Haley Bridger '07

Haley Bridger

Haley Bridger '07

Hometown: Hamilton, Massachusetts
Major: Biology

Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
I visited Bowdoin for one of the Open Houses in April and had an unbelievably positive and prophetic experience. I sat in on a class taught by biology professor Mike Palopoli, who is now my honors advisor, visited Howard Hall, where I would live my sophomore year, and met many bright and funny prospective students, including some of the people I am close friends with today. My experience at the Open House definitely drew me to Bowdoin and helped me decide that it was the right school for me.

Why did you choose your major?
As a biology major, I have had the opportunity to take courses in everything—I have taken a little bit of physics, chemistry, neuroscience, not to mention stem cell biology and evolution. I have always been interested in science writing, so my first year I took a mix of writing intensive courses in the English and government departments as well as introductory biology courses. I found out quickly that science courses at Bowdoin involve a lot of writing so I settled on biology as my major.

What has been a course you especially enjoyed at Bowdoin?
My first semester at Bowdoin, I took a political theory first-year seminar called Human Being and Citizen with government professor Paul Franco. The course was dynamic, engaging, and intimate with only 16 students in the class. Professor Franco challenged us to consider some of the most important and quintessential questions (What is the greatest good? What is the relationship between Reason and Passion?), and the debates that ensued were exciting and intense. I see a lot of the students from the class around campus and, three and half years later, we still feel connected through that seminar.

What professor or professors have especially inspired you during your time at Bowdoin?
In addition to Professor Franco—whose passion for political theory is absolutely contagious—I have been inspired and guided by faculty in the biology department. My honors advisor Mike Palopoli has taught me so much about science and about the life of a scientist and biology professors Hadley Horch and Barry Logan both helped me learn the craft of writing about science.

What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
I work as a Peer Career Advisor at Bowdoin's Career Planning Center. As a PCA, I am often the first person that students meet with when they begin searching for a job or internship. I help students learn about resume writing, how to network with alumni, and how to use electronic and book resources to search for internships or learn about careers.

I am also a freelance journalist for The Times Record, midcoast Maine's regional newspaper. I report on campus and community events and have the opportunity to interview students, faculty, guest speakers, and community members.

What have you done during your summers?
Last summer I worked as a Science Writing Intern at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. I lived with 30 science students and translated the scientific research they conducted over the summer into articles and publications for general audiences.

Last year I worked at New England Biolabs in Ipswich, Mass., where I worked as both a communications intern and a summer research student. The experience helped me learn a lot about the pros and cons of research, and strengthened my interest in science communications. The summer after my first year, I worked at Pearson Education, a publishing company in Boston. Their internship program was excellent and I learned a lot about the logistics of production and operations from my supervisor and mentor, Marty Rabinowitz.

What is your best Bowdoin memory?
Some of my best memories are from the beginning of senior year when all of my friends returned to Bowdoin after studying abroad. On one of the first weekends back, all of us went to see Racer X, an eighties cover band made up entirely of Bowdoin professors. Rocking out as English professor Aaron Kitch crooned "Don't You Want Me" made me realize how much I had missed my friends and how happy I was to be here for senior year.

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
If you're interested in journalism, write for a newspaper like The Times Record. It's a great way to stay connected to the community!

What quirky or fun thing did you wish you knew before you came to Bowdoin?
The scary statistics you hear about how many people marry someone else from Bowdoin don't mean that you have to meet the love of your life during your four years here or spend the rest of your life alone. Many Bowdoin couples actually meet after they graduate.

Story posted on April 06, 2007

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