Alumni Profile: M. Jane Powers
Majors: Psychology,Human Development
There are students who enjoy their four years on the Hill by
maintaining a respectable academic record and spending every weekend
with friends, and then there are students like M. Jane Powers '86 who
achieved all that in addition to becoming involved in a wide range of
extracurricular activities on campus.
Hailing from Cape Cod, Mass., Powers is just finishing her fourth year as a member of the Board of Trustees.
a music radio show disc jockey in her free time, ensured that her voice
was heard long before she was elected to the Board.
college, Powers was on hall staff, serving as a head resident for two
years, became the president of the Women's Group and was active in a
number of other activities on Campus.
"I also sang in the chorale
and was involved with acting. This was pre-Bridge, so I did a lot of
formal and informal networking with students and staff around GLBT
[Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender] issues as well." Since Powers
fought for causes she believed in and was involved in the exciting
post-fraternity transition at the College, she could not isolate just
one favorite memory. "More than just a memory, I would say the
experience of the friendships I made [is the best], which are still
incredibly rich and close to me twenty-three years after graduating,"
A good amount of what she accomplished and
learned during her college years has influenced Powers' successful
career as the clinical director for a therapeutic day school for
socially, mentally or physically disabled children and adolescents.
strategic double major in Psychology and Human Development has
certainly allowed her to understand and aid disabled children. Powers
recognizes the important service that she provides to struggling
children and says, "I do all the interviewing for prospective students,
I supervise the therapists who work with the students, and I oversee
our teaching staff around mental health issues."
rewarding part about Powers' career is witnessing children with real
problems "successfully navigate school and social
relationships....There is nothing like the feeling of watching someone
who's had a hard time try to emerge from that and build on strength and
resilience," Powers said. She cites her Human Development major as a
springboard to her professional life that truly broadened her horizons.
Powers, a long-distance cyclist who annually partakes in an HIV/AIDS
fundraiser, manages to balance her essential role as a director in
Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts and her position as a trustee at the
College. Although she serves on a number of committees, Powers admits
"the Student Affairs Committee and EPC [Education Policy Committee] are
incredibly meaningful to me."
Powers' concern for students has
influenced her future ideas for the Board, and she hopes to remain a
trustee for as long as the College will have her. "I think it's a
really interesting time in terms of what's happening in the world,
[especially] with finance. It's a cliché," Powers acknowledges, "but
with crisis comes opportunity."
As a member of the Budget and
Finance Committee, Powers has input into a portion of the College's
expenditures. "The financial situation can help us focus on and
prioritize...who we are and what we do at Colby."
For Powers, being on the Board is not obligatory: she gets as much out of the time she spends on the Hill as she puts into it.
in touch with a place that shaped who [she is] and being in a community
where everyone is free to be who they are" are reasons enough to return
to the attractive acres where Powers spent her college years.
a trustee, Powers wants to watch other students lead fulfilled lives
like she did, by "taking what you get here and then going out and
making a difference in the world."