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Emily Sharpe '18 and Eric Owens '19 Balancing STEM and Sport at Endicott

This side-by-side photo of Endicott softball student athlete Emily Sharpe on the left and Endicott men's cross country runner Eric Owens on the right was taken by Endicott student Parker Fish. The photos show both Emily and Eric in a laboratory classroom. Emily is looking through a microscope, while Eric is smiling and wearing his white lab coat.

BEVERLY, Mass. – In 2013, the doors to the state-of-the-art Ginger Judge Science Center opened and ushered in a new era of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) academia within the School of Arts and Sciences at Endicott College. With it came an influx of undergraduate students eager to begin their studies in the fields of applied mathematics, bioengineering, biology and biotechnology, computer science, and environmental science. A pair of Gulls’ student-athletes are among those scholars that have found the right balance between excelling in their academic pursuits, experiential learning opportunities, and performing well on their respective fields of competition.

Emily Sharpe '18- Biology/Biotechnology

EMILY SHARPE, SOFTBALL

Behind her catcher’s mask, junior biology and biotechnology major Emily Sharpe’s (South Glens Falls, N.Y.) mind must be going as fast as the 57 mph pitches popping into her mitt. Sure, there may be runners on first and third and a slap hitter at the plate but what about tomorrow’s pathophysiology exam, the independent study experimentation and research she’ll be conducting on pollen and humidity’s effects on asthmatics, and which semester-long internship opportunity will prepare her the best for physician assistant school?

“I’m a very organized person,” says Sharpe, who found time in the middle of her busy schedule of lecture, lab work, and fall softball practice to discuss her academic experience at Endicott. “It’s a mentality that you have to have. If you want to do well at school and sports, you have to realize that there is a balance and find a way to make it work.”

Sharpe admits there are a lot of late nights, staying up until 2:00 a.m. studying, but that’s all part of the schedule she has set for herself. Dedicating a certain amount of time for everything – wake up, class, labs, lunch, meeting with her advisor, more class, more labs, practice, study groups, sleep – wash, rinse, repeat.

She couldn’t possibly do all of this alone.

“Biology is a relatively small major with about 20 students. We take the same classes together. If I have to miss class for a game, my classmates will fill me in on what I missed later on at our study group. That is one of the great parts of this major because I get to learn from other people’s perspectives which helps me connect that much more to the material.”

Endicott’s faculty, who Assistant Dean of Science, Technology and Mathematics Justin Topp describes as “focused on training students on the research they are conducting and are truly student-centered in their approach to teaching,” have also proven to be a tremendous support system for Sharpe as she navigates through her college career.

“The faculty are always asking how things are going and showing their support. My advisor Dr. Anne-Marie Scholer has been extremely influential in my time at Endicott to the point where I am doing an independent study with her where we will look at how pollen, humidity, and different storm fronts affect asthmatics versus non-asthmatics and the variations of lung capacity in male and female athletes. I believe this experience, along with my other internship experiences, is going to help me obtain a semester-long internship in medical research as I prepare for senior thesis.”

Sharpe has also complemented her independent study opportunity with other experiential learning opportunities that are an ideal reflection of the Endicott internship program, the hallmark of the College. In her first internship she shadowed a physician’s assistant in outpatient cardiology at a hospital where she got to witness important processes like catheterizations and defibrillation implants. Sharpe then took her interests in another direction with her second internship at HD Physical Therapy in Wakefield where she got to see techniques related to injury and surgery recovery and methods for massaging various muscles. Both internships confirmed that her pursuit of a biology and biotechnology degree was the right choice.

“During my senior year of high school, my grandmother was in and out of the hospital with esophageal cancer and diabetes. The doctors, while being incredibly nice and positive, at the same time were very straight forward and maintained professionalism. That experience I had observing what went on pushed me to go into that field and so did my grandmother. In both my internships, I learned about patient interaction and developing those relationships. I am a people person so I know this is the right path for me.”


 

Eric Owens '19 - Biology/Biotechnology

ERIC OWENS, MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

A biology and biotechnology major minoring in environmental science, sophomore Eric Owens (Manchester, Vt.) really has his act together.

“Last year, I made a plan with my academic advisor [Dr. Joyce Shaw] to take all of the necessary requirements throughout my four years to prepare me for medical school but also minor in environmental science,” says Owens. “I wanted to cover different elements so that I could go to medical school after my internship experiences but also have a background in environmental science in case I wanted to go that route.”

Whatever route he pursues, Owens will undoubtedly succeed because in only his second year at Endicott he has already taken advantage of the state-of-the-art facilities, access to distinguished faculty, internship connections, and the social opportunities available to him. These are the very reasons why he came to Endicott in the first place.

“It motivates me to be in a STEM major because there are great job opportunities out there, no matter what I choose. If I go into the environmental science field that will make me feel good as a person. I will be fighting the problem and not adding to it. Over the last year, professors have laced environmental science and sustainability issues into coursework. They have a passion for that and it has drawn me towards it.”

Justin Topp, Assistant Dean of Science, Technology and Mathematics, confirms that the greatest benefit to students like Owens who are interested in environmental science have such a vast playground right in their backyard. As he states, students have access to the oceanfront City of Gloucester which is a “case study for imagining yourself in the time of climate change.”

“I knew I wasn’t going to understand what I wanted to do in life unless I went out and did it,” says Owens. “If I went to a college where I took a bunch of classes and didn’t know if I was going to enjoy actually working in my major after graduation I would be further behind than if I went to a school like Endicott where I could have internship experiences to help narrow down my interests.”

Owens credits his internship advisor, Jamie Freedman, for fostering his different interests between the medical field and environmental science.

“Location to a major city for potential jobs and internships carried significant weight in my college decision. Professor Freedman has been incredibly helpful in finding local internships since there aren’t many back in Vermont. I enjoyed the patient side of my first internship at a local hospital where I eventually got a job as a phlebotomist over the summer. Now, I’m looking into more environmental science internships and immediately my advisor listed off multiple companies in this area where previous students have worked and had great experiences.”

Between his demanding course load which includes anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and organic chemistry plus their respective labs, an honors seminar course, and pre-internship sessions, Owens is also a member of one of Endicott’s most talented cross country teams in program history. The team took fourth place at the Roger Williams, UNE, and Bowdoin Invitationals in September before finishing in the top half of the James Early Invitational this past weekend.

“Balancing academics and athletics is something I did all throughout high school. It keeps me motivated. I don’t just have one thing to worry about day-to-day but I have the challenge of balancing class, homework, and practice. Having multiple obligations is driving up my leadership experience too. Leading by example, it shows to other people that you have to put in the effort.”

THE SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES AT ENDICOTT COLLEGE

Arts and Sciences division majors are designed to offer both breadth and depth, combining the advantages of a liberal arts education with practical experience in the world of work. Through the Arts and Sciences, students learn to think independently, develop problem-solving skills and communicate effectively.

Navigate the links below to learn more about the Endicott College School of Arts and Sciences.

Academic Overview
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Beyond the Classroom