Gabrielle D’Amico ’22 was encouraged by family members to attend Albright College ever since she was a middle school student. Her aunt, Kimberly Toth, graduated from Albright in 2006 and her grandparents were convinced that Gabrielle should follow in her footsteps.
“Everybody kept telling me I should go to Albright, but I didn’t want to because it’s only 30 minutes from home,” shared D’Amico, who grew up in Robesonia. “In the end, coming here turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.”
Majoring in both communications: journalism and women’s and gender studies, D’Amico has been elected class president for three years and served as vice president of her freshman class. A Lion Ambassador, she is a member of Sigma Kappa, was on the Homecoming Court, and holds three campus jobs.
Everything was going according to plan until her father, who D’Amico calls “her rock,” suffered a serious stroke during her junior year. Devastated, D’Amico relied on support she received from her advisors, Heidi Mau, Ph.D. and Katherine Lehman, Ph.D., and others.
“I was in a dark place for a while but being at Albright helped keep me together during that time,” D’Amico recalled. “My advisors offered me every resource they could, and they still check in with me. I really can’t express my gratitude toward them.”
She also is grateful for financial support Albright provided following the medical emergency. D’Amico received Supplemental Advancing Lives funding, enabling her to continue her enrollment.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do financially. I thought I was going to have to drop out of college,” D’Amico said. “But I got that scholarship and some additional funding, as well, which allowed me stay. I don’t know what I would have done without that.”
D’Amico started at Albright as a communications: Journalism major, adding women’s and gender studies after taking a class in the fall of her junior year.
“I had that first course and absolutely loved it,” she said. “I started taking more and more courses because I was passionate about the subject. That’s how it became my co-major.”
Her great interest, she explained, is encouraging people to tell their stories and make sure their voices are heard. She believes the combination of her majors will help her fulfill that goal.
“I don’t know a lot of people who are on the track I am, but that’s another thing I love about Albright. You can build on your interests and imagine how two very different concepts could work together as a major, and your advisor will work together with administrators to provide coursework to fulfill all the requirements. I’m convinced that if I came here as a biology major and decided I wanted an accounting major too, Albright would find a way to make it happen.”
Looking forward to the rest of her senior year and beyond, D’Amico again reflected on her decision to attend Albright.
“Albright has changed me in so many ways,” D’Amico said. “It’s made me very grateful for adult relationships and the strength that comes from them. It’s supported me when I needed it and gave me room to grow. I am forever grateful I decided to come here.”
Acknowledging the role family members played in that decision, she will ask her aunt to participate in graduation by handing D’Amico her diploma.
“Because I might not have come here if it wasn’t for her,” D’Amico said.