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Meet Emma Libby '23

Discovering Linfield

portrait of Emma Libby '23 at a winery

Posted on 11.01.22 by Grace Fjermedal '25 in College of Arts & Science, School of Business

Reuniting with a high school acquaintance launched Emma Libby ’23 into a remarkable college experience. While preparing for the transition from high school to college, Emma stumbled upon her friend’s social media posts. These posts highlighted a small liberal arts college with a welcoming community, just a state away from her hometown, Lake Forest Park, WA.

Linfield was checking off all the boxes on Emma's college wish list before even stepping foot onto campus.

Taking a leap to discover more

Emma reached out to her high school friend Linfield student Laura Hoover ’22 in response to her posts. The pair began planning a time for Emma to visit Linfield.

The campus and community looked inviting throughout her research but in person, Linfield proved to be so much more.

First steps on campus

During her stay, Emma was introduced to Laura’s roommate, friends, and routine as a Linfield student. Emma was able to imagine herself here walking to classes under the comforting shade of tall oak trees, greeting the friendly smiles of familiar faces, and soaking up the beauty of a small town surrounded by vineyards.

The campus community overflows with things to appreciate.

Seeing the school in person affirmed Emma's feeling that Linfield was the kind of school she’d want to attend. So much was yet to be discovered but Emma was confident. “Being there in person I knew, okay, this is where I need to be,” said Libby. “Linfield advertises that our community is great, but I feel like every college [promotes] that. You really don't feel it until you're personally on campus. It is something that you can't just research.” 

Emma taking notes at a winery surrounded by wine barrels Learning outside of the classroom

The positive impacts of being a Linfield student stretch far beyond the campus’s joyful environment. Dedicated professors, small class sizes and endless opportunities to get involved all contribute to the schools' appeal.

However, the ways in which Linfield encourages students to be active off campus is just as profound.

Emma's internship program with the Oregon Wine History Archives at Linfield is a prime example of how beneficial experiential opportunities can be. Emma's internship takes her all around Oregon where she visits vineyards and interviews people in the wine industry.

As a wine studies and journalism and media studies (JAMS) double major this opportunity is huge.

Her internship simultaneously helps her pursue her career and build her education outside of the classroom. She can practice her interview skills and exercise other traits essential to being a JAMS major, while also increasing her knowledge of wine.

Arguably one of the most important elements of this work is how it deepens her connection with the industry she hopes to work in after graduation. “Hearing about people's passion in the industry gives me a nice window into where I want to be,” said Emma.

Learning outside of the states

An additional way Emma has deepened this connection has been through her overseas study. Emma, like many Linfield students, took advantage of the university’s many versatile study-abroad opportunities. She spent the spring semester of 2022 learning about wine in France.

“The passion there is amazing,” said Emma. “Wine is really integrated into social life and everyday life in France. The drinking culture there is so different than that of the U.S.”

There is so much to appreciate while studying abroad. It is one of Linfield's many must-have experiences. Emma explained, “You really experience [more than] the country. No matter what country you're going to, the way of life is always so different.”

Growth through independence

Students become more independent while studying abroad. They learn more about themselves, build lifelong memories and new skills, and have a better understanding of the world – all strengthening the foundation of who you are.

Emma and a friend from France posing with their wine director holding their wine certificates
Emma and her friend receiving their wine
certificates of global wine studies from
their wine director in France.

Studying abroad is a responsibility and a privilege. “You are on your own in another country,” said Emma. “You grow a lot as you learn to handle different situations. I traveled a lot while I was there and not everything goes as planned. It’s important to maintain a positive mindset at these times. I had to ask myself, ‘how can I calm myself down? How can I put a positive spin on what just happened?’” she said. “I'm still learning, I'm still growing, this [situation] isn't a disaster. It's just a [temporary] roadblock.”

Getting out of your comfort zone

Emma constantly reflects… is she learning? Is she growing? Can she put a positive spin on this situation? This is the attitude she continues to carry back on the McMinnville campus.

“Make friends, talk to people,” said Emma, “that's my big thing. Don't be afraid to talk to people. [It’s] fun, I promise, you just got to get out of your shell. I used to be scared to talk to people, especially people that seemed much more confident than myself. But I just ‘fake it till I make it!’ If you fake that confidence at first, you will eventually gain it.”

We can all learn from Emma's can-do attitude. Throughout your college career, you will discover new passions. Strive to continue finding more.

Don’t shy away from pushing yourself to take your education further. Say yes to the opportunities that allow you to see yourself – and the world – in new ways. Say yes to being a lifelong learner.

Life is so exciting when you take that leap.