Division III gives the full college experience


Over 3500 miles away, or a three-minute walk.

Manchester University sophomore women's cross-country student-athlete Emily Lynn has made the most of her collegiate opportunities at and between those distances the past 12-plus months. She hopes for even more over the next three years.

The surname, in itself, shows pride and passion for the Black and Gold and northeast Indiana campus. Her mom, Debra, and dad, Robert, are part of the music staff on campus, while her older sister, Abby, just got her diploma last May upon completion of a rare triple major.

"It's funny," she reminisced. "When I decided to add French to my vocal performance plans, everybody joked with me about becoming Abby (due to multiple majors).

"(Manchester) has been such a large part of our lives," she added. "It's always been part of our home with an example being college students my mom and dad taught watching us from time to time."

Going beyond those positives, Manchester has been a portal to the world around it for many current and past students. Lynn got a firsthand look at that last spring.

She took a chance when modern languages department chair Janina Traxler announced an internship in northwest France with the always-popular ECHOPPE (Exchange for the Organization and the Promotion for Small Entrepreneurs). Her decision to do so opened more doors.

"I had a chance to work with an MU alum (Beverly Ott '80), as she runs the program," Lynn noted. "It was basically understanding French life itself and also from a farmer's perspective. It allowed me to continue my work with and usage of the language on a day-to-day basis through basic interactions from doing things on the farm, working in their small Fair Trade market and assisting with the bed and breakfast they run in the house.

"When things would get busy on the weekends (at bed and breakfast), they were connected to many, many French families from the around the country," she added. "I was able to see and learn so much from those trips. It was a wonderful experience. You know I almost did not go into the French program, but I had to do so for my vocal performance option. I'm so glad I do so as now, due to what I was able to do (last spring), I think I might look at living (in France) after college for some time."

The campus' influence has not ended with academic pursuits. Lynn also took a love of running she gained at nearby Manchester High School into higher education pursuits.

"I was a late starter (in cross country)," she admitted. "I went out as a junior and senior because I've always enjoyed running and my friends were involved (at the high school). During my high school races, (Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Brian) Cashdollar and (head men's and women's cross country coach Geoff) Lambert would be there from time to time and speak to myself and my family about continuing cross country in college.

I kept thinking 'Wow that will be pretty difficult as good as some of the runners I've seen,'" she added. "However, both coaches and especially Lambert kept telling me you didn't need to be a star to compete collegiately. I went into it with the same idea I had in high school which was if I did not like it, I could step aside. I am so glad I have stayed with it. The cross country teams are such a big part of my collegiate experience."

While some might wince at working with mom and dad towards her dream of being a professional performer to add to French course work, cross country and the normal collegiate student life, Lynn remains eager for the challenges she faces.

"It's been great being around my parents (during my collegiate experience)," she said. "Many students don't get that chance. Honestly, we do not see each other that much because of their schedules and mine being different. I would not have been as secure with my choice for a musical career, either, if it was not for them.

I always encourage friends and others to take a look at Manchester University," she added. "Where else can you do what I did at a farm in France while soaking up the lifestyle? I have heard from others who go to different colleges that those types of options are open but not to the extent that we have. Students here have some many opportunities … they just need to be taken advantage of."