Classroom Connections: Wofford
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 01/31/2019
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Courtesy: Southern Conference

Wofford track and field athlete Conrad Heinrich and Dr. Frank Machovec

About Conrad Heinrich:
  • Senior
  • competes in the multi
  • from Sugar Land, Texas
  • Majoring in finance with minors in economics, accounting and philosophy

About Dr. Machovec: 

  • Professor in the Department of Economics
  • Owns a B.S. in mathematics from Towson State University, a BS in meteorology from the University of Utah, an MA in economics from the University of Denver, and a PhD in economics from NYU
  • Has been teaching at the collegiate level for 39 years (31 at Wofford)
  • Also taught mathematics at the USAF Academy (1970-72) and economics at the United States Military Academy at West Point (1982-85)
  • Served a four-year tour in the Pentagon as director of a division of 15 intelligence analysts, each of whom specialized in a different region of the world

Dr. Frank Machovec and Conrad Heinrich on Wofford's campus

Q&A with Conrad Heinrich:

  • What do you like most about Dr. Machovec's class? There are a few elements of Dr. Machovec’s class that I enjoy. One is how Dr. Machovec teaches the content in cause-and-effect format. This method conveys abstract material in an easily understandable way, and shows how one phenomenon catalyzes a series of other phenomenon until the final effect is reached.  I also appreciate the time Dr. Machovec takes to instruct the class on workplace etiquette and actions that will help us succeed in a post-graduate environment. For example, he urges us to speak confidently, be punctual, and maintain a work journal documenting the work we completed, the problems we faced, the actions we took, and how the results of our actions quantifiably benefitted the company. I utilized the entirety of his advice during my summer internship, and credit it with my obtaining a full-time offer upon graduation. However, what I like most about Dr. Machovec’s class is how he challenges our preexisting beliefs during class discussions. He aims to corrode false preconceptions, and promotes the entertainment of other thoughts attempting to discover truths about a subject. The tone of these discussions are respectful and academic, and I find them enlightening and enjoyable.
  •  What makes Dr. Machovec a good teacher? In addition to his willingness to answer any questions in class, Dr. Machovec is always accessible to students after class to answer additional questions on class topics. Or, if a student would like to talk about a subject unrelated to class (whether academic or not), Dr. Machovec is always a good resource. He is a jack-of-all-trades, and it is rare to approach him with a topic on which he is not well-read. His knowledge knows few bounds, and a talk with him on any subject is a great way to gain deep insight into the matter.
  • What is something you’re involved in outside of class and sports that we may not know? I really enjoy photography. It’s a hobby that can be paired with just about any other hobby. The other hobby I pair it with is travelling. I enjoy going anywhere and by any means, but I especially love the tropics. I frequently take pictures of wildlife, friends, and family.
  • How do you manage academics, athletics and a social life? What is your key to good time management? I’ve found that minimizing distractions is a great way to accomplish goals in the classroom and in my sport. Completing homework assignments the day they’re assigned, studying alone, and leaving my phone at home are a few ways I minimize distractions and improve studying efficiency. When practicing, walking with purpose between exercises, drills, and reps fights-off lazy tendencies. Once athletic obligations are met, and academic goals have been attained, I devote my remaining time to my social life. When I turn-in my books for the night, hanging out with my teammates and fraternity brothers always provides relaxation before sleep. I also refuse to study on Saturdays. This strategy was recommended to me by my childhood doctor. I’ve found that the extended break recharges my studying energy, and prepares me well to hit the books hard on Sunday.
  • What is your favorite spot on campus? My favorite spot is our dining hall, Burwell. Not only is the food tasty, but the staff is cheery, fun and friendly, and they frequently lift my mood. But what I love most about Burwell is when our team gathers there en masse after a morning workout, or after weights, or just arbitrarily. The comradery is warming and the conversations are invigorating.
  • What are your plans post grad? Upon graduation, I will be joining a company called Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) and entering their FLDP (Finance Leadership Development Program) program, in which I will rotate between four different areas of finance over two years. I will begin working in the Boston area in mid-summer, and will likely work in the San Diego and Pittsburgh areas as well. Thermo Fisher is a large life sciences company involved in almost everything in the realm of science. The company is decorated in a colorful variety of awards, and after interning with the company this summer, I understand the hype. So, I am grateful that the company has given me the opportunity to join their FLDP program.
  • What was it like winning a SoCon Championship in the decathlon? Becoming the decathlon champion felt good. It was something for which I had yearned for years. But because the championship was really a culmination of my coaches’ attention and patience, my teammates’ winning culture, and my parents’ support, I owe a substantial portion of the honor to them. My coaches are exceptional, my teammates are fantastic, and my parents are outstanding, and they deserve to boast a decathlon champion. So, I feel grateful to have been able to provide that which they deserved.

 Q&A with Dr. Machovec:

  •   What was it like having Conrad in your class? I enjoyed having Conrad in my classes for five reasons. First, he has an unusually sharp mind. Second, he recites with confidence. Third, he is witty and daring, so he’s willing to add levity to the class at my expense. Fourth, he has broad-ranging academic interests. He completed my technically demanding course in Money & Banking as well as my interim on US Civil Rights History. Fifth, he is affable, and he drops by my office from time to time to chat (Such thoughtfulness is always welcomed by a professor with a tender ego). I admire Conrad’s athletic prowess and the self-discipline required to sustain it. My greatest personal accomplishment in sports occurred when, as a senior, I became a second-string lineman on my high school football team, getting to play only in the 4th quarter when we were three touchdowns ahead.
  • What is your favorite sport or hobby? What do you like to do in your free time? My favorite sport to watch is figure skating, in which my daughter competed for 15 years, eventually winning a silver medal at Nationals. My hobby is collecting and displaying the Lionel and American Flyer electric toy trains that were the hallmark of the Christmas seasons in the United States from 1930 to 1965. When not bringing my three book manuscripts to completion, I love watching suspenseful espionage movies and murder mysteries, as well as realistic and therefore frightening science-fiction thrillers, such as The Thing (with Kurt Russell). My all-time favorite film across all genres is Witness for the Prosecution, starring Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich.
  • What’s your favorite spot on campus? My favorite spot on campus is our well-stocked Library. The friendly and consummately professional staff have been indispensable to my research quests in support of my writing projects. When I have time to read for pure pleasure (which isn’t often), I enjoy stories that pull at my heart springs (such as A Thousand Splendid Suns). I am also partial to political thrillers; my two favorites are All the Kings Men and Advise and Consent. The black and white film versions of both of these novels were superb!
  • How often are you able to watch Conrad or your other student-athletes compete? Unfortunately, I have never seen Conrad compete, but I enjoy it when, while sharing a steak-sub dinner sandwich at the Miami Grill, he tells me about the events in which he and my other Track and Field student, Bradford Smith, have participated. I attend only a few football and basketball games a year. 
  • What is your favorite thing about teaching? One thing’s for sure, the most displeasing part of teaching is perhaps its most important duty - the arduous task of grading hand-written Blue Book examination essays, with liberal red-ink comments to critique both form and substance. Otherwise, college teaching is immensely satisfying for me because I experience the highest degree of self-actualization when I am challenging the cherished beliefs of students and colleagues, thereby provoking the intellectual sparks that are the heart of the knowledge-improvement process. Having been raised a Roman Catholic, I appreciate the function of an aggressive devil’s advocate, a role that, according to John Stuart Mill, is imperatively incumbent upon all those who live in a world of ideas. In short, my philosophy of life is that, as a professor, my moral responsibility is threefold: first, to be instrumental in assisting my students to become clear-thinking, articulate, literate, numerate adults; second, to inculcate a love of learning; and third, to inspire a prudent dose of skepticism when encountering that which is delivered as unquestionable holy writ. 

About Classroom Connections: Classroom Connections is a new, bi-weekly feature that showcases student-athletes away from the playing field and highlights the relationship between student-athlete and professor. 

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