Q&A With a Watson Proctor: Nia Talley ’19


Zoe Bank ’19

Watson Proctor Nia Talley ’19

Auden Koetters ’22 sat down with Watson proctor, Nia Talley ’19, to discuss the role proctors play in the all-gender dorm. 

What is the reason that you decided to be a proctor in the all-gender dorm?

“On the [proctor application] I marked that I would be open to being a proctor in Watson, because I think, in its inaugural year, it’s important that you have people who are very invested. We are setting the tone for everybody. This year is our test year, our learning year. I think it’s important that you have people who really want to be there and really care. [They need to be] flexible and ready to learn and lean in to the part that might be a little bit different or uncomfortable. I felt excited to do that.”

Watson is uniquely separated into four wings; do you feel that these smaller spaces help facilitate a sense of community in this new type of dorm?

“I do think it helped facilitate community. The halls are really small;  in the dorms that I have lived in in the past, after a feed we hung out in the hallways. But our hallways are too small to do that, so there are always people in the common room, which I think is really good. It’s the nucleus of our dorm, so whenever you walk in, you always walk past people. I think that the set-up is really pushing people to be together, which is great.”

What are the major differences that you’ve seen between being a proctor in the all-gender dorm and in other dorms?

“It’s not that different. I think that the problems that I deal with are pretty similar to issues that other proctors deal with. We help students get enough sleep and [with] homework; my experience being a proctor has been pretty similar to my friends and my peers who are proctors in other dorms.”

Can you describe the training you received during the extra day of proctor orientation?

“The training we had was from the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia. We talked about how to facilitate safe spaces, how to be an ally for gender non-conforming students, or students who aren’t heterosexual. It is similar to [all other] proctor training in talking about how to support your proctee: thinking about how to best understand them, how best to support them, how to make them feel safe. So it’s the same themes as proctor training, but it’s geared toward helping students who have a different experience, like gender non-conforming students.”

Did every student choose to live in Watson? What challenges have students living in the all-gender dorm faced, if any?

“Everybody who lives in Watson chose to live in Watson, and that’s a big part of the dynamic. Everybody wants to be there. I don’t know what other people think of Watson. I know when I got proctorship, people were a little off-put, but I haven’t heard anything [specific].”

Can you talk about how your dorm has bonded so far?

“We are a really small dorm, and I want to say we have 23 kids, which is less than a floor in other dorms. So since it’s a small space, we really get to know each other, and we see each other a lot.”