Alexander Boyd  '16

Hometown: Foxborough, Massachusetts
Major: Creative Writing, Gender Studies and Mathematics

What activities are you involved in?
I’m business manager of The Coe Review, our school's literary magazine, Co-President of Coe Alliance, our LGBT awareness group, and an active participant in V-Day.

Why did you decide to attend Coe?
I chose Coe mainly because I really appreciated the small-school atmosphere as opposed to a crowded campus like most of the schools back home. I didn't want to simply get lost in a class of a thousand students or have classes of a hundred students listening to a lecture. The approach Coe takes, especially from my experience with the English, creative writing, and other humanities departments, entails a much more personalized approach to each student which limits class sizes for effective discussions and a very open and friendly atmosphere. Cedar Rapids also seemed to offer enough activities to break up any monotonous nights of work while also not being a distraction from what I need to get done for classes and for on-campus events.

What do you remember most from your first year?
I took advantage of an alternative Spring Break opportunity my first year here at Coe with Kayla Lyftogt and Grady Brown from Service Learning and about ten other students. Instead of staying on campus for the week, I got to go to Little Rock, AK to work with and learn about Arkansas and national  hunger problems. With a small group of students, I took part in several service opportunities - working at a soup kitchen, a rice depot, the Arkansas Food Bank - and also participated in a poverty simulation in which, for one night, I lived in a broken down, completely uninsulated shack with minimal food, water and heat resources. The entire week was among the most enlightening experiences in my life. It showed me several different perspectives of problems for the homeless and hunger on statewide, national and international scales. I absolutely can’t wait to go on a similar trip this year too. There's no better way to spend a Spring Break.

Describe your favorite interaction with a professor.
I was working with my fiction workshop professor on a short story I had written about my job at a zoo back home. He gave me several authors and books/stories to read that would help me improve my writing in that specific genre. He also expressed interest in working with me individually in the future. It was the first moment that I had received this kind of recognition and it immediately gave me the impression that I can make it as a writer if I work hard.

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering Coe?
Major in whatever you're passionate about or what you really love to do! You're going to be spending four years focused on whatever you choose as your major(s). Taking courses in something you don’t like because you think it's a more promising field out in the real world is not fun. Sometimes it's unavoidable in the case of general requirements for graduation or a requirement for your major, but college is too much work to be spending it doing something you’re not remotely passionate about.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I spend the majority of my free time reading and writing fiction (and poetry on special occasions). I also listen to music and hang out with friends to get a break from work so I can go back to it fully functional. I love to see movies at the five-dollar theater and hang out in Iowa City for a night with anyone willing to tag along.

What is it like living in Cedar Rapids?
My favorite part of Cedar Rapids is its proximity to just about everything you really need. There's always someone with a car willing to get you that far if you need it. Being in Cedar Rapids allows me to be near a busy environment without actually having it invade my own campus.

What was the best part of being a sophomore?
As a first year, I was able to start taking leadership roles in extracurricular activities but my sophomore year was when I was able to step into them fully. As a member of the executive boards of two amazing organizations that happen to perfectly line up with my career goals, I can now seriously start working toward figuring out what I’m going to do after college and prepare myself for "the real world." My relationships with professors are becoming more and more significant as I expand my presence on campus through extracurricular work that I didn’t have time for last year. Last year was dedicated to mostly adapting to college life but now I can really focus on figuring out exactly what I need to accomplish in my next three years to be ready for life on my own.

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