Nichols College News

Nichols Reads Essays Reflect on Burn Recovery


(L to R): Front: Emily Looby, Skye Oliver, President Susan West Engelkemeyer, and Liz Coleman  Back: Dr. Alan Reinhardt and Professor Luanne Westerling

Last September, Nichols Reads author Robin Gaby Fischer was on our Dudley campus to discuss her best-selling book, AFTER THE FIRE: A True Story of Friendship and Survival, which was selected as summer reading for all incoming first-year students. Appearing with the speaker were the two burn victims whose healing ordeal she chronicles in detail, roommates Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos.

The book had an emotional impact on the three winners of the Nichols Reads Essay Contest, as describe in their essays. Each student received a gift certificate from the campus Barnes & Noble Bookstore:

  1. Skye Oliver (Westfield, MA ) - $200 gift certificate for “Self-Acceptance”
  2. Emily Looby (Woodstock, CT) - $100 gift certificate for “Perseverance”
  3. Liz Coleman (Boston, MA) - $75 gift certificate for “After the Fire”

Both Oliver and Looby said that they would use their prize certificate to buy books for next semester. But Coleman, a forward on the Women’s Hockey Team, is opting to buy a warm Nichols' sweatshirt.

Nichols Reads Chair Luanne Westerling said that “It was a tough decision as there were many well-written essays.”  President Susan West Engelkemeyer and Provost and Sr. V.P. Alan Reinhardt presented the gift certificates to the winners.