|The Field Academy|
The Field Academy taught me the value of my story and my experience. Attending a diverse high school but being one of the few or the only student of color in my Honors and Advanced Placement classes was isolating. My perspective and experience as a student of color from a low socioeconomic background was very different from that of my peers and I never thought that it was important or that it could be of value to share that in class.
My summer at the Field Academy encouraged me to speak and share more often and value my individual experience. But this was two fold because it is just as equally important to listen and value another person’s story and we got to practice this skill with lobstermen in Maine, the residents of the Penobscot reservation, and the community of Roxbury in Boston. These experiences have led me to seek to understand rather than judge and still place value on the things that I can’t understand. These skills are so important and were not taught in my high school and haven’t been taught during my time in college.
When I look at all of the racial tension that is coming to a head all across the country, I think back to the conversations I’ve had while at the Field Academy where not all were able to fully understand my experience being a black person in this country, but I always felt heard. Having these types of conversations take place on campuses and in local communities is a vital first step to create lasting change. Our Field Academy students, staff, and alumni are the perfect candidates to facilitate these conversations.
Over the past five years, I've gone from being a student, to an alumna, to a facilitator, to currently being a board member. And I continue to love what I’ve loved about every role I’ve had with the Field Academy and that is being able to affect change. As a student you are not just participating in the programing that has already been established, you are actively shaping your own learning based off what you and your peers are interested in. Every summer expedition is unique. Even after that summer you still have the chance to offer new suggestions for improvement. And as a facilitator and now as a board member, despite my age, I am included and am able to actively participate. The Field Academy not only talks about the importance of student empowerment but puts that into action and shapes bold and active citizens.
Nyrobi is currently studying at Furman University in NC after just completing a year of full-time teaching with CityYear in San Antonio, TX. Last year she re-joined the Field Academy to co-design and facilitate our summer educator's retreat for teachers across the United States. This fall she joined the Field Academy Board of Directors.