Student Profile: Ailish Ferrick ’25

Mar 15, 2024
Ailish Ferrick smiling in campus library.

Ailish Ferrick, from Haverhill, MA, is a double major in history and urban and regional planning at the University. She was drawn to the University due to its proximity which was not too far away from home, but just enough.

“It was very serendipitous,” Ferrick said about discovering ݮƵ State. “I started as a history and secondary education major, but just fell out of love with the idea of teaching. I eventually took a cultural geography class in the Geography, Planning, and Sustainability Department, and I loved it. I was obsessed. So, I’m glad I came to ݮƵ, because it’s the only state school in Massachusetts that has an undergraduate program for urban planning.”

Ferrick’s stroke of luck continued as she explained touring campus in her sophomore year of high school before the pandemic ground all public gatherings to a halt. “I got to understand what the school looked like when it wasn’t during COVID-19,” she said. “I like the vibe of the campus when everyone isn’t quarantining. It’s awesome.”

Her positive experience hasn’t been limited to her time in Western Massachusetts. Over the summer, Ferrick completed an internship with the Wyoming Federal Highway Administration office for their Summer Transportation Internship Program for Diverse Groups. For the internship, she moved to Wyoming and helped oversee federal funding for their state’s Department of Transportation. “It was the coolest experience I’ve ever had,” Ferrick said. “I have an interest in making transportation more equitable, so this semester, I’m working remotely with the planner for the national parks over there.”

In February, she accepted another internship with the United States Volpe Center, which is part of the United States Department of Transportation. Called Pathways, the student program extends throughout the summer and into 2025.

Although she has shifted her attention, her love of history remains. “History touches every single facet of life,” Ferrick said. “To understand the policy work that I’m doing now and understanding why policy exists today, it’s good to have that background of what has happened in the past. It’s more intertwined than I ever thought it was going to be. I find more and more that they complement each other.”

The history department, Ferrick described, taught her how to become a “proficient researcher and writer” because of the work done in their classes. “Examining historical documents, sifting through fact and propaganda, it’s really given me a critical lens to look through the world,” she said. “I don’t think I would’ve had that if I wasn’t studying history.”

Overall, Ferrick describes her student experience as life changing. For prospective students, Ferrick encourages people not to “write it off” for a bigger school. “I have had an amazing experience, and it is what you make of it,” she said. “The opportunities you get from your professors, the personal connection you have with them… you might not have those same connections outside of here. The faculty here really want to see you succeed. They’re my biggest cheerleaders in everything, and I think that’ very special.”