Triton Times: Eckerd College's Counselor Newsletter
Welcome back to school and to Triton Times: Eckerd College’s Counselor Newsletter, Issue 13!
As we start the new year, we want to take a quick minute to draw your attention to our event schedules. If you have students thinking of visiting us this fall, Open House is a great opportunity. This year’s Fall Open House will be held on Monday, November 11. Students can also attend one of our South Beach Supper Club events, their chance to meet and greet with current Eckerd students without those pesky admission folks (or parents) around.
We’ll also be coming to you! Please take a minute to check our travel calendars this fall to see when we’ll be near you. Check back frequently as we’re still finalizing our travel plans. And of course, always feel free to connect any interested student to us.
In the Spotlight - Computer Science
Everyone has a computer. Most people use a computer for something – for work, to Skype family overseas, to order clothes for the cat, to play World of Warcraft – something. Though we all are pretty familiar with computers, not many of us know what makes them work. Eckerd’s computer science program works with students who are interested in computers and helps them create an academic program that will prepare them for the workforce after graduation. Eckerd's computer science program is defined as a traditional computer science program that balances the theoretical and practical foundation for careers in computer science.
Our faculty believe in giving students the chance to experiment and work directly in the field. Students frequently participate in internships on campus (in our ITS department) and off campus as well. Additionally, we have a number of facilities that students use to DO computer science, not just read about it. We boast a microcomputer lab, workstation and server lab, integrated media lab/studio and computer science teaching lab as part of our program.
Students have completed real projects as part of their final examination in video game creation, computer architecture, evolutionary computation and more. At Eckerd College, students are participating in the kind of research that will help them be leaders as the field of computer science evolves. They will be the kind of computer scientists who are creative, flexible thinkers able to critically analyze problems, developing technology for our changing world.
Autumn Term at Eckerd College
Eckerd College’s approach to education is different and distinctive. While most colleges have short orientations for new students, usually about a week, Eckerd brings all the first-year students in three weeks early for a unique experience called Autumn Term. During Autumn Term, students take their first graded course at Eckerd in a subject designed to introduce them to college life. These courses help students to understand Eckerd’s style and philosophy as well as the academic expectations for work here. The courses we offer change every year and every professor at Eckerd will teach Autumn Term during their time here.
Our students come from many places and many kinds of education backgrounds, so our long orientation gives them a chance to begin to bond as a class. We know that settling in is as much about creating relationships with peers as it is about selecting the right courses. Autumn Term provides many social opportunities for students to connect with each other, finding students with similar interests as their own. From kayaking to trips to art museums, we provide ample opportunities for students to connect with their new classmates before our upperclassmen return to campus. Autumn Term helps students make Eckerd College their own.
Club of the Month - EC Flow (Hula Hooping Club)
Shelby Busque '14
What do you do in this club:
In EC Flow Club we get together to create hula hoops and learn new tricks. We also help with an organization based in Ybor City (Tampa) called Hoola for Happiness. We help them by raising money for hula hoop supplies, so they can then send hula hoops to children all over the world. We also choreographed dance performances with our LED hoops this year. Next year we hope to introduce other flow sports into our club in hopes of creating an Eckerd College circus community. Hopefully people who love to do poi, acrobats, slacklining, ribbon dancing, and more will join the club to help put on some awesome performances.
What is your favorite thing about this club:
My favorite thing about EC Flow is the excitement everyone shares for their passion of flow sports. It is really a wonderful community to be involved with and we all work very well together. I loved creating dances this year the most because it brought us all closer together and emphasized our true potential.
How did you first get involved with this club:
When I first came to Eckerd College, I saw people fire spinning and hula hooping and decided it looked like fun. I found a ride to Home Depot to buy supplies to make hoops and once I made one, I took it outside and began to hoop...horribly I might add. In doing so, I caught the eye of the former president and he watched me grow in my passion for the hoop. My passion to learn and my love for the dance got me the job of becoming the President for the club’s second year.
Who to contact for more information:
Shelby Busque, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Hogenboom '13
Tell us a little about yourself. What makes you a unique Eckerd student?
I came to Eckerd from Chicago because of the well known marine bio program (and to escape the Chicago winter). Freshman year I started racing triathlons here and have gotten totally hooked. We are in one of the best possible areas to train and race. A few of us started a Triathlon Club here that has been growing and is very successful. If I'm not in class or doing homework I'm probably out swimming, biking, or running.
Why did you decide to attend EC?
I decided to attend Eckerd because I thought the small school environment would be good for me. I love having small classes and getting to know my professors. It was a little weird coming from a high school that had over twice as many students as Eckerd, but I soon realized that the small school environment is amazing. Also, you definitely can't complain about the location. Where else can you go to school that has a beach on campus?
What are some traits or characteristics you find in most Eckerd students?
Eckerd students all seem to be very socially open. Everyone seems to get along with each other. Coming from a big high school where people kind of fell into separate social groups, it was great to get away from that.
How would you describe the academic environment at Eckerd?
Eckerd's academic environment is really unique. It's challenging without being unreasonable and you get to learn a lot through experience rather than just lectures. The professors are all very passionate about what they teach and really want you to learn and succeed. In many of the classes, I have learned above and beyond what I expected to learn. It's also really helpful to have small classes with lots of interaction and fieldwork.
How do you describe the social scene at Eckerd?
Everyone can fit in somewhere. There are so many organizations and clubs on campus as well as so many different people with different thoughts and ideas that everyone can find somewhere they feel comfortable.
What are some of your favorite things at Eckerd?
It’s hard to pick just a few things. The location is perfect, the professors and classes are great, and everything is set up to make students successful in academics as well as their own endeavors. One of the greatest things about Eckerd is ECOS (Eckerd College Organization of Students). Sophomore year when we started the Triathlon Club, we were amazed by how great the ECOS system is. They helped us along in forming the new club and we even got a pretty good budget to help us get started.
Where are you now and what are you doing?Computer science & Engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. My research involves developing new simulation methods for studying protein folding.
If you are employed, what does your job entail and how has your Eckerd experience impacted your career?My job consists of doing research and assisting with teaching classes. My day-to-day research activities including reading and writing papers, implementing mathematical models in computer programs, and running simulations to verify whether the models are correct. Eckerd provided a strong foundation for my work in graduate school. My thesis work with Professor Mauch and research work with Professor Debure allowed me to work very closely with both professors and receive significant personal attention through which I was able to develop important research skills. I became acquainted with reading research papers, writing formally, and giving presentations on my work to general audience, which has proven invaluable for graduate school. Through my math courses, I became comfortable interpreting and analyzing mathematical equations and models, which has enabled me to do the work I'm currently doing.
When I assist with classes, I develop and write assignments and solutions, give lectures, grade students' homework, and tutor students one-on-one. My professors at Eckerd provided invaluable role-models whom I often think of and try to mimic when preparing materials for classes or working with students. My experience at Eckerd has instilled in me a respect for a quality education for undergraduates, and I try to bring those same principles to my teaching at Notre Dame. As a result, I've won an award from the Kaneb Center and my department for being an outstanding teaching assistant. I also encourage my students to think about the interdisciplinary nature of computer science and try to instill interests in fields outside of computer science such as math, the other sciences, and humanities. I want my students to see the larger picture and how everything fits together – an attitude very much reminiscent of the education I received at Eckerd.
What unique or special opportunities did your Eckerd education provide and how have they impacted your life?I was given multiple opportunities to conduct undergraduate research and lots of guidance and advice. I also had the opportunity to take classes with Dean Chapin, the Dean of Faculty at the time, and Dean Annarelli, the Dean of Students, both of whom are excellent teachers and fountains of wisdom. In some cases, even the staff such as Walter Moore in ITS provided as much guidance as the faculty! As I said previously, Eckerd provided many wonderful role models whose influence affects me on a daily basis.
Eckerd also provided wonderful opportunities to build friendships which have lasted beyond college. I'm still very close with my friends Robyn, Kris, and Gena, all of whom are in different fields and living very different lives. Their friendships help me to see the world in a broader way, which can be very beneficial when focusing on such a narrow range of topics and way of life as is common in PhD programs. As a result of those friendships, I find myself learning about new and interesting things everyday that have nothing to do with my career.
Overall, Eckerd made me feel like part of a family.
What makes Eckerd so special or why does it stand out to you as a great college? What does it mean to you now that you have been away for awhile?
Eckerd offers students a broad view of the world, compels students to think about how they can contribute to the world (locally and globally), and gives them the courage to make those contributions. Eckerd not only gives their students valuable skills, but shapes the person and their character as a whole.
Did your student profile change this year?
Our student profile looks very similar to last year. The average GPA is 3.35. We continue to focus more on the courses and grades during the high school experience, but we do look at standardized tests as part of the application. Our average ACT was 25 and average SAT (CR+M) was 1130. We believe that we have a good mix of students in the classroom who will challenge and encourage one another. And as always, we have a great mix of high schools represented; our class is 85% out-of-state and 92% are the only student from their high school this year.
Common App vs. the Eckerd App... Fess Up… Which one do you prefer?
We read the Common App and the Eckerd application equally...honest. We need to gather information about each student and both tools work for that purpose. Common App member colleges and universities agree to use the Common App with the same care and interest as their own application... and we hold to that standard. You can advise students to use the application that is easiest for them... as long as they apply. In fact, they can apply now!
Burning question? Ask us.