By Samantha Oakley ’20
Being an active leader and participant among the many different clubs and organizations on campus is a rite of passage within the Providence College community. Tom Bernard ‘21 is a perfect example of this, as he is a well-rounded student who balances both extra curriculars and academics. Bernard is a biochemistry major, the current vice president for his class on Student Congress, is an UA leader, and enjoys playing volleyball in his free time. He exemplifies all of the necessary qualities to be a standout Friar.
Upon entering into his freshman year, Bernard decided to take part in the pre-orientation program Urban Action. Urban Action is a program that supports numerous community service projects across the city of Providence.
In addition to being inspired to join Congress by his own Urban Action leader, Bernard also decided to become a UA leader himself this year. When asked why he wanted to join the program he said, “I was welcomed as a freshman and on top of everything, I want to welcome the freshmen like I was.”
Bernard joined Student Congress during his freshman year. After hearing of all the ways Congress members are able to implement change from his UA leader, he decided he also wanted to be a part of an organization that could really generate change through action.During his first year on Congress, Bernard was a part of a group that rallied for a new major within the science department. “We are able to make our own statement of position during the process,” Bernard said. He commented on his involvement in creating PC’s environmental biology major, saying, “It is pretty cool to say I was a part of a group that passed a new major.” This past spring Bernard decided to run for an executive position for his class, and is now the vice president for the class of 2022.
When asked about his future plans, Bernard remembered an International Immersions mission trip to Guatemala he was part of last year. “I am from Smithtown, New York, and even here in the United States in general, we are given access to everything. If something is wrong and we need medical attention, we can walk into a clinic and expect to be seen soon, within that day. In other third world countries, such as Guatemala, people will walk into a clinic and not be able to be seen for days.” Additionally he said, “I’d like to do something like Peace Corp, but on the medical side and be there for part of my life. Being there makes you able to see how much help is actually needed.”
Bernard also went on to discuss the things that have made him choose the path that he is currently on, saying, “as a kid, I always loved bio. Thought it was really cool, and after taking chemistry in high school, I knew I wanted to put them together. I also come from a very tight-knit family, and my parents, have really shaped me to be who I am.” When asked what his short-term goals were, he said, “focus on the day to day. Find one good thing everyday and live on that.”