Students in Action

Tom Battey

Timonium, MD

Tom Battey
Major: Marine Biology, Minor: Chemistry
Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a 19 year old Junior with an interest in SCUBA diving, baseball, neurobiology, and fishing. Eckerd has afforded me many opportunities to "separate myself from the pack" so to speak; paramount among them is the internship I have at USF – St. Petersburg, where I have been working with a post-doc on sea lion neuroanatomy research. We just published a paper in the Anatomical Record, an internationally recognized journal,which made the front cover. Although research takes up a good portion of my time, I head to the beach and the water to relax.

What are some of your favorite things about Eckerd?

The best thing about Eckerd is the opportunities it affords in so many ways. So far, I've travelled to the Galapagos, heard a Nobel laureate speak, gone out on a boat for a class, and published a scientific paper. My academic career has undoubtedly been accelerated by the unique opportunities to gain hands-on, relevant experience while acquiring the knowledge I will need to reach my goals. I am now faced with a pleasant dilemma: I have three semesters left and no idea how I will manage to top the first five!

Eckerd is recognized as a "College That Changes Lives" (book by Loren Pope). How has EC changed your life?

Eckerd has forced me to re-evaluate the majority of my opinions and ideas at some point or another. Whether as a result of a class discussion topic or a casual conversation in the pub, I have run into so many different people with so many different viewpoints that I have learned to constantly question in search of true understanding and knowledge. The exploratory nature of Eckerd's curriculum and community has enabled my personal expansion both intellectually and socially. The lessons I have learned and the friendships I have made here will last, quite literally, a lifetime.

When did you know you made the right choice coming to Eckerd?

I knew I had made the right choice in coming to Eckerd about midway through freshman year. While talking to my parents about my first semester of college, I realized I had learned just as much outside of the classroom as I had in it. Beyond the realm of academia, Eckerd has a secret curriculum: that of life lessons. These are stealthily infused into everyday life here and a community that truly practices what it preaches reinforces them.

Do you have a "that's so Eckerd" moment, or a moment that is so unique that it could only happen at Eckerd? What is it?

The very first week of Autumn Term I remember heading back to my dorm from class in the usual rush to venture about my new home and experience all things Eckerd. On my way, I ran into my professor, who greeted me with a smile and asked how I was doing. We ended up talking for about 15 minutes about my family, my impressions of Eckerd thus far, and what kind of future I saw for myself. Walking away, I was amazed at the interest shown in my day-to-day existence by someone in what would be such a distant position at any other school. I attend the smallest school out of all of my friends, but none of them can claim to have the same quality of interaction with their professors that I can.

Who is a typical Eckerd student?

I have been searching for the "typical Eckerd student" since the day I arrived here, but so far I have had no luck. Every day I discover a new type of person here that is from somewhere different, has an interest in something novel, or has done something I've never even contemplated before. The variety of personalities and experiences here is vastly broad, and for me it grows on a daily basis.

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