Finding a 'Family Atmosphere'

BJ McNeil '26

B.J. McNeil ’26

B.J. McNeil

Dickinson’s Reynolds Leadership Scholar program provides full tuition to Maryland residents who demonstrate the potential to be leaders at Dickinson, in their communities and around the world. Student-athlete B.J. McNeil ’26, is one of the first recipients of this innovative scholarship, and he’s had a busy and fruitful first year on campus. Learn about his transition to college, his favorite professor and class so far, the local eatery he frequents and his advice for younger students.


Bowie, Maryland.


International business & management (IB&M).

Clubs and organizations:  

Black Student Union and varsity basketball.


Reynolds Scholar, Student Delegate and admissions panelist.

On choosing Dickinson:

I always wanted to have the opportunity to play basketball in college, but at a school with rigorous academics. Here, I have that academic-athletic balance, and I can be a true student-athlete.

Favorite book:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Change A Life, Change the WorldFavorite movie/show/podcast:

Stranger Things.

Best thing about my Dickinson experience so far:

The best thing about my Dickinson experience has been the relationships I’ve made with community members, whether that be my classmates, coaches, professors or alumni. Everyone here has made my transition to college much smoother than I expected. The family atmosphere has been amazing, and it has let me know so far that I’ll always have resources whenever times get tough.

Favorite place on campus:

The Kline Center, especially a packed Kline Center on game day. Also, even though it’s barely off campus, I’m always at the Grazery. The Mellow Bird has become a staple in my diet.

Favorite class:

My First-Year Seminar, Zadie Smith’s 21st Century, was amazing! Honestly, the class was my third choice on my First-Year Seminar list, but after taking it I am ashamed that it wasn’t my first selection. My teacher, Associate Professor of English Claire Seiler, made English fun for me again and gave me confidence in my writing. Having a class that focused on African American literature was special for my first English class at Dickinson. It has inspired me to explore the English/Africana studies departments alongside my IB&M major.

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

… Lebron James.

Favorite professor:

Adjunct Faculty in Spanish Tina Antonicelli! She was my Spanish 201 professor. She brightened my day each time we had class, with the energy and excitement she brings. I highly recommend taking a Spanish class with her!

Proudest accomplishment so far:

Getting the Reynolds Scholarship. It has granted me countless opportunities to build relationships with alumni and President Jones, attend networking events and find interest in things I wouldn’t have otherwise considered exploring.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

It is OK to not have everything figured out. Living in the future creates stress and uncertainty, and it is better to live in the present and take things day by day. Getting bogged down in thinking about the future can cause you to miss opportunities that are right in front of you. Dickinson is designed to make you feel comfortable with not having everything figured out yet, and there are people here to help you. Appreciate the little things. Run your own race.

BJ McNeil '26

Read more Student Snapshots.


Published August 1, 2023