Looking Northward with Bia Malaspina ’21

Bia Malaspina

For Bia Malaspina ’21, being part of the Colby community instills an unshakable sense of place. Now that she’s opted for remote learning this semester, that connection with her classmates and passions extends to her home in New Jersey. She shares her experience with us here.

You’ve been involved in the Colby community for over three years now. Looking back as a senior, which programs or moments most influenced your experience?

It didn’t take long to find a home in the Pugh Center for Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It connected me with peers from diverse backgrounds and gave me really valuable insight into other student’s pathways to Colby. I was also lucky enough to lead Colby’s QuestBridge chapter (an organization aimed at increasing the percentage of talented low-income students attending the nation’s best colleges and universities) in my second year. During that time, I put systems in place meant to help first-year students transition to college.

Those opportunities allowed me to deepen the Colby experience for those around me. Colby offers so many opportunities for growth not only as a student, but as a person. As a senior, I take pride in acting as a resource for my classmates so they’ll be able to look back on their student days fondly.

Enhancing the Colby experience for others is a value that runs deep in our community. How has that become a central part of your time here?

I knew right away that I wanted to be a Community Assistant (CA) here on campus. The CA team at Colby cares deeply about community engagement and supporting students. We have candid conversations with members of our residence halls and address campuswide issues that affect all of us. I turn those conversations into articles for the Colby Echo where I can amplify voices of traditionally marginalized students. Then, as a Colby Fund Ambassador, I share those experiences with alumni. Creating a bridge between what’s happening on campus and our extended community helps bring attention to what’s important to the student body.  Current Colby students are future leaders, and I want to empower them as much as I can.

As a philosophy and biology double major, how are you adjusting to learning remotely?

I had planned to come back to campus but, for personal reasons, had to go fully remote in a relatively short time frame. Thankfully, my dean met my urgency with compassion and helped make accommodations.

As a biology major, there is a lot of fieldwork. Obviously, I’m not able to gather data from the forest of The Perkins Arboretum surrounding Mayflower Hill, or as we call it, “the Arb,” so I collect data from my local park in New Jersey.

Even remotely, I feel just as engaged as I did in the classroom. The Department of Biology also has an awesome monthly program where a scientist is invited to virtually present their work. We talk with them about their methods, mentalities, and career paths.

The thoughtful attention of my dean and professors has meant I haven’t skipped a beat and will graduate with my friends. In some ways, the relationships I have on campus have been strengthened by distance and will last long after we graduate.