Nancy Beyer Opler Award for Excellence in Advising

The Nancy Beyer Opler Award for Excellence in Advising honors the academic advisor who best demonstrates the ability to facilitate students’ adjustment to the academic community and support students in their academic and professional planning.

Malia Ebel

College Librarian

Malia Ebel came to Colby-Sawyer in March 2019 as the college librarian and manager the Susan Colgate Cleveland Library/Learning Center. She took on the added responsibility of serving as academic advisor to a cohort of first-year nursing students in the fall of 2021. Malia says that her work with students is the best part of her job. She recognizes that the transition from high school to college is enormous, so she wants students to know they’re not alone. As an advisor, Malia works to make sure that her advisees find the support they need in all aspects of their lives — emotional, academic, social, financial, residential and athletic. “While I try to be the first pillar of support in all areas,” she says, “I also bring in as much support as possible. As the motto says, it takes a village.”

One student nominator wrote, “(Malia) has helped me tremendously with adjusting to college life. She has checked in on me more than anyone else and goes above and beyond to see me succeed.” Another wrote, “She has made the most meaningful connection with me. She looks out for her advisees’ holistic well-being.” And another wrote, “Malia is the reason I did not just give up on going to college. She kept pushing me and gave me opportunities to be the best student I could be.”

Malia holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and politics from Brandeis University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Library and Information Science from Simmons University and a Master of International Studies from Claremont Graduate School in California. She says, modestly, “I quite love learning.” Before coming to Colby-Sawyer, she worked first as a corporate finance attorney and then for the New Hampshire Historical Society as a reference librarian and archivist.

Malia currently serves on the Budget Committee at Colby-Sawyer and is the chair of the New Hampshire College and University Council Libraries Committee. She lives in Sunapee, N.H., with her son Quinn, who attends Windy Hill, three dogs, two cats and a uromastyx named Larry.

In keeping with tradition, as recipient of the Opler Award, Malia will deliver the Convocation address to entering students in the fall.