Right Place, Right Time

Photo courtesy of Elias Howard '16.

Photo courtesy of Elias Howard '16.

Elias Howard ’16

Elias Howard ’16 came to Dickinson as a standout high-school athlete and writer, and he quickly found fellow students with the same interests. He also soon learned that if he wanted to reach his full potential, his natural abilities alone would only take him so far. Read why he’s grateful for that lesson, what he learned about global cultures from his first-year roommate and why he believes he couldn’t have chosen a better time to be a Dickinson student.



Favorite book:

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

Favorite movie:

The Crying Game.

Favorite class:

Chinese Foreign Policy with Professor [of Asian Law and Society Neil] Diamant. It’s a complex subject, and I liked the challenge.

On choosing a major:

I have always had a serious passion for history, but I struggled to choose between history and political science. Ultimately, it was a class in South Asian history that convinced me to declare my major.

On choosing Dickinson:

I am a very independent person, so I chose a college that allowed me the flexibility to pursue whatever I wanted. After talking with students, runners, [Cross Country/Track & Field Head] Head Coach [Don] Nichter and Professor [of History] David Commins, I saw that Dickinson had excellent academics, caring professors and engaged students, and it seemed more grounded than other schools I visited. I also learned that I’d be able to join a competitive men’s cross country team that consistently makes NCAA nationals.

Favorite place on campus:

The Caf (as any runner will tell you).

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Anything with potatoes.

Favorite professor:

[Assistant] Professor [of History Emily] Pawley. Her Historical Methodologies class was very interesting. We got to discuss and debate a lot, and I love to do both.

As a kid I wanted to be …

… a lot of things, including a lawyer, a history professor and a clergyman.

Little-known talent:

I like to cook. I surprised my teammates with my Italian cooking during a trip to Ohiopyle, Pa.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

Natural talent only gets you so far. I came to school with a hot-shot attitude [because] I was a decent runner and had pretty good writing skills. I quickly dropped that act. From my coach and my professors, I’m learning the habits and nuances that separate adequate runners and writers from great ones.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… Mao Zedong. He’s a very interesting character, leader and revolutionary who lived through the most tumultuous times in modern history.

Biggest influences in my life (so far):

During my first year at Dickinson, my roommate, Cai Guo, had a huge influence on me. He is a Chinese international student, and he’s very intelligent, sincere and funny. After meeting him and other international students from China, I realized that I no longer wanted to enter the military, because I could not categorize others as threatening just because their government and its policies are different from [the United States’].

Proudest accomplishment:

Making the varsity cross country team last year. I focused on the factors I could control within my training and worked my way up throughout the season. Running with one of Dickinson’s greatest cross country squads had a profound effect on me. I definitely came to Dickinson at the right time; my teammates are among the best students and leaders at the college.

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Published July 16, 2014