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FPA grad poised to complete physics degree

11/26/14

Jesse Egan-Poirier

Jesse Egan-Poirier ’15 of Nashua, N.H., had no sooner completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine and Performing Arts (FPA) with a concentration in theater, when he turned around to begin a Bachelor of Science degree in physics.

While completing two such diverse degrees back-to-back is relatively rare, what makes Egan-Poirier even more unique is the fact that he never finished high school.

“I don't think I passed a math class after seventh grade. Fast forward to me at 26 taking ‘Calculus 1’ and ‘Physics 2,’” he said. “The learning curve was brutal. Physics is an extremely demanding program.”

Physics homework assignments routinely take upwards of six hours to complete, “And they are plentiful,” Egan-Poirier said. However, “Our professors are tops. They are brilliant, and willing to pour extra hours into our education.”

Jesse Egan1.jpgOne day, he hopes to become a rocket scientist. After he completes his degree in physics this spring, he plans to attend graduate school.

How did this theater major find himself studying physics?

“I’ve always been a scientist, which is to say, I've always been in pursuit of understanding the living daylights out of things. That's how I am with theatre, with video games, with physics and fatherhood.” he explained.

Asked what interests him most about physics, Egan-Poirier responded that because the words “physics” and “interest” are closely bound in his mind, that question is difficult for him to answer.

“I’ll stare into a fire and watch tiny pieces of soot dancing along a current of rising hot air while thoughts of statistical thermodynamics rush through my brain like a day dream,” he said. “I see magnetic field lines around wires and time dilation in the night sky. Whatever interest I may encounter, I have this ever more thorough understanding of nature, enhancing my experiences.”

Because both theatre and physics are both very time consuming pursuits, Egan-Poirier has been very busy at MCLA. However, he did find time to spend a summer studying in France. “And, I did a bunch of work with the always excellent Drury High School drama team.

“Bombing around France for a few months is a great education of character. The work I did over at Drury was great. I got a lot of free reign,” he said.

As a fine and performing arts student, “Theatre was crazy,” Egan-Poirier explained. “We showed up to the scene shop at 9 or 10 in the morning and jumped on ladders or power tools then had rehearsal until 11. Classes felt like an interruption to our real work. Maybe they were. I have no idea when we did our homework or learned the many hundreds of lines. Awesome times.”

As an MCLA student, Egan-Poirier said the changes he has undergone are too many to quantify.

“Every single year at MCLA was the best year of my life. Each year was better than the last.”

The best part of being an MCLA student; however, are the small classes and the community – including downtown North Adams.

He recommends MCLA to prospective students: “The price is right. The location is loaded with culture. The small classroom setting is fantastic, and the new science building is a blast.”