Major(s): Government and Legal Studies
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
I first became interested in Bowdoin during the summer following my junior year of high school. I was selected, by the Memphis Prep Program, to participate in the Phillips Exeter Academy Summer School, a five-week educational experience offered to 700 students every year. While participating in the Exeter program, a dean from Bowdoin visited to recruit and I soon traveled to Brunswick. From the moment I set foot on campus, I knew I wanted to attend Bowdoin. I applied and upon acceptance was awarded a Chamberlain Scholarship—my mother and I danced and celebrated all night long.
Why did you choose your major?
My decision to major in government and legal studies with a concentration in American government reflects my long-held passion for political matters. As a high school senior, I was thoroughly impressed by the exceptionally high quality of the government department, and this was quite possibly the single most important factor, academically speaking, that led me to become a Polar Bear.
What has been a course you especially enjoyed at Bowdoin?
One of the most memorable courses I've taken was Professor Richard Morgan's Law and Politics of Free Speech. This 300-level seminar consisted of exploring a controversial issue concerning the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. I chose to explore the relationship between free speech and obscenity law as it relates to the immergence of rapidly advancing technologies, namely the Internet. I became extremely interested in obscenity law's inability to keep up with technology as a salient potential vector of obscene materials. As a result of the class, I went on to complete a 400-level advanced independent study on obscenity law. The title of my project was "Restructuring Obscenity Law: An Analysis of Miller v. California and Its Flaws."
Which staff members have you connected with most?
Bowdoin has one of the most incredible social atmospheres that I have ever experienced. There are countless staff members that I have connected with. Associate Dean of Admissions Elmer Moore Jr. embodies what it means to be caring, protective, supportive, and loyal. I have yet to come across an individual that has anything negative to say about his character as an administrator or just simply as a person. Although constantly busy, he never denies a student's request for a listening ear or shoulder on which to lean.
What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
I worked as a staff member of Housekeeping, Information Technology, the Technical Services Department of Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, and Residential Life. I served the campus community as vice president for student affairs in Bowdoin Student Government, chairing the Student Affairs Committee. I was also a member of the Health Happenings Committee and served on the Judicial Board. Bowdoin allowed me, through my various extracurricular activities, to push myself both mentally and physically.
What have you done during your summers?
Summer internships and employment were integral parts of my college experience. The most memorable summer experience I have had took place during the summer prior to junior year. I worked as an intern in the Shelby County Chancery Court in Memphis. The Chancery Court is responsible for hearing cases involving matters of equity, meaning divorce, adoption, and property tax sales. While interning, I was able to experience active court cases, assist with real estate tax sales, and observe the inner workings of a courthouse. My favorite part of the entire experience was the tax sales. When houses are foreclosed on, the city auctions off the homes to regain financial losses incurred as a result of the foreclosures. The fast-paced auction environment gave me a rush and a sense of what it feels like to enjoy your job. Moreover, my internship experience allowed me to truly understand what it means to be prepared, each and every day, to complete the tasks set before you. Preparation requires one to be knowledgeable and practice time management, listening skills, sharp analytical reasoning, and effective communication. This internship, along with several other summer employment opportunities, has definitely helped me to prepare for all tasks that I endeavor to complete.
What is your favorite Bowdoin memory?
My favorite memory took place junior year during Bowdoin's Ivies Weekend. I was one of three vocalists in a band called the Phunky Fresh All-Stars. We performed just before Sean Kingston and Santigold, the two featured performers that year, and it was incredible. The sun was shining incredibly bright that afternoon and the entire campus was on the Quad with lifted spirits. Smiles were ear-to-ear, and laughter rang from each corner of the campus. After performing, I joined the merry masses, many of whom were alumni. It was a true testament to the unmatched, awesome community of Bowdoin.
What are your plans for after graduation?
Since I was very young, I've planned to attend law school after completing my undergraduate education. I believe that law school will open up a variety of occupational possibilities. I plan to venture into corporate law, but I will keep my options and mind open to opportunities that present themselves along the way—you never know when the opportunity of a lifetime will pop up.
What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
Establish a strong support network and use the tools that are available to you. There is no denying it: one's first year at Bowdoin can be, and often is, stressful and challenging. In addition to pursuing academic excellence, students must learn how to balance their social lives, extracurricular commitments, mental health, and physical well-being. Each entering first year class tends to go through a period of adjustment. The first stage, many times, is over-commitment. Bowdoin students are rock stars—highly talented individuals who tend to be great at absolutely everything they are involved in. But many incoming students underestimate how difficult college is, and get "burned out."
Because students are used to being "on top" of their personal and extracurricular affairs, they are embarrassed when things fall apart. As a result, they may become introverted and actively reject or refuse assistance. This is when many students have the most difficult time of their undergraduate career. At this point, students [should] ask for help—which many finally do.... If you or someone you know is fighting this battle, encourage them to take action, whether that means having a friend to regularly talk with or taking a tutoring session in computer science.
What quirky or fun thing do you wish you had known before you came to Bowdoin?
Bowdoin has many interesting and quirky things interwoven throughout its history. One interesting fact is that Chamberlain Hall sits atop a spring, and the school [has to pump] water out from under the building. I always enjoy imagining a large stream of ground water abruptly overflowing into Chamberlain Hall.
Also, I think it's funny that Bowdoin rarely ever declares snow days. Although the [campus gets plenty of snow every winter], it is still very unusual for classes to be canceled. During my first year, the College announced a campus-wide snow day; I heard that it had been over 20 years since that last occurred. In Memphis, though, school is canceled when we get even less than an inch of snow!