The Human Rubix Cube: Mr. McAdam


Fernanda Molina, Editor-in-Chief

“A Rubik’s cube because I am hard to solve,” said Mr. McAdam when trying to describe himself as an object.

When he graduated from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT in 1996, it took Mr. McAdam five more years to figure out what he wanted to do, as he was unsure of what direction his life was going to take. None of the sides of his Rubik’s cube were matching.

“I think a lot of being successful in life has to do with self-confidence and I was lacking in it a lot at that point in my life,” said Mr. McAdam.

With a major in American Studies and a minor in English, he first got certified to become a high school English teacher and taught in his hometown at Dover High School.

“I took over for one of the teachers that got really sick for the rest of the year… my colleagues were the teachers that wanted to punch me in the face not that many years before,” said Mr. McAdam.

However, he did not enjoy the job and he thinks its because “he was not really good at it,” but also partially because he thinks that part of being a good teacher is having a passion for it which “kids can see right through you if you don’t.”  

Mr. McAdam later moved to Washington D.C. because, at the time, he was dating a woman who went to Georgetown University School of Medicine. At this point, he was still unsure of his career but got a job working for a Civics Education program called the Close Up Foundation. This program took in small groups of students from across the country to come to Washington D.C. to learn about the history of the city.

Man with glasses posing
Mr. Brad McAdam’s senior portrait from St. Michael’s College in 1996. “Harry Potter before he even existed.” (Photo Courtesy of Mr. McAdam)

“I was like a program leader, so I would be like an on-the-go teacher,” said Mr. McAdam. “I would teach them history and ride buses around the city.”

He mentioned this was where he met one his favorites artists of all time: Bono from the band U2.

“It was my first week on the job and we were at the Lincoln Memorial and I was sitting with some other colleagues until I pointed out a guy that looked like Bono and then we were like ‘wait that is Bono.’ ”

After five years of having some experience with the nuts and bolts of teaching, Mr. McAdam found one side of his Rubix cube and that was by realizing that the best part of the job was creating a connection with his students.“When I was teaching, the things that I found interesting to me were when one of my students would come to me and say things like, ‘I didn’t do my homework because I had to take care of my little brother because my mom had to work,’” said Mr. McAdam. “They have much more going on in their lives than just going to school.”

During this time, he also began to think back to his mother’s career of being a counselor and teacher at an adult learning center. He explained that his mom used to work at a center for teens and adults who had left high school early and were now trying to get a GED. Known for her kind and outgoing personality, she was known as mother Dover.

Student and man shaking hands
Mr. McAdam shaking hands with one of his students, Nick Settie, after receiving an award. Mr. McAdam’s favorite part of being a counselor is creating a connection with his students. (Photo Courtesy of Mr. McAdam)

“She was constantly reaching out to the derelict of the town, trying to pull them back in. There was some inspiration there that she instilled in me to help people.”

Mr. McAdam’s parents were known to be welcoming people in the town of Vermont as they would consistently take in foster children. Through Mr. McAdam’s childhood, there would always be someone else living in their house.

“A lot of times the police would show up at our house and be like ‘we have a kid here. Can they stay with you for a while? Might be a couple of nights or a few weeks,’” said Mr. McAdam. “We were kinda like the house people turned to. That was a big learning experience for me because one really starts to appreciate the little things.”

This relationship with foster children has lasted a long time. When Mr. McAdam was in college, he studied abroad in England during his junior year and then took the semester off to travel to Europe along with his best friend and a Eurorail pass.

“I was able to visit the people that had stayed with me. Since I did not have much money, I could stay with them,” said Mr. McAdam.

Family on mountain
Mr. McAdam with his wife and two children on top of a mountain in his home state of New Hampshire. (Photo Courtesy of Mr. McAdam)

When the Fall of 2001 hit, Mr. McAdam began graduate school at The University of Maryland, College Park. He studied counseling and began counseling at Mason in 2006.

Out of his 16 years of having been a counselor, Mr. McAdam has been with us for 13 years and enjoys the community and the help he can be to the people of Falls Church with his many years of experience.

“With my experience at a certain school, there comes a bit of wisdom and history, so people might turn to me and I like that.”

Having experienced a moment of uncertainty in his mid-20s, Mr. McAdam found his way to Mason, which led him to finally solve all sides of his Rubix cube. Uncertainty is in his past because he can proudly say, when I look at the scope of my job, I do love it.”