We spend much time and energy here at Colby Magazine telling stories that we think reflect what the College is all about. But in my 16 years editing the magazine, I don’t recall a feature that captures the not-so-secret formula of this place better than the collection of profiles that begins on page 30.
“Discovery” came from a very simple idea. Speak to a small cross-section of students about the ways they’ve been changed by Colby. The six whose stories appear here—Ariel Oppong ’16, Will Simmons ’17J, Mackenzie Kennedy ’16, Marnay Avant ’18, Shelby O’Neill ’15, and Paige Shortsleeves ’17—were selected from a much larger pool of equally compelling possible subjects recommended by faculty members.
I went into the project with thumbnail sketches. I came out blown away.
The six came to Colby from tiny towns and big cities and the suburbs in between, arriving on Mayflower Hill with inquiring and agile minds. Backing up their abilities with determination, they overcame obstacles, seized opportunities, and learned very quickly that their dedicated professors hold the keys to a sprawling intellectual kingdom, and those professors are dangling the keys in front of them.
These students, like countless others, strode through the beckoning doors and haven’t looked back. They have much to accomplish, and it all waits in front of them.
Oppong wants to bring fairness to health care. Simmons wants to determine precisely how pesticides harm vital bees. Kennedy already sees the small and big picture of international aid. Avant has pledged to remove the obstacles that face those who, like her, were born without advantage. O’Neill sees organic farming as the natural extension of his politics and philosophy—and the liberal arts. Shortsleeves wants to plumb the mysteries of the brain—with a scalpel.
And these are no pipe dreams. Like many Colby students and graduates, these six are well on their way.
The few hours of conversation left a lasting imprint on me, and I hope the stories do the same for you. This, after all, is what we do and why we do it.
Gerry Boyle ’78, P’06