There’s a moment when you’re crewing in a four- or eight-seat shell that you stop being one person. Quiet and focused, your rhythm in perfect sync with your teammates, you become something quite other—a single entity made up of many dreams, hopes, and hands. For Parker McIntosh ’13, co-captain of Washington College’s men’s rowing team, that moment has been a revelation and a steady beat throughout his undergraduate career.
“I came to the school never having rowed before,” says McIntosh, who had planned to play basketball at WAC but started crew as a freshman instead. “The varsity crew coach remembered my name from a visit, so I decided to give it a shot. And I fell in love with the water the first time we went out.” Since then, the Berlin, Md., native has earned Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Academic All-Conference honors last spring, as well as the College’s Elizabeth “Bo” Blanchard Memorial Sportsmanship Award. His team has won the MARC conference championship twice in the last three years, and he has three training records on the school record boards. “Crew has been huge for me,” he says. “It’s all year round and it’s a lot of work, but the people it’s introduced me to—it’s a very eclectic group.”
“Eclectic” may do well as a description for himself. A biology major with a minor in chemistry, McIntosh first visited the College for the Sophie Kerr weekend, an event that draws high school students who think they might want to focus on creative writing. Although his decision to major in the sciences put the kibosh to his creative writing minor plans (required labs kept conflicting with the writing classes he wanted), McIntosh has continued to contribute to the Collegian, the College’s literary magazine, and plans to submit a portfolio for the 2013 Sophie Kerr Prize. “Being a biology major definitely gives me a different perspective than a lot of people have when they write. It makes me pay attention to different details.”
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, the national honor society, and the Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows, McIntosh this past winter traveled to Costa Rica on a Cater Society grant to volunteer at Reserva Playa Tortuga, where he helped locate and monitor sea turtle nesting sites, as well as identify and classify local birds. Much of his time on campus has also been spent as a peer mentor, someone who helps younger students navigate and get involved in the college community.
McIntosh says he’s still exploring his post-grad options; he’s applied for master’s studies at either the University of Texas for geosciences, or Towson University for evolutionary biology. Or, he says, he may go back to the water for a while, possibly coaching men’s crew in Virginia. His time at Washington College has given him a broad base of knowledge to carry forward. “You’re here to learn,” he says, “to take advantage of everything.”