Student Snapshot: Kaileigh McNellis '23 

k mcneills

Kaileigh McNellis ’23 is a history major, musician and student-leader who’s active on campus and in the local community. Below, she discusses the value of mentorship, her upcoming internship, the virtue of saying “yes” to new opportunities and more.


Macungie, Pennsylvania.


History, with a minor in anthropology.


Kappa Alpha Theta (president), Office of Admissions (intern and student volunteer) and Dickinson College Choir.

Change A Life, Change the WorldHonors/scholarships/awards:

Ensemble Scholarship, Dean's List, Music Department Trust-T Award, Alpha Lambda, Phi Alpha Theta and National Leadership and Success Society.

Favorite book:

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover.

Favorite Series:

Criminal Minds.

Best thing about my Dickinson experience so far:

Having the opportunity to hold a leadership position within my sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. Meeting other women who have the same interests and passion as well as being able to branch out into the community and be welcomed has been the experience of a lifetime. I was able to expand my friendships further than I thought possible and gained some of the best memories with girls within my organization. Being a leader for this organization has tested my limits in communication, personal growth and team building for the better.

Best thing about my major:

The opportunity to mingle with professors and students within the department no matter what concentration or focus you are interested in. The history department really fosters an amazing community of colleagues and students who are there to support one another and bond over our shared love for history.

On choosing Dickinson:

After touring the campus before my first year, I instantly was reminded of the small town that I grew up in. High Street and all of the small businesses and quintessential buildings reminded me of my town's own square, with its friendly faces and delicious food. However, the student and faculty community is what truly made me want to attend Dickinson. On my tour, and even afterward, I was greeted by a variety of friendly smiles and warm welcomes. Students would wave, say “hi” or smile as they passed by. They made me feel welcomed and valued as a member of society and as a future Dickinsonian.

Favorite place on campus:

Denny 317.

Favorite off-campus spot:

Helena's Chocolate Café and Creperie! It’s the best place to go for a coffee and a crepe, and it’s a good study space.

Favorite professor:

Professor of History Karl Qualls. He completely changed my love of history for the better and has immensely improved my skills as a writer and student of history. He provides the best advice on what classes to take, my major or any problem I have. His determination and encouragement to have students branch outside of their intellectual comfort zones inspired me to take on some of the wonderful opportunities within the history department. I recommend him to any student who is interested in a history class.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… an archaeologist. I loved looking at preserved artifacts from thousands of years ago and learning their stories. The thought of discovering them on my own was always intriguing!

Post-Dickinson plans:

I plan on attending law school and becoming a lawyer.

About my summer internship:

I plan to work for the District Attorney's Office of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, to network and train under different attorneys. My role will consist of helping to manage cases, trial preparation, criminal docket sheets and more. I will be able to witness trials in person, learn how an attorney creates an argument/theory and be able to support that with evidence.

Proudest accomplishment so far:

Getting an internship at the District Attorney's Office in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

Most important thing I've learned so far:

Hard work pays off. Whether it is in classes, extracurricular activities, internships or research projects, taking the time and effort to commit yourself to something will provide you with great rewards in the end. The key is to strive for success and be patient.

Advice for younger students:

Get involved! Choose to say “yes” to more opportunities. Immerse yourself in new experiences, try something you've never done before and join that club that you've always been interested in. You never know what opportunities will lie ahead.

Read more Student Snapshots.


Published July 5, 2022