Dan Robinson '07

Dan Robinson

Dan Robinson '07

Hometown: Ledyard, Connecticut
Major: Biology; Minor: Gay and Lesbian Studies

Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
Bowdoin was one of the last of many schools that I visited during the fall of my senior year of high school. I remember being really frustrated when I discovered the Admissions Office was closed during my visit. Since I had driven all the way from Connecticut, I grabbed a Prospectus and gave myself a tour of the campus. It was Parents Weekend so there were people everywhere, the leaves were in full color, and I felt something click between me and the school. On top of everything I knew about Bowdoin's academic programs and student activities, my visit made me fall in love with the college. By the time I was back in the car driving home, I knew that I would apply Early Decision to Bowdoin.

Why did you choose your major?
I came to Bowdoin knowing that I wanted to major in Biology after being greatly influenced by my favorite high school teacher. Although I would encourage everyone who comes to Bowdoin to keep their minds open until it comes time to choose their major, my choice turned out be a great one. I love the Biology Department because they offer such an incredible range of classes. For instance, my junior spring I simultaneously took Cell Biology and Marine Larval Ecology. It was great!

What has been your favorite course at Bowdoin?
In the fall of my junior year, I took Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Studies with Professor David Collings of the English Department, and I haven't been the same since. The course is a wide survey of topics in Gay and Lesbian Studies and covered everything from psychoanalysis and feminist theories of sexuality to transgender biographies and gay marriage. In addition to the thought-provoking material, Professor Collings really challenged the class to think about our own conceptions of sexuality and gender. I walked away on the last day of classes knowing that I had not only learned a lot, but I had grown as a person as well.

What professor or professors have especially inspired you during your time at Bowdoin?
The incredible thing about Bowdoin is that it is full of inspirational faculty and staff, so it is difficult to pick one person to talk about. Professor Aviva Briefel in the English Department has definitely had a big impact on my Bowdoin experience. In the two classes I have taken with her, Professor Briefel has demonstrated an incredible passion both for the subject matter she teaches and for teaching itself. After her class The Horror Film in Context, I have not only become a little braver while watching scary movies, but I have also developed a growing interest in film and film theory.

What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
Extracurriculars have been a huge part of my time at Bowdoin. Since my fist year I have been involved with the Bowdoin Queer-Straight Alliance (BQSA) and for the past two years I have been co-president. My experience with BQSA has been great because the group brings a diverse group of people together to do some fun and important things. One of my favorite annual events the club organizes is National Coming Out Week. My first experience with the club was actually as a pre-frosh. I remember taking a tour of campus amidst all the decorations and [sidewalk] chalkings and feeling good that Bowdoin seemed like such an open and accepting place. My experience as a student has only verified that impression, which is why National Coming Out Week is always an important event for me to focus on.

For my junior and senior year I have also been a First-Year Proctor on the Residential Life staff. The Residential Life staff is another really fun and diverse group. Most importantly, I have loved living with and getting to know two groups of amazing first-year students. In my role as a proctor, I meet many students I otherwise would not have come into contact with. It is also great to have the chance to share my own personal knowledge and experience at Bowdoin with underclassmen in the hopes of helping them take full advantage of their own college careers.

What have you done during your summers?
I spent my first two summers working in labs at Pfizer, a major pharmaceutical company, at their site in Groton, Conn. In one lab I worked with animals, and in the other I did synthetic organic chemistry. Both of these summers were good experiences because they gave me a glimpse of what it is like to work in a science-based industry.

This past summer I wanted to stay in Maine and try something different, so I applied for the summer internship in the Residential Life Office. One of the most interesting things I did all summer was make all the first-year roommate pairings. It was incredible how much time and thought goes into making each decision, and it was fun to see how it all happened. Also staying in Maine was an experience I will never forget and I encourage all Bowdoin students to do it at least once.

What is your best Bowdoin memory?
There are so many good ones! One of my favorite will always be the night the Red Sox won the World Series. I don't know anything about sports, especially baseball, but since my roommate was a huge fan he hosted people for all the games. I always pretended to be uninterested but on the night of the final game, I was glued to the TV screen with a huge group friends, and we were all cheering and having fun. After the Red Sox won, I will never forget the shout that seemed to come from every corner of campus. It still makes me grin when I think about it.

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
I think the most important thing to keep in mind during all of your time at Bowdoin is that everyone here has something to offer, whether they are student, professor, or staff member. At the same time that you foster relationships with your closest friends, make sure you keep pushing yourself to meet new people. If you do, you will be surprised at the unexpected things you will learn and the unexpected friends you will make.

What quirky or fun thing did you wish you knew before you came to Bowdoin?
The chicken pesto calzone that is served at the Grill is the single most delicious thing I have ever eaten. I didn't discover it until my junior year, and now I feel like I cheated myself out of two years of chicken-pesto-goodness.

Story posted on February 05, 2007

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