Gregory Dowler '15 knew early on that the world was filled with endless opportunities, and he also knew college could help him discover several interests he would have never considered before.
Dowler decided to attend a local community college, Middlesex Community College, in Middletown, Connecticut, as a first step to seriously examine what subjects excited him. Back home in Madison, Connecticut, the current Emmanuel senior worked as a stock manager for Landon Lumber Company; he adored his time at the family-owned business, so he thought he should study business management.
At Middlesex, Dowler made a friend with an accounting major and liked the idea of working with numbers; he took a few accounting classes, loved them and decided to change his major.
However, he felt that something was missing from his academic experience. He enjoyed working and going to school, but he craved the on-campus experience. He also wanted a taste of city life. So in his spring semester of his first year at Middlesex Community College, Dowler applied to Emmanuel.
His cousin, psychology major Nicole Dubé '15, attended Emmanuel and always spoke highly of the College; he planned a visit to tour the campus solely based on her word.
"It sounded like an amazing place," Dowler said. "When I came to campus, I instantly fell in love. I just love the charm that it has. It's a beautiful campus."
The location, size and student-teacher ratio made Emmanuel seem like the right choice for Dowler, so he applied. After being accepted, he was happy to hear that all his credits transferred, and he quickly signed up for classes at Orientation.
"I highly encourage people to go to the Orientation, because that's where I really started to meet people," he said. "Class is great, but getting involved really changes your experiences."
Fortunately, Dowler had a smooth transition from Middlesex to Emmanuel as his two roommates were both transfer students, as well. He met them during Orientation, along with many others.
Now at a four-year college, it was time for Dowler to crack down on his major and get involved on campus. He thought the best way to be involved was to be a part of the Student Government Association (SGA); he applied, and became the Class of 2015 student treasurer; he has been the executive treasurer for the last two years.
For his major, Dowler landed an internship at Robert Goodman, P.C. in Newton Center, Massachusetts. At the firm, Dowler works on data entry and management of client documents in a software system for the certified public accountants (CPAs) to review.
Back at home, Dowler expressed an interest to the Landon Lumber Company of potentially advancing from stocking shelves to bookkeeping. The company liked the idea and promoted Dowler to an accounting associate position where he processes accounts payable, posts payments and receipts to the general ledger, applies accounts receivable payments to accounts and counts cash; he works at Landon Lumber during the summer and other breaks throughout the academic year.
Despite his interest in accounting, Dowler's pursuits aren't limited to business-related fields - actually, it's quite opposite. At one time, Dowler wanted to be a firefighter, and although he no longer wants to do that for a living, he is a senior volunteer firefighter at the Madison Hose Company No. 1 in Madison, Connecticut. Dowler has been volunteering as a fireman since he was 16 years old; his grandfather, father, uncles, cousins and two sisters have all been a part of the Madison firefighting crew.
"It's a great group of people. We have meetings and drills, so we're always working together. It's a great team to be a part of," he said.
Although he isn't a certified firefighter, Dowler, as a senior volunteer firefighter, can extinguish brush, dumpster and house fires, extricate from motor vehicle accidents, respond as mutual aid to surrounding town fire departments, organize fundraisers and advise junior firefighters.
"Being able to go in and put the fire out, it's completely different than just talking about it. You're in there, its pitch black, there's smoke everywhere and you look up and there's fire above your head, and you think, 'What am I doing in here?' But, it's cool to learn the different techniques of putting it out properly and safely," Dowler said.
If Dowler decides to move home after graduation, he plans to pursue an EMT and Firefighting 1 and 2 certifications, so "that way when we do have a structure fire, I will be able to go in and help." As of right now, Dowler mainly helps outside of a structure fire and brings equipment to whomever needs it.
"I like to stay active, that's why I like being a firefighter. Being an accountant, you're staring at a computer all day," he said.
Between his jobs and internships, Dowler is thankful for both the life and workplace experience he has gained.
"If there's anything I've learned in my four years of college, it's not what you know, it's who you know. Network. Network. Network. Make those connections - that's pretty much what landed me the internship at Robert Goodman," Dowler said, who got help getting the internship from Associate Professor of Management and Chair of the Department of Business + Economics Patricia Clarke. "I'm definitely glad I transferred here, because I'm able to be involved...and, I think we're perfectly placed, being right next to Fenway Park."