Alumni in Action

Natalie Bicknell

Lecturer, University of Washington Intensive English Program

Natalie Bicknell
Class of 2005
Major: Literature, Creative Writing, French
Where are you now and what are you doing?

I live in Seattle where I teach ESL to international students. I also spend a lot of time writing fiction and participating in fiction writing courses, workshops, and writing groups. I use my free time to travel.

I am also using my status as a University of Washington employee to take additional graduate courses in Education and plan to eventually complete a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on TESOL and International Education.

If you are employed, what does your job entail and how has your Eckerd experience impacted your career?

I work as a lecturer for the University of Washington Intensive English Program. Currently I teach advanced level academic preparation ESL courses to students who are preparing to matriculate into the University of Washington Bothell (branch campus) or attend graduate school.

My Eckerd education has had a tremendous impact on my present career. It allowed me to explore the world through international travel, develop fluency in a second language (French), and gain a high degree of knowledge of the English language. Finally it also exposed me to excellent post-secondary teachers who I have used as role models for my own teaching.

What unique or special opportunities did your Eckerd education provide and how have they impacted your life?

The opportunities to study abroad in both London and La Rochelle, France, were very special to me. Also, the positive relationships I developed with professors had a big impact on my life. After leaving Eckerd, I have met people who have studied at all sorts of institutions, including elite colleges, and I have never met anyone who has had the same degree of mentoring and support from professors as I did at Eckerd.

Describe some of your best memories or favorite traditions from your time at Eckerd.

Some of my best memories include time I spent in classes- there were many active and interesting discussions between students and faculty from which I learned a lot. Also, my experience completing two Winter Term courses with Eli Wiesel was very special. I was amazed by how positive and approachable Dr. Wiesel was in class and really valued the experience of being in class with such an influential figure. Finally, I loved being a member of the Ford Program and all of the opportunities it entailed. It was a wonderful learning experience!

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 stands out to me because it provides a highly individualized and supportive atmosphere for education. It's also a place where you can find other students who are really passionate about their studies. I learned a lot from my friendships with people in other disciplines. Also, Eckerd is a really comfortable and unpretentious place where people feel free to be themselves and not feel like they are in constant competition with other students.

Are there core Eckerd values you see in most Eckerd students and graduates?

Tolerance and openness to new ideas

Why did you choose Eckerd? What advice would you give students who are considering Eckerd?

I chose Eckerd because I was dissatisfied with my high school education and wanted to attend a college where I could study subjects I was truly passionate about in a supportive environment. I was also attracted by the college's international programs.

I think Eckerd is a good match for students who want to have the freedom to individualize their majors and develop good relationships with professors who are also excellent teachers. It's also a place where the environment is very comfortable and friendly.

What else should we know about you or what else would you like to share with us?

I really feel like the experience I had at Eckerd broadened my world view and opened me to many new ideas.

Using 5 words or less complete this sentence: Eckerd is…

friendly, challenging, international, tolerant, life-changing.

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