Kayla Aberdale '19 is working toward a chemistry degree with an eye toward a career in law enforcement.

STEM Scholar Profile: Kayla Aberdale

Kayla Aberdale '19 is working toward a chemistry degree with an eye toward a career in law enforcement.

STEM Scholar Profile: Kayla Aberdale ’19

Chemistry major Kayla Aberdale ’19 had a strong family connection to Elms: Her mother, Carole Tarnawa, graduated in 1989. “I said to my mom, ‘Why don’t we visit Elms? I want to see your school, and it would be really nice to finally get a taste of what you had for college life,” she said. “And in my first five minutes, 10 minutes on campus, I absolutely fell in love with it.” She was recruited for the basketball team and also, thanks to her scholastic success, named an ElmSTEMs scholar.

Family members also helped Kayla choose her major while she was still a student at Monument Mountain Regional High School in her hometown of Great Barrington, Mass. She wanted to work toward a career in forensics or federal law enforcement – multiple members of her family work in law enforcement – but she wasn’t sure which major would help her the most. Her cousin, who was in the state police academy, advised her to follow her heart.

“He asked me, ‘Do you really like chemistry? Because you can do a lot of things with chemistry,’ ” Kayla said.

Now that she’s at Elms, chemistry is still her favorite class. “People think I’m majoring in chemistry because it’s easy for me. It is not easy for me! It’s just so interesting,” she said. “There are so many options with chemistry that I really can’t go wrong if I stick with it. And I love doing it, even though it’s really challenging. I like to challenge myself.”

Tutoring sessions through the ElmSTEM scholarship program have helped her face the challenge, too. “It’s fun; we’re all bonding, and Halah [Alsari ’17] helps us out a lot,” she said. “The tutoring sessions are going really well – we’re talking a lot about chemistry, and it’s opening up our minds.”

Kayla offered advice for anybody struggling with chemistry: “Nothing is too hard, as long as you put in some studying.”