John McGeoch ′10
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Major: Economics/International Studies with a minor in Spanish
Fun Fact: John plays in a pick-up soccer game every Saturday.
What attracted you to Rhodes from Ohio? I was impressed by what I learned at a college fair so came to visit. That did it. After seeing the campus, students and faculty I knew that Rhodes was the right place for me.
Has it been what you expected?
Memphis is much more diverse than I expected and this diversity contributes to a rich culture. The city has several Latino, Vietnamese and Sudanese immigrant communities which I have been exposed to through service work at Latino Memphis and the Rhodes student-run soup kitchen. Visiting Beale Street and seeing various street performers have also shown me the diverse musical history of Memphis.
How did you decide on your academic concentration?
International Studies and Economics are so closely intertwined that it is difficult to study one without the other. Studying Spanish language was also a natural fit and allows me to communicate across cultures.
Are you fluent in Spanish?
Pretty much. I earned a Buckman Scholarship my junior year to study at a Chilean University in Santiago and live with a host family. Spending so much time with Chilean students really helped. Over the summer I also received a Mertie Buckman international internship to work abroad in El Porvenir, Honduras with Peacework International. My Spanish improved dramatically during both experiences.
What were some of your memorable experiences while studying and working abroad?
It was all memorable. I learned a ton. There was both a major earthquake and a military coup while I was in Honduras, so those stand out. I feel very lucky now to have lived through those events but I can’t say I felt lucky at the time!
What else have you done at Rhodes?
I’ve been a student associate in the Communications Office for three years where I learned graphic design and how to analyze usage patterns on the Rhodes homepage and social media sites. I also have an internship in the international marketing department of FedEx working with foreign postal services.
Earlier I coordinated the Souper Contact soup kitchen and that taught me many lessons about dealing with the unexpected.
What do you mean?
Students sometimes have preconceived ideas about poverty and homelessness. When you get to know patrons on an individual level many stereotypes are shattered. There were also occasions when patrons would have disputes or more would show up than we had planned for. Learning to adapt and adjust to unexpected situations was invaluable.
So what comes next?
I’m currently looking for a job and I plan to pursue a MBA in a few years. I’m anxious to put my Rhodes education to use.