STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 11/10/2015

Up Front with President Lindsay: Engaged, Purposeful and Passionate

Last year the Gallup organization released a groundbreaking study measuring key factors that are strongly correlated with engaged, purposeful and passionate lives post-college. Personal connections and experiential learning, they found, are key.

This June and July, we posed the Gallup poll’s questions to our own alumni of 2014, 2010, and 2005. They scored their Gordon experience far higher than the national averages reported by Gallup. Three times as many of our graduates report “strong agreement” with all six statements (in bold type here) that Gallup considered pivotal.

I had at least one professor who made me excited about learning.

Mollie Enright ’15 worked alongside Dr. Jennifer Noseworthy on pioneering safer, more sustainable methods for extracting lycopene, the powerful antioxidant, from tomatoes. Mollie says this research bridging analytical biochemistry and sustainable agriculture gave her “unique insight into the solutions that are being developed to face key environmental challenges.” Now Mollie applies those insights as a program manager for the company Beyond Benign: Green Chemistry for a Sustainable Future. 

I had a mentor who encouraged me to pursue my goals and dreams. 

“Just do what you love” was the advice Austin Drukker ’15 received early on from his advisor. Austin loves economics and math. This dual interest “grew legs” during his internship with MIT’s Humanitarian Response Lab and the UN’s World Food Programme, during which Austin developed a linear programming model to forecast the availability of commodity grains in the Darfur region of Sudan. He graduated in May and is a research assistant at the Brookings Institution, the influential economic and public policy think tank in Washington, D.C. 

My professors cared about me as a person. 

Music performance major Emily Bartz ’17 was one of only 24 students from across the nation selected to perform in the highly competitive Collegiate Flute Choir this past summer. She credits her Gordon flute teacher, Dr. Eileen Yarrison, with helping her realize her potential. “She supports me, encourages me, attends my performances, answers my never-ending supply of questions, and creates opportunities for me,” Emily says.

I had an internship or job that allowed me to apply what I was learning in the classroom. 

As a summer teaching assistant at MIT’s Minority Introduction to Engineering and Sciences program, Hannah Jang ’16 led girls during workshops, field trips and day-to-day dorm activities. She found that her Diversity in U.S. Populations class prepared her for hard conversations about racism, privilege and ethics. Experience as a Gordon writing tutor positioned her to help native English speakers and English language learners at MIT to revise class work and formal papers.

I worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete.

The Presidential Fellows program, now in its fourth year, stands out as an exceptional year-long opportunity for some of Gordon’s most talented students. William Hagen ’15, for example, who worked in my office last year as a Presidential Fellow, felt called to unite the campus in prayer. Over seven months he spread his vision, and his efforts came to fruition during a time dedicated each spring to spiritual renewal, DEEP FAITH week. Friends and members of the Gordon community in more than 35 countries partnered in 125 hours of consecutive prayer, thanking God for the blessings he has bestowed on Gordon and praying for his continued guidance of our community.

I was extremely active in extracurricular activities and organizations. 

That’s an understatement when applied to 2015 grad John Buckley, whose many extracurriculars included several he started—like Exit 17 Live, Gordon’s first late-night variety show. These experiences built up his skills in team leadership, copywriting, public speaking, market research, film production, web development, graphic design and customer relations. He’s currently working in marketing at a video communications firm called MadDash E-Media, and aims to start his own digital advertising agency. 

These, of course, are just a few examples of myriad opportunities for Gordon students. As Toussaint Williams ’18 exhorted himself as he was mulling summer options: “Toussaint. You have the whole world in front of you and so many opportunities ready to be taken.”

We hope you’ll enjoy his story and many others in this issue of STILLPOINT. 


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