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Taking the Stage

Commencement speaker reflects on her education, student-teaching, and those who helped her 

Roslyn Dobyna, ’23, began her BSU education taking online classes from her Westport home. She’s ending her undergraduate years student-teaching almost 3,000 miles away. 

But Roslyn’s journey as a Bear is measured in much more than miles traveled. 

“I feel like I’ve grown so much as a person and matured during my time at Bridgewater,” the special education and sociology major said. “I wasn’t alone. I had plenty of support, but I had to be the adult and say, ‘I can do this one step at a time.’” 

It’s that message of perseverance that Roslyn hopes to share with her classmates as the commencement speaker at the May 13 ceremony for science, mathematics, business, education and health science graduates. No obstacle, she said, is too mighty if you put in the effort.  

A transfer student who battled depression and anxiety, Roslyn didn’t take classes on campus until her junior year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Feeling like a freshman, she relied on the support of mentors and that unyielding belief in herself to make BSU her home.  

She praised Dr. Meghan Murphy, ’06, for teaching sociology classes that felt more like family, something that was invaluable as Roslyn adjusted to in-person classes.  

“I think it’s the most I’ve ever learned in such a short amount of time,” she said of her sociology courses. “I have a better understanding of the world and different people.” 

That’s important for anyone working in special education, a field she embraced because of her desire to help students in need. 

“Being a teacher is not just knowing content and how to deliver it, but understanding students and their backgrounds,” she said.  

In the Department of Special Education, Roslyn appreciated the one-on-one guidance she received from Dr. Kerri Olore

Roslyn holds a book while teaching a lesson about a glossary.

“She cares about not just me as a student, but me personally,” Roslyn said. 

The department introduced her to serving students of varying economic backgrounds through student teaching positions in New Bedford and Quito, Ecuador. In Quito, she is working with third graders with ADHD, dyslexia, and social-emotional challenges. She is also immersing herself in the Ecuadorean culture by living with a local family and exploring the region, including the nearby Galapagos Islands. 

Roslyn will fly home from Ecuador just a week before speaking to her classmates from the Gillette Stadium stage, an opportunity that is a lesson unto itself.  

“It shows that anyone can do something if they put in the effort and try,” she said of being chosen to speak. “For me it shows that even though you bounce around, this is where you belong.”

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