The NESCAC is brimming with talented student-athletes and the "Friday Feature" is a way for fans to get to know them throughout the academic year. The conference introduces Colby's Keith Barnatchez, an aspiring economist and collector.
Keith Barnatchez, Colby College
Senior, Track & Field
Waterville, Maine/Dennis-Yarmouth Regional
Major: Economics & Statistics
Why did you choose to attend Colby College?
My senior year I did an overnight where I got to meet the cross country team and go to a couple of classes that sold me on the school. I remember being really surprised with how friendly everyone was and really liking the overall vibe of the campus.
What is your dream job/career? Why?
I hope to be an economist one day. For one, I think about policy issues and the economy a lot. I also love that economics draws from other subjects I find interesting, like math and statistics. I think that economics can be a great tool for informing policy choices, and it would be great to be able to advise policymakers on important social and economic issues.
What extracurricular activities do you participate in?
I've been a teaching assistant for a few courses in the math/statistics and economics departments since my sophomore year. I come from a family of teachers, so it's felt fairly rewarding to be able to see the lightbulb go off in students' heads after helping them to understand a concept. It's also been an interesting experience to reverse roles and try to think like an instructor.
What has been the greatest part of your college experience so far?
The greatest one-time event I've experienced was without a doubt watching the Blue Man Group perform -- it was an absolutely surreal experience. The best ongoing experience I've had at Colby has been being a part of the track and cross country teams. It's been very rewarding to be able to grow with a close group as athletes and people over four years.
What are three top things on your bucket list?
1. Travel away from the east coast 2. Get back into collecting magnets! I have a huge collection from my high school days but I've really fallen off on this and would love to get back into it. 3. Travel outside of the country
Who is your favorite professor? Why?
My favorite professor is without a doubt Rob Lester in the economics department. Rob's first year at Colby was my sophomore year and I've been constantly going to him for academic and career advice ever since taking my first class with him, and I've also been able to work for him as a research and teaching assistant. Every professor I've had at Colby has been friendly and willing to help their students, but I've never had a professor as willing to go out of their way as often as Rob has -- in the few years he's been here he's put in a remarkable amount of work to create opportunities for students in the economics department that otherwise may not have been possible.
What internships/research projects have you participated in? What did you learn from these experiences?
This past summer I interned at the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C. where I worked under a couple of economists on a project about geographical patterns of firms in the United States. It was a really interesting experience that drew from a lot of what I'd learned at Colby, and I left with a much stronger understanding the topic of my project and also of how our central bank functions. Everyone that I worked with was incredibly friendly, helpful and insightful.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being a student-athlete?
The most important lesson that being a student-athlete has taught me is the significance of having a non-academic passion like track. My sport is a much needed break from academia, yet I devote significant mental energy to my running as well as to my classes.
What is the best gift you have ever received or given? Why?
Although this wasn't a gift I actually received, my dad once got to spend an afternoon with Jay Leno. He'd always been a big fan of Jay so it was great to see him be able to meet one of his favorite celebrities.