Andrew Best ’14

“Eagle Hill was an environment containing individuals from all walks of life. Individuals with different strengths, weaknesses, views, opinions, and passions. It gave me the opportunity to learn and grow as an individual. A safe haven where students can express themselves as they want without fear of disapproval or persecution. I explored my passions as well as tried new things. It was an experience I will never forget and helped me become the person I am today.”

Andrew Best ’14 has dealt with many twists and turns in his life, but the obstacles he faced never deterred him from keeping his eye on the prize. Best successfully carved out a fascinating path to the work he does today, with a constant reminder to take it day-by-day and to “focus on his story.” 

“The key to success isn’t about having everything in life work out exactly how you had it planned originally. It’s about facing obstacles and moving forward through them. When you go in for an interview, whether for a job or program, most employers won’t care which school you went to, they will care how you faced your challenges and overcame them. People will focus on your story, so make it an exciting page-turner.” 

After an amazing experience at Eagle Hill School, Best attended Marist College where he received his bachelor of arts degree in psychology and special education. While at Marist, Best was a member of the Division I rowing program, competing against some of the best programs in the country while winning a conference championship his sophomore year.

As impressive as his athletic accolades were, Best truly shined academically, where he was inducted into the prestigious Dean’s Circle his senior year for his extraordinary work, and most notably, was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English in the country of Malaysia.

While in Malaysia, Best continued to row for the Kuala Lumpur Rowing Club, where he raced against the Malaysian national team as well as the Thailand national team. Best came in fourth in the single scull and received a silver in the varsity eight.

Best also had the opportunity to work with a national governing body called SOLS 24/7, which introduced resources such as clean energy, mental health counseling clinics, and English classes to those in Asian countries. Best traveled all across Asia exploring the different cultures and immersing himself, partaking in holidays such as Ramadan, Diwali, and the Chinese New Year.

After his Fulbright grant expired, Best returned to the United States where he taught at Colby-Sawyer College’s Lab School before taking a position at the Wediko School working with students with behavioral issues. There, his passion for mental health grew, leading him to apply to several graduate schools for counseling.

Best was accepted into Boston University School of Medicine ’s master’s program in mental health counseling and behavioral medicine—the only counseling program in the nation that is at a medical school and combines counseling with behavioral medicine.

Once Best completes his graduate schooling at Boston University, his ambitious, young career will continue with his same mission of helping individuals.

“After graduate school, I plan to continue my work with young people and veterans while obtaining my license. I would like to return to SOLS 24/7 and help them develop mental health counselors and clinics in the surrounding area. After working for several years, I plan to return to school and obtain my PhD in clinical psychology, followed by opening up a private practice and teaching at a university. I’d also like to conduct research into the use of technology and its effect on our neurochemistry.“ 

With an inspiring journey thus far, Best thinks about the faculty at Eagle Hill School often, and attributes many of the positive habits he built to lessons he learned in Hardwick.

“Staying organized and focused was the largest challenge I expected to face while at college. Naturally, college is college and freshman year was a time to explore and certainly make mistakes. Nevertheless, I learned from them using the skills and tools that I had obtained from Eagle Hill, such as keeping a planner, developing a study schedule, and one of the biggest skills you truly need, time management. EHS taught me how to manage my time so that I could flourish today.”

Best remembers a specific memory with retired EHS faculty member Dr. Nym Cooke that changed his life.

“Prior to Dr. Cooke’s Jam Band and Research class, I was a very on-edge student. I was always worried about my ‘plan’—what school was I going to, what was I going to study, annual income, retirement, etc. Those questions essentially consumed me at the time. These thoughts did not allow me to fully comprehend the beauty of life and the world we occupied. His teaching method and approach helped me take that step back and realize that these questions and topics are important, but they shouldn’t consume my life. I was able to understand that I should just take it one step at a time.”

In a busy and often chaotic world, it’s easy to lose sight of the amazing things that happen every day. Best exemplifies what it means to do good for others and his exciting journey, though just beginning, is something the entire Eagle Hill School community commends and cheers for every step of the way.

Andrew Best '14

Fulbright U.S. Student Program

In 1945, Senator J. William Fulbright introduced a bill in the United States Congress that called for the use of surplus war property to fund the “promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science.”

On August 1, 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law, and Congress created the Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.

From its inception, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which citizens and governments of other countries work with the U.S. to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs. The world has been transformed in ensuing decades, but the fundamental principle of international partnership remains at the core of the Fulbright mission.

More than 390,000 Fulbrighters from the United States and other countries have participated in the program since its inception in 1946. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Currently, the Fulbright Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

This information is from the  Fulbright website. To learn more about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, visit: 
https://us.fulbrightonline.org

Andrew Best speaking