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Community Spotlight: Spencer Lowry '14

Marvelwood Community Spotlight

We are always proud of the experiences of our pterodactyls. Our Community Spotlight features the stories of alumni and community members after their time at Marvelwood. To submit your story or nominate a Marvelwood graduate, email

Spencer Lowry '14 has continued community service and helping those in need while working on a Pre-Med program at Fordham, and customer service at Pexcard.

Spencer Lowry ‘14 continues to prioritize community service and helping those in need, all while working on a Pre-Med program at Fordham. After graduating from Marvelwood in 2014, Lowry completed a Bachelors in Business at Skidmore College and has pursued a career with Pexcard as a Customer Service Manager. More recently, Lowry has made a career pivot enrolling in Fordham University's PCS Pre-Medical/Pre-Health program. We connected with Spencer to ask him about his Marvelwood experience and how it has impacted his career aspirations!

Alumni Office: How was your experience at Marvelwood?

Spencer Lowry: My superlative was “most likely to be doing homework during lunch”. I just loved learning things and interacting with people, going to class, and having tough conversations. I liked arguing, I really loved English and science. History was not my favorite, but I loved taking those history classes from Chez [Glenn Sanchez]. All of those classes were great and showed me that I enjoyed history more than I thought. As an adult, I really enjoy history. I still like science more, but a lot of my experiences at Marvelwood helped me broaden my horizons, and I owe that to my wonderful teachers. They helped me to try new subjects that were not my favorites. But it developed an understanding of how I could potentially like them, and how all subjects interact with each other.

My favorite class was Mrs. Everett’s honors English class my senior year, and I loved any science classes with Ms. Doss, an absolute icon.

Any of the things I did outside of the classroom were just talking, trying to find ways to be friends with every person at the school. I loved doing theatre, acapella, and frisbee. I loved community service too, I volunteered at Kent Center School, and House of Books.

I feel like this is a thank you speech, but it was so important for me to have all those very different experiences with different people. Everyone in our friend groups were so supportive, lovely, and kind to everyone and it was such a wonderful environment to grow up with in comparison to a lot of other people’s high school stories. Every time I tell a story about high school to someone else, I feel like I have to make the disclaimer of “Guys, I swear I didn’t peak in high school, I just enjoyed it and you didn’t and that’s okay”.

AO: How did Strategies help you through Marvelwood and prepare you for life beyond Marvelwood?

SL: I spent a lot of time at Marvelwood developing organizational habits- I don’t do them exactly how I did them in high school, but I was learning and growing off of those types of ideas every day, learning consistency and what works for me. It’s really important to have a place where you are being told something a hundred times for it to sink in. Having a place to go where they told me and coached me in the same things every day, if you didn’t do it the 10th time, the 100th time it’ll help. Having a consistent schedule with the same strategies teacher every day at the same time who gets to know you, you can confide in, really helped me, and someone I could safely have my breakdowns in front of. I have ADHD, but my brain has developed a great skillset of being able to focus on something, and then be able to do something else at the same time.

AO: What would you say is your proudest accomplishment since Marvelwood?

SL: I think keeping a foundation of community service is something that I am proud of. It comes from doing that a lot in high school at Marvelwood for sure and having done it a lot in college at Skidmore, where both schools really created an environment where community service is a very common activity. As an adult originally, I was like I’m not going to continue this, because where do you find the time? But over the course of the past couple years, I’ve felt the need to help out more. I’ve ended up doing ambulance work, working at churches, soup kitchens, hospitals, delivering meals. I’m not proud of myself that I do community service, I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but I am proud of myself that it is a habit that I have been able to keep while being so busy. It’s so fulfilling, it makes other people and myself feel so good, and it’s so easy to commit to a small period each week, but it can be hard to find the time for that. And I think I am proud that I am able to keep it a consistent habit. I know some of it is the privileges that I have had as an adult, and recognizing that I have the flexibility to do some of this, not everyone has the ability to dedicate time. I feel lucky, and proud to have those opportunities to continue to help others.

AO: How was your college experience?

SL: I went to Skidmore, and I spent a lot of time not knowing what I wanted to do. I started off as an engineering major, but abandoned that very quickly, then went to neuroscience and psychology, and did some research in spinocerebellar ataxia type one, which was a really interesting thing to do, work in a lab with mice and all the tools as a scientist.

I then went to computer science for a bit – that was a big mistake, but I learned a lot. You have to have a very particular type of brain for that, and I am not that kind of person, which I had to learn.

I went back to English, but I tried more things, tried some history, did some dance, finished with a bachelor’s in business and about five undeclared minors or so. Then I graduated, which feels like an existential death, but it’s not. I mean, you might feel that way, but society makes that much scarier than it is, where you are just changing modes to working as opposed to being in an academic setting. It’s the same, just a different schedule.

AO: What was your job search like?

SL: Applying for jobs is awful, and hateful, and no one, in high school, in college, after college, has ever liked applying for jobs. Just have some confidence that it is this way for everyone. It’s not you, you didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just a garbage process, and always will be a garbage process. I applied for tons of jobs before this one, and I came from a good school, good GPA and experience. It wasn’t me, and I had to learn that.

I joined a business apprenticeship program for young entrepreneurs just out of school. In school you learn a lot of theory, and this was learning salesforce, getting certified, and administration through this program, which forced us to develop those practical skills in business. I learned how to do email writing, interviews, value in projects, what to bring and be prepared for in an interview.

After that, I went to work in New York at a truly terrible company. It was a sales job, I wanted to do something hard because I wanted to get over some of my fears when it comes to cold calling, and emailing people, and those are things that you just have to bite the bullet on. And it’s hard, but when I had to do 300 calls a day, I learned to get over it. But it was in a toxic company culture where if work started at 9am, and you were there at 7:30am you were late. I spent four months there, and had another lesson on when do you quit - but it was about pride, it was my first job, I wanted at least a couple months there, or else it would look bad that I left so quickly, so I spent 4-6 months at that job before I quit.

I’ve now been working at PexCard in customer service for four years now, ever since then. And it’s been great, living the dream, walking and living in Manhattan in my twenties. But then I felt that I needed to do more to help in the world.

In 2020 in New York City, we needed help. I started calling hospitals to volunteer, I started EMT tech school to work on ambulances, I was working in churches, soup kitchens, harm reduction centers, delivering meals to seniors, and I felt I just needed to help, to do something to just push back against the darkness that exists because it’s just going to be there. I’ve always wanted to continue to learn, want to continue to grow, help people, and be direct with people. So I started the EMT thing just to see if I could handle blood and pressure, then applied to a pre-med program at Fordham. This semester, I have been doing a pre-med program there, while I am working. This fall I did four classes, three days a week, and then had work still five days a week. And each of those classes had things due those work nights as well, I’d get back at 11-12 at night, and then I have hospital shifts, and volunteering shifts, and relationships, and it was a lot to put on myself. In those types of things, you learn where your boundaries and priorities are. There were a few times I set myself up with a pretty crazy workload, where I thought I was going to fail something, or be fired from my job. But as I’ve gotten through, I’m in position for a promotion, I got straight As in classes, and I’m closer in my relationships than I have ever been.

Thanks for sharing with us, Spencer! We can't wait to see what you'll do next!