Guiding Pathways

Originally from California, Aquia Brown-Welch began her studies at Middlesex Community College a year after her husband became a student there.

“As a child, higher education was positioned as a given, so I’d never not considered continuing my education. As an adult, I was able to recognize that the career paths I was interested in would require the continuation of formal education,” Aquia explained as her motivation to continue with higher education.

Aquia headshotAquia started college after high school in 2006 before ending up in Connecticut years later. She first went to Howard University in Washington, D.C. After an unsuccessful year there, she left. She then started a family and attended six different schools—on and off—in D.C., Florida, and Connecticut.

“The thought and desire to attend college was always on my mind. I understood that there was a certain quality of life I sought that would require advancing my formal education,” she said. “I decided to attend Middlesex primarily for convenience. At the time, I lived in Middletown and Middlesex was the closest of the community colleges.”

As a full-time student beginning in Fall 2018, Aquia mentioned her favorite class was Social Psychology with Professor Andrea Levy. She is also grateful for receiving letters of recommendation from her advisor and faculty members when she applied for a job at Middlesex after graduation in 2019. She first worked in Enrollment Services, assisting with CRM recruit software, admissions recruitment and processing, and student registrations.

In 2021, Aquia became a Guided Pathways advisor for Middlesex, working with a team of nine new advisors. Middlesex was the first college in the Capital-East Region to adopt the Board of Regents’ Guided Pathways advising policy at scale, reducing the overall student headcount per advisor at that time. That fall, she served in a similar role at Naugatuck Valley Community College before going to CT State Community College to work as an academic information services specialist.

“I love advising students! Before I started working at Middlesex, I felt passionate about advising students, as I wanted to provide them with better experiences than some of the experiences I’d had at previous schools,” said Aquia. “A significant part of my work now is connecting with students to understand their unique circumstances and devise a strategy to provide them with the support they need to accomplish their goals.”

Since graduating from with an Associate in Arts in Spanish Studies and in Psychology Studies, Aquia went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science in Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership from Charter Oak State College.

While a student at Middlesex, Aquia was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and a recipient of the Philip and Amy Wheaton Endowed Scholarship.

“It can be overwhelming starting college for the first time, or making your way back, but there is a dynamic support system at MxCC to help you in being successful,” Aquia said as her advice to prospective students. “I would also say to have grace with yourself. Be diligent in your efforts but remember that there is always another opportunity to hit your mark!

Written by Thea Moritz
September 2021