Alumni in Action
Alex Joshua Simpson
Army Aviation Officer
Class of 2012
Majors: International Relations and East Asian Studies
Minor: Chinese Language
If you are employed, what does your job entail and how has your Eckerd experience impacted your career?
I am employed in the United States Army as an Aviation Officer. As a Second Lieutenant in an Aviation Company, I am responsible for the well being of a platoon of soldiers, as well as the tactical and technical proficiency of selected aircraft. However, before leading soldiers I must go to Flight School and learn how to fly the selected aircraft.
My experience at Eckerd has allowed me to lead soldiers and approach critical situations with an open mind, exploring all avenues of action before proceeding. Eckerd has always been very accepting and has attracted many open minded students which has had a significant impact on my career and life.
What unique or special opportunities did your Eckerd education provide and how have they impacted your life?
My Eckerd education has provided me with many special opportunities. However, the most significant opportunities have been provided through Eckerd's study abroad programs. I have traveled extensively as a student from January terms in Beijing, to service trips in the Cayman Islands and Summer trips to Europe. These experiences are one of a kind and has made me a more culturally aware person.
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 is so special because of it is defined by a culture of open mindedness and acceptance. Unlike many other colleges, Eckerd attracts students from all walks of life. However, in order for students to gain a successful experience at Eckerd, they too must open their minds to the ideas and beliefs of others. This is a strong ideological foundation.
Now that I have been away for a while I miss Eckerd very much. Mostly I miss the academic stimulation, the relaxed but challenging environment, and the people. It is hard to duplicate an Eckerd experience anywhere in the world.
Describe some of the people who had a profound impact on your Eckerd experience.
Professor William Felice, my mentor, has influenced my education greatly through his Socratic teaching methods and kind hardheartedness. Also, I have found that the influential people are not limited to professors, but can be found anywhere from the Dean of Students, Director of Campus Safety, and even the College President - all of whom I have come to know very well and have made an impact on my life.
Describe some of your best memories or favorite traditions from your time at Eckerd.
My best memories at Eckerd consist of intuitive one on one conversations with my professors in a relaxed but stimulating environment. The great thing about Eckerd is the willingness of its professors to make time for students and speak with them not only as students, but as friends.
What activities were you involved in while at Eckerd and did they influence what you are involved in now?
The main activity I was involved in at Eckerd was the Army ROTC program which was available through the USF to Eckerd students. Being one of very few Eckerd students in this program gave me a great sense of pride and accomplishment as I was able to stand out among my peers and represent something greater than myself. The strict life of the Army and the relaxed environment at Eckerd made for an interesting combination.
Why did you choose Eckerd? What advice would you give students who are considering Eckerd?
I chose Eckerd because although it was small, it offered a great amount of attractive courses and held an outstanding reputation in the field of undergraduate education. The greatest advice I can give students who are considering Eckerd is to simply visit campus - you will instantly fall in love.
Using 5 words or less complete this sentence: Eckerd is…
a beautiful place to learn.