Behind the Name tag: Italian Teaching Fellow finds valuable lessons in her teaching experiences
Italian Teaching Fellow Angela Lavecchia’s passion for learning foreign languages—she knows four in total—has turned into a passion for teaching them. She has used her linguistic skills to learn more about other cultures as well as to develop her own ideologies regarding immigration in the various countries where she has lived.
Originally from a small town in Southern Italy, Lavecchia worked as a teaching fellow at Bowdoin during the 2014-15 academic year. Upon returning to Italy, she taught Italian and English to immigrants for a year before she had the opportunity to return to Bowdoin once again as a teaching fellow. After this year, she hopes to attend graduate school in America and then continue her teaching career.
“Coming to Bowdoin [for the first time], I was not really convinced that I wanted to teach,” she said. “But then when I was here, I discovered that it was really something I wanted to do, so it has kind of changed my life.”
Lavecchia believes that teachers can learn a great deal about themselves through teaching.
“I like the exchange,” she said. “That you’re not just telling people how to do things or teaching them but you also learn a lot about yourself and about people and how to behave with different people, so it’s really something that opens your mind. It can change you a lot.”
Lavecchia believes that international teaching fellows are a valuable resource for Bowdoin students.
She said that the people she has met over the course of her studies have changed her life by presenting her with opportunities for study that she would not have considered before. As a teacher she hopes to do for her students what her teachers have done for her.
“Studying is important not only to get a good job, or a well-paid job but just for yourself, for you own enrichment,” she said, regarding one of the many lessons she hopes to pass on to her students.
Lavecchia attended a linguistic high school where she took courses in French, German, English and Italian. She found a passion and pursued Arabic and comparative literature at an Italian university.
“I [chose] Arabic because I wanted to study something that was really different from my own culture,” said Lavecchia. “It was a time when, because of the terrorism, we always heard things about Islam and Muslims and extremism, so I was puzzled,” she said.
She explained that she wanted to learn more about Islamic culture in order to gain a new perspective.
“I was like … there must be something we’re not talking about. There must be something we don’t get to know about,” she said. “I have discovered a whole world, and that helped me to have more respect, and that also helped me to try to get as [much] information as I can, [to] not [be] satisfied with what [I heard] at first,” she said.
“When you get to study a new language to a certain level, you actually have to change your mind setting,” said Lavecchia. “Even if you don’t really study the culture ... you have to switch to a different system, so it helps you be more open-minded and more flexible.”
Lavecchia has enjoyed having the opportunity to continue her language studies at Bowdoin. She studied Arabic two years ago and she is currently taking a German course.
She added, “I’ve also taken Italian classes here, which might sound strange, but it’s interesting because they study Italian here from a very different perspective, so it gives me a comparative view of my own language and culture and literature.”
If she does not get into an American graduate program, she will return to Italy to continue her work with immigrants.
“The refugee-immigrant situation is difficult in Europe now, but working in these kind of situations, you really [do] something to make integration possible, you know what I mean? It’s like, you don’t only help the immigrants, you also help the people around you to understand what it is like to be a refugee or an immigrant in such a situation.”
When the language school for immigrants first responded to her application to work there, she was nervous about what her job might be like.
“It was challenging at first because I felt like I had a lot of things to do to be good at my job, but then these people, they really wanted to be there. They really wanted to do something to improve their lives, so their attention, their commitment to studying, was amazing, and I’ve learned a lot,” she said.
“There are also exchange programs [for Bowdoin students] to go to France or Italy to teach, and it’s good because maybe students who didn’t think about it, [when] they come to our classes, they see that our experience here is so good, and they feel like they want to do that … so they think like, I can go abroad, work, improve my language skills and also travel.”
Studying foreign languages has encouraged Lavecchia to be open-minded.
“There’s always more … If you know more, you can get new perspectives. You can really get your own idea without being too influenced by what everybody says.
Behind the Name tag: Hidden hobby: from hard drives to hot rods
Crystal Hall, associate professor in the digital humanities, has fond memories of participating in the Brunswick Memorial Day Parade. She rode alongside her father and Rene Bernier, laboratory instructor/support manager and Science Center manager, as they gave rides in their World War II Jeeps to veterans. These experiences piqued her interest in cars, and as soon as she was old enough to hold a screwdriver, she began helping her dad in his garage.
Hall began seriously working on cars when she was 13.
“We restored my Jeep before I got my learner’s permit so that we could go off-roading with it,” she said.
Hall is currently in the process of creating a hot rod from a 1934 Dodge, a car of particular sentimental value as it is the same type of car her grandfather drove. She has restored one and half cars with her dad, but the ’34 Dodge will be the first hot rod she has built.
Creating a hot rod is the process of drastically improving old cars—different from restoring cars, which is taking an old car and bringing it back to working order.
Building a hot rod can be time-consuming and frustrating. For Hall and her father, it is more like a jigsaw puzzle.
“The biggest challenge with the hot rod is that you have a completely blank canvas to work with,” said Hall. “My father and I are very meticulous about history and historical accuracy and being very precise in our work, but there isn’t a blueprint for how to make this hot rod, so it’s really challenging our creative side.”
As a professor whose main focus is working with computers, working with cars allows Hall to clear her mind and get her hands dirty. Unlike coding, where the products are on a screen, the results of restoring cars are tangible and immediate.
“It’s satisfying to code, but it’s a completely different satisfaction to clean something, paint something and put something together,” said Hall.
Through her work restoring and building cars, Hall has noticed improvements in other areas of her life. She credits these improvements to the intelligence her dad has shared with her.
“Watching him think and problem solve and the different ways he approaches problems has helped me to be more flexible and open to different ways of solving problems,” said Hall. “When you are coding, that’s the best thing you can ask for.”
Another benefit of creating a hot rod is having the ability to build it exactly to one’s needs. With the ’34 Dodge, Hall is planning to install a Corvette engine and transmission as a nod to her dad’s favorite type of cars. She is planning on picking a Porsche color for the car as a nod to her long-lasting infatuation with Porsches.
“That’s where the amalgamation of parts and pieces of different places comes into play,” Hall said. “We’re picking from the things we really like and the flexibility of being able to put them together.”
Hall and her father plan to begin the assembly process of the Dodge in September and hope to have it up and running by next summer. They went on a road trip to retrieve the car parts and plan to go on another one when the hot rod is finished.
“I have a feeling hot rods are in my future for a long time,” said Hall.
Behind the Name tag: Security’s Allen Daniels relishes time at Bowdoin
Working as a security officer on a college campus isn’t for everyone, but Security Officer Allen Daniels says working at Bowdoin makes his job easy.
“It’s the students. I wouldn’t do this job for any other college—I can’t imagine it,” said Daniels. “I genuinely appreciate the students here. I love my conversations with them. They make my job very, very easy.”
Born and raised in southern New Hampshire, Daniels graduated high school and enlisted in the Army. For four years, he was a part of the third U.S. Infantry Regiment, a unit commonly known as the Old Guard.
“In the Old Guard, we do all the ceremonies and funerals in Arlington National Cemetery…we do all the simple and full honor funerals,” said Daniels. “We’re also the official escort to the president. We are kind of a ceremonial post—we do have training, but we don’t have a wartime mission, only to honor the fallen.”
After his time in the army, Daniels lived in Washington D.C. to gain his “city experience” and then went on to graduate from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Eventually, he settled in Maine with his girlfriend (now wife), applied for a job at Bowdoin, and was given the position six months later.
“I come to work pretty happy every day, and leave happy every day. The hardest part of my job is seeing people make poor decisions, and I do see people at their worst—I don’t often get to see them at their best, just because I’m usually here during the night time,” said Daniels.
Last weekend, Daniels and the rest of the security staff prepared for Ivies. Security was given post assignments a week ahead of time. Security was out in full force, stationing as many officers as possible at each event.
“We [aim to] guide things, rather than manipulate what’s happening. It goes back to what I said previously, I wouldn’t want to do this at another school,” said Daniels. “So even this big weekend, our stress level does go up, but mostly because of long hours. The stuff we deal with—especially this Ivies—is really not that much. We had two transports [one alcohol related and one injury related], and other than that it was well-controlled chaos. It’s just planning.”
In his opinion, the weekend went smoothly, and contrary to popular belief, the real trouble did not stem from Bowdoin students. Rather, visitors of students and town residents caused the brunt of the problems during the weekend.
“The drinking gets a lot of publicity, but comparatively speaking, it’s really well-contained,” said Daniels. “I think the policies here, the ResLife office, and the Deans’ office do a good job. It helps to make sure that everyone has a really good time and is safe doing so.”
Outside of Bowdoin, Daniels runs and plays disc golf, but the majority of his time is spent skiing and taking care of his newborn daughter.
“Her name is Evelyn Winter. Evelyn is my wife’s grandmother’s name. Winter is because I love winter—the deeper the snow the better... I live to ski and for sliding on snow. My first job was at a ski shop, waxing skis, and I’ve done just about every job on the mountain, and I have loved all of them.”
Daniels lives in Phippsburg, close to Brunswick, but will always call southern New Hampshire home. Although he misses his mountains and their peaks, he always looks on the brighter side.“I joke with my wife that if I can’t live in the mountains, the beach isn’t a bad place to be.”
Editor's note: A previous version of this article did not clarify that of the two transports during Ivies weekend that Daniels mentions in a quotation, one was in relation to alcohol and the other was in response to a student sustaining a serious injury. Officially, there was only one alcohol-related "transport" during the weekend.
Behind the Name tag: Paul Joyce: hitting the waves for Bowdoin
Paul Joyce wears many hats on Bowdoin’s campus. He works for the Office of Safety and Security, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) and drives boats for the Department of Earth and Oceanographic Science (EOS).
Joyce is a retired marine patrol warden for the state of Maine, and has been working at the College since 2011.
Born in Brookline, Mass., Joyce has lived and worked all over the coast of Maine, from the Canadian border to Downeast. He graduated with a degree in biology from the University of Massachusetts Boston. After graduation, he went to work for the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) in Maine.
“I didn’t have the patience to sit in the lab,” Joyce said. “I had to move and be outside.”
As a supervisor in the DMR, Joyce was in charge of a 47-foot boat—set up like a lobster boat—with a team of six. Their biggest task was oversight of fishing off the coast of Maine.“Fishing itself is so highly regulated that in order to comply with all the rules, you have to have some sort of regulatory body, although we look for voluntary compliance,” Joyce said.
The DMR is also tasked with handling issues of pollution and public safety. They are responsible for all of Maine’s waters, which are quite extensive due to the miles of coastline and numerous bays and islands that extend the state’s water boundaries.
Following retirement, he came to Bowdoin through his connections to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols, formerly a major in the state police, and David Mercier, who runs the boat for Associate Professor of Earth and Oceanographic Science Emeritus Edward Laine. These days, Joyce does security at the BCMA on weekends, drives boats for classes and teaches van certification classes on campus.
“It’s a fun job, being retired,” Joyce said. “The campus is busy, very vibrant with students. It makes for a very interesting day or evening.”
“I’m always shifting gears. It’s really good. Working with the coastal studies [classes] is probably the part I enjoy the most,” said Joyce. “I get to see the latest and greatest with the sciences that they’re coming out with in schools and hear some of the lectures.”
Outside of Bowdoin, Joyce leads recreational tidewater fishing groups on his own boat. He has permission from the state for all kinds of guiding except whitewater rafting.
In addition to his nautical interests, Joyce gardens extensively at his home. In his raised-bed garden he grows cucumbers, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini and sunflowers.
“If you can eat it, I’ll grow it. And if you can grow it in Maine, I’ll eat it,” he said.Joyce has two children—a son studying illustration and concept art in Sweden and a daughter graduating from the UC Davis School of Law in four weeks.
With all of his work, guiding, gardening and keeping in touch with his family, he hardly has a minute to rest.
“Retirement is busy,” he said with a laugh.
Behind the Name tag: Dowd finds inspiration in art he protects
For Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) security guard Dan Dowd, guarding the museum’s collection is more than just a nine-to-five job; it’s brain food for his own creative aspirations.
A Mass. native, Dowd moved to Maine in 2001 to pursue art. In 2007, he joined Bowdoin’s new security staff after the BCMA reopened following its renovation.
After taking studio art and art history courses during his undergraduate years at Framingham State University and immersing himself in a project to renovate a 19th century home, Dowd discovered his passion for found materials and objects since moving to Maine.
“I’m really interested in objects—why they were made, how they were used, how long they were used, and ultimately why they were discarded,” said Dowd.
Dowd draws inspiration from his local transfer station—where waste is deposited—collecting materials, fibers and random objects to use as fodder for his work.
“Documentation of items, events, people and places is the driving force behind my found object and installation work,” Dowd writes in his artist statement.
His work aims to highlight parallels between the lives of humans and the lives of objects.
Dowd analogized the “patinas that objects develop and [the] wrinkles that humans develop and how people change through their lives.”
According to Dowd, patinas—the thin layer, such as rust oxidization, that materials acquire over time—may convey a variety of emotions, from comedy to tragedy to drama. His goal in rescuing these forgotten items and giving them a “second chance” is to depict and show the beauty and history of items that wouldn’t normally be praised for their aesthetic value.
In addition to his current Gallery Framing exhibition on Pleasant Street, Dowd has been showcasing his artwork predominantly across the Northeast for over 10 years. Past solo exhibitions of his include "Anna Hepler's Head" at the Coleman Burke Gallery in Brunswick and "Born Again" at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. He has also been featured in several group exhibitions.
As a museum security guard, Dowd is constantly exposed to new artwork, which continuously gives him new ideas.
“I’m certainly influenced by the works on the walls,” Dowd said. “As soon as new work goes on the walls, I can’t wait to eat it up and find out about it.”
Dowd said he is particularly excited to see new pieces from the museum’s upcoming exhibit: “PAST FUTURES: Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas.” According to Dowd, the best part of his job is meeting people and learning about new artists. As far as aspirations for the future, Dowd hopes to continue showcasing his work in the community.
Dowd’s work will be included in Art in the Park in Worcester, MA, this summer, in addition to a solo installation at the Masonic Temple in Portland this July.
“I would love to eventually be affiliated with and be represented by a gallery,” Dowd said. “My ultimate goal is to be a working artist that survives solely through my artwork.”
Dowd’s work is on display through Saturday at the Gallery Framing in Brunswick as part of the “Paired Devices” exhibition—a gathering of the work of five mid-coast Maine artists surrounding tools, hardware and everyday objects.
Behind the Name tag: Hutton joins digital, physical in her work
If you’ve ever walked through the hallways and galleries of the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance, you’ve probably seen Visual Arts Technician Tara Hutton installing artwork or training students on how to use a bandsaw.
While working as a studio assistant for the art department for her alma mater, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Hutton searched for opportunities to relocate to New England.
“I’ve lived in Maryland my whole life, up until now. But I always wanted to move up here,” said Hutton. “Almost all of the schools I looked at when I was applying to undergrad were in New England. I think this is kind of fulfilling high school Tara’s dream.”
Hutton arrived at Bowdoin during the renovations of the Edwards center in 2013. During her first few weeks, she was responsible for consolidating all equipment and supplies for the Visual Arts and Dance departments from the many places on campus into the new facility.
“Nobody knows this building the way I do because I’ve set up everything in here,” said Hutton.
With this extensive knowledge, Hutton manages the maintenance of the studios and galleries, purchases and repairs equipment, and assists with exhibitions like the Senior Studio and end-of-the-semester shows.
Working in an artistic environment is not new for Hutton. As an undergraduate studying art and art history, she made digital artwork, designed web pages, constructed sets for theater productions, and helped manage several exhibitions at the Boyden Gallery at St. Mary’s. And although her responsibilities revolve around helping others showcase their art, Hutton continually creates her own works as side-projects.
“In undergrad, I was interested in sexual identity politics,” said Hutton. “Now, I think ultimately I’m mostly interested in art that is displayed and accessed through the web.”
Her most recent work (which can be viewed at tnhutton.com) explores Hutton’s move from Maryland to Maine and how it has affected her memories.
“I’ve been interested in exploring memory and how memories inform each other,” said Hutton. “Biologically, every time you access a memory it rewrites it. You’re kind of being continually informed by your current experiences, so there’s never a pure memory.”
To convey these ideas, Hutton creates a moving digital image that overlays pixels of colors between two photos of Maryland and Maine. Creating this artwork is made easier with the Edwards Digital Media Lab, which has the software Hutton uses to manipulate photos.“Coming up here, the lab’s been super nice,” said Hutton. “It’s the nicest lab I’ve ever seen.”
Having always lived in coastal areas, Hutton appreciates Brunswick’s proximity to nature.“It was really important to be so close to the water,” Hutton said. “I remember asking that in my first interview with the [Dean’s Office], ‘How close am I to the ocean?’ My partner Laura and I are really into hiking and I love having Bradbury Mountain ten minutes away.”
This spring marks Hutton’s second year at Bowdoin, and she said that the best part of her job has been working with students and trying new kinds of materials or helping them to set up installations. The creative atmosphere of the Edwards Art Center enables her to be surrounded by what she enjoys the most.
“I’ve always been kind of a maker, even at home,” said Hutton. “I love building things for the house, making jewelry or knitting…The act of creation that leads into an object, I really like that.”
Behind the Name tag: Prue nurtures Dining’s national image
When people think about Bowdoin, two things come to mind. For the latter, Polar Bears can thank Lester Prue the unit manager of Moulton Union Dining Hall for Bowdoin Dining Service.“I think Bowdoin’s commitment to quality is actually part of why I applied here in the first place,” said Prue. “People here love their jobs and take pride in what they do.” Born and raised in the western region of Maine, Prue started his career at Bowdoin in 1976. He originally discovered the beauty of midcoast Maine after spending a few summers working in lobster shacks in the Brunswick area. It was while working at one of these shacks that he heard about an open position as a cook for Bowdoin’s fraternities. He jumped on the opportunity to stay in Brunswick full-time.
Prue, who now calls Portland home, says that he enjoys his current position. Nonetheless, he admits missing the student interaction and personal relationships he built by being in more interactive Bowdoin Dining Positions.
“[My first job] was a good way to get to know the students well,” he said. “I’m actually still in touch with a couple of them.”
While he can still be seen in the serving line and helping out in the Moulton kitchen, Prue has moved toward the administrative side of dining.
As the Unit Manager, he oversees all operations of the Moulton Dining Hall, from staff scheduling to menu design.
“I follow an 8:00 am to 5:00 pm schedule now,” he said.
A 39-year veteran of Bowdoin Dining—he jokes that Joshua Chamberlain graduated right before he started working here—Prue is no stranger to change. President-elect Rose will be Bowdoin’s sixth president since Prue started his career here and he doesn’t anticipate major changes with regards to dining services as a result of a new president.
While each President brings a unique perspective and personality to the job, Prue says Bowdoin Dining remains consistent. He asserts that Dining has been strong for his entire career.
“Bowdoin is well-known across the country [for its food],” he said. “I love that when I go to conferences and meetings people know our name.”
According to him, the biggest changes he has seen during his time here have been in the diversity of recipes used, increasing over the years to better reflect the growing diversity of Bowdoin students’ and dietary restrictions. He also notes that Bowdoin has become much more conscious of buying locally-sourced food.
In addition to the oft-cited ethical reasons for eating locally, changes to sourcing methods also have a practical purpose: helping to mitigate the rising cost of food. Prue identifies addressing this issue as the biggest challenge Bowdoin Dining Service currently faces, and says that it is likely one they will face for many years to come.
Outside of Bowdoin, Prue can often be found exploring the vibrant restaurant scene in Portland, cycling along the coast, or spending time with his nine grandchildren.
For Prue, working for Bowdoin Dining Service has been a career well spent. Bowdoin has been an important part of his life for nearly four decades and he looks forward to its continued importance for years to come.
Behind the Name tag: Books a constant companion for Tucker
Although Course Materials and General Book Manager Michael Tucker is a lifelong bibliophile, it took him a while to find his calling.
“I originally thought that I was going to be a physical therapist, so I started my college career at [Ithaca College],” said Tucker. “I remember sitting in chemistry class and my professor was passing back the exams. She said, ‘the grades ranged from a 44 to a 99 percent,’ and I looked at mine and it was a forty-seven. I just realized that I kind of picked the wrong field.”
Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Ithaca College was only the start of Tucker’s college career. After his change of heart, he transferred to Syracuse University—which was too big for his liking—and eventually found his place at Le Moyne College. “I had a great professors there—Dr. Clarkson—she used to smoke a cigar and we’d go into her office and she’d have a little teacup,” said Tucker. “She was just a character, but she was a great teacher.”
The small, Jesuit, liberal arts school gave him the one-on-one relationship he wanted with his professors, and helped rediscover his true passion: English.
“In high school I wrote for my school newspaper, and when I got to college I began writing for my college newspaper,” said Tucker. “Books have always been there, writing has always been there, and I have done other things with my life, but I have always fallen back into being around books.”
About 15 years ago, Tucker and his wife moved to Maine. Prior to their move, they had both worked at the bookstore chain Barnes & Noble. Whenever a new store would open they would be relocated, moving from Syracuse to Rochester to Buffalo.
“We just got tired of moving and we decided that we were just going to pick a place to settle down. We just decided on Maine,” Tucker said. “When we first got here, neither of us had jobs, which was kind of scary...Then I saw an ad in the paper advertising for this job. I loved books and had the background in it and applied.”
This December is his 10-year anniversary working at the College.
Some of his responsibilities include ordering the textbooks—searching for used books and putting in orders for new books—and coordinating with the Events Office when there are events on campus that involve book signings. Tucker said the people are by far his favorite part of working at Bowdoin.
“There are so many creative and interesting people. We just have a great community,” he said.
Tucker finds many ways to diversify his hobbies. From surfing lessons to cricket, from printmaking to learning to play the electric guitar, he pursues various passions. It all comes back to books, however.
“I do write a lot for myself, creatively,” he said. “I travel to Woodstock, New York. Every year there’s a festival down there, and I meet a lot of creative people there...I promised my mom that I would get published in her lifetime.”
Behind the Name tag: Museum curator continues his lifelong passion for art at Bowdoin
Whether he is playing the piano for his kids, visiting museums across the globe or creating an exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Joachim Homann finds joy in artistic expression.
As curator of the museum, he organizes exhibitions from start to finish. His “inevitable love of the material” brought him to Bowdoin.
“I always liked drawing, and when I was twelve I really started to enjoy it. I just get a lot of pleasure out of looking at things, and even more pleasure out of discussing or conversing with people about the things I see. I could spend hours and hours by just talking to friends about it,” said Homann. “I really enjoyed going to museums—they are safe places, inspiring, and fun. I always liked to travel—so to see the world en route to a museum was always my way of discovering things.”
Homann was born in Celle, Germany and obtained all of his historical training in Germany. He finished his Ph. D. at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. He had access to world-renowned artists, who helped him discover his biggest dreams.
“At least three of the professors I was working most closely with had fellowships at the Harvard Art Museums, and they always came back raving about their experience,” said Homann.
“When I then learned that there was a two-year fellowship available at the Harvard Art Museum to learn how academic art museums functioned, I thought, ‘This is my opportunity.’”During those years, he fostered a love for academic art museums. Leaving three siblings and his parents behind in Germany, he briefly taught at various institutions in the Boston area and in El Paso, Texas. He realized, however, that working with original artwork was what he liked best. Therefore, when the opportunity at Bowdoin presented itself, he took it.
“I love to work at Bowdoin and be steeped in more than two hundred years of democratic history,” said Homann. “People have been curious and cosmopolitan in Brunswick for a very long time.”
“Art is always irritating you; it is always driving you out of your comfort zone and it’s challenging your ability to learn. I think that’s such a fantastic thing to do on a college campus,” said Homann.
Outside of Bowdoin, Homann enjoys swimming at Simpson’s Point and cooking for friends—especially potato salad—and going for bike rides. His most recent endeavor was returning to one of his earlier hobbies—playing piano.
“I started earlier this year after a hiatus of 25 years, and the first thing I played was the Lego movie theme song for my kids on Facebook—they were traveling when I got the piano delivered. So many friends have liked the video that I am now working on a sequel.”
Along with his two sons, who are nine and four, he is learning about Judaism at Hebrew school—encouraged by his wife, Natasha Goldman, teaching associate in art history.
“There might be something special for a German to have an American Jewish wife. We are raising our children Jewish and to me it’s a fantastic experience,” said Homann. “It’s great to learn about and get to know the Jewish and interfaith community at Bowdoin. I always see that as a special privilege about being in the United States.”
Currently, Homann is helping to develop an upcoming exhibition, “Night Vision: Nocturnes in the American Art.”
“Many of these pieces are contemplative; they are very personal, and it seems that night paintings resonate in a very different way compared to other works of art,” said Homann. “You immediately relate them to your own experience of the night, you connect them to the world that you see at night. It gets you emotionally involved right away.”
Behind the Name tag: Divination, dining are fast-track Staples
Students on the run in Smith Union will recognize Brandy Staples as the woman who provides their lunchtime nourishment to go.
Staples (“like the office supply store,” she said) works at the counter of Fast Track at Jack Magee’s Pub, a weekday lunchtime operation that serves bagged meals to students in a hurry.While Staples enjoys the job overall, it is not always easy. She serves between 200 and 250 patrons on any given day during her 3.5 hour shift.
“You do not stop. Once you get here, you continue to go,” Staples said.
In addition to working at Bowdoin, Staples owns her own business. She hand makes and sells dowsing pendulums, which are crystals or stones at the end of chains that are used for divination and spiritual activities. Staples sells most of her products via online retailers such as Etsy and Ebay.
“I make everything from scratch. If it is not handmade by me, I make sure it is handmade,” said Staples.
Staples has a close connection to Maine. She grew up in nearby Phippsburg and returned there after living in Massachusetts for a time.
“Maine is a nice place to live and raise a family. People up here are more genuine [than in Massachusetts],” she said.
Staples earned an associate’s degree in travel and hospitality. She also has a certificate in medical billing and coding. As for her past work, Staples has consistently worked in the retail and food-service sector.
Almost three years ago, Staples ended up at Bowdoin by what she describes as “the lines of fate.” During her time here, Staples has interacted with many members of the Bowdoin community and especially enjoys getting to know Bowdoin students.
“I can’t believe how polite you guys are,” she said. “[Bowdoin students] are so funny: I’ll accidentally grab the wrong thing and you guys will apologize to me. It’s just funny because you are apologizing to me when I made the mistake.”
Staples is impressed by Bowdoin students’ tendency toward environmental awareness, noting how students have pushed for reusable lunch bags.
“There’s a lot of things here that I’ve really picked up from you guys,” Staples said. “People here are very intellectual, they’re always trying to learn new things and find better ways to do things so I’m glad we get to play off each other.”
In her free time, Staples is involved with activities at her church and describes herself as an “avid reader.”
“My goal in life is to finish all the books on my bookshelf before I die,” she said.
Behind the Name tag: Museum’s curator finds allure in the Arctic
Not everybody gets to pursue the career he or she dreamed of as a teenager, but Genevieve Lemoine, curator and registrar at the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, has followed her dream to the ends of the earth.
Lemoine said she has known that she wanted to be an archaeologist from the age of 17.
“I was very lucky that the Ontario government had a program for hiring high school and university students to do all kinds of different things, and one of them was archaeology,” she said.“So, I got a job doing archaeology in Ontario as a high school student for the summer. That confirmed that yes, that is what I wanted to do.”
Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Lemoine attended University of Toronto, Scarborough College for her undergraduate degrees and received her Ph.D at the University of Calgary. It was not until she entered graduate school that she realized that she wanted to specialize in Arctic archaeology.
In 1986, Lemoine took her first trip to the Arctic.
“We had all the key experiences—we saw a polar bear at a safe distance, we had snow storms, we had our tents blown down,” she said. “It’s the kind of place that—when you go there—it’s hard to leave.”
Since then, Lemoine has been to the Arctic several times, doing field work for approximately 10 years. Afterward, Lemoine saw the job at Bowdoin as a perfect fit.
As curator and registrar of the Arctic Museum, Lemoine’s responsibilities include managing and overseeing the care of the collections and developing exhibits. Her diverse roles give her the ability to switch from typing up information to performing hands-on tasks with the collections, which keep her days exciting. She said she is especially enthusiastic about the museum’s continued growth.
“Because we are an actively collecting museum there’s always new things coming in; you never know when somebody’s going to call you up and say, ‘Would you like…’ or ‘My family has...’” said Lemoine.
The museum has received a large amount of art produced by the Inuit people, trace their origins back to the Arctic. Most recently, the museum received a call from a Freeport woman whose great-aunt was sent two postcards from Ross Marvin, the only member of Peary’s 1908 expedition to die during the long journey to the Arctic.
The most memorable call occurred in 2010, when the grandson of a man on MacMillan’s expedition wanted to donate various historical artifacts, pieces of equipment, scientific specimens, journals and photographs.
“He said, ‘Would you be interested in having some things that he had left over?’ He started just listing all of these things and I filled up two pages,” said Lemoine, who quickly accepted the donation.
Outside of her work at the museum, Lemoine enjoys rowing. She started a couple of years ago and is now hooked on the beautiful sites she sees and the animals she observes while on the water.
Lemoine said she has enjoyed all the places she has called home. When asked whether she liked living in Canada or Maine better, she joked, “Well, what I tell my friends is that Maine is almost like Canada.”
Behind the Name tag: Bringing ideas to reality in Searles
From Learning Glass—a high tech demonstration tool used for online videos—for the economics department, to a revolving chair for the art department, days in Searles room 20 are anything but ordinary with mechanics Robert Stevens and Benjamin King. When members of the Bowdoin community go to them with their blueprints, Kind and Stevens build them into reality—and then some.
“[We] always try to find something that will do a little bit better than [what] they ask for,” said Stevens.
Born in Massachusetts and raised in Woolwich, Maine, King grew up loving mechanics. “I've always had kind of an interest in this sort of thing,” said King, “My father was a physicist, and was a very hands-on kind of guy. He was at MIT, and I used to go hang out at his lab and that’s where I started making stuff. I enjoyed the work.”
He has been working at Bowdoin for five years and currently resides in Bath. Stevens held a number of different jobs before coming to Bowdoin.
After graduating from Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute into 1972, he was drafted into the Navy. After his tour of duty, he worked at Bath Iron Works for six months before being laid off, and from there he went to the Pejepscot Paper Mill as a mechanic. When he heard about an opportunity at Bowdoin he applied and got the job.
“It was the right place for me because I like the idea of being able to develop designs of my own making, and this place allows me to do that.” said Stevens.
Stevens has been working at Bowdoin since 1978 and currently lives in Harpswell, Maine. Stevens and King take their jobs very seriously. Every project must be thought out precisely so that Bowdoin is not held liable.
“If somebody comes in here I have to be careful,” said Stevens, “With the revolving chair, I saw liabilities mixed in. There are some things you may say, ‘I don’t feel comfortable doing [this].’”
King and Stevens have many other interests beyond the campus as well. Stevens enjoys going on five-mile walks to get rid of stress and is currently building a house. One of his favorite things to do is to spend time with his grandchildren and find innovative, if not old-school, ways to bond with them.
“They can at least hammer nails and do something that isn’t working with digital stuff.”King loves to engage in outdoor activities like paddling and hiking, and has a great love for motorcycles. He credits his dad for this passion and collects antique motorcycles. In his free time he loves to read short fiction stories, and his newest adventure is mountain biking.
“I just recently got back into [mountain biking] to find that it’s totally changed. The bikes are now ludicrously expensive and have all sorts of fantastic features.”
Throughout their years of working on campus, Stevens and King have greatly appreciated their work, the people they have met, and the atmosphere of the College itself.“I don’t know quite how I lucked into arriving here,” said King.
Behind the Name tag: In good health: Catching up with doctor Birgit Pols
She has traveled around the world, she has gone scuba diving with whale sharks in the Maldives and she has even played competetive croquet, but what really excites Dr. Birgit Pols is providing health care to students.
Bowdoin’s new director of health services has been working in college health for over eight years—most recently at New York University (NYU) and NYU Abu Dhabi, located in the United Arab Emirates.
“NYU Abu Dhabi was sort of this magical, mystical place that none of us really knew much about,” said Pols. “The opportunity presented itself to go there for the short term, and I took advantage of it.”
Although Pols only expected to work at NYU Abu Dhabi for a few weeks, she ended up staying for four years. While there, she lived and collaborated with Emirati students, getting to know each of them by name.
Working with the small community of NYU students was a factor in Pols’ decision to come to Bowdoin.
“I learned how much I really love providing health care at a liberal arts college,” she said.Pols also has a strong connection to the area.
“I grew up in Maine, so I’ve always known about Bowdoin and always found it a very exciting place,” she said. “Having the opportunity to get to know students here, to get to know my colleagues here—those are the things that energize me.”
Pols has years of experience in the medical field, both on land and at sea. An avid scuba diver, she has achieved the distinction of being a dive master, a master scuba diver and a dive medical technician.
Besides diving in the Maldives with whale sharks, some of Pols’ favorite dives have been in Thailand and the Great Barrier Reef.
Pols is already diving right into her work at Health Services and taking every opportunity to engage with students. She is working with peer health educators and the Department of Athletics and is serving as staff advisor to Reed House.
“Birgit has been incredibly friendly and communicative with Reed House. I know I speak for all of us when I say that we are glad to have her,” said Jacob Russell ’17, the programming director of Reed.
Pols will be hosting a question and answer session about campus health at Reed next Thursday.
Pols said she does not anticipate making any large-scale changes to the current campus health care system.
“Hopefully any changes I would make would seem seamless to the students because what I would be looking to do would be to improve access to care,” she said.
Pols said she hopes any changes that come will benefit both students and staff. “The most important [task] is either directly providing patient care or supporting my staff who are providing patient care,” Pols said.
At the same time, she hopes to focus on establishing connections with the Bowdoin community.
If you see Pols working out in the gym early in the morning or practicing her croquet swing on the snowy Reed lawn, stop and introduce yourself. After all, your health and is in her hands.
Behind the Name tag: Information technology's Andrew Biedrzycki revs up for scooter rally
Experimenting with the Linux operating system and restoring a 1966 Vespa may be foreign concepts to some, but for Audiovisual/Computing Specialist Andrew Biedrzycki, this is business as usual.
Biedrzycki came to Bowdoin as an intern during his time at Southern Maine Community College to complete the curriculum for his computer technology major. He later applied to his current position in Information Technology (IT), which he has held for seven years.
“Audiovisual isn’t really where my strength was, but coming into the position you learn on your feet,” Biedrzycki said.
When he’s not working at Bowdoin, Biedrzycki enjoys tinkering with Linux, an operating system with an open source code that encourages a community to build around it.
In addition to his technological pursuits, he’s restoring a 1966 Vespa with his brother and organizing a scooter rally for this summer.
“Currently two of my brothers, a friend, and I are planning the second annual Ski’s Shrimp Run. A bunch of scooters get together and we take a cruise up to Richmond and enjoy the day. My brother has always been into scooters and and motors, so my dad always joked about starting a scooter gang, and it evolved into this fun thing we did last year and are doing again this year,” he said.
Although they expected the event to be small, about 75 people showed up, including people from Nova Scotia and out of state.
Biedrzycki grew up in Topsham, and both he and his other family members still live there. He and his wife were married in Bowdoin’s Cram Alumni Barn and are currently expecting a child.As part of his work for IT at Bowdoin, Biedrzycki works on classroom projection, AV technology, and preparing events with microphones and projection.
“Every day is a little bit different and a challenge. They keep us busy,” Biedrzycki said.“Some days I’ll be setting up meetings talking about infrastructure, or I’ll be setting up microphones for President Mills for his ‘Life After Bowdoin’ talks. This Wednesday night I helped assist with the French flash mob in Thorne,” he said.
Some of his most memorable moments at Bowdoin are setting up for events. Through assisting in event setup and preparation, he’s seen and met people like Poet Laureate Richard Blanco and the creator of PostSecret Frank Warre.
Another enjoyable aspect of the job is getting to set up and staff events during Commencement and Reunion Weekend.
“During reunion there’s a lot of different events that take place, and they try to keep people busy all weekend long,” Biedrzycki said.
AV sets up everything from slideshows and old movies in the pub to Dance Dance Revolution for kids to organized dinners for the different classes—which often feature alumni speakers.
“It’s interesting because you get to see people come back and enjoy the place and be nostalgic for when they were here. You can hear some of their stories, and it’s a really great time,” he said.Biedrzycki said he enjoys working at Bowdoin.
“Bowdoin’s always been a thing. Growing up, you know it’s there but don’t really go there. Once I started working here and seeing how beautiful the campus is, I’ve seen how it’s a really great place to work,” Biedrzycki said. “Everyday is different. I couldn’t imagine going to an office and doing paperwork all the time. There’s so much here to keep you interested.”
Behind the Name tag: Art buff: Manager of Museum Security Hanson is also a globetrotter
Manager of Museum Security Operations Timothy Hanson is a true Mainer. Growing up in Rumford, Hanson led a normal life with loving parents and traditional schooling. In his junior year of high school, his horizons expanded past Maine, when he learned that his passion lay in a six-lettered word—travel.
“When I was in high school, I started taking a Spanish class and convinced my teacher to bring us to Mexico...It was pretty wild,” he said. “She was a fantastic teacher and I was amazed that she was convinced because it was a bunch of 16, 17 year olds that she was going to bring to Mexico. And then I got the bug for languages and travel at that point.”
In his final year of high school Hanson went to Mexico City to explore. He rented a hotel for 30 days, immersing himself in the culture. On his trip he got his passport stolen and admits to making some poor choices.
“I figured, I survived. ...The experience of being so far from home, in a different culture, feeling how other people feel and perceive the United States...is really, really an amazing experience.”
After graduating high school, Hanson attended University of Maine in Orono. There he studied French, Spanish and Russian, earning a degree in Modern Languages. In college, Hanson studied in southern Spain for a year and visited Morocco and France. After graduation, however, Hanson struggled to find a job in his field.
“I wasn’t too excited about the employment prospects, so I decided that I would get certified as an ESL teacher,” he said. “I did that and then I went to Spain with the intent of teaching English as a foreign language. It didn’t work out because in 2008 the economy there was really hitting the pits. I stayed there for about eight months and then I came back and I needed a job, so I found a job in security, just as a security officer in a corporate account. I did that for a few years and then I came here.”
Hanson now lives in Brunswick with his wife, who also loves to travel. They save money for traveling and enjoy back-trail hiking. This fall they are going to Barcelona and Paris.
At Bowdoin, Hanson is responsible for management of all security at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, working with the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and the campus. At the art museum, he generally runs into three different groups of visitors: visiting students, members of the Brunswick community and Bowdoin students. Hanson particularly enjoys when Bowdoin students visit because of their familiarity with the security and staff members. He recalled a humerous incident when a visitor did not fall into any of these categories.
“Working at the museum, often times you get unique personalities,” he said. “There was one gentleman who just had a very strange way with acting. He would make all sorts of gestures at the artwork while he was looking at it. He would shoot his arms out at the artwork and do little dances in front of it. The gentleman would come into the museum, change his clothing—put on different shoes and socks—the whole nine yards—go in, look at the art, come back out, change, again, to go home.”
Behind the Name tag: Mountain man Richard Hart helms Smith Union Dining
When Richard Hart is working as the cash operations night manager at Smith Union, he keeps his mind on the money. However, his favorite pastime does not cost a penny—he lives for Maine’s wilderness.
The Topsham native and his fiancé, Matt, who works at Thorne Dining Hall, have hiked the entire 100-Mile Wilderness, the Maine portion of the Appalachian Trail that is widely considered the wildest portion of the trail.
“The wilderness was brutal, but it was a lot of fun at the same time,” said Hart.
He and his husband-to-be have summited all of the 4,000-foot peaks in Maine and New Hampshire and are starting on the mountains in Vermont.
It is fitting, then, that the couple will be married on Maine’s Tumbledown Mountain this June.
Although a Mainer through and through, Hart spent some time living in Florida and working at Walt Disney World, after graduating from Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham.
“I worked at Bongo’s Cuban Café, which is in Downtown Disney and owned by Gloria Estefan,” said Hart.
Although he enjoyed the experience, Hart found himself back in Maine after 10 years in Florida, working as a bartender at Sea Dog Brewing Company. It was there that he heard about the opening at Bowdoin.
As the cash operations night coordinator, Hart handles the revenue from the three operations in Smith Union—the Café, Jack Magee’s Pub and Grill and the Bowdoin Express—and supervises all the students who work for cash operations in Smith Union during his shift from 4 p.m. to midnight.
Hart is aided by 12 student managers who help him ensure that cash operations run smoothly throughout the night.
While his job can be hectic, Hart said he enjoys the constant bustle in Smith Union.
“I probably wouldn’t have it any other way working for Bowdoin,” Hart said.
He also said he enjoys experiencing the many events held in the Pub. Senior Pub Nights and a cappella performances make the top of his list, along with those rare Racer X concerts.
As much entertainment as there is to be had in Smith Union, however, Hart always finds himself back at the trailhead. Having summited Katahdin several times, Hart has experience on all of the trails leading to its peak—even the infamous Knife Edge. Hart said that under normal conditions the Knife Edge is manageable, but that it all depends on the weather.
This year, after summiting Pamola Peak—the lower of the two Katahdin peaks—and beginning the trek across the Knife Edge to Baxter Peak, Hart met a frightening sight.
“On the other side, we saw this huge black cloud come rolling in,” Hart said.
The wind picked up and it began to rain, but Hart couldn’t be deterred.
“I stuck with it and made it through even though I couldn’t see two feet in front of me,” he said.Poor weather conditions and hikes in Baxter State Park may sound familiar to the ears of Bowdoin students, especially those who went on Orientation trips. He participated in one of the Outing Club’s trips a few years ago, day-hiking to Mount Blue, Tumbledown Mountain and Little Jackson Mountain.Hart said the students were glad to have him on their trip because of his expertise in the food business.“I got pretty creative with the food that we had,” said Hart, who made tuna quesadillas and other inventive dishes to energize the staples of Orientation trips—cheese blocks and pepperoni from a plastic bag. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Hart disdains classic trail fare.
“When you get the top you’re like, ‘Oh god, I can’t wait to have that hunk of cheese and pepperoni,’” Hart said.
After 12 years at Bowdoin, Hart has had time to develop his Dining favorites. He said he is a big fan of the Grill’s salads, pizza and fries.
Hart said his favorite drink at the Café is “the butternut squash smoothie.” He recommends adding protein powder for those who are stopping by after the gym, or yogurt for anyone looking for some extra flavor.
As if he were not busy enough scaling Maine’s peaks in his off-time from his job at the Union, Hart has recently worked with his fiancé to restore an old home they bought last year. They have been doing it all by hand—with a little help from the Internet, of course.
“Thank God for Google and YouTube. I tell you, without those two, it wouldn’t be pretty,” said Hart.
Behind the Name tag: Calvo of the Copy Center, Bowdoin’s own poster man
Whether walking into Moulton, passing through the hallway in Smith Union or entering your dorm, you will see a display of bright posters advertising a dizzying array of on (and off) campus events. None of these would be possible without the dedicated efforts of Copy Center Coordinator Joe Calvo. Calvo oversees the online, mailed-in and walk-in printing requests from students, faculty and staff.
Calvo has worked in the printing business for nearly 50 years. He said that he applied to his former job at Xerox—his first in the industry—because he wanted a change from his 60-hour work week as an electrician.
“When I applied for the job, I didn’t even know what Xerox did...I didn’t know what I was going to be doing, but it all turned out well,” he said.
Behind the Name tag: OneCard coordinator Christopher Bird '07 crafts tales of horror through film
One of the only things more heart-stopping than losing your OneCard on a fateful weekend night is watching one of Christopher Bird’s ’07 horror films.
You may have crossed paths with Bird in his usual perch in the Coles Tower lobby. If you approach his window, chances are you need a new OneCard.
Mondays in particular are busy for Bird, Bowdoin’s OneCard coordinator, who spends a typical day replacing cards that have gotten lost or broken over the weekend.
Behind the Name tag: IT department staffer David Francis moonlights as haunted tour guide
Senior Interactive Developer for the Information Technology department David Francis likes to explore other worlds—the cyber and supernatural, that is.
Francis, who hails from rural Indiana, has become a Maine history buff since his arrival to Bowdoin in 2001, where he discovered a passion for the haunted history of Bowdoin’s campus.
“I thought to myself ‘I’m sitting in this New England campus that’s 200-plus years old—all these buildings—it just seems like there must be stories’,” he said.
Behind the Name tag: Catalogs and chords: library assistant Cook rocks ’n rolls
Students who frequent Hatch Science Library, whether they’re staffing the circulation desk or powering through a lab report, are probably familiar with Science Library Assistant Jeff Cook.
Now in his eighth year working at Bowdoin, Cook oversees many of the day-to-day operations of the library and is responsible for hiring, training and scheduling a staff of 20 to 25 students every semester.
Outside the library, Cook devotes a great deal of time to music. He plays drums and guitar for various bands in the area and has a small recording studio at his house that he claims to utilize often.
Behind the Name tag: From Baghdad to Bowdoin: security officer Shaun Hogan serves and protects
Bowdoin College Security, a team of over 20, is a diverse group, that includes Shaun Hogan, a self-proclaimed Legomaniac who is proficient in building his own custom computers and plays soccer and the drums.
Hogan, is now in his 13th month with the Bowdoin College Office of Safety and Security and hails from a background filled with stories.
Originally from North Haven, Conn., Hogan grew up with his younger brother Chris and two step-siblings who recently graduated from college.
Behind the Name tag: Mail clerk Voner helps students get mail signed, sealed, delivered
While many students may not recognize her by name, they likely know Alice Voner as the mail clerk in the Smith Union Mail Center with long, flowing hair.
Voner is currently in her third year working in the Mail Center, and she said she is fond of her position because of its frequent interaction with students.
“My favorite part of the job is the students,” she said. “Some of them need to be mothered; some still need to be gently taught how to mail a letter. I get to still be a mom, basically.”
Behind the Name tag: Just swiping in: Connie’s journey to Bowdoin
This is the first article in a new series that profiles staff members.
If you’re a Bowdoin student, Connie Chicoine has probably said your name, and she’s probably done it with a smile.
Chicoine is one of the weekend OneCard swipers at Thorne Dining Hall. After answering an Internet job position, Chicoine interviewed for a salad prep position, but was asked about her interest in the swiper position. She accepted the job and has been working at Thorne for over three years.