Third generation graduate bucks family tradition

Emily Sommers is bucking tradition. 

Sort of. 

The third generation Malone soon-to-be graduate will be a nurse. Parents Shaun ’93 and Tami Sommers ’93, as well as grandparents Jim ’65 and Carolyn (Green) Sommers ’64 were all education majors who met during college. Shaun and Tammy, in fact, met during Orientation, began dating in November of that first year, got married after their junior year, and decades later they are enjoying their careers and three grown children. 

“I grew up always hearing my parents’ memories of Malone - sledding down the hills on cafeteria trays, mattress surfing - and it’s cool to see how they’ve kept up with their college friends who I sometimes forget aren’t family,” Emily said. “It was the kind of experience I wanted for myself, and I’ve received exactly that. I didn’t feel any pressure to come - I chose it for myself.” 

As a first-year student, Emily threw herself wholeheartedly into student life. 

“Right off the bat I plugged into a lot of things, joining anything and everything, finding lots of new friend groups,” she said. “I went to so many SFOs [Spiritual Formation Opportunities] and really grew in my faith as well. I’ve loved life at Malone. My friends tease me that I have “FOMO” (fear of missing out) and it’s true. My junior and senior year, academics got a lot harder, so I really had to learn balance.” 

Balance included intense studying, clincials, and a job as a tech at a hospital, but also participating in the Malone Nursing Student Association (this year she was senior representative officer) and a medical mission trip to Haiti with six of her nursing classmates. 

Though her father and grandfather both earned education degrees, both Shaun and James went into the insurance field while Tammy and Carolyn did become teachers. But Emily can’t remember ever NOT wanting to be a nurse. 

“There’s never been any doubt,” she said. “Right now, I’m interviewing for a number of positions and looking to work in critical care or an emergency room. Eventually, once I’m a little further in my career, I’d love to do labor and delivery or maternity nursing. I just want the opportunity to lay a solid foundation for skills in general nursing for now.” 

She’s eager to see where her education will take her. She had several close relationships with faculty members, including Christa Downing, whom she nominated for a distinguished faculty award and then got to introduce her at the ceremony.

“Another one of my most influential professors was Christine Harrington,” Emily said. “She has taught me so much, and I love her passion, her fire for nursing. Her faith is implemented into every aspect of nursing, and she has pushed me to be the very best I can be. But I also loved my general education classes and the professors I had for those who would stop me in the hallway just to see how I was doing. My awesome experience makes me sad for nursing students without a support system or encouragement. That personal attention has made all the difference for me.”