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C A PA B L E

T E N AC I O U S

POETIC

D E E P LY I N S P I R E D

PA S S I O N AT E

AGILE

KIND

TA L L

RESILIENT

FOCUSED

BRAINY

DRIVEN

FAST

SOMETIMES, IT’S POSSIBLE TO WIN, EVEN WHEN YOU APPEAR TO LOSE. Fenwick Broyard chose to relinquish something very prestigious and valuable— a f u l l y f u n d e d g ra d u a te e d u c a t i o n — i n o rd e r to p u r s u e h i s t r u e d e s t i ny. With an open hand and heart, he let go and grasped his dream.

BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN

F

enwick Broyard, the newish executive director of Community Connection, was supposed to be a physicist. He started on that track, impressively kitted out with a prestigious scholarship from the Packard Foundation and excellent grades from his private school education. He left New Orleans, the Little Apple, after earning an undergraduate degree in physics at Xavier University and went to the Big Apple intending to earn a PhD at Columbia University. In New York, he noticed that his roommate’s sociology textbooks interested him more than his physics texts. By the time a psychological storm blindsided him (the sudden death of a childhood friend) Fenwick Broyard was a changed man. He tacked into the wind and changed course: Broyard relinquished the Packard scholarship, one paying all costs related to a STEM degree. He abandoned pursuit of a doctorate in physics to study public health. And he left Columbia. Sailor's wisdom dictates that we cannot control the winds, but we can adjust our sails, and so Broyard did. He eventually found his true calling and storm shelter far inland—540 miles from his New Orleans home, in the small town of Athens,

Ga. He found both community and an utterly amazing opportunity for connection. This is his story. Finding a New Path to Achievement One teacher made all the difference, Broyard explains. As a young high school student in New Orleans, he learned critical thinking skills, which in turn led to prestigious scholarships and opportunities. And he credits this largely to one New Orleans high school teacher, known to his students as “J.C.” “John Charles, or J.C., as we called him, excited and challenged me. He taught physics.” Broyard says, and he was soon hooked by physics. In retrospect, he says it is because it was the first time he felt intellectually engaged. In his senior year of college, after having completed all of his major courses, he began taking liberal arts courses, which he also enjoyed. But excelling in physics carried a huge bonus. “I discovered at graduation from college that I won an award from the Packard Foundation to go and pursue a degree anywhere I wanted to go. But it had to be in STEM.” (STEM academic fields include science, technology, engineering and mathematics.)

UGA Graduate School Magazine F A L L 2 014

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Fall 14 - UGAGS Magazine  
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