Andrew Adams, class of 2016, chose to attend IMSA because he wanted a new adventure, as well as to further his interests in math and science. He comes from Champaign, where he was bored in school, even in advanced classes. While first impressions of the IMSA building didn’t quite live up to his imagined vision, Adams felt he adjusted to the whole experience without any trouble and soon felt at home.
As a sophomore, Adams recalls being thrown into a Scientific Inquiry class on molecular genetics, which was a new kind of learning experience. He found it especially revelatory that the students were shown how the course was put together pedagogically and how to approach their own learning. As a junior and senior he enjoyed other biology and physics classes and learned skills that helped him in college and in his career. He also enjoyed his English classes and did an independent study in journalism.
Adams served as editor-in-chief of IMSA’s student newspaper, The Acronym, his senior year. He had started writing for the paper as a junior. As editor, he took on the task of fixing the website and ensuring the paper published more regular articles. It was a lot of work, but a rewarding experience. Adams was also involved in drama club and the Kids Institute, teaching young students science for a week during the summer. As part of LEAD, he helped to develop leadership development curriculum and train other peer facilitators.
After graduating from IMSA, Adams attended the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he started out studying bioinformatics. He felt his IMSA experience put him on a better footing than other college students, for whom things like living away from home or going to teachers’ office hours were new. He also felt very well-prepared for his classes and work as a research assistant in a lab. In one class, talking about climate change, a professor pointed out that the science needed for change existed, what was needed was social change. That prompted Adams to think maybe he could do more good by telling those stories to create change, and he switched to IIT’s science journalism program.
Adams did some freelance writing about politics and protests and then, during the COVID-19 pandemic, took a full-time job in Effingham, Illinois. At the time of the interview, he was preparing to move to Springfield for graduate school in the public affairs reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Interviewer: Sara Goek. Duration: 46:25
Acronym, alumni, careers, college, English classes, independent study, residential life, science classes, summer programs
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Adams, Andrew '16 and Goek, Sara, "Andrew Adams" (2021). Oral Histories, IMSA Archives and Special Collections, Leto M. Furnas Information Resource Center. https://digitalcommons.imsa.edu/oral_histories/36