Sarah Jennings Fick

Sarah Jennings Fick

Sarah Jennings Fick

Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware Major: Double Major in Biology and Environmental Studies; Education minor

Why did you come to Bowdoin?
I have always loved the outdoors, so I knew I wanted to be in a place near the mountains. While Bowdoin was actually further from the mountains than any other school I applied to, it also has great academics, a beautiful campus, and is small enough that youíre a face not a number. I was sold.

Why did you decide on your major?
I was always the environmental kid in my high school. So my first semester here I took the Introduction to Environmental Studies class. It was a very large class, one of the biggest Iíve had, with 45 people. It was team-taught with three different professors. Despite the size of the class and the number of professors teaching, I got to know each one. The ES faculty is great, and because of the interdisciplinary nature of ES Iíve taken classes in departments I never thought I would.

What's the best class you've ever taken at Bowdoin?
There are two professors that Iíve had for four or more classes. They are Professors Lindsay Whitlow and Nancy Jennings. Prof. Whitlow was the instructor for the senior seminar I took last spring on invasive species, called "Alien Invasion." That class was an eye-opening gaze into the impacts of globalism and world travel on the biological integrity of an ecosystem. From recent problems all the way back to accidentally introduced species from shipsí ballast water, humans have been adding and killing species in our environments for ages. Heís been my advisor as well for two independent studies and an Introductory Environmental Science class.
Iíve had Prof. Jennings for the past three semesters and I have her again this semester. She is a brilliant teacher. I attended the same private school for 12 years before coming to Bowdoin, so I knew very little about public schools. My first class with her was Educational Policy. We spent most of the semester focused on a law that was just starting to be publicized, No Child Left Behind. We went into the local schools to see how the law was affecting them. The results were interesting and occasionally surprising. Having the experience in schools that Bowdoin gives you is great.

What extracurricular activities do you participate in?
Iíve been on the Environmental Studies Student Advisory Committee for a couple years, a co-coordinator for the Volunteer Lawyerís Project in Portland, a club-head and leader with the Bowdoin Outing Club, a bartender at the bar on campus, and am currently on the building committee for the new freshmen dorms.
Some of my best experiences have been the Pre-Orientation trips Iíve led and participated in over the years. Taking a bunch of incoming freshmen out into the woods for a couple days is a great experience. I get to introduce them to the beauties of Maine and their first friends at Bowdoin. Itís so much fun! Since freshmen year Iíve gone to Canada, Acadia National Park, and twice to the Appalachian Trail.
Being on the building committee for the new freshmen dorms has also been an enriching experience. Iíve taken several architecture courses through the Environmental Studies/Architectural Studies department, so I jumped at the opportunity to participate. Iím one of only four students on the committee; made up of mostly deans and faculty. Itís amazing to get to participate on such a large project. I was able to sit in on several of the presentations by the architects initially, and now have met with the selected architect, Kyu Sung Woo, several times. Working with both the architect and the college has shown me exactly how much input a student can have into the daily business of Bowdoin.

What's your best Bowdoin memory?
Going with a couple friends to a Bowdoin- Colby menís hockey game at Colby my sophomore year. Thereís nothing like it.

What's your strangest or funniest experience while at Bowdoin?
Some of the strangest experiences Iíve had have been driving back up to Bowdoin from Delaware. Itís an 8 hours drive, so you spend a lot of time on the highway, but inevitably you run into someone from Bowdoin on the trip. Last time I was in the wrong lane for a toll, so I kept going and finally I found a Bowdoin sticker, I just smiled and waved and she let me in.

Have you done any independent study/honors projects?
Last fall I did a project with a community organization called the New Meadows River Project. They were doing a survey of the New Meadows watershed, to determine where there are erosion problems and how severe they are. I ended up collecting and analyzing a lot of data for them, and produced 10 maps for their final report. This year Iím doing a year-long Honors Project studying the effects of green crab predation on soft-shell clam populations. It is with Prof. Whitlow, whom I mentioned above. I got to spend the entire summer here in Maine, driving up and down the coast digging clams. Let me tell you, clam digging is hard, and the tides donít wait until after 10am. Itís been a solid project, and Prof. Whitlow has been awesome to work with. This spring Iíll be working with Prof. Penny Martin looking at the educational experiences of middle school girls in science classes.

What are your plans for after graduation?
Iím applying for teaching positions, but Iím also considering staying for a 9th semester at Bowdoin. The Education department has a program to earn a Maine teaching certificate. If, upon graduation, you are only two courses away from certification, you can stay for one extra semester as a part-time student to take those classes. If I went that route I would have a teaching certificate in the state of Maine.
I know that eventually Iíll go to grad school of some sort, but for now, thereís no need to rush it.

Story posted on February 23, 2004

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