Eckerd College, Florida

 An email I just received…
International Counselor Newsletter

Welcome to the Triton Times Issue 12! We hope your seniors are settled and ready for their next adventures and your juniors are excited at the possibilities ahead of them.

This issue we feature the sociology program, the Tritones (our a cappella group), a student and alumnus profile as well as exciting news about a current student. Enjoy!

Department Highlight

Sociology is one of the broadest fields in the social sciences. Sociology at Eckerd is designed to give students a firm foundation in sociological inquiry, theory and research with the flexibility to develop their own concentration. Thevariety of courses offered in the sociology program is impressive, covering family, home, society, criminal justice, social stratification and sociological concepts. Did you ever wonder why some days fly by and some days drag? Professor Michael Flaherty’s work has focused on time and society as well as the social construction of reality. His book,A Watched Pot: How We Experience Time, looks at how we culturally and socially perceive the passage of time. Professor Flaherty “spends time” working with students who often take their research on the road to regional and national conferences. An individual experience crafted from the broadest of the social sciences…this is how we THINKOUTSIDE.

Alumni Highlight

RJ Nowling ‘10
Computer Science and Mathematics

Where are you now and what are you doing?

I am a 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.


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 include 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 Kelly 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 familiar with research papers, writing formally, and giving presentations on my own 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 respect for a quality education for undergraduates in me, 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 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.

Read more about RJ online.

Ask Admission

One idea I have heard from counselors is to ask varied colleges for pens. Keep the pens in a cup on your desk. Have students take a pen then research the school and report back with a few interesting tidbits about that school. It pushes them a little beyond their comfort zone of known schools and can make them more willing to think about lots of different schools.

Does demonstrated interest matter at Eckerd?

When reviewing applications, we certainly notice if the student has interacted with our office in some way — college fair, visit, email, etc. For a borderline applicant, the relationship with his/her counselor can be a great boon. My colleagues and I will advocate for a student that we know and feel has more to offer the Eckerd community than the numbers may not show. Now, one cautionary note… we would love to hear from students (and their parents) but not daily…

Have a question? Just ask.

Student Highlight

Student: Matt Thompson
From: Plymouth, MN

Why did you decide to attend EC?

Eckerd was a perfect match for me from the beginning. I went to a very big high school and I knew that I didn’t want to go to a big state school type university. With Eckerd I got a chance to not only escape the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but also I had the opportunity to play for a Division II soccer team, study abroad in Europe, and enjoy close relationships with all of my professors.


Do you have a « that’s so Eckerd » moment? What is it?


While I was traveling along the Cote d’Azur in the south of France, I needed recommendations for what to do. Well, my winter term professor and freshman mentor, Olivier Debure, is actually from Nice, France, where I was planning on traveling that afternoon. As a long-shot idea, I emailed Professor Debure asking for recommendations on what to do, where to eat, etc. Sure enough while I was on the train to Nice, he  responded with tons of things for me to do in his hometown. Because of that, I had a great time in Nice and it remains my favorite city on the southern French coast. That type of availability of professors and willingness to respond to students (even those across the world) is what makes Eckerd special.


What are some traits or characteristics you find in most Eckerd students?


What I love about the students at Eckerd is the all around openness to other students and genuine personalities. Eckerd students seem to always be willing to involve the other people around them, whether they are already friends or complete strangers. You feel comfortable in and outside of class interacting with the other students, and Eckerd does a great job of encouraging that interaction.


Where is the best place to hang out on campus?


The best place to hang out on campus is Kappa field. On any given day you’ll see dozens of people relaxing, playing Frisbee or soccer, and often reading for class (why be in the library if you can read and tan at the same time?). With South Beach, the outdoor pavilion, and sand volleyball courts all a stone’s throw away, I can’t imagine a better place to be.


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

where I discovered myself.

Read more about Matt online.

Organization Highlight

Name of Club: The Tritones

Student Name: Miranda Watrous ‘14

What do you do in this club:

The Tritones is the first ever a cappella singing group at Eckerd College. We’re a co-ed group made up of about 20 members currently. We cover popular and classic songs, both arranging our own pieces and using sheet music. We have performed at several different campus events and simply enjoy making music!


What is your favorite thing about this club:

My favorite thing about this club is the eclectic group of people who come together over our mutual love of singing! There is so much creativity and talent in each practice. Also, when all of the layered vocal percussion comes together and we’re making music, it’s pretty magical. Everyone has the chance to take leadership in some area, as well as a solo or suggest new songs.


What are the challenges with this club:

Because so many of this club’s members are involved heavily in their academics and many other aspects of campus life, it can be hard to find times that we can all practice together. But we meet up in smaller groups during the week and then all together on Sundays.


How did you first get involved with this club:

My freshman year, a few friends and I decided that Eckerd desperately needed, and had ample talent available, for an a cappella club. We’re not performing at competitive level, simply for fun  and the community’s enjoyment. Since starting the club, it has grown by leaps and bounds each semester.


Who to contact for more information:
Miranda Watrous ’14 (founder/president) –

What’s New at Eckerd

Eckerd students often boast tremendous achievements in the sciences. Our students have earned more NOAA Hollings Scholarships than any other institution in the country. What you might not know about is our students’ achievements outside the sciences. While we certainly have our share of Fulbright and Truman scholars, we also have amazing talent in the arts. Wyatt McMurry, an Eckerd junior, received a first place award in poetry for his poem “Nail Polish” from plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing 2012. With one of the first creative writing undergraduate programs in the country, we’re especially proud of the achievements of our students in the creative arts.

Letter of Recommendation

Download the admission recommendation form (pdf)

Fast Facts
Thousand hours of service donated by our students.

Contact Us

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

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