Student Profiles

Steve Gogolak '05

Steve Gogolak '05

Hometown: Dedham, Massachusetts
Major: Economics, with a minor in Film Studies

Why did you come to Bowdoin?
There were several teachers at my high school, including my hockey coach, [who] had all gone to Bowdoin. And [my coach] still runs the hockey camp here in the summertime. Bowdoin was the second school that I looked at, and [my coach] was here doing the camp at the time, so my mother and I went on the tour and then we went and found him, and he kind of gave us the "other tour." He took us up to the top of [Coles] Tower, and showed us all this stuff that you don't really see on the tour. Having that personal touch added to the college search process was such a big deal.

Why did you decide on your major?
I've always sort of had an interest in money and finance and how markets work, so it's less of a career path for me, [than] just my inquisitive nature about it. So economics has been great because I've been able to learn how the financial world works, even knowing that [it's] not what I'm ultimately going to end up doing in life.

Film? I've always loved movies and I love making movies. Being able to watch a lot of movies and learn about the history of [film] - that exposure to all these other [films] is so good for my process and actually making stuff. You can see how other people do it and develop your own style based on a lot of other styles.

What has been your best class at Bowdoin?
My favorite class here by far was The Films of Martin Scorcese with Jim Potter, a visiting professor who was here while [Film Department Chair] Tricia Welsch was on sabbatical. Hands-down awesome. I just had the best time. Every class was just so relaxing. We'd basically just watch the movies and then [come] into class and [talk] about them. We would go through certain scenes. It was just so good. For me, that was where I could really open up and actually start saying what I really thought about movies. As opposed to being taught, it was like we were all teaching each other in that class. And it was really small, too - I want to say there were twelve or thirteen of us in it.

Last semester, I took Financial Markets with Greg DeCoster [of the Economics Department], and he is quite possibly the funniest professor around because he just says whatever he's going to say and he doesn't hold back. But that class, in terms of learning practical economics, was huge.

I'm doing an independent project this semester where I'm making a documentary that's going to be about my father and the history of his life. It's an independent study. It will be coming out in May - there'll be a premiere. The basic story is that he spent the first twelve years of his life in Communist Hungary and his family escaped on their second attempt to come to America. Then he ended up going to Princeton and then he kicked in the NFL. It's a pretty wild story, and [I'm making the documentary] partially because it's a really cool story to share with people and partially because it's a way to document family history.

It's something that I've always wanted to do the last four or five years, and then last spring it really kicked in. I've been researching for a while and talking to my dad a lot and we're going to Hungary over spring break. It's really exciting. A labor of love. What more could you want than to be doing something where you're learning a ton but at the same time you're loving every second of it?

What extracurriculars do you participate in? What do you like about them?
Bowdoin Cable Network was something that I jumped into right away. I didn't know about it before I came to Bowdoin, so that wasn't a factor for me in coming here, but once I got here and I heard that there was a student-run TV station, I [thought] "That's cool. I might want to do stuff." It was really neat because they were using all the same type of equipment and software that I was using in high school casually, so I had a strong foothold right away, and basically just dove right in. I ended up being the general manager last year and I'm the general manager now.

Right now I'm working on a project for [the] Development [office]. A lot of people know about the new hockey rink that [Bowdoin is hoping to build] and they're in the fundraising process. I basically pitched an idea to the Development office that [they] should do some type of DVD or something that [they] can send out to people. That way you can have current students and current coaches on there talking about the project, giving a personal touch when you're out there to do your fundraising. You're not just hearing from someone who wants your money, you're hearing from the people who will actually be affected by the project. [The Development office] liked it and they went for it, so we're about halfway through it right now.

I work for Residential Life now [as the proctor of Ladd House], which I love. I think it's great. I halfway consider living in [Ladd] House to be an on-campus job that you don't get paid for. This is my third year living here. I love every minute of it. I think that the College House System is something that is really good and is sort of still trying to figure out exactly who it is, but it's getting there and I love it and swear by it. The people that are in social houses work incredibly hard. It's work, but it's fun, and the people who live here really enjoy it.

What is your best Bowdoin memory?
The Bowdoin-Colby hockey game is something that, if you go to one, you will never ever forget what that atmosphere is like. And I don't think after Bowdoin I'm ever going to see anything like that ever again. Not in a building like that with that many people and that level of dedication from the fans - it's pretty amazing.

What are your plans after graduation?
Basically, I have figured out that what I want to do is produce. And a lot of people say, "Oh, that's great. What does that mean?" Being a producer - you're a writer, you're an event coordinator, you have a scope of a whole project. I don't want to go out to Hollywood and make movies or anything like that, but definitely producing on a smaller scale, stuff for television, even stuff that's not on the air, whether it's fundraising videos or corporate videos or things like that. It's a lot of fun. I worked at a company last summer and then again over winter break sort of getting a feel for the industry and I really like it.

Is there anything else about Bowdoin or your experiences here that you'd like a prospective student to know?
I think the biggest thing is don't spread yourself too thin. If you like something, really go for it and dedicate yourself to it because, for me at least, it's been ten times more rewarding doing one thing that I really love all the time as opposed to going all over the place and doing a bunch of different things. And I think Bowdoin is a place where you can really do that. There's a million opportunities and it's great because it seems like, here especially, a lot of people find something they really like and jump onto it whether its academic or extracurricular or athletic.

Story posted on February 11, 2005

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