Path on campus

Treating College as a Verb

Dr. Karl Kelley and Bri McAloon

Dr. Kelley, why did you choose to be a faculty member at North Central?

I remember coming to North Central, and from the moment I arrived, each interaction I had made me feel like this was the place where I could live my life, and have a happy and successful career. I get to work with some of the most interesting people in the world. I can walk down the hall and talk with Dr. Chambers about the things she’s doing in her sleep lab.I can talk to Dr. Gill about her research on understanding opioid pathways in the brain. My colleagues and students are doing so many interesting things. The ideas and perspectives of my students change me; their experiences affect me every day.

Dr. Kelley in his office with students

Dr. Kelley, as a professor for over 30 years, what inspires you to do what you do every day?

My students inspire me; they challenge me to think in different ways. I get excited about helping students achieve their goals. I try to show them this experience has meaning for them not just inside the classroom, but beyond. I try to teach them that there are things they can do with this education that can help make the world a better place. I try to give them opportunities to get involved in research. North Central values and supports faculty working with students. I’ve traveled around the country with students who have helped me on projects. I have presented internationally with my students in Dublin and Athens. I find it inspirational that a lot of my students are out in the world doing amazing things.


Bri, having worked with Dr. Kelley for a few years now, what does his mentorship mean to you?

It’s meant a lot to have Dr. Kelley as a mentor. It’s amazing to have somebody close to you who sees the effort that you’re putting in and is constantly giving you more opportunities. I share my goals with Dr. Kelley and I know he is as invested in my future as I am. What’s unique about North Central is that the support and investment is genuine; it’s not an obligation. The faculty are involved in your success because they’re passionate about it. Through this journey,I never felt alone. My mentorship with Dr. Kelley has comforted me and propelled me so much further. Feeling that support gives you the confidence to try new things.


Bri, how have you grown as a person during your time at North Central?

I have less anxiety about figuring everything out. Asa student, you feel like you don’t have much time, and college moves fast. Conversations with my academic advisor and Dr. Kelley have taught me to slow down, enjoy the moments, and choose carefully where to place my effort. I learned to look at the important things in my life and ask how much of a difference they make. Just because something’s “important” doesn’t mean that it’s meaningful. Everything feels so important like it’s going to affect the rest of your life, but it’s all about trusting yourself and making sure you believe in what you’re doing. I’ve learned to “find my why”—to seek out experiences and opportunities that make me self-reflect and challenge my beliefs.

Dr. Kelley, you’ve had to the opportunity to meet an incredible number of students in your tenure—what is your advice for students just starting their college experience?

I tell all my students to think of college as a verb. If you think about college as a verb—something that you do, rather than something that is done unto you—it changes your perspective. Rather than just sitting there waiting to learn you must reach out. You’re going to find people who want to work with you. But part of it must come from you.

Dr. Kelley and Bri McAloon at a table