Michelle D’Allaird Brenner, B.A.’93
The Learning Equation
By Amy Halloran, B.A.’90
Every day, Aesthetic Science Institute owner Michelle D’Allaird-Brenner uses what she learned at UAlbany.
“Something about the environment said, ‘We’re here to support you, but you have to do it on your own,’” said the Ballston Spa native, who chose the University because of its strong psychology program. She never had to hunt for help; “no matter what questions or concerns I had, professors were always available.”
Accountability was the name of the game, D’Allaird-Brenner added. Faculty offered expectations and information, relying on students to take the initiative to complete their part of the learning equation.
This method has extended to her career. D’Allaird-Brenner encourages her teaching staff to provide the UAlbany model of learning: If you want to succeed, here’s what you have to do. The Aesthetic Science Institute (www.aestheticscienceinstitute.edu), located in Latham, N.Y., graduates 100 to 120 people a year.
D’Allaird-Brenner’s career aims shifted from psychology after an internship showed the reality of mental-health work. Having studied cosmetology in high school, she stopped pursuing her master’s and started a skin-care practice with a friend who did hair. “I loved working with people, loved setting goals,” she said.
After working for herself for two years, D’Allaird-Brenner began hiring and training staff for a franchise of skin-care centers, discovering a love of education in the process. She opened her own school in 2003 with the goal of providing the motivation, support and expectations she found at UAlbany.