Agreeing to disagree is often the best solution for two people who reach an impasse. For 2021 graduate Regine Blackman, her intense debates over Scripture with a friend is what led her to Nyack College.
“I couldn’t stand that we did not see eye to eye, or rather, that he did not see the Scriptures through my faulty interpretation,” she recalls. “When the air finally cleared and I was ready to listen, he gently showed me that I needed more illumination on Scripture. He informed me that he was enrolled at Nyack, where much of what he had believed about Scripture had been challenged in a positive way. I knew I had been called to preach and teach the gospel for some time; however, our conversation forced me to critically evaluate if I could trust my interpretation of Scripture and how serious I was about growing in my knowledge of biblical truth.”
Back then, Regine describes herself as “an insufferable know-it-all.”
I remember coming to the end of myself in tears after some time, realizing that I probably did not know the Scriptures as well as I thought, but also realizing that I desperately wanted to. Initially, my enrollment at Nyack was about pride—never wanting to look or sound foolish about Scripture again. However, after my first semester, I realized God had other plans. He wanted me to begin a journey with Him, a journey to know Him, and not just know Scripture.”
Her journey includes a robust list of role models in her family including her grandmother, mother, aunts and sisters. “Each of these women has helped to shape me and my interactions with each continues to sharpen me—as iron sharpens iron. The proud mother of two daughters, Ashley and Asa (whom she describes as “terrific or is it terrifying?”) is a role model herself, who enjoys the beach life of Rockaway, NY. Her daily access to long walks, bike rides on the boardwalk allows her to soak up sunshine and the summer and winter sea breeze. An avid reader of the Bible, Regine also loves murder mysteries, science fiction and love stories. Passionate about singing and acting, of all her creative outlets, writing does top the list. Having already penned poems, plays, songs and novellas, the Rockaway, NY resident, is currently gathering personal commentary notes for a 30-day devotional.
The spirited psychology major, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude, fondly recalls the inspiration she’s enjoyed at her alma mater. “Upon entering Nyack, I met and connected with another woman who I have looked to as a role model, Dr. Denise Hirschlein. She has impacted me in ways I know that I do not fully understand yet, but I value her teaching and timely wisdom even during times when I was not fully ready to receive them.”
In addition to Dr. Hirschlein, Regine mentions two other professors. Dr. Stephen Maret and Dr. Carlos Velez. “Dr. Maret taught me that I could learn anything as long as I put it into a language that I could understand. This meant a lot to me. I was a student who just narrowly finished high school and enrolled in college in my mid-thirties with kids who I believed were faster on the intake, smarter, and who had more direction and time than I had. I put his words to work in my academic career. I found that I have an intense love and hunger for learning. All of my professors have been impactful, but Dr. Maret and Dr. Velez started it all. Dr. Velez was my first Spiritual Formation instructor. He challenged me at every turn to look within, to face the truth, to be transformed by God’s amazing love, to let go of the past, so that I could move forward. These were essential lessons. I had been a “quitter” most of my life.
As with most Nyack students who reflect on their time on campus, sharing a single favorite memory is not easy. “I think my favorite transformative memory will be the time I spent in each of my Spiritual Formation classes. Those were the most uncomfortable courses and seasons of my life, but so necessary. After graduation, my favorite memory might be receiving my degree, but for now, it might be acting out the Odyssey with my classmates in Professor Lux’s Global Literature class.”
Overjoyed to complete her studies, but saddened to leave behind such a unique academic community, Regine says, “Nyack has a unique way of integrating both Christian and secular education so that students can begin to engage a secular world with an appropriate Christian worldview. Students will learn that their service to God is not reserved for Sundays only, but they are taught how to practically integrate their faith into their work and studies. Regine’s post-graduation plans include a career in Christian counseling and writing books that inspire, encourage, and entertain others.
“At the end of my life, I want to have used up—and I mean fully exhausted—my God-given potential. I want to use every gift of connecting, interacting, loving, creating, writing, singing and acting to serve others to the glory of God.”