Michael Shields '12
“E-town forced me out of my comfort zone and I’m glad it did. I never thought I wasn’t outgoing, but from my freshman year until now I am a completely different person.”
Although he had archaeology in the back of his mind, Limerick, Pa. native Michael Shields was undeclared when he began his first year at Elizabethtown College. After taking a few sociology classes with Dr. Michele Kozimor-King and Dr. Conrad Kanagy, he became very much interested in population and global issues and how population growth affects the environment.
In line with College philosophy of preparing students for a purposeful life’s work, Michael said of what he was learning, “These are just facts. So I started to ask, ‘what can we do about it?’”
Sociological research and statistics became such an interest for Michael that he became a tutor and teaching assistant for the Methods of Social Statistics course and embarked on an honors research project that explored suburban life. Michael also spent a semester abroad in Greece.
“If you are interested in classical architecture, Greece is the number one place for you. I had the best time,” he said.
Michael has a minor in Professional Writing; his writing skills are something he hopes to hone to prepare for the academic writing demanded in graduate school. He also served as a peer mentor and vice president of his class during his senior year.
For him, finding E-town was a complete accident. He hails from a large extended family and, in fact, grew up on a street where 47 first cousins also lived. When his older cousins started going on college tours, he tagged along—one of those visits was to Elizabethtown and he loved it. When he set off on his own search, he toured 18 colleges.
“I compared every single one to E-town. I knew from the beginning it had to be E-town,” he said. “E-town forced me out of my comfort zone and I’m glad it did. I never thought I wasn’t outgoing, but from my freshman year until now I am a completely different person.”