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Campus Celebrity: Jeff Baird

Meet this week's Campus Celebrity: Jeff Baird. A senior at Connecticut College, Jeff is known around campus for his endearing personality, wit, and charm. Taking on many leadership roles, this celeb is heavily involved on campus... and continues to expand on his many accomplishments. As one student said, "Jeff is just an all-around nice guy. You can always count on him... he's dependable and a great friend." We could not agree more. Here is what this trailblazer had to say...

Hometown: West Chester, PA (outside of Philly)
Major(s): English (with a concentration in Creative Writing) and American Studies
Dorm: Freeman

Who is your idol and why?
This may sound trite, but it’s definitely my father. Not just in terms of his career path (he’s an educator), but how he’s handled a really stressful job for a long time and has still stayed so kindhearted and altruistic. If I can learn to be more like him in that regard I’ll be really proud.

You are currently an admissions fellow. Can you tell us about your experience and what you have learned?
It’s a really exciting job in a lot of ways — part of it is just meeting so many people, but the other part is learning how people manage to make such strong impressions on you in a short period of time, for better or worse. While the reason I do the job is because I like having this role in helping shape future classes, I’ve definitely become a better interviewee through the process as well.

What do you like most about being a Housefellow?
I had a rough time freshman year, and part of that was because I didn’t really find a community in my dorm. There was a definite social presence, but nothing that really brought us together as a whole, or invited me into a community. I think that a huge part of being at a small, residential college like this is having fun, safe, and tight-knit living spaces, and as a Housefellow, I get to make that happen as best I can. I also like that I have the resources to make things happen on a larger scale socially, as I really want to promote an active and exciting campus life.  

Can you tell us about past internships?

Yeah, the last two summers I have worked for the Center for Talented Youth — a summer education program through Johns Hopkins. Last summer, I taught two sessions of Creative Nonfiction to seventh and eighth graders, and had a blast. The class was almost all Asian, so we ended up with an anthology full of Asian-American memoirs, but the kids were wonderful and wrote me letters all the time. I’m still getting emails from them.

You studied abroad in New Zealand--tell us something people would not know about the country.
People know it’s extremely beautiful, which is probably what’s most notable about it, but there’s also a really intricate racial friction between the Europeans and Maori (the indigenous), with a long, gruesome history that I didn’t really know about until I was sleeping over in a marae during my first week. Part of why people don’t know about that is because Kiwis love to think about their country as having the perfect multiracial society, but the other reason is just that nobody talks about New Zealand.

Plans for next year?
I actually just accepted an offer to work for Teach For America in New York City, so I’ll be doing that for at least the next two years, while I get a masters in education.

What will you miss most about Conn?
I could choose a lot of things, but I’ll say the opportunities here to get involved and wear so many different hats. I have a great little bubble-sized world here, where there are so many different positions and opportunities and responsibilities — and most importantly, people that we get to interact with through them. That’s something I really don’t think I’ll find again.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Generally, I want what I think most people want — a family, good job, nice home — but more importantly, I want to be doing something that seems like it matters, and allows me to use my creative side. If I can get both of those, I’ll be ecstatic. Living in New Zealand or somewhere even half as beautiful wouldn’t be too bad, either.

Elyse Lebel is a senior at Connecticut College majoring in Psychology and Sociology. Studying abroad her spring semester in Copenhagen, Denmark, she loves to travel and learn about different cultures. As co-founder of the Her Campus branch at her school, Elyse has a strong passion and interest in writing, communications, and fashion. This summer, Elyse interned at Teen Voices, a non-profit magazine based in Boston, and is excited to continue to gain experience in online publication with the HC team!
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