Dean Pohl's Bio
Title: Assistant Dean of Admission
Regional and programmatic responsibilities: My regions are: Central Virginia, New York and the Far West (Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming). I assist with reviewing applications from international, overseas, joint degree program and transfer students. I also work with our multicultural recruitment team, our marketing and communications team and our campus program team.
Hometown: Boston area (grew up in Salem and Swampscott, both on the North Shore of Massachusetts)
High school: Swampscott High School
College: Tufts, degree in Political Science with Arabic and Hebrew language concentrations
New England itself is my hometown. It’s where clam chowder is ladled and the cheering of Red Sox fans pulsates against a hot summer night. Where the zip lines fall in a double-diamond mogul field, hot cider is poured and the promise of full equality is authentically American. It is also where I fell in love with the liberal arts and with the creativity and difficulty of writing.
A character in Jane Austen’s novel “Emma” once said, “There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.” Perhaps this is true, but life is not always about seeking the comfortable or the familiar. Home, for me, is a portable concept.
I graduated from Tufts University in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a late-night calzone habit and nary a plan of “exactly what I wanted to do.” Such is the life of many recent college graduates. I moved to New York City, drawn to its glamour, grit and contradictions. One learns to navigate the subway system, appreciate the “outer boroughs,” and even tolerate Yankees fans (that last one is key). Stints in the legal and government fields brought a craving for purpose and clarity – which I finally found in college admissions as Assistant Director of Admission at Sarah Lawrence College from 2007 to 2011. However, six years of city life and renewed need for change brought me to William & Mary. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Tribe among a brilliant and dynamic staff.
What’s with the Photo?
I’m holding a map of Washington State with a red line traced from the Puget Sound and across the southwest coastal region toward Oregon. That route covers an 855-mile bicycle ride that I took from Seattle to San Francisco. I’ve also cycled my way from Venice to Paris, through Ireland and the U.K. and along the St. Lawrence River Valley in Quebec, Canada. No fancy accommodations – just a tent, my clothes, and cooking utensils. Shaped by jagged edges and quick decisions (flat tires, too), those routes were filled with beauty and awe – at once electrifying and unanticipated.
We are educators, not merely gatekeepers. When I see that roadmap, I also think about my own college admissions experience – one where ‘fit’ and self-discovery truly mattered. Roadmaps and blueprints can only begin to describe what could be many wonderful routes to college and well beyond. They are also not always the most reliable indicators for your dreams and passions. Your heart and your gut will sometimes interfere – and rightfully so.
Access, financial aid, social networking, event planning and evaluation – all of these areas are meaningful to families and prospective students as they navigate and make choices. We care about this at W&M, and I love working here as a result.
I love this place. It’s the juxtaposition of ancient and modern, of our nation’s roots and its possibilities. W&M students are extremely bright yet are anything but “Ivory Tower.” You can feel the beat of critical and creative thinkers, of artists and activists and athletes. W&M has well-established identity, but it isn’t just as a place of “firsts” (of which there are many). W&M is also a hotbed of undergraduate life and learning as a small, global research university. This combination is actually a rarity in American higher education.
- I threw myself off jumps and cliffs as a competitive freestyle skier in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
- Ever heard of a male cheerleader? I was one!
- I authored the Fashion Week script for the 2010 Calvin Klein Men’s Fashion Show in New York City.