Five questions with the Metropolitan Campus Pinnacle recipient: Ariel McKayle

By Kenna Caprio

Ariel McKayle already graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University once. In 2014, the Harlem, New York City native received her B.S. in psychology, cum laude. She returns for Commencement 2015 — for achieving her Masters of Arts in Teaching in elementary education — as the Metropolitan Campus Pinnacle Award winner. The first generation Jamaican-American is excited to represent her campus and class at graduation. Ariel McKayle

FDU: What's the best, most unexpected experience you had at FDU?

AM: Being so openly accepted for who I am. Meaning, I was never judged, and was always encouraged to show more of myself. That definitely helped my self-esteem and truly helped me grow into an adult. I came to college thinking that this was my chance to reinvent myself, but in interacting with the people here, I didn’t have to reinvent. The self that I brought was good enough.

FDU: Do you have any advice for incoming freshmen?

AM: FDU is a school that teaches you to take initiative. My advice would be to take advantage of everything that FDU has to offer. When you think you’ve done it all, find more.

FDU: What's an academic highlight from your FDU tenure?

AM: Last year when I graduated (with a bachelor’s degree)! I received the University College psychology award for having a top GPA in the department. I was really honored because I wasn’t expecting to receive it.

FDU: Who is one person at FDU who had a big impact on you?

AM: Chillie (Childerick Barthelus, assistant dean of commuter affairs and special projects) because he represents FDU to its highest degree. He went here as an undergrad, worked in the Office in Student Life, got promoted and moved to the Dean of Students Office. He really shows that you can have fun and interact with the students on a personal level, but also show us how to build professionalism. He’s been an unofficial mentor to me from freshman year until now.

FDU: What's next for you after graduation?

AM: Currently, I’m seeking a job in elementary education or higher education, like in campus life or student life.

Eventually, I want to pursue my dream of being a TV personality and host. I want to host a game show or a reality show and be the person on stage who engages the audience. When I was a sophomore, there was an open mic night and I was asked to host the event, which I’d never done before. Since then, I’ve hosted almost every kind of student campus event — Campus MovieFest, Meet the Greeks, banquets and open mic nights.