Student Profile

Zachary LaPoint '17

What sparked your interest in Saint Michael’s and what made you want to attend?

I only visited two schools, here and UVM, and I knew when I came that I wanted to go here; there was just something about it. I wanted to go somewhere in Vermont, since I live 20 minutes away, so I wanted to go someplace close, and it just clicked with me. I really liked it. I just think St. Mike’s is a really good school, and I’m glad I decided to come here.

What kinds of experiences have you had here that you feel have been particularly influential?

The academics are really well done. I think the professors generally care and do their best to make class interesting. Also, I like to do intramurals a lot, which I think has helped with branching out and meeting people.

How have you been challenged?

College in general is harder than high school, so I think class wise. They do a good job of challenging you without making it overwhelmingly hard.

What are you passionate about and how have you been able to explore that passion here?

When I first came to Saint Michael’s I thought I wanted to do education, and then I switched to biology. I think the biology program is really good here, and that’s helped me to branch out and explore different biology interests. For personal reasons, I am a musician and I know a lot of people here who are musicians, so we get together and jam. I play guitar, drums and I sing a little bit, and I really want to learn to play piano. And intramurals, too; I played soccer throughout high school, so it was nice to be able to play in college, but in a more friendly way than competitively.

Do you have a community service connection?

I work in the MOVE office and this past year I did the correctional volleyball program. I’d go every Wednesday; it’s the same people who go pretty much every time. It’s a lot of fun, and the inmates are actually very nice and fun to be around.

Why did you want to do summer research and what are you researching?

I wanted to do something that fit with where I wanted to go. I wanted to do something related to biology, but I couldn’t really find any jobs in the area biology-wise that I could get at this point in time. A lot of biology jobs look for research experience, so I thought it’d be a good thing. I like Professor Declan McCabe a lot, he’s who I’m working with, and I thought it would be fun to work with him all summer.

I’m looking at macro invertebrate communities and how those differ between forested sites and urban areas, and how urbanization has affected macro invertebrate communities and the ecosystem. Another reason I wanted to do this is that we get to go outside a lot to sample, so I’d get to be outside during the summer.

I asked Professor McCabe early in the year if there were any research opportunities. He does this every summer, so he helped me find out exactly what I wanted to look at. Right now we’re still collecting. It’s not good to collect with the rain, so we haven’t been out a lot. Once we’re done collecting, we have to come back and identify all the bugs. We should have solid data hopefully in the next three to four weeks and then we can start making analyses on what it means.

Have you made any interesting connections with alumni?

I got to meet the person who is sponsoring me through the VPAA grant. I went to an ice cream social and there were a lot of alumni here for alumni weekend, including the board members and people who help with donations. I talked to the person sponsoring me for a while about my project and that was really cool, to be able to connect with them.

What advice would you give to future students?

When you first get here, branch out, make friends, make connections, do as much as you can. My first year, I didn’t branch out as much and didn’t do intramurals, but this year I’ve been able to meet so many new people.

What do you feel is the value of a Saint Michael’s education?

I think a liberal arts education makes you well rounded. I have a friend who goes to RPI, which is an engineering school, and he just takes physics, engineering and math classes. At Saint Michael’s you get a broader experience and a broader education. I think you can apply that more and, at the same time, it makes it more interesting by learning about things you wouldn’t necessarily learn about in your field.

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