Alumni Interview — Flora Lee Peir (’03)

With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. Each spring we publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we post interviews with our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Flora Lee Peir (’03). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at

peirWhat year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?

I graduated in 2003 with a major in journalism, a minor in history, and a lot of science classes thrown in to a) please my parents by giving pre-med a shot and b) try to pick up a future doctor. (It did not work.)

What are you doing currently for work/career? What do you enjoy most about your work?

I am a night editor on the Metro desk at The New York Times and will soon be joining the team of editors dedicated to the print paper.

Gosh, what don’t I enjoy about my work? I love being around so many dedicated, brilliant colleagues and being able to learn something new every day. I enjoy the rush of breaking news and being able to absorb so much about the way the world works by just keeping an ear open.

How has your BIC education influenced your life/career since leaving Baylor?

I think BIC has been a huge influence on my career, beginning with that required subscription to The New York Times. Times writing isn’t academic, but it does force a relatively higher level of reader engagement than most print media. There’s no way I could have been ready for the job without that initial exposure.

And when I got here, there were references everywhere to what I’d learned about in BIC. From World Cultures 1 alone: the Lascaux cave paintings, Venus of Willendorf, Nike of Samothrace, Steven Pinker, Hinduism, Jewish history … the list could go on. All that cultural capital helped me stay afloat. Erik Eckholm recently retired. I used his articles on the 2000 Taiwanese election for a Rhetoric paper.  I never told him, because we didn’t work closely and I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about that.

I made some good friends through BIC, though I wish I’d been more outgoing and gotten to know more people. What a graduating class we were! (Just look through the list of homecoming alumni speakers. For a while it seemed like everyone was from ’03.) It’s been a pleasure following everyone on Facebook.

I think people who are naturally curious and open-minded seek a BIC education, and in return the curriculum lays out vistas that we did not know existed. It enhances the lives of people who were already interested in knowing more about the world.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?

I think any time spent with Dr. Tom Hanks qualifies as some sort of favorite memory.  He leads that excellent spring break trip to London every year. It was a true delight to have him and Dr. Lenore Wright as my capstone teachers.

Is there something you learned in BIC that still sticks with you today?

Poverty is complicated.

I know, it seems to have nothing to do with everything I answered above. But poverty is a large part of life in New York City. If you’re not financially struggling, you’re near someone who is. I’m answering this question at the end of a mildly busy night in which a cleaver-wielding man was shot by the police. What was he doing with the cleaver before he decided to attack the police? Trying to remove a boot from his car – which happened to be his home. Not that anyone should be attacking anyone with knives. But his circumstances add another layer to the situation.

What are your goals for the future?

BIC, and academic decathlon before that, gave me a huge infusion of cultural knowledge that allowed me to hold my head high while operating in some tall cotton, so to speak. I’d like to be able to pass on that knowledge to my children and, more importantly, imbue them with the cultural curiosity that would allow them to do the same.

Is there anything else would you like to share?

Keep in touch with your professors, and get to know your classmates. They’re probably wonderful people. If you don’t get around to all your reading, remember the title or the author, and get around to it after graduation. It’s a way of extending the experience, if you will, and so often I’ve found the passages were chosen for excellent reasons.

And subscribe to The New York Times, obviously. It feeds my kids – but more relevantly, it’s a great place to see all the pieces of a BIC education come together.

This entry was posted in Alumni, Alumni Interviews. Bookmark the permalink.