Since coming to Union, one of the primary things that struck me was the professor-student interaction. I could list statistics about the faculty-student ratio or the average class size, but none of that really matters. What matters is that personal interaction between you and your professor. I’ve spoken with several math and physics professors. A classics professor was in my French class. I hang out in the math department lounge and frequently chat with the chair of the department when he comes in to get coffee. Two other students and I even invited our global politics professor out to lunch. I never expected the faculty to be so willing to engage on a personal level. I’ve heard about my professors families and personal experiences; topics usually reserved only for peers. They really look at you as an equal. When you ask for advice they give honest responses that aren’t biased toward their own fields. This engagement allows you to really grip the concepts in a course. It isn’t just the professor lecturing to the class. It’s Tom telling another story about his adventures in Iran.
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Xavier Capaldi comes from a homestead in Northern Vermont where his family raises sheep, chickens, and rabbits. Xavier was homeschooled his entire life before college. He is majoring in physics and minoring in nanotechnology and math. At Union, Xavier is the social host of the Beuth Council. He is also the captain and president of the rugby team and is a tutor in the Physics Help Center. Xavier has participated in a variety of research projects including: the study of embryonic heart development, analysis of gas released during coffee bean roasting, the development of a vanadium catalyst to neutralize chemical warfare agents on fabric, and study of the crystallization of polyethylene oxide.