Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas
Major: Economics; Minor: Theater
Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
Initially when I thought about college I approached my decision as: This is my last opportunity to go all out, explore new ventures, and still have some sort of support system before entering the "real world." I understood that in the real world everything won't go your way, conditions of all sorts will be challenging, and support won't always be easily accessible. So with that in mind I decided to get out of my comfort zone for "the best four years of your life" by coming to Brunswick, Maine (the total opposite of Little Rock, Arkansas). I came to a liberal arts college because I wanted an environment that had unlimited opportunities to indulge in campus activities and I feel like that "unlimited" part can only be found at a small college. Bowdoin is special because the faculty and staff are tremendous — they are extremely supportive and approachable. I've had professors/coaches take me to get a haircut and even let me take a nap in their office when I just needed a moment to rest.
Why did you choose your major?
I chose to major in economics because I wanted to try something new. I didn't have economics at my high school, I knew I liked math, and I figured this would be an opportunity to fuse my passion for math with my curiosity about the domestic economy. I paired my major with a minor in theater because I have never done anything like acting before. I had always been a class clown and my friends would encourage me to try it — and with Bowdoin's inviting culture, I was welcomed into the community of acting with open arms. I went from taking an acting class to doing an advanced independent study, this semester, for the production of TopDog/UnderDog by Suzan-Lori Parks along with Cait Hylan '09 (student director) and Jamil Sylvester-John '09 (costar).
What has been a course you especially enjoyed at Bowdoin?
I am currently taking Leaders and Leadership with Angus King, former governor of Maine. His class is so enjoyable because he fuses the academic curriculum with all of his personal experiences, which are humorous, relevant, informative, and inspiring. We discuss the breaking news of the current economy, the policy of the current presidential administration, and most, importantly, history. The first thing we learned is "you can only see forward, as far as you can see backwards." Everything that we learn is directly applicable to our own ability to lead and will be an integral to our professional development.
What professor or professors have especially inspired you during your time at Bowdoin?
Angus King, whom I mentioned, has been a phenomenal inspiration and influence of mine. However, one professor who has had a profound impact on my life is Davis Robinson, my academic advisor and Acting I professor (along with other courses). The thing about Davis that inspires me is his diversity, not of ethnicity but of thought. You can talk to Davis about theater, investment banking, or even politics and I guarantee that you will learn something. He is a man who got to where he is by picking his career endeavors serendipitously. This has inspired me directly because now I never look past a current opportunity because it doesn't fit into my "future plans." The worst thing I could do is corner myself into one thing because I "think" it's what I want do, and 20 years later regret I never tried anything. Davis has studied theater internationally, been a part of the circus, and written literature, which we studied in class. How many people go to the circus and see a guy juggling and think: "He could be a professor at a prestigious liberal arts college?" He is a living testament that "following your heart" works.
What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
Since being at Bowdoin I have tried a little bit of everything. These extracurricular activities include the varsity football team, varsity track and field team (I participate in the weight throw and hammer throw), sophomore class vice president, Bowdoin Student Government vice president of student affairs, Big Brother/Big Sister (known as Bears and Cubs), the Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC — we allocate nearly $200,000), Poeting, Rapping (hip-hop artist) and opening for artists Talib Kweli and Wale, and even working as a head proctor for the Office of Residential Life (meaning I live with first-years and help them transition to the college lifestyle).
Did you study abroad during your time at Bowdoin?
I decided not to study abroad because I fell in love with Bowdoin's atmosphere and didn't want to miss it for one semester; that is my personal honest behind "closed-doors" answer. I have friends who did study abroad, who absolutely loved it, but I don't regret my decision one bit.
What have you done during your summers?
While it's important to "follow your heart" when deciding upon careers, one of the most strategic things one can do is intern every summer to explore possible career paths. Since the summer before entering Bowdoin I have interned at JP Fitness (as a personal trainer), Regions Financial (as a teller and financial service representative), Goldman Sachs (private wealth management division intern), and Stephen's Inc. (as an investment research intern). Each experience was unique and has played an integral role in my personal development, especially my leadership and organizational skill sets.
What is your best Bowdoin memory?
My favorite Bowdoin memory has to be when my friend, Devon, and I were up late at night (approximately 3 a.m.) working on midterm papers and decided to purchase $50 girl bikes...not women's bikes but "girl" bikes. They were probably knee high and we had the full package: handle bar tassels, a basket, "I love my bike" bell, and glass-covered motorcycle helmets! The campus got a kick out of it; people knew us as the Daisy Dough Boys because we would carry cookies from the dining hall in the baskets and pass them out or chuck them at people who needed a "smile" — we became icons. It was definitely one of those "only in college" moments!
What are your plans for after graduation?
After graduation I will be working at PriceWaterhouseCoopers accounting firm in Los Angeles, California. As part of my offer, I will be going to the USC Leventhal School of Accounting (#4 in the nation), as a full-time student starting this June, to get my master's in accounting (MAcc) and PWC is paying for it entirely. Afterwards I will work for them for three years. I decided to take this offer because I have never tried accounting before and I think this will be a chance to explore another career path, challenge myself, and adapt to a new environment. I love to travel and have never been to California before, so this should be an interesting learning experience...similarly, I had never been to Maine before Bowdoin.
What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
Come with an open mind, try the things that you never heard of, and remember that we are privileged (only approximately 500 of 6,000 applicants matriculate each year, which is easy to forget once you are here). People say this all the time and as a proctor I see the same thing every year — a student comes in and says "yeah whatever, I know what I want to do, so I'm going to major in ____." Concurrently, by sophomore year they realize they don't want to do ____ or be a ____ and wish they had explored more areas as a freshman when you don't have to worry about meeting major/minor requirements. This is your last time to make mistakes with limited consequences, so make mistakes learn from them, and enjoy the food!
What quirky or fun thing do you wish you knew before you came to Bowdoin?
I wish I had known they were going to be getting a new Fitness, Health and Wellness Center this fall. I would have waited a year to enroll!