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Eckerd College

Counselor Newsletter

Welcome to Issue 3 of the Triton Times!

Department Highlight

Studying political science at Eckerd College brings the student close to professors like 2006 Florida Professor of the Year and published author, William Felice, among other established faculty. Supplemented by Eckerd’s phenomenal study-abroad program, political science takes on a new meaning for Eckerd students, giving them the opportunity to intern and study at places like the European Union, Greenpeace, or the World Trade Organization. Students can choose to focus on any aspect of political science including government, journalism, business, law, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, or think tanks. Many students will participate in internships as part of this program. Students work closely with professors and our career resources center to find internships and opportunities to build a resume that will put them in prime position to step into law school or the work force after commencement.

Alumni Highlight

Mike Dirks '03
Major: Marine Science

Where are you now and what are you doing?

I'm living in Atlanta, Georgia, working and attending grad school. Currently, I'm under temporary contract with the Public Health Service at the National Center for Environmental Health. I finished a Master's of Public Health at Emory University with a concentration in global environmental health in May 2010.

What opportunities have you had because of your Eckerd education and how have they impacted your life?

Working at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute as a Harmful Algae Bloom technician was a critical introduction to the oceans and human health field. I was fortunate to work there because of an Eckerd contact that I met on a winter term course in Belize.

What does your job entail and how has your Eckerd experience impacted your career?

My background in marine science gave me a solid foundation for the environmental science field. I pursued environmental experience in harmful algae bloom research and subsequently working in coral reef conservation and fish market development in Vanuatu, South Pacific, with the Peace Corps. These experiences taught me that many of the critical environmental issues are also major public health issues. I'm now employed to evaluate the public health assessments for communities concerned that they are exposed to hazardous waste materials.

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

Kayaking to the bird sanctuary and being startled by a stingray wider than I am tall or a pod of dolphins. I really enjoyed my suitemates from Omega, the tight community, the camaraderie, and the theme parties. Watching summer lightning storms from the sea wall or a balcony, hammocks slung from the overhangs of dorms, river otters or alligators in the ponds, passionate students and colleagues all provided lasting memories.

What makes Eckerd so special or why does it stand out to you as a great college?

Eckerd was truly an experience to seek the knowledge you thirst for. There were so many opportunities to apply knowledge through working with professors or volunteering with local organizations or through part time internships.

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

Eckerd will challenge you to decide who you want to be, what you want to do and how you are going to make it happen.

Read about other alumni on our Meet the Community page.

Ask the Director

Is an Eagle Scout award (or Girl Scout Gold Award or President’s Award for Volunteering etc.) enough to counteract a weak GPA?

Admission readers and committees love active students because those students will probably be active campus leaders. However, every campus leader must still be academically able. We will certainly look at activities but we must look at GPA and the challenge of the course load first. A student who is on the edge academically but very active may have a small advantage…unless the references mention that the student was unable to balance co-curricular activity and classes. Then we’ll worry.

Speaking of references…”Johnny’s stellar performance in high school…” We can see Johnny’s transcript. If Johnny has been a C student, I would suggest staying away from adjectives like “stellar”, “amazing”, “terrific”. If those adjectives are true of Johnny’s contribution to the school community, put them into that context, and talk about Johnny’s classroom performance as “average”, “developing” and mention his “potential for growth at the college level”. We know your role is to support your students’ applications and aspirations. We’re just looking for real, solid information about Johnny’s performance and potential to succeed on our campus.

Ask the Director, email your questions to Maria Furtado begin_of_the_skype_highlightingend_of_the_skype_highlighting to be featured in the next issue.

Student Highlight

Rachel Feinberg '14
Atlanta, GA

Tell us a little about yourself. What makes you a unique Eckerd student?

Before I came to Eckerd I was defined as a workaholic. I worked during all my free time, and when I wasn't working, I thought about all that I had to do. When I came to Eckerd, however, I found that I was able to define myself in so many more ways. I had the freedom to pursue other opportunities than just schoolwork. Now that I'm an Eckerd student, I'm so much more than a workaholic. I'm a psychology major that likes to kayak in the bay. I'm a freshman researcher who tans on the beach before watching the sun set. I'm a bookworm that plays piano barefoot in the practice rooms when I need a study break. I'm an Atlanta native who has found a new home at Eckerd College.

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

An easier question might have been "How has Eckerd not changed your life?" Before Eckerd I was so unsure of myself. I didn't know who I was, what I was doing, or where I was going. I often felt like my life was full of questions and uncertainty, with little hope of ever finding answers. When I got to Eckerd, it was as if someone had flipped a switch. I immediately realized that it didn't matter if you knew exactly what your future held because it was Eckerd's mission to help you explore many options. I feel so full of life here and sometimes I can't explain why. But I do know that I have never been happier.

Read more about Rachel's experience on our student profiles page.

Organization Highlight

Club Name: Another Man's Trash Improv

Student: Elliott McDaniel '11

What do you do in this club

We practice three times a week for about an hour and a half each time, working on important skills relevant to long-form improvisation. About three times a semester, we have performances in the Miller Auditorium. Also, once a semester we take a group trip to a improv festival in the area, either in Atlanta or Gainesville. This allows us to perform off-campus, as well as taking group and individual workshops to help improve our improv skills. Then, of course, we're all friends, so we hang out.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of this club?

Having fun with a group of close-knit friends and making a room of over 400 people laugh!

What are the challenges with this club?

Collaborating with seven or eight creative minds can prove to be challenging, but it's definitely prepared me for a lifetime of working with diversified groups.

Who to contact for more information:

Either Luke Jacobs, president ( or Elliott McDaniel, (

What's New at Eckerd

Spring break must be around the corner when you find anxious students cramming in corners studying for term papers, and suitcases full of old tee shirts, gym shorts and work gloves starting to roll around campus. Since spring break weather resides here a majority of the year, and students use weekends as mini-spring breaks, Eckerd College offers a variety of service learning trips. Anywhere from our own backyard working with migrant workers in Immokalee, Florida, to as far as Ireland working with peace negotiations, our students are more than ready to pack up the books, and put on the helping hands. Other trips include working with children in Honduras, Venezuela, Peru or the Dominican Republic, environmental sustainably projects in North Carolina, the Florida Keys, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and the U. S. Virgin Islands, and community building projects in New York City as well as continued efforts to repair the aftermath from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Letter of Recommendation

Download the admission recommendation form (pdf)

Fast Facts


The number of students who will participate in alternative spring breaks next week.

Contact Us

Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

(800) 456-9009
(727) 867-1166

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