Week events we have scheduled during the first week of classes.