Student Spotlight: Xavier Capaldi '16

Publication Date
Xavier Capaldi '16

Hometown: Derby, Vt.
Major: Physics
Minor: Nanotechnology

Why Union:
I choose Union for its trimester system, its location, and its resources, but what really convinced me to come was the campus atmosphere. I could instantly feel the closeness and personal connections among students, faculty, and staff.

Most inspiring class:
Intro to Global Politics with Professor Tom Lobe. I've always been drawn to science because of the certainty that it offers. Professor Lobe was the first person to introduce me to politics as more than unavoidable background static in my life. He showed me that human behavior is indeed chaotic and unpredictable. He also showed me that individuals can help people and make a lasting difference despite the disorder. His influence didn't displace my love of science but it certainly changed how I think about my future. Before taking his class, I was sure to end up in some lab doing research. Now, I feel like traveling and doing something that helps people right now instead of just adding to a pool of knowledge. This class will certainly affect where I end up after graduation.

Also excited about:
Calculus III with Professor Karl Zimmermann. Despite being a physics major, I still don’t get the shivers looking an equation on the whiteboard. But Professor Zimmermann is so enthusiastic about his field that he makes the material come alive.

Financial co-chair of Beuth House Council, Rugby Team, Club Volleyball, College blogger, student photographer

Favorite study spot:
The Math Department lounge in Bailey Hall

Three things I'm passionate about at Union:

  • An aggressive rugby match on the field in front of the Nott Memorial
  • Throwing the Frisbee outside between Fox and Davidson halls
  • Going out to dance on Saturday nights

Other passions:
Climbing the trees in Jackson’s Garden, exploring the campus at night, helping prospective students navigate the campus

Most surprising thing about Union:
Despite being a small college, there are opportunities to do things at every turn. You’ll never be able to attend all the events that are happening. The greatest challenge is to pick which things you will really focus on.

How I'm making Union a better place:
By trying to help the incoming first-year class. In addition to blogging about Union, I have hosted accepted students.

Looking into the future:
I’m doing summer research on campus with Professor Ashok Ramasubramanian, looking at the material properties of the embryonic chick heart. And over the course of the next three years, I'll be learning how to use the Atomic Force Microscope with the goal of mastering it by my senior year.

Advice for incoming students:
Feel free to sign up for everything when you arrive, but try to cull your activities in the first term. Because of the accelerated pace of our courses, you can’t afford to fall behind on your work, so try to balance academics, clubs, sports and fun. A planner is incredible helpful when you have three professors assigning homework for different days.