Kate Loomis '06

Kate Loomis

Kate Loomis '06

Hometown: Los Gatos, California
Major: Geology and Archaeology/Classics

Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
When I was getting ready to apply to schools, I knew that I wanted a small liberal arts college, preferably outside my home state of California. I also wanted to use college as a chance to experience living in a completely different place - someplace with actual winters! Then I visited Bowdoin in April after I'd been accepted and was struck by how friendly everyone was. And even though April is not Bowdoin's prettiest month (it was a little muddy and cold for a California girl) I could see how beautiful the campus would be during the rest of the year. The college decision was a hard one for me, but I've always been so happy that I chose Bowdoin.

Why did you choose you major?
I entered my freshman year almost entirely undecided. During my spring semester I took a classical archaeology course (Pagans and Christians) with Associate Professor of Classics James Higginbotham that I loved. I had always been fascinated by the ancient world, but my high school didn't offer any courses in the subject. I decided to take Latin and more archaeology during my sophomore fall, and haven't looked back. Going along with my new-found interest in archaeology, I also decided to take Geology 101 with Associate Professor Peter Lea. It was fascinating and brought back all my memories of rock collecting as a child and made me know that I wanted to study more geology. I really enjoy the variety that comes with being a double major in two very different disciplines.

What has been your favorite course at Bowdoin?
It's pretty hard to beat the two upper-level archaeology seminars I've taken, Ancient Numismatics and The Art of Trade. They meet in the Art Museum (or in Banister Hall while the Walker Art Building is being renovated) and involve working with pieces in the Bowdoin collections. It's pretty amazing to go to class and get to hold 2,000 year-old artifacts. In Numismatics (the study of coins) I was able to analyze the metallic content of several Roman coins with the geology department's scanning electron microscope. The project was an intriguing way to explore the overlap between my two majors.

Have you engaged in any independent research while at Bowdoin?
Last summer I worked with Professor Peter Lea in the geology department, and continued work in an independent study this fall. We looked at the recent sediment record of Merrymeeting Bay to correlate the record across different points on the bay. It's very interesting the way one can definitely see when humans enter the picture - the pollutant levels shoot way up due to industrialization.

What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
I've been involved in the student group Global Justice (formerly Global Help) since I was a sophomore, and am one of the co-chairs this year. We focus on issues of social and economic justice, such as fair trade, and we have also been working a lot on raising awareness about the current situation in Darfur, Sudan. It's been a great introduction to student activism, and it's truly amazing how dedicated Bowdoin students are to their own causes. I'm active in the newly-formed Knitting Club, which has been a great mid-week break. I also started playing Ultimate Frisbee this year and have had so much fun. It's a really great group of people and actually motivates me to exercise! I also played JV squash my freshman year, which was a great way to learn the sport, but unfortunately the program didn't continue past that year.

Did you study abroad during your time at Bowdoin?
I spent last spring in Athens, Greece, with College Year in Athens. I got to travel all over the country and learned so much - it's definitely easier to remember buildings if you've actually seen them in person! I had never studied Modern Greek before, but it was really important to me to study abroad in a non-English-speaking country. It was crazy and stressful at times, but really taught me a lot about myself. It was very strange coming back to America and not having to think about reading signs or understanding the conversations around you.

I also participated in a 3-week field archaeology course on the tiny Aegean island of Despotiko, which was absolutely amazing. We'd dig all morning, then have a huge mid-afternoon group meal, and spend the rest of the day on the beach.

What is your best Bowdoin memory?
I know it's what everyone says, but I love how the entire campus congregates on the quad once spring finally arrives. It totally makes up for the winter, and it's when I feel the most connected to the Bowdoin community. You sometimes end up catching up on more sleep than reading, but it's worth it.

What are your plans for after graduation?
The dreaded question... I'm still exploring my options. I'd like to try working in the government or non-profit sector for a while, and I am planning on probably going to grad school in a few years, once I find a way to focus all of my interests.

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
I wish that I had gotten more involved with different groups and clubs during my freshman year. I was a little intimidated and unsure of what I wanted to do, but freshman year is really the time to explore all of that. No one expects you to be an expert yet! And you really do get used to the weather, so don't let it keep you from choosing an amazing school.

Story posted on April 06, 2006

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