Looking Northward with Emily Nyman ’22
Emily Nyman ’22 knew from the start that her love for central Maine would shape her college decision. At Colby, the first-generation college student found a welcoming community that she could, in turn, support. Emily shared her story with us here.
You grew up just 30 minutes from Waterville. What played a part in your decision to stay in Maine for college?
I’ve never been one for bustling cities. I much prefer to be surrounded by nature. Colby’s campus is tucked away enough that I feel like I have my own area; I feel at home. I’m able to get outdoors—hiking up French Mountain, camping at Acadia National Park, kayaking on Moosehead Lake. Colby makes these activities really accessible.
I came from a small rural high school, so the transition to a college was something I wanted to be intentional about. Colby’s small, liberal arts community provides meaningful connections with my professors and classmates. Many professors I’ve had for more than one class and they know me as a person, not just a student. They take my experiences into account, point me in a direction where I can make the most impact, and give me the tools I need to succeed.
You are very engaged on Mayflower Hill—from being a Colby Fund Student Ambassador to getting involved with Colby Cares About Kids. What role that you have played in the Colby community has been especially influential?
There are a lot of challenges that come with being a first-generation college student, and I want to make sure there are systems in place that will continue to reinforce a positive experience. Being involved in Colby’s First-Generation, Low-Income program (FLIPS) and hearing from older first-generation students, has shown me the program opens the door for so many different perspectives and brings them together at Colby.
Being involved in the Pugh Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Colby Cares about Kids, and class council, I meet new people and introduce them to what Colby has to offer. I’m surrounded by incredible people wherever I go on campus.
As a double major in government and classics with interests spanning from elections to Latin, beyond the classroom, you seem to be getting the most out of your time at Colby. What advice do you have for other students to do the same?
I love taking classes every year that reach beyond my majors. Colby is a great place to explore and get a closer look at other subjects. One of my favorites was a fly fishing course where we studied the philosophy of the sport, the culture around it. We even took a trip to Bishop, California, the “home” of fly fishing. That’s something I never thought I would get so invested in, but it ended up being one of my favorite classes I’ve taken.
This year I’m taking a StageCraft class. I’m building sets, brainstorming ideas for environments, and coming up with innovative set pieces that can convey an artistic message. I love that I am able to flex my creativity here.
What are your plans for after graduation? How has Colby prepared you outside the classroom to pursue your passions?
I plan to study law. The central Maine area doesn’t historically attract much representation in the field of nonprofit law practices, and that’s a really important part of a healthy community. I want to represent people who don’t have the means to represent themselves or offer guidance to those who are unfamiliar with the process. That way, low-income families are supported.
During my Jan Plan, I served as an intern to Judge Nale right here in Waterville. A great part of the Colby community is the networking opportunities. Working with Judge Nale was a valuable experience that offered insight into so many aspects of practicing law. I learned what areas I was especially interested in and how things played out in real-time. I could ask questions and gather information that I’m already looking forward to using post-graduation.