Charlotte Carnevale '06

Charlotte Carnevale

Charlotte Carnevale '06

Hometown: Menlo Park, California
Majors: English and Art History

Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
I knew I wanted a small liberal arts school, and I didn't find any I liked in my home state of California. I applied to Bowdoin early decision after my campus visit. I was quite taken with the little details, which I guess only a prospective student might notice: a professor remembering my name in class, smiles from the students in a choir rehearsal, marshmallows for the hot chocolate in the dining hall. The friendliness of the campus community and the rigor of the academic program impressed me deeply. I was extremely excited to matriculate the following fall, and I've never looked back.

Why did you choose your major?
I was a good English student in high school, and I originally came to Bowdoin looking to do something different - chemistry or history, perhaps. I came back to English because the department here is phenomenal. The course offerings are diverse and the professors are extraordinarily committed to their subjects and their students. The course readings are enjoyable and challenging, and the discussions I've had in my English classes were among the best I've had at Bowdoin. The number of courses in the major allowed me to take many courses in other departments while keeping my base in literature, which I found very agreeable.

What has been your favorite course at Bowdoin?
My favorite course was probably Essentials of Archaeology with Professor Scott MacEachern. It was a small class, and we spent three hours a week reading archaeological theory and working on a dig ourselves! We studied shells on Whaleboat Island in Casco Bay, and we excavated an area behind the Russwurm African-American Center looking for artifacts from Civil War-era Bowdoin. Talk about hands-on learning!

Have you engaged in any independent research while at Bowdoin?
I did a semester-long independent study with Professor David Collings on the life and poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. My interest in Hopkins was piqued by an English class I'd taken the previous semester and my further studies not only served to satisfy my curiosity about this great and enigmatic poet, but also taught me how to write a long research paper. When I was finished, other professors in the department expressed a desire to read my work - it was pretty flattering to have such learned people take such interest in undergraduate research!

What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
I've worked in the Special Collections and Archives department of the Library since my first year. I also sing in the Chamber Choir and co-chair the Bowdoin blood drive committee. My four years here have been dotted with other activities, too: Taiko drumming, knitting club, Khmer lessons.... There is always something fun and interesting to do!

Did you study abroad during your time at Bowdoin?
I went to London, where I studied literature and art history. It was amazing to actually be in a place my readings talked about. Reading "Lines Composed a Few Miles from Tintern Abbey" a few miles from Tintern Abbey was an unforgettable experience! I encourage everyone to study abroad for at least one semester in their time at Bowdoin. When else in your life will you get credit for traveling somewhere you always wanted to go?

What is your best Bowdoin memory?
I will never forget my first snowball fight. I had never seen snow falling from the sky before my first year at Bowdoin; learning which types of snow are best for throwing, sculpting and building was a fun (and extremely important) life skill I would never have attained in California!

What are your plans for after graduation?
I want to go into museum work, so I am thinking of moving to New York in the fall, after completing my summer job here at Bowdoin. Museum internships are notoriously unpaid, so I will probably work a less-than-glamorous job while getting experience with an internship. I plan to go to graduate school for museum studies or art law in the next few years.

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
Just enjoy your time here. Drink in the autumn colors, the spring plantings, and the moonlight on a snowy quad. Go to the outside lectures, the art openings, the concerts and the games. Read new things, talk to new people, and try that weird gourmet dish at the end of the line at Thorne. Bowdoin is an incredibly special place, and your four years here afford you the opportunity to take advantage of every special thing here. Also, tuck your shirt in during snowball fights, unless you want snow in your pants.

Story posted on June 26, 2006

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