Brian Fry '10

Brian Fry

Brian Fry '10

Major: Economics; minor: Chemistry
Hometown: Roanoke, Virginia

Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
After visiting pretty much every NESCAC school and talking to the hockey coaches at each place, I narrowed my choices down to Trinity and Bowdoin. I ultimately made up my mind when my coach at the Hotchkiss School said I'd be an idiot to pass up an opportunity like Bowdoin. The College has such a good reputation that it was really a no-brainer.

Why did you choose your major?
To tell the truth, I'm not entirely sure. I came to Bowdoin as a science and math guy, expecting to major in biochemistry and go the pre-med path. But then I decided that I didn't want to be strictly a "science" guy, so I decided that economics would be the most useful non-science major for me. I am still interested in a career in medicine, but I wanted to add another dimension to my academic background, preferably one that could mesh well with medicine. A major in economics seemed to provide a universally useful knowledge base, and at the time of my decision, was the only non-science option that was feasible for me. Were I to start my Bowdoin career again, my academic path would probably be very different—I would take more math and Spanish classes.

What has been a course you especially enjoyed at Bowdoin?
I really enjoyed Chinese Thought in the Classical Period with [now-retired professor] Kidder Smith. I had never taken an Asian studies course before Kidder's class, and history had never really been my strong point, so I was a little nervous about how it would go. In short, the class was absolutely awesome. To get everyone's energy up—because the class began at 8 a.m.—we spent the first 10 minutes of every class dancing. We also did a number of hands-on exercises, and even spent a class learning some basic tai chi. Kidder was a great professor and he always made you feel relaxed and at peace. The class taught me to step back from my life, slow down a little, and appreciate everything that's around.

What professor or professors have especially inspired you during your time at Bowdoin?
The two most inspiring professors I've had are Deborah DeGraff and Angus King. I only had Professor DeGraff for one class, but she made a potentially boring class—Economic Statistics—pretty interesting and she mixed things up so that we were able to understand and retain the material. She is the fairest professor I've had at Bowdoin, and one of the nicest people I've ever met. I'm glad I got the chance to take a class from her.

Distinguished Lecturer Angus King, a former governor of Maine, was fantastic in every sense of the word. He teaches a unique class called Leaders and Leadership, my favorite class I've taken at Bowdoin so far. His anecdotes and one-of-a-kind life experiences brought something special to the classroom, and his style of teaching along with the guest speakers he brought in, made it one of the classes I've gotten the most out of. He held open lunches where people could talk to him about pretty much anything, and he held several movie viewings at his house. Even though he is pretty high up the totem pole, he still reached out to everyone in the class. I will carry the life lessons I learned from him for a very, very long time.

What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
Hockey dominates my life most of the year, as it's one of the major reasons I came to Bowdoin. The experiences I've had and the friendships I've made with the guys on the team have played a huge role in defining my time here.

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Brian and The Longfellows perform at a fundraiser for Barack Obama.

I am a member of The Longfellows, an a cappella group that I randomly auditioned for sophomore year. Auditioning for the group turned out to be one of the best risks I've ever taken. Although I had very little musical background, I somehow managed to make the group and have had a blast ever since. It's a very tight-knit bunch of guys, and I'm happy to say that some of my strongest friendships began in the group.

Another group which is important to me is Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence (BMASV). I became pretty heavily involved during my junior year and now I'm one of four co-leaders of the group. BMASV has really grown and drastically increased its influence over my four years here, and it has been fantastic to play a part in that. It is unusual to see a group of men advocating against sexual assault, sexual violence, and homophobia; [this type of a group is] something you're only likely to see at a place like Bowdoin. Additionally, I got involved with Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine's Peer Education program. We go talk in local middle and high schools about dealing with sexual harassment and sexual violence; it's great because it's really important to get people educated and talking about these issues as early as possible. It's definitely something I'm happy I got involved in because it helps me make an impact outside of the Bowdoin community

I also participate in a program called Bears and Cubs, mentoring at-risk youth. It's an awesome feeling to know that just by throwing a football with a kid you're making a difference in his life.

What have you done during your summers?
After my first year I taught tennis to children ages 4 to 15. That was one of my more fun summers, and I really enjoyed getting to teach and play a ton of tennis. The following summer I couldn't find a job, so I paired up with my strength and agility trainer from home and co-wrote an article about how to train effectively for hockey and how training regimens should be modified as a result of a recent rule changes. The article got published in an online magazine called The Optimal Athlete that year. Even though it wasn't a breakthrough article published in a top scholarly journal, the research and writing process was a great experience to have.

Last summer I was a research intern in the surgery department at a hospital in my hometown. I got a feel for what it was like to be a surgeon and got the chance to shadow some medical students and residents. I learned how to navigate medical charts and read CT scans, and observed several surgeries. Overall, it was a great insight into the medical world, both the good and ugly parts.

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Brian in action at a hockey game in Dayton Arena.

What is your best Bowdoin memory?
Definitely my first hockey game at home against Colby; I'd never seen Dayton Arena as packed and rowdy. When I first stepped out onto the ice it was so loud I couldn't even hear myself think. The game itself was a blur, and we ended up winning 5-2. Playing Colby for the first time in the new Watson Arena will be absolutely incredible.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I hope to teach and coach at a boarding or prep school for a year or two, and then obtain some sort of graduate degree. I think teaching and coaching would be an awesome job, and it would give me time to think about what kind of grad school I'd like to attend. I'm considering pursuing a dual MD/MBA degree, but that's contingent on me getting into a medical school and a business school at the same university. It's a bit of a lofty goal, but I think that if I pursued a career in medicine, a business degree would help out immensely, especially given the state of healthcare in the United States.

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
Expand your social circles and get to know all kinds of people from across campus; you'll have a better time here. As I've found out, a lot of my closest friends aren't necessarily from my main social circle. Going out of your way to meet people, join clubs, mentor, etc., will enhance your impact on the Bowdoin community. Spend time appreciating the wonderful staff members we have here on campus, and thank them for what they do. Patty from Moulton Union and Karlene from the mailroom are two of the nicest, sweetest people you will ever meet—get to know them because they're both awesome.

What quirky or fun thing do you wish you had known before you came to Bowdoin?
I wish I had known that the Café serves milkshakes, and about El Camino, a Mexican restaurant in Brunswick with delicious food; my stomach was missing out.

Story posted on November 17, 2009

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