Molly Kringdon '11

Molly Kringdon

Molly Kringdon '11

Major: Visual Arts
Minor: French
Hometown: Hingham, Massachusetts

Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
When I was looking at colleges, my biggest priority was finding a school where the classroom experience could be intimate. I went to a small boarding high school and wanted this close-knit atmosphere and community to translate over to my college experience. Bowdoin seemed to be the perfect fit in this regard.

Everything I believed and had heard about Bowdoin was confirmed during my visits to campus. When I asked students about the student/professor relationship, they spoke about how professors would challenge students, yet always cater to the individuals--giving every opportunity to spend time to help students outside of class. Some students even mentioned how students would babysit for professors' children. Overall, it was obvious that the kids here were sincere, enthusiastic, and driven. During one of my visits, I met a girl at the Bookstore who told me she told she was a government and visual arts double major with a minor in English; I remember thinking "Wow. You can do that!?"

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Some of Molly's paintings from her studio during her time studying abroad in Rome. The paintings are inspired by Italian sculpture, Bernini.

Why did you choose your major?
I remember visiting Bowdoin during the summer between my junior and senior year in high school and seeing an exhibit in the Fishbowl gallery of the Visual Arts Center of several small, painted, self-portraits. I couldn't help but think about how neat it would be if one day I, too, could put my own work up on those walls.

When I applied to Bowdoin, I submitted a portfolio and had every intention of pursuing visual arts, but didn't want to glue myself to any major that early on. However, after just a few days of Drawing I with Professor Mark Wethli--and several hours of exposure to the honest, open, challenging nature of the class and department--I was convinced. It just seemed natural; and I didn't want to hold myself back from doing what was truly exciting to me.

What has been a course you especially enjoyed at Bowdoin?
One course that I particularly enjoyed was my Third World Feminism class with Karen Lindo. Originally, I signed up for the course because--while it was taught in English--it had the possibility of counting towards a French credit if I read the literature and wrote the papers in French. I was also familiar with Professor Lindo, as I'd had her for French language classes in previous semesters.

The class ended up exceeding every expectation I'd had. It was cross-listed with French, gender and women's studies, and sociology; I loved the interdisciplinary nature of the subject because it spilled over to several other courses I was taking at the time. We read autobiographical novels from women all over the globe in conjunction with both old and new scholarly literature from several feminist theorists. Professor Lindo was knowledgeable, and above all, consistently enthusiastic about the subject. She facilitated discussion in a very organic way, and gave the students a variety of different materials--including books, journals, films, and news--to work from. It was one of those courses that I looked forward to every week.

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Senior visual arts majors at Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, on their way back from a weekend trip to New York City with Professor Mark Wethli.

What professor or professors have especially inspired you during your time at Bowdoin?
The Art Department is one of the reasons I decided to major in visual arts. All of the art professors are very communicative and supportive of their students, and I think it's one of the most special departments in this way. But Jim Mullen and Mark Wethli in particular have been significant to me during my time here--perhaps because they possess qualities of both professor and advisor. Both Jim and Mark are so well-versed in their own disciplines, yet simultaneously able to relate to students exploring a variety of different media (painting, photography, sculpture, etc.). They inspire me because of their ability to challenge, commend, and push me, all the while disregarding their own--I must say--amazing studio work! I like the familiarity of seeing them around campus; and knowing that Mark will always make some dry, witty comment and that Jim will always be wearing a black shirt. They have made me feel important as a student, and as an artist; and that's something I'll never let go of.

Which staff members have you connected with most?
Kate Stern is one of my favorite people on this campus. As the director of the Resource Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, Kate is an integral part of the Bowdoin community. She has facilitated discussions at a variety of organizations with which I am involved, but I think one of the most prominent reasons I've connected with her is because she's just the type of person that is easy to talk to. Even though she has a lot on her plate, she constantly makes herself available to students and is always trying to make people feel comfortable. Everybody who knows her loves her; and everybody who doesn't know her should get to know her!

What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
Over the course of my four years at Bowdoin, I've found myself involved in several groups that have come to be very important to me because they address global issues that transcend even the boundaries of Bowdoin.

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Molly and fellow BQSA members during September's candlelight vigil on the steps of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

I am an active member of Safe Space, a campus-wide organization and support group that is trained to provide advocacy to students who have been affected by or know someone who has been affected by sexual assault and violence. Safe Space also runs programs and events to spread awareness and involve the Bowdoin community in the cause. In addition to Safe Space, I am a member of Out-Allies, a group for straight students working to support the LGTBIQ community, and a member of the Bowdoin Queer Straight Alliance. Being a part of three organizations that function with the support of the Women's Resource Center and the Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity has been amazing because it allows for a partnership of sorts. Seeing student organizations working in conjunction with one another is exciting to me because it ultimately makes Bowdoin a stronger community.

Did you study abroad during your time at Bowdoin?
During the fall of my junior year I studied abroad in Rome, Italy, through the Temple University program. I chose to go to Rome because I was able to enroll in an art program there. I thought to myself, what better a place to gain additional exposure to painting and photography than the home of Bernini himself?

The abroad experience is once in a lifetime. For me, Rome offered the perfect balance of familiarity and discomfort that allowed me to grow as an individual, and independently from my life back at home and at Bowdoin. While I was thrown into school setting that offered structure and a sense of community, I was also forced to figure things out for myself. Not only did this unique opportunity provide me with cultural exposure, a taste of the Italian language, and a beautiful vision of Europe itself, but it ultimately led me to a better understanding of myself.

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Molly and fellow interns at Pioneer Investments, summer 2009.

What have you done during your summers?
Along with relaxing and spending time with family, summers have played an important role in gaining perspective and experience outside of my academic courses. As a visual arts major looking to go into a corporate field such as marketing or advertising, I knew that I had to make my summers productive.

After my sophomore year at Bowdoin, I wanted to gain exposure to a more professional field and was lucky to have the opportunity to do so through an internship in the marketing department at Pioneer Investments in Boston. After the positive experience I had at Pioneer, I decided to do another internship this past summer. This time, I wanted to focus on a field in which I could see myself in the future--advertising. I took an internship position at Hill Holliday in Boston; the program exceeded my expectations and solidified my pursuit in the advertising field. These internships were valuable not only because they put me in contact with the "real world," but because they allowed me to hone skills like organization, communication, and collaboration that are key in the workplace.

What is your favorite Bowdoin memory?
My favorite Bowdoin memory takes me back to my first year in Osher Hall. I lived on the third floor with 14 others students. After orientation and a week or so of settling into classes, we had our first weekend as "college students." Instead of heading out to other residence halls, we decided to get together and hang out as a floor before going in our different directions. We all crammed ourselves into one room and over the course of many conversations and plenty of music, "Juliet" by LMNT became our floor's theme song. For the first time at Bowdoin, I remember feeling like I was at home--and the floor was a family of sorts. While we all went on to make friends in various areas of campus, it was nice to know that I'd always come home to the third floor of Osher. Even now, as a senior, something about seeing my freshman year floormates around campus puts a special smile on my face.

What are your plans for after graduation?
Right now, I don't have it all entirely figured out. I'm currently pursuing a career in advertising, because I've had internship experience in the field and I believe that it fits both my creative sensibilities as well as my analytical nature. Ideally, I'd like to end up in Boston because its close to home and my family, but ultimately, I will go wherever a job opportunity leads.

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
I think at an academically challenging school like Bowdoin it's important to not be too hard on yourself. Some students have a tendency to come to Bowdoin with a set-in-stone major and want to get involved in every organization possible. But not everyone is this student. I wasn't this student. So, give yourself time; get to know yourself in this new environment. Take classes and involve yourself in extra-curriculars that feel exciting. If you're passionate and driven, things will fall into place naturally and for the best.

What quirky or fun thing do you wish you had known before you came to Bowdoin?
I wish I'd known that Brunswick's Maine Street is a hot spot for delicious foods (from Big Top, to The Great Impasta, to Little Tokyo), that the Library has study rooms and a vending machine, and that you can never have enough neon clothing in your costume wardrobe.

Story posted on February 08, 2011

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