In the Spotlight: Alex Towle ’13
Alex Towle ’13, a data analyst, attributes his professional accomplishments as a doctoral student in higher education to his Lycoming College liberal arts education. “My knowledge of theory and methods as a social scientist was developed at Lycoming and flourished in graduate school, specifically because I was prepared early on to engage substantively with that content in a number of disciplinary contexts.”
1. What made you choose to attend Lycoming College?
Upon my first visit to Lycoming College, I was immediately swayed by the small liberal arts campus atmosphere. I liked that Lycoming was embedded in a larger city area but was also its own self-contained campus. I was attracted to the style and rigor of a Lycoming education. I knew that the class sizes would be small and would give me opportunities to engage substantively with diverse content and research across the disciplines. I also knew that there would be many opportunities to get involved in campus programs and events. I felt that these opportunities would prepare me well for my graduate education but would also help me develop personally.
2. What is one of your favorite memories, classes, professors, or activities while attending Lycoming College?
In my time at Lycoming, I worked closely with faculty in the education and psychology departments. I am particularly proud of the work I did as a member and leader of the College’s branch of the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPSEA). We planned many community-based activities to enrich the lives of pre-service teachers and children in the Williamsport area. I believe that education is a high calling and it was a pleasure to feel part of a culture that valued and respected its importance for the community.
3. How has your education at Lycoming College influenced or helped you in your life and career?
I would say that my Lycoming education has made me an excellent candidate in my graduate studies and professional work. My love for data and research methods really blossomed as a student in the psychology and sociology departments. This has supported me in my current role as an analyst, as well as in the pursuit of my master's and doctoral degrees. In addition, I believe that my Lycoming education encouraged me to think critically about the world around me and recognize systems of inequity that require our diligent attention and effort.
4. What is one or two of your proudest professional or personal accomplishments that occurred after graduating from Lycoming in which your education really played a role?
As a doctoral student, I think my graduate education has resulted in professional accomplishments that I attribute directly to my Lycoming education. In particular, I’m quite proud of the research and teaching success that I have had because of my undergraduate education. My knowledge of theory and methods as a social scientist was developed at Lycoming and flourished in graduate school, specifically because I was prepared early on to engage substantively with that content in a number of disciplinary contexts. In addition, my time at Lycoming helped me to appreciate and advocate for the value of a liberal arts education, which I help to maintain in my current role at Penn State. I’m equally proud of the professional accomplishments I have achieved in the College of the Liberal Arts, which I can directly tie to my education at Lycoming.
5. What piece of professional advice would you give your fellow Lycoming alumni?
Higher education is one of the most admirable goals a person can pursue. The price of knowledge, however, is that it comes with social responsibility. My advice is for us to leverage the knowledge, skills, and experience we have acquired to affect some kind of positive change in the world. In particular, we need to keep an open mind to social justice issues and become practiced in the ways in which our knowledge can engender and support opportunities for others, especially for those who are historically underrepresented and/or marginalized in our communities.