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Spotlighted Student: Christopher Southwick '11

Coming from a small town in New Jersey, Christopher Southwick ’11 was interested in attending a small liberal arts college with strong cross country and track & field teams. After visiting Haverford College and doing the over-night program with the cross country team, Chris decided to apply early decision. Knowing that Haverford College has a rigorous academic program with top notch cross country and track & field coach Tom Donnelly, it was the clear and direct road to take.

After taking an AP Macroeconomics course as a senior in high school, his strong skills in problem solving became apparent. As a result, during his freshman year at Haverford he took both introductory level economics courses, savoring the theoretical approach required of the subject. He had full confidence that declaring a major in economics at Haverford was the perfect fit for him. He’s also earning a concentration in Mathematical Economics with a Minor from Bryn Mawr College in their Cities Program.

His thesis will explore the economic impact that the construction of interstate 81 has had on the coal region of Pennsylvania. The coal region was suffering from the decline of the anthracite coal mining industry as home heating generally switched from anthracite coal to oil and natural gas, post World War II. This was happening just as Interstate 81 was being planned and construction was started through the heart of the coal region. He will investigate how the interstate has changed the economic make up of the region, for example: the shift of jobs from certain industries to others, the effect on counties along the interstate compared to counties not along the interstate, and the shift of jobs and wealth from certain counties to others, among other effects.

The summer following his Freshman year at Haverford, Chris earned money as a lifeguard near his home in Califon, New Jersey. His remaining college summers were spent working for Haverford College’s facilities department as a painter.

Hobbies and interests include watching baseball, especially the New York Mets. He also volunteers at Street Outreach where volunteers make sandwiches and distribute them to the homeless in Logan Circle, Philadelphia.

Working closely with Coach Donnelly on indoor track he not only learned about running, he also learned life lessons. It came to light that Chris was ‘trying too hard’ and that he needed to step back and pay attention to his body instead of pushing through the sport. This lesson has impacted and transformed his life.

Following graduation Chris will work in the construction industry in Pottsville, PA, an area of Pennsylvania that he feels drawn to. Then, in a few years, he plans on going back to school to earn a master’s degree in Engineering.

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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