By RONALD SCHACHTER
DUDLEY, Mass.—Nichols College junior Lynn Thibault has only a short commute from Webster, Mass., to get to campus every day, but she’s come much farther than that. She arrived in America as a child, along with thousands of others, from Haiti after a devastating earthquake in 2010.
“I came here when I was 13. I was traumatized by the earthquake,” Thibault recalled, adding that she relocated from the Haitian capital Port Au Prince to Worcester before moving several years ago to her current home with her mother and two younger sisters. Her father, a college professor in Haiti, remained there.
As she pursues her college degree in marketing, Thibault has focused on serving others. As a student ambassador, she provides campus tours to prospective students and their families. She also participates in the Nichols NEXT program, mentoring incoming first-year students before the fall term starts. And she sits on the board of the College’s Institute for Women’s Leadership, helping create activities for that organization.
Her involvement around campus has had other benefits, Thibault noted. “It’s improved my leadership skills and helped me build a network with faculty members,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience.”
Thibault has had to deal with more than the typical college course load. Her family, for example, came to the United States under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, and they may have to return to Haiti as early as this year because of proposed changes in federal policy.
“It’s hard every day,” Thibault said, “not knowing whether we leave or stay.”
For her final journalism course project last semester at Nichols, she wrote a story focused on several local organizations advocating for the TPS Haitian population around Worcester.
She received an A.
Veteran journalist Ronald Schachter is a faculty member of and senior writer at Nichols College.