Impromptu Marathons, a capella, and moving with Andrew Steele ’17

Andrew is a senior from Katy, Texas, and is an intern for the CIL. He has been a member of Offbeat, a student a capella group, worked at Salesforce in San Francisco this past summer, and is a four year member of the varsity swim team.

You’re really into athletics, and you’ve been a member of the varsity swim team here at Swat for the past four years. You also ran a marathon last year without training…super cool. What was this like?! Would you do it again? Do you think that it taught you anything about jumping into new experiences/trying new things?

Yeah, running a marathon without training was an awesome (and painful) experience! That summer, I was interning in Utah and a friend challenged me to do a half marathon with her. Half joking, I doubled down and told her I would do a full marathon instead. Surprisingly, the first 18 miles were pretty manageable; I got into a pretty good rhythm and ran with a group of veteran marathoners who were running at 8:30 mile pace. However, right at about the 20th mile, my shins and knees started breaking down and I had to walk the last 6 miles…at 20:30 mile pace. Looking back, it was interesting just jumping into something new and trying it without any preparation but I’ll probably have a little more caution in the future. In other words, no more marathons for me.

You’re also a member of the a capella group, Offbeat, which was an entirely new endeavor that you undertook in college. How has the team dynamic of Offbeat influenced your membership on the swim team, and vice versa?

Joining an a cappella group was absolutely not something I envisioned doing in college [laughs]. I didn’t have any former singing experience but my freshman year roommate, who is an excellent beatboxer, convinced me to try out with him and the rest is history. Anyways, my experiences with Offbeat taught me the importance of everyone in the group being in sync with one another; if one member was off-tempo or off-pitch, then the whole sound of the group was thrown off. With swimming, I learned the value of consistently practicing to improve and get better. Unfortunately, I had to step down from Offbeat last year because of practice conflicts but I enjoyed being a part of the group and it really pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

You interned at Salesforce in San Francisco this past summer, and then you began working at the CIL this past fall. What were some key leadership qualities that you picked up from your work this summer, and did they differ from those that you picked up from working at the CIL?

The biggest takeaway that I learned from this summer is the importance of taking initiative and being resourceful. Oftentimes, my boss would be swamped with his own responsibilities so it would be up to me to ensure that I was doing a good job. Although my work at the CIL is a bit different, I think those same lessons apply equally!

You moved around a lot throughout your life, and you came to Swarthmore from Texas. Do you think that moving around a lot has influenced your personality in terms of innovation, creativity, and/or adaptability, and if so, how? 

Moving around and growing up in Illinois, Maryland, Georgia, and Texas definitely exposed me to many different kinds of people and sub-cultures in the US. Although it was hard leaving friends behind, it was also exciting adventuring off to new places, making new friends, trying out new foods, etc.

What drew you to working at the CIL in the first place? And if you were to describe the mission of the CIL in three words, what would they be?

I think the CIL does a good job developing important career and leadership skills that can’t be taught in a traditional classroom setting. For me, the biggest ideas that the CIL represents is to be ambitious, innovative, and collaborative.

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