J.P. McCollum '11
J.P. McCollum's first impressions of the Randolph-Macon College campus made him
feel at home. "Everyone was very relaxed and didn't have the overly enthusiastic
school spirit that other schools tend to overwhelm prospective students with. Instead,
I found people who were down to earth, friendly and welcoming. The Amtrak train
station added a nice touch, too. I saw a college town and felt at home right away."
McCollum knows the value of hard work and a dash of serendipity. "Randolph-Macon
College was originally meant to be a 'springboard' for me to go to a bigger school
later and take on a more technical degree," says the Hopewell, Virginia native.
"But on a whim I took a sociology course at R-MC and loved it, and I decided that
Randolph-Macon College was the best choice for me."
McCollum's foray into sociology changed the course of his academic career, and he
is now a sociology major. "I enjoy seeing
how people interact with one another and the socioeconomic environments that they
live in," he explains. "I've always enjoyed the concept of seeing a 'big picture,'
and sociology does that by looking at the context under which things happen. The
courses in inequalities, crime and changing social trends have all been fascinating."
Asked to explain why he chose to minor in women's studies, McCollum says, "At first,
I chose it because it was convenient, but gender roles and the effects they have
on people have been very interesting to study."
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Piranha Fishing in Brazil
In conjunction with his interest in sociology, McCollum will travel to Brazil in
January 2011 with R-MC Professors Reber Dunkel (sociology), Alphine Jefferson (history) and Kimberly Borchard (Spanish). The
trip, part of the college's extensive J-term travel program, will include a trip
down the Amazon River and tours of Rio de Janiero and Salvador. "I am very excited
about the trip because it will be the first time I have ever left the country,"
says McCollum. "I'm looking forward to piranha fishing and floating down the Amazon,
and I'll finally get to see what a tropical forest looks like."
When he is not focusing on academics, McCollum enjoys
intramural sports such as dodge ball, volleyball and indoor soccer. "I played
soccer in grade school, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to play casually in
college," he says. "I wouldn’t want to try and keep up with a school team—I just
wouldn't have the time—but intramurals are a great way to get together with friends
and have a quick game. Dodgeball and soccer are fast and demanding, and great ways
to de-stress, and volleyball season is usually well-timed when the weather is starting
to turn warm again."
McCollum has participated in the college's Habitat for Humanity program for several
years. "I went on the 'alternate spring break' trip this year to Ft. Lauderdale,
Florida, which was awesome," he says. "We helped on a construction site that had
five houses in progress. All of us switched jobs once or twice a day, which could
range from putting up trusses, shingling, clearing up plots of land or breaking
up concrete with sledgehammers. Before coming to R-MC I was not much of a community
service kind of guy, but doing this type of work with my friends is a blast." McCollum
has also pitched in with Habitat for Humanity’s local community efforts by sorting
scrap metal in Hanover County, raking leaves for Ashland residents and placing decals
on storm drains discouraging waste dumping during the college's annual Macon a Difference
Time for Work
McCollum also finds the time to work on campus. "Last summer I worked with ITS (Information
Technology Services), fixing computers and installing new ones for students and
faculty," he says. "This year I am working as a Web assistant for the marketing
and communications department. I used to enjoy learning about HTML/CSS when I was
younger, and it has been fun to dust off my old knowledge and add to it again. Helping
out with the school’s Web site is an eye-opener to how Web development works; there
is so much to consider, such as compatibility across browsers, bandwidth, keeping
pages relevant and fixing links, visual design, hosting...and it has all been fascinating.
I've been building computers for years and any chance to learn more about how to
use them is something I'll jump at instantly."
For information on R-MC's sociology department, visit
For information on R-MC's women's studies department, visit
For information on intramural sports at R-MC, visit
For more information about the breadth of programs and opportunities available at
Randolph-Macon or to schedule a campus visit, contact our Admissions Office at (800)
888-1762 or at email@example.com.