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It was a change in course that brought Marybelle Daclan, ’20, to La Salle University, along with her love of the golf course.
Late in her final year of high school, Daclan was having second thoughts about the university to which she had already committed. That was when she came across a story about La Salle’s women’s golf team. Having picked up a passion for the sport from her father, Daclan said the prospect of playing golf at the next level prompted her to visit La Salle.
“I met the team’s former coach and a lot of people in admissions, and I loved it,” said Daclan, 21, a native of Galloway, N.J. “It was a small, intimate campus and they really worked with me. I applied and got accepted within a week. I just knew it was for me.”
A graduating student in La Salle’s Class of 2020, Daclan has earned degrees in psychology and Spanish. Support from coaches, faculty, and staff at La Salle, she said, helped define her college experience.
After entering La Salle as a psychology major, there was another change for Daclan—one she credits to Br. Michael McGinniss, FSC, Ph.D., professor and president emeritus, and Luissa Ossa, Ph.D., associate professor of Spanish and coordinator of the undergraduate Spanish program. At the urging of McGinnis, whom she met through the University Honors Program, Daclan registered to take Spanish. It was a language Daclan had studied throughout high school, but one she hadn’t planned on pursuing at La Salle.
While enrolled in Spanish to fill a course requirement, Daclan changed her plan again after receiving feedback from Ossa.
“(Ossa) wrote on the first Spanish assessment I ever had in college, ‘Your ability in Spanish is outstanding. I would really consider a Spanish major,’” Daclan recalled. “It’s not like she tried to make me change my major. She just saw my potential and really kept working with me and pushing me to go that route. I’m thankful for that. If she hadn’t worked with me and given me that attention, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere with it.”
Daclan is graduating from La Salle as a distinguished student: pre-med with bachelor of arts degrees in psychology and Spanish and recognition on the Dean’s Honor List continuously since 2016, as well as memberships in the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Professional, World Language, and Psi Chi International Psychology Honor Societies, and La Salle’s Undergraduate Academic Award in psychology. She also shot the first under-par round in the history of the women’s golf program.
Daclan said she likely will follow in her mother’s footsteps and pursue a career in psychiatry. First, she’s taking a gap year, with plans to conduct clinical work while applying to medical schools in New Jersey and Philadelphia. By ending her academic career at La Salle during the COVID-19 pandemic, Daclan said she is choosing to focus on the positives.
“This (semester) presented a lot of challenges for me in terms of applying for medical school,” she said. “It was a challenge for everyone. But it made me realize how connected people are, even if they’re not together. The professors are doing everything they can to support us through virtual means. I’m not going to think back on this too negatively, because I know it will pass.”