Student Profiles

Phillip Beard '07

Phillip Beard

Phillip Beard '07

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Major: English

Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
I first learned about Bowdoin while working at my school's college office during my senior year of high school. I was not familiar with Bowdoin, but my college guidance counselor told me it would be a "great fit" for me. I visited Bowdoin in April after being accepted and was amazed by the friendly students. Everyone seemed to have a smile on their faces, which convinced me that I would also be happy here.

Why did you choose your major?
When I first came to Bowdoin, I planned on majoring in Government. I took an English course on black heroes in American literature during my first year that helped me decide to pursue English. The English classes here allow me the opportunity to live vicariously through the characters that I come into contact with in the materials we study. I feel like I am able to meet many different types of people just by reading a book. Bowdoin's English professors are very open minded — there is always an outlet for you to learn.

What has been your favorite course at Bowdoin?
I will always remember Professor Peter Coviello's Empire of Feeling course, which I took during my junior year. Professor Coviello's magical ability to weave the course material on human suffering and the modes and methods of how we feel for others has been a great influence on my academic career at Bowdoin.

Which professor or professors have shaped your Bowdoin career?
To be honest all of my professors have shaped my academic career at Bowdoin. But Professor Ann Kibbie of the English Department and Professor Patrick Rael of the History Department especially stand out in my mind. During my classes with him, Professor Rael continuously challenged me, making me a much better writer and thinker. Through their dedication as educators, these teachers have pushed me to heights that were unimaginable to me when I first came to Bowdoin.

What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
I started running on the men's JV Cross Country team this year. I didn't run in high school, but I practiced running over the summer and decided to join the team. The guys on the team are very open to new members and it's been fun for me to try something new, even if I'm not the most experienced member of the team.

I am also a co-leader (with Torin Peterson '07) of the Alternative Spring Break Trip to Washington D.C. This trip will bring 12 Bowdoin students to Washington D.C. to help in soup kitchens and do other activities to combat hunger and homelessness. This semester, we've been meeting every Monday to discuss the issues raised by poverty and to plan fundraising for the trip. Planning and organizing the trip has really been a great experience for me.

In addition to these activities, I also work at the Peary-MacMillan Artic Museum as a student receptionist and research assistant.

What have you done during your summers?
The summer after my first year, I worked as a Teacher's Assistant at Upward Bound, which is a program that brings underprivileged high school students from Maine to study at Bowdoin. Working with these kids was a very different experience for me because I am from New York and most of the kids were from rural areas of Maine. I think the kids and I were able to learn a lot from each other as we were exposed to a lifestyle we were unfamiliar with.

I have also worked as a camp counselor at the Bowdoin College Day Camp, which is run by Track Coach Peter Slovenski for students from the fifth to the eighth grades. The camp focuses on sports and character building.

What is your best Bowdoin memory?
My best Bowdoin memory would have to be running on the men's JV Cross Country team during my senior year. I remember one day we were racing in canoes (something I had never done before) and my canoe tipped over in the water. Although I was wearing a life jacket, I didn't know how to swim. The experience was scary and fun at the same time. Trying something new and working with the team everyday certainly brings the best out of you.

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
I would tell a prospective student or first-year what someone I admire told me: You have to run hard to continue learning. Knowledge is constantly surrounding you, so you should be like a sponge and absorb as much as you can.

What quirky or fun thing did you wish you knew before you came to Bowdoin?
Before coming to Bowdoin, I lived in New York and could buy or do anything I wanted at anytime of the day. However, after living in Maine I have learned that the saying "the city never sleeps" certainly isn't true of Brunswick.

Story posted on December 11, 2006

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