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A panorama shot of the Fairbanks museum showing all three sides of the exhibit created by Dartmouth students

Here at Dartmouth, there's a special category of classes known as Social Impact Practicums (SIPS). I know when I was a prospective student, I hadn't heard of the SIPs program, but it has really impacted my freshman fall, so I thought I would explain!

A graphic showing an reversed image of "The Creation of Adam" with the phrase Deus ex Homo, which means God from man and was the title of my class's exhibit.
This poster was made by one of my classmates and was used around the Upper Valley to advertise our exhibit!

Essentially, a Social Impact Practicums is a class with a real-world project that impacts people outside of the Dartmouth community. These practicums are included in a wide range of subject areas from environmental science to psychology to education studies. My experience took place in an English class called "God, Darwin, and the Literary Imagination" which focused on the discourse surrounding religion and evolutionary theory. Throughout the term, we studied how Darwin's Origin of Species shook up scientific, religious, and political thinking in the Victorian era.

Abbi posing with her poster on display at the Fairbanks. The title of the poster is "How We Understand the Origins of the World"
This is my portion of the exhibit! Lots of Excel tutorials involved in the making of this poster!

The social impact aspect of the course was a final project that brought what we learned in class to an exhibit at the Fairbanks Natural History Museum, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. While reading and analyzing different points of view surrounding creationism and evolution, the social impact aspect of the course pushed me to constantly think about how the ideas could be translated into a modern dialogue. I think the Social Impact Practicum part of the class was super helpful to my learning because it grounded all of our discussions and readings in real world conversations.

A picture taken from behind of 3 people observing the Fairbanks exhibits
This was taken as my classmates and I explored each others' work in the museum!

As I mentioned, the SIPs part of "God, Darwin, and the Literary Imagination" involved each student in the class making a contribution to a larger exhibit at the Fairbanks Museum. I choose to focus on the relationship between childhood learning and beliefs about science and religion. My favorite thing about the project was that the topic was completely my own, and everyone in the class could work with a medium and topic that interested them. For example, my project was based on a survey and statistical analysis, but I also had friends who created paintings, sculptures, research posters, and even a hanging Ferris wheel! So, you're interested in creating a project based on your interests and leaving an impact on the world around you, I encourage you to check out Dartmouth's Social Impact Practicums! Also, if you're interested in learning more about the God and Darwin exhibit, click here for a video from when the class was offered two years ago!

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