Hometown: Gladstone, New Jersey
Major: Psychology; Minor: Visual Arts
Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
I looked at quite a few schools and realized pretty quickly that I wanted to go to a small liberal arts college in a relatively rural area. After visiting Bowdoin's campus, I had a great feeling about the school. For one, I loved Bowdoin's proximity to both ocean and mountains. More importantly, the professors and students whom I met seemed engaged and excited about what they were doing. I thought that Bowdoin's relaxed and open, yet hard-working atmosphere, would be perfect for me. And so far, it has been.
Why did you choose your major?
My first year, I originally thought that I wanted to major in English or visual arts and art history. But in the fall of my sophomore year I took Psychology 101 with Professor Louisa Slowiaczek and fell in love with the class and material. I loved learning about topics that I hadn't had the opportunity to study in high school such as cognition and development. Additionally, Professor Slowiaczek was incredibly captivating as a professor. She made a relatively large class (by Bowdoin standards) feel very intimate, and held lectures as if she was holding a conversation among friends. I decided to major in psychology after taking only one class, and I've been very happy with my decision. One of my favorite psychology courses was Infant and Child Development with Professor Suzanne Lovett, in which we had the opportunity to intern at the Bowdoin Children's Center every week during the semester. I loved going there on Friday mornings and getting to interact with toddlers while observing aspects of development that I had learned about in class first-hand. I have had a great experience with the department as a whole and have realized that I want to pursue a career in psychology.
I decided to continue pursuing visual arts as a minor, which has given me the opportunity to take art classes almost every semester. While I don't intend to pursue art professionally, it has given me a creative outlet and a sense of balance in what I study. The department is incredibly open and welcoming to any student, whether they want to just try one class or become a major.
What has been a course you especially enjoyed at Bowdoin?
It's really hard to choose just one. I loved my First-Year Seminar, Making Faces of Portraiture, an art history class with Professor Linda Docherty. We looked at various types of portraiture while focusing on improving our writing and public speaking skills. Professor Docherty is an amazing professor and did such a good job drawing out each individual voice during discussions. We also had many opportunities to make use of Bowdoin's art collection, which really enhanced the course material. For our final paper and presentation, we each chose an original photograph from Bowdoin's collection, which we researched and focused on. I chose a photo of Max Ernst by Frederick Sommer. Being able to research and then present on a piece of art that I could hold in my hands was a unique experience.
What professor or professors have especially inspired you during your time at Bowdoin?
Again, it's hard to choose just a few. Mark Wethli, in the art department, has been incredibly encouraging and inspiring to me throughout the last three and a half years. I have taken several courses with him and also had the opportunity to work with him on a mural installation at a local elementary school, a project that stemmed out of his Public Art course. Professor Slowiaczek, my advisor in the psychology department, has also been a great mentor. She is one of the most patient professors I have ever had and always goes to great lengths to help each of her students learn. She definitely got me hooked on being a psychology major, and I will have taken four of her courses by the time I graduate. She is also an incredibly entertaining lecturer!
What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
Currently, I'm the president of the Inter-House Council, a Bowdoin Outing Club leader, a representative to the BSG (Bowdoin Student Government), a member of the Committee on Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention, and a member of V-Day, a national organization that works against sexual violence. I am also in this year's production of The Vagina Monologues, which I also participated in as a first-year. The Vagina Monologues is a play written by Eve Ensler and is performed all over the world each February to raise money to stop violence against women. It was such a great experience that I wanted to have the chance to do it again before graduation, and was so glad that I did. It was such a neat experience to be back on stage with some of the same women whom I had acted with four years ago, and be joined by "the next generation" of Bowdoin women who will continue to work to raise awareness about issues of violence against women on campus and beyond.
As a sophomore, I was also president of Quinby House, one of Bowdoin's College Houses. The College House system was put in place about eleven years ago, and is a terrific resource on campus. Each student is affiliated with one of eight houses, and many chose to live in their houses after their first year. Each house is given a budget for social, community, and academic programming, all of which is student-driven. Being involved with the College House system has been a defining part of my Bowdoin experience.
Additionally, I life-guarded at Greason Pool during my first three years at Bowdoin, and now work for the psychology department, both as a study group facilitator for a Psychology 101 class and as a research assistant.
Did you study abroad during your time at Bowdoin?
I spent the fall of my junior year in Valparaíso, Chile, on SIT's Culture, Development, and Social Justice program. It was a fantastic experience. While I have taken several Spanish classes at Bowdoin, the material that I was learning about in Chile was unrelated to my major and minor. While that made it slightly more difficult to fit in all of my requirements, the experience was well worth it.
The most powerful experience that I had while I was there was the week that I spent with an Aymaran family in the Andes. Learning their way of life and the issues they face caused me to challenge and reevaluate my own view of the world and my place in it.
I have been able to bring some of my experiences back to Bowdoin in courses such as The Politics of Development with Professor Ericka Albaugh, and Gender and Secularism with Professor Kristen Ghodsee, which has made my semester away all the more relevant to my undergraduate education.
What have you done during your summers?
After my first year, I worked in Boston as an intern for the Youth Opportunities Program at the Appalachian Mountain Club. For the past two summers, I have done psychology research, first at the NYU Child Study Center, and more recently at Bowdoin. At NYU, I worked with a psychiatrist on a study on ADHD treatment. This past summer, I worked in Professor Lovett's lab with two other students. We worked on two different studies. One dealt with children's understanding of psychogenic reactions, and the other was on education. Having the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member was a phenomenal experience. Also, being able to spend the summer on campus in Maine with tons of other students around made it one of the best summers of my life.
What is your best Bowdoin memory?
The fall semester of my first year, I did Leadership Training (LT), which is the program that students go through to become Bowdoin Outing Club leaders. I grew incredibly close to the thirteen other students in my group as we spent many, many weekend days and nights exploring Maine's wilderness. I don't think I've ever laughed so much with another group of people. It was an incredible three months and a really defining experience for me at Bowdoin. Not only did I love spending time outside, but being part of LT really made me feel at home at Bowdoin from my first few weeks on campus.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I plan to continue with psychology research and hope to enter graduate school for clinical psychology within the next few years.
What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
Get involved! Don't be afraid to try things that you haven't done before. Sign up for a bunch of clubs and see which ones you like. Apply for an Alternative Spring Break trip. (I went to New Mexico sophomore year to look at public health issues on the Navajo reservation and had an amazing time.) Get to know as many faculty and staff as you can. There are so many amazing things to do and people to get to know at Bowdoin.
What quirky or fun thing do you wish you knew before you came to Bowdoin?
Super Snacks! The dining hall serves snacks every weekend night from 10-1. It's a great place to go after a night out or just to take a break and hang out with friends.