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Eclectic Interests Define SLU Senior’s College Career

04/03/2019

For Douglas Fritz, a passion for sustainability plus interest in American history times a dream of becoming a doctor have equaled a truly interdisciplinary college experience.

Douglas Fritz

Faculty support has been essential to senior Douglas Fritz's ability to explore diverse interests and passions, academically and personally, during his time at SLU. SLU photo

Founder and a three-term president of the University’s Green Billikens, resident advisor, co-chair of the Student Government Association (SGA) Sustainability committee, concert band member, and vaccine researcher in a lab run by Daniel Hoft, M.D., Ph.D., Fritz doesn’t have much spare time. He is also double majoring in biology in SLU’s pre-medical education concentration and in American Studies. Fritz will also graduate with a minor in mathematics.

“People have eclectic interests,” he continued. “Choosing a major shouldn’t mean that you need to limit them. I want to be a doctor, but I care deeply about environmental sustainability. Those aren’t mutually exclusive. As an American Studies major, I will address the complexities of American culture and history that affect my patients’ health. As an environmental advocate, I will ensure that the planet, community and hospital that my patients visit will promote their health and the health of their children long after they leave it.”

Faculty Guide A Wide Range of Explorations

Faculty support, he said, has been critical to his ability to pursue such a wide range of interests, academically and personally.

“The SLU faculty prioritizes interdisciplinary knowledge,” Fritz said, “and ensures that they support and create opportunities for students who want to be well-rounded. The SLU education prioritizes doing and being more, and faculty actively embraces that.”

As the graduating senior awaits news about a Fulbright fellowship in North Macedonia, Fritz has been wrapping up his scientific and humanities research and coursework. He’s also been playing the soundtrack to the SLU’s bout of March Madness as a member of the “world’s greatest” SLU Pep Band and is in his final rehearsals as a member of the SLU Concert and Jazz Bands. Fritz was also chosen as a member of the Spirit of the Billiken Class of 2019.

Connecting the Dots Across Diverse Fields

Spending the last four years immersed in diverse fields and as part of so many campus groups, he said, has taught him the value of connection and being open to incorporating a wide range of perspectives into his work.

“While a focus is useful, I think there is a great tendency among all of us today to specialize and to isolate ourselves,” Fritz explained.

“If my education at SLU has taught me anything, however, it is that our universe is interconnected on multiple levels (and that the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell.) Biology governs the mechanistic ways we interact with and perceive the natural world. Math helps us uncover and understand those mechanisms, and cultural studies, like American Studies, reveal the patterns of interactions from which we create meaning.”

In the lead up to graduation, SLU is sharing some of the stories of its graduating seniors as they look back on their college experience and ahead toward their next steps.

Story by Amelia Flood, University Marketing and Communications