Student Profiles

Freeland Church '05

Freeland Church '05

Hometown: Morrisville, Vermont
Major: Classics (concentration in Archaeology), with a minor in Biology

Why did you come to Bowdoin?
When I visited, I got a pretty good feeling from the place, and certainly liked it. But then, on one visit, I got here late for the interview and I was an hour late to meeting the person [with whom I would] stay overnight. It was a Sunday evening in the [Student] Union and there was nobody around, my mom's trying to get in touch with an admissions person to help us out, and she's having some success. But then the guy in the convenience store [in the Union] overhears what's going on and he just offered to take me in. That spoke a lot, I felt. It was really nice of him to offer that, and I stayed with him and I had a great night.

Why did you decide on your major?
I came here thinking biology - I'm minoring in biology. But I tried out a couple of archaeology classes. It's the kind of thing I couldn't study in high school and so, given the opportunity here, I really enjoyed it, and it just kind of took. I like the professors in it a lot, especially.

What has been your best class at Bowdoin?
Actually, my favorite class was in the biology department. It was Marine Biology with Amy Johnson. I thought it was amazing. We learned about all these different types of ecosystems on the coast and in the ocean. All the different factors that play a role in shaping those little tidal communities are really interesting, because every species develops different characteristics to deal with different stresses, and there's such a balance between everything. I really enjoyed learning about that, and Amy Johnson is an incredible lecturer. The lab instructor, Dave Guay, is great, I think. We went out every week to different parts of the coast and I loved that. We went to Reed State Park, we went to a grassy area called Middle Bay in Harpswell, and we went to a rocky coast a little north of here, just off the edges of Bath.

What extracurriculars do you participate in? What do you like about them?
The biggest thing is Ultimate Frisbee, certainly. I've been playing since I came here and have really enjoyed it. It's a good team to be a part of. We practice every day, Monday through Friday, and we have tournaments, about four or five tournaments each season. Often, we play with the women's team.

In high school, I played a lot of sports, but I was not nearly good enough at any of them to compete here. But I knew I wanted to play something. I really enjoy competition and physical activity. It's funny, actually. The summer leading up to freshman year, I had this idea in my head that everybody in college throws a Frisbee around all the time, and I had never really done it before, so I decided I had to learn how to throw a Frisbee before coming to school, or I would be ostracized. And it's not true - not everybody throws a Frisbee at college. But once I learned how to throw it, I thought, "Well, might as well play Ultimate." And it's been a lot of fun.

I volunteer at the shelter in town, helping to serve dinner one night a week. I've really enjoyed [volunteering]; I've met some great people down there. It's nice to be a part of something very different from Bowdoin, even if it is only an hour and a half a week.

I do the Polar Bear Club - we try to go swimming twice a month in the ocean. We actually went last night [in December]. It was a lot of fun. We went out to Simpson's Point. You just jump in and jump out pretty quickly. Last night it really wasn't so bad - I'm sorry I didn't stay in longer. I dunked in and then [scrambled] out pretty quickly. At the time I would have told you that staying in longer was a horrible idea, but looking back, I think "Aaah, I could have handled a little bit more, it would have been fine." It's a lot of fun. We've been getting a pretty big turnout - around twenty people a trip.

What is your best Bowdoin memory?
There's a collage of little things. The things that make me happy going around campus are just bumping into people and having conversations. There are so many great people here. I'm often impressed by all the different talents that people bring to the table. It's wonderful to see your peers doing the things that they're good at.

What are your plans after graduation?
Broad ideas would be getting into non-profit or teaching, and specifically for non-profits, dealing with either hunger or poverty. Mostly, so far, I've applied to a bunch of different teaching programs. Because I'm not certified, I have to take one of the back doors in. We'll see what comes of it. I've been considering [teaching] perhaps even high school math. If somebody wants a Latin teacher, I could probably handle that.

Is there anything else about Bowdoin or your experiences here that you'd like a prospective student to know?
The professors on campus are incredible, and a wonderful resource. I recommend getting to know them and talking to them - not just about class, but other things that you connect on. A lot of them, I've found, are just great people and a lot of fun to be around. I consider learning to be a tremendous activity and a gift, and from these professors we can learn so much.

Professor Bandy [of the sociology department] - I've never actually even had a class with him, unfortunately - he's the faculty advisor for the Frisbee team, and so I've worked fairly closely with him. I think he's incredibly well-spoken. With Frisbee, we've discussed so many different things, in terms of running the team, and I always feel like he really respects my opinion, even if we don't agree, and I learn a lot about myself, even, from just talking to him.

Professor Johnson for marine biology is an incredible professor and I always enjoy talking to her outside of class. For a couple of my classes, we had an end-of-the-semester dinner at her place and she encouraged costumes, and that was a lot of fun.

I've worked with Professor Higginbotham [of the classics department] and Professor Shaw [of the anthropology department] in the summers. The summer after sophomore year, I went to Italy with Professor Higginbotham to do an excavation, and that was fantastic. I've learned a lot from him, certainly. That was my first real excavation experience.

This past summer, I worked with Professor Shaw and her husband, John Cross, who actually works at Bowdoin, as well, and they were both incredible. I was doing mostly research, but eventually helped them out on a nine-day excavation over in East Brunswick. We were looking at Native American [artifacts] from 4,000 to 8,000 years ago. Part of the project was [cataloguing] a whole bunch of artifacts from different collections in the area, and Professor Shaw and John Cross were just incredibly helpful and supportive all the way, and then on the excavation itself, which was where we were most closely working together, they were amazing. I learned so much from them about the history of Maine and the history of Bowdoin, too. John Cross knows so much about Bowdoin, and about excavating. They were just really funny to work with - they'd be making jokes all the time. John Cross works in [the] development [division at Bowdoin, as assistant secretary of the College], but he's an archaeologist by training.

These are the kinds of opportunities you have when you get to know your professors.

Story posted on January 20, 2005

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