Reflections of a Newman University alum: Francisco “Pancho” Fields

At Newman University, our top priority is the student experience. During their time at Newman our students will engage in exciting and intellectually challenging academic experiences. They will develop close relationships with faculty members and explore new areas of interest. They will try new things, meet new people and explore their faith more deeply. And ultimately, they will graduate and enter the world and the workforce prepared for lifelong success.

325x325-pancho-fields-0813152014 Newman University graduate Francisco “Pancho” Fields is one example of someone who is “transforming society.” Fields acquired his bachelor’s in Biology with the added minors of History and Theatre. Below are some questions he was asked about his experience while attending Newman.

What did you like most about Newman?
The thing I enjoyed the most was the small size. I could go anywhere on campus and see someone I knew. It made Newman feel like a big family, like something I was a part of. I could go to Scooters Coffeehouse, my favorite place on campus, and know the barista by name. Newman’s just so great because of that big feeling of connectedness. Everyone’s supportive of everyone else, and it’s wonderful.

How did Newman prepare you to meet the demands of your Ph.D. program?
The biology department did a wonderful job of introducing me to a bunch of different experimental methods that are available and that we use in the biomedical sciences, which is mostly what I do.  In addition, the liberal arts education that Newman offers made me a better communicator compared with my peers here (at Notre Dame), because I have more of a background in different things. I can relate to other people, I can relate my work to work in a different field in a way that someone else might not be able to.

Do you have any favorite stories about a class or professor you had at Newman?
I had two professors who were really big and involved in my undergrad education. Dr. Stacy Jones from biology is one. I took her genetics class my sophomore year and really, really enjoyed it. After that I became a TA (teacher’s assistant) for her biochemistry class. I just had a great time TA’ing for her. She let me get involved in the education process and it kind of put me on track to want to go back and be a professor at a small liberal arts institution someday.

The class that I have the fondest memories from has got to be Mark Mannette’s Acting 2 class. It was in that class that I made some of my best friends in undergrad. The friendships I developed in that class have lasted, even now, and Mark Mannette is a wonderful acting teacher.

Why do you think Newman graduates are so successful?
Newman offers a good home base. It’s a very nurturing place. I didn’t have very many opportunities in high school, but when I went to Newman because of its welcoming nature and small size, I was able to grow in a way I wouldn’t have been able to at a larger institution. I learned a lot about leadership, getting involved, and service learning. It’s exciting that Newman can prepare its graduates so well to “transform society,” and have a fire and passion for what we do that was given to us in undergrad and that we’re able to continue to use in the future.

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