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Student Profiles

Nyla Rock-Vanloo ‘03

Nyla Rock-Vanloo ‘03
"BHSEC provides an intellectual environment where students are challenged in untraditional ways." Nyla Rock-Vanloo is a 2003 graduate of BHSEC Manhattan. After graduating from BHSEC, Nyla enrolled in Agnes Scott College, where she majored in Psychology. She is pursuing a career in social services and has a background in providing services to children with developmental disabilities. For the past year, Nyla has worked with homeless adults who have mental illnesses.

Unlike Nyla’s previous educational experiences, love of learning and engagement in the classroom was the norm at BHSEC. “I came from an environment where learning was rote and regimented and I didn’t have the opportunity to be challenged in a way where I explored my own intellect.” Learning how to think critically was the cornerstone of Nyla’s BHSEC education. She was not told what to learn or how to interpret what she learned; she had to think. “I was given space to learn how to write and how to think. I wrote and rewrote papers until I was able to go beyond the context of the work and explore who I was within the work I was reading.”

Nyla still remembers much about BHSEC’s classroom experience. Although years have passed since she graduated, Nyla has many fond memories of Seminar and a class she took called Gender and Sexuality. “I learned to write in Seminar, and we read difficult texts like Freud, and Marx. I still have those books today.” Nyla remembers her Gender and Sexuality class because of the hands-on nature of the coursework. “It was an interesting class where we went out a did a lot of on-the-street projects. I had never been exposed to studying gender and sexuality, and I appreciate that I now have an intellectual perspective on the topic, rather than a perspective influence by religion or popular culture.”

Nyla credits her BHSEC professors with setting the stage for an environment where learning was of paramount importance. Like the students, the professors at BHSEC were learning and conducting research in their own fields as well; they were scholars who had a passion for the subject matter. “Professors at BHSEC love their work so much. They model what it means to be invested in their work and be intellectually challenged. We were a very tight-knit group of people.”

BHSEC not only changed the way Nyla read, wrote, and thought, but it also provided the seed for her future career goals.  Nyla’s interest in Psychology was sparked by a lecture given at the school by a psychiatrist on teen suicide in the Navajo nation tribe. “That day, I was inspired to work with people who have mental illness, but it took me a while to find the work that I wanted to do… I finally decided on social work.”

In summarizing her experience, Nyla says, “BHSEC provides an intellectual environment where students are challenged in untraditional ways. I became a critical thinker and was able to recognize problems from many different perspectives. The school prepares you for some of best colleges in the country. I would send my children to BHSEC.”