people you should know: laura melbin!

Written by program assistant Kaylie Vezina 14F

LauraI have to admit, I was a little bit nervous to be walking into CASA, (The Center for Academic Support and Advising) but as soon as I walked into Laura Melbin’s office and saw her kind smile, all of my worries melted away and I felt comfortable. This is Laura’s third year as the Assistant Dean of Advising, where she works closely with Division I students, and her seventh year with the College. Needless to say, Laura knows a lot about the divisional process and has seen many students go through it successfully.

Sometimes, though, the divisional process may seem challenging or overwhelming, especially as one enters it for the first time. If you ever find yourself feeling that way, Laura is the person you want to talk to. In the most basic sense, Laura’s job is to work with first-year students by providing them with moral support and assistance as they work their way through the first year of their college experience. Some of the main aspects of Laura’s job include:

  • Helping new students negotiate academic programs — Laura can help you plan an academic schedule that works for you. She can also help you with pre-registration, as well as figuring out your portfolio.
  • Making sure you have the resources and support you need — By talking to Laura you can figure out who to talk to based upon your needs. She’s able to advise you on academic and enrollment matters in a way that is comfortable and supportive. Laura can also point you in the direction of faculty who work in your area of study so that you can begin conversing with them.
  • Helping new students stay organized and prioritized — I think it’s safe to say that most of us have found ourselves in places where we seem to be swimming in piles of work or other activities, not knowing where to start because we haven’t stayed organized, and that’s okay. If you need or want help staying organized and prioritized, Laura can help you with that.

Laura Melbin is here to help you, as is the rest of the CASA staff. They can help you with things like communicating with your advisor, to just getting used to life on a college campus. Just remember that this resource is here for you, and if you need assistance in any way don’t be afraid to ask!

Feel free to schedule an appointment with Laura by calling CASA at 413.559.5498. Not sure you need an appointment? Send Laura an email at

win this week’s care package!

Care Package Front

Hey, you’re back! And the week is almost over! It must be time for this week’s care package giveaway question.

All first and second semester students are eligible to win a care package – just post an answer to the following question in the comments before 11:59 p.m. on SUNDAY to be included in the drawing for this week’s care package. The winner will be chosen randomly from all of the respondents Monday morning. Got it? Great!

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

spring break with newtohamp bot!

Photo by program assistant Kaylie Vezina 14F. Cool shorts, NEWTOHAMP BOT!

Spring Break ShortsSpring break is almost upon us! Whatever your plans are, we hope you’ll consider dusting off your old friend NEWTOHAMP BOT and taking them with you. NEWTOHAMP BOT loves adventures, and wants to have some fun over spring break. Just like in the summer, we’re hoping that you’ll post photos with NEWTOHAMP BOT on Instagram or Twitter with #newtohampbot. If you don’t use either platform, or have private accounts, feel free to email photos to us at so we can post them ourselves! To sweeten the deal, we’ll give away prizes to our top five favorite photos after spring break (including gift cards, Hampshire goodies, and other fun things). We can’t wait to see what you and NEWTOHAMP BOT do together!

Don’t have your NEWTOHAMP BOT? You’re in luck! We have 15 robots to give away to folks who want to participate. Just leave an answer to the giveaway question below in the comments before 11:59 p.m. TONIGHT. We’ll randomly choose 15 winners tomorrow (Thursday) morning, and will send them to your mailbox for delivery by the afternoon. Ready? Okay!

If you could pick one song to be your spring break soundtrack, what would it be?

getting it done!

Written by program assistant Kaylie Vezina 14F

Getting It DoneOn Wednesday, February 25 from 12-1 p.m. in FPH 102, Asha Kinney and Alana Kumbier gladly shared their “getting it done” knowledge with some eager students. Asha works in IT, specifically with educational technology, and Alana is a research librarian who works mostly with CSI classes. If you’re interested in getting an overview of what happened at this workshop as well as what tactics were introduced, read on:

What Happened
While the participants in the workshop enjoyed a delicious lunch, Asha and Alana gave an overview of what was going to happen during the hour. The workshop’s intent was to decrease stress and increase flow, which basically means turning your “bad” stress into “good” and more productive stress. (Good stress, it’s a thing!)

What We Learned
Asha and Alana outlined a strategy for keeping your work organized and lists some good tools and techniques. Slides and notes from this workshop are here.

What if there’s not enough time?! Have no fear! Sometimes it just isn’t possible to get everything done. If this is the case: Know what you’re not doing, be able to articulate why you’re not doing it, sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures. We aren’t perfect, and that’s okay!

Don’t have time to read a whole article/book? Try reading the intro and then every topic and concluding sentence of each paragraph/section. Doing this should give you a pretty solid idea of what you’re reading. When you’re reading a book, try skimming over every sentence and seeing what sticks with you if you don’t read too deeply into what you’ve read.

Need help staying off certain websites while trying to work? Try Selfcontrol allows you to block yourself from visiting certain websites at certain times.

AND REMEMBER… physical activity is good for the brain. If your work is getting to be too much, take a walk, jump up and down, take a dance break. It’ll be good for you, I promise.

Get In Touch:
If you’d like to reach Alana or Asha, here is their contact info:

  • Alana Kumbier——413.559.5704
  • Asha Kinney——413.559.6238

Have questions? Need help? Email us at!

win this week’s care package!

Care Package Front

Happy Thursday, friends! It’s time for this week’s care package giveaway. All first and second semester students are eligible to win — just post an answer to the following question before 11:59 p.m. TONIGHT to be included in the drawing for this week’s care package. The winner will be chosen randomly from all of the respondents tomorrow morning. Here goes:

If you could be the current world champion in any one sport, which sport would it be?