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Student Snapshot: James Turner ’20

James Turner

As a linebacker on Dickinson’s football team, James Turner ’20 made three straight appearances on the division III All-Conference roster and was named’s All-South Region in December 2019. With 74 tackles, he was one of the leaders of the Centennial Conference, and his 372 career tackles and 215 solo stops place him second and first, respectively, in history. He also holds the school record for tackles in a game, recording 23 in the 2018 match against Washington and Lee University. James is also an ROTC scholarship awardee, a student poet and a history fan who plans a career as a teacher, after serving as a second lieutenant in the Army. For his senior project, he’s researching the history of sports activism—a subject that brings several of his interests together. Below, he discusses how he's making the most of his four years at Dickinson and what he’s learned about the value of understanding different points of view.


Ridgefield, Connecticut.


History and educational studies.

Clubs and organizations:

Football, ROTC and Kappa Delta Pi (education honors society).


Three-year ROTC scholarship, Sergeant Harry Goldberg Military Science Award, football team captain (2018, 2019), all-region football team (2018, 2019), Team MVP, Defensive Player of the Year (2017, 2018) and Rookie of the Year (2017).

Favorite book:

The Steel Wave by Jeff Shaara.

Favorite movie:

The Departed.

On choosing Dickinson:

Dickinson was the best fit for me because I wanted a small school in the Northeast, I had an interest in playing collegiate football and I wanted to be a part of ROTC. Dickinson has strong ties between its football team and ROTC program, allowing me to do both.

Favorite place on campus:

The Kline.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

 Wing toss.

On choosing a major:

I have always had a passion for education and an interest in teaching. This led me to become an educational studies major. In high school my favorite teachers were history teachers, and I always loved my social studies classes. I felt I could best utilize myself as a history teacher, so I decided to major in history as well.

Little-known hobby/talent:

Writing poetry.

About my research:

In my history senior seminar I researched activism in the realm of sports. The class was based on activism, and I chose sports for a few reasons. The first is my passion for sports and my prior knowledge about the topic. I also know that sports have offered a platform for activists, and I wanted to learn the importance that athletes play in social movements.

About my internship:

I interned at a summer camp. It taught me about the diverse types of kids out there and how they obtain information and learn. These were valuable lessons for me because of my passion for education.

Proudest accomplishment:

The Sergeant Harry Goldberg Military Science Award.

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

… Abraham Lincoln.

Advice for incoming students:

Make the most out of the time you have at Dickinson. Four years flies by. People ask me if I’m sad about graduating. Although I will miss being at Dickinson and have loved every second of my time here, I feel comfortable with it ending because I reflect on my time in college and I know I took advantage of everything Dickinson offers.

Post-Dickinson plans:

I will be commissioning as a second lieutenant upon graduation and serving at least four years in the active-duty Army. My plan for after my service time is to be a high school history teacher.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

The most important thing I’ve learned at Dickinson is perspective. Through my classes and extracurricular activities, I interact with so many different kinds of amazing people, all with different viewpoints. Having a strong opinion is important, and understanding other people’s perspectives is also a very important skill to have.

Read more Student Snapshots.


Published January 27, 2020