This post was written by S’18 alumna Audra DeLaney. Audra enjoys visiting the ocean, going on adventures, and telling the unique stories of the people and places around her.
States represented in recent Williams-Mystic classes include California, Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio. During the spring 2017 semester, Indiana native Nickie Mitch experienced Williams-Mystic through the lens of a Bowdoin College student looking for something to add to his educational experience.
Nickie found out about Williams-Mystic the summer following his first year of college.
“I worked at a land trust, Damariscotta River Association, on the coast of Maine after my first year of college,” Nickie said. “The executive director of that organization had done Williams-Mystic while he was a student at Williams College and encouraged me to take a look at it.”
Nickie truly enjoyed his time at Bowdoin. His time at Williams-Mystic built on the skills he developed there.
“I had a great experience at Bowdoin that helped me discover my passions related to the ocean, so for me, Williams-Mystic really built on that as a chance to explore these topics I’m passionate about in a hands-on way,” Nickie said.
Sailing offshore was the highlight of Nickie’s Williams-Mystic experience.
“Without a doubt, the offshore field seminar was my favorite. So many parts of it felt surreal, from watching a pod of dolphins swim alongside the Corwith Cramer at sunrise to standing at the helm during the middle of the night on dawn watch,” Nickie said. “It’s an experience that really pushed me outside of my comfort zone in a supportive way, and I think about it all the time.”
“Although we got to do a lot of very cool things during the semester, my favorite part was actually just living in Albion House with Paul, Bridget, and Sarah,” Nickie said. “We always made an effort to sit down for dinner together every day, among other things we did together, and it really felt like a little home.”
Ship, shipmate, self is a motto of Williams-Mystic. Nickie experienced his shipmates’ compassion at different times during the semester.
“Before the PNW road trip, I was trying to decide if I was going to take the outer shell of my winter coat as my only raincoat,” Nickie said. “I decided the day before we left that I needed to have a real raincoat and Bridget and I drove around all afternoon until I found one.”
Nickie studied government and environmental studies while at Bowdoin. During his time in Mystic, he really enjoyed Literature of the Sea with Mary K Bercaw Edwards.
“Mary K is awesome and her passion is infectious,” Nickie said. “The class gave me an appreciation for books I may not have ever been able to have an appreciation for.”
Nickie also appreciated the Maritime History class, specifically working on his project on the Greenland Patrol during World War II.
“That class had a lot of topics to cover. It really all came together well and painted this really impactful picture,” Nickie said. “When I went back to Bowdoin it helped me make so many connections in my studies.”
Nickie graduated from Bowdoin in the spring of 2018.
“In the long term, I hope to be an urban/environmental planner and I am specifically interested in working to build resilient, sustainable communities that are ready for sea level rise,” Nickie said.
Nickie has this to say about what he took away from the program:
“Williams-Mystic affirmed for me that working collaboratively to protect marine and estuarine ecosystems is the best way to for me to help build a more sustainable, equitable world and is something worth devoting my life to,” Nickie said.