Ask Hadley Horch what her interests are, and her answers might surprise you. Horch is Associate Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and the director of the neuroscience program. Her lab work is focused on conducting studies on crickets. 

“I love my work, but I don’t eat, drink, and sleep it,” she said. 
Horch is a Midwesterner who grew up in the suburbs of Indianapolis. 

“It didn’t resonate with me there, and I got out as quickly as I could,” she said.

Horch decided to head east for college, enrolling at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
While Horch discovered her passion for neuroscience and held lab jobs at Swarthmore, she was not without any prior work experience. The summer before college, she decided it would be interesting to get a job painting parking meters. 

“I worked at the Indiana Department of Transportation, but never did get to paint any meters,” said Horch. “I had applied because I thought that sounded kind of fun to be outside all summer. The lady I interviewed with thought it was inappropriate for a girl to be on that team, so she invented an office job for me.”

In this job, she was once asked to rip up documents and ended up with blisters on both of her thumbs.

“I did that for days, and it was ridiculous because I think they had a shredder,” Horch said. 
Horch also recounted the misadventures of a former occupation: being the manager of a Dairy Queen. 

“There was one night when [the other employees] changed all the clocks on me so I closed up an hour early–I was that kind of kid. I remember a massive ketchup and mustard fight in the back that I was responsible for, even though I didn’t take part in it.” 

Despite the trials of her high-school jobs, Horch looks back on them fondly. When remembering her college years, meeting her husband is one of Horch’s favorite memories. 

“It’s kind of a funny story,” she said. “Two friends of ours decided we should date. They were telling me he was talking about me, which was untrue, and they did the same to him. I was a sophomore, and one night I was hanging out and doing homework in my room and my friends threw this man into my room and locked the door. He literally looked like he was about to leap out the third floor window, and that is who I married.”

Horch lives in Brunswick with her husband and children, and is a dedicated gardener. 

“I’m starting to do permaculture in my yard, and I just built a hugel mound,” she said enthusiastically.

Horch describes hugel mounds as brush, mud and sticks buried in a trench covered in leaves. 

“They become a sort of nursery and the idea is that whatever you plant in a mound, in theory, you will never have to water for twenty years,” she said. 

Horch recently ordered blueberry bushes to plant in the mound. 

“I think I might have ordered kiwi vines, too. There’s a northern variety that can grow here, you eat the peel and all. I’ll need to build a trellis, though.”

Horch admits that although gardening is a real hobby for her, sometimes she would rather dream about projects than actually carry them out. 

“I would love to flip houses. Not that I would have the taste or skills to do that, but I really like fixing up old houses, and this is a fantasy of mine. I thought about this when I was up for tenure [which she received in 2010], about what I would really want to do other than [teaching], and all these crazy ideas came about. I also think it would be really fun to be a movie critic.”

In her free time, Horch enjoys watching her favorite 80’s movies with her daughter and any show with a comedic, female-driven narrative. 

“I kind of like vapid movies,” she said. “I like Will Ferrell and romantic comedies. I am able to turn my brain off and be pretty uncritical with those. In college, I was into dark movies about Vietnam, but I just can’t do that anymore. I just need to be pretty fluffy. I think a lot of deep thoughts at work, and that’s enough.” 

Horch sipped coffee from a 30 Rock mug throughout the interview. When asked what Bowdoin students might not know about her, Horch revealed that she has her pilot’s license.
“My husband and I had money burning in our pockets, so we got licensed at Chapel Hill,” she said. “The last time I flew I was getting certified on a Piper. I hate the feeling of doing stalls, what it does to your stomach. That particular day, I really felt like I was going to hurl. Turns out I was pregnant with my first child. After that, I became more risk-averse and haven’t flown alone since, but I’m glad I did it.”

Despite her willingness to share her eclectic hobbies with the Bowdoin community, Horch ultimately wants students to know how glad she is to be teaching here.

“I really love interacting with my students. It’s kind of nerdy to say that, but I just love watching light bulbs go off. There’s really no better feeling. It’s a passion for me.”