Hello! My name is Jenny and I'm a senior at Dartmouth studying biology and quantitative social science. On campus, I also work as a communications intern for the Admissions Office, teach piano to elementary school students through Musical Empowerment, and mentor freshmen in the Great Issues Scholars LLC. My hobbies include reading, attempting to finish crossword puzzles, and embroidering, which I only recently picked up. Welcome to my blog!
I looked forward to this class every week, partly because of the professor and partly due to the content. We read books on a wide variety of topics, ranging from privilege and how it affects our interactions with others to restaurant kitchens and the hierarchies inherent in surgical residencies.
Biol13 is structured so that you have to work as a group on difficult class problems and even on some exams, which was novel to me and pushed me to really understand the material. This class inspired me to pursue research (both off-campus and on-campus) related to genetics.
Although this class was daunting to me in the beginning, given that I had little to no experience in either Women's, Gender, and Sexuality or Art History, it was also one of the classes in which I became the most engaged in. For our final project, I investigated the history of allegories in Western art and why they were so often portrayed as women.
I interned at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA under Dr. Livingston. I explored the mechanism by which BRCA1 acts as a tumor suppressor. It was really rewarding to be able to apply what I had learned in Biol13, including specific procedures and techniques we had been tested on, to a real-life laboratory setting.
This class is notorious for its difficulty, and I would not call it an easy class. Nonetheless, it was my favorite class because I loved Professor Jacobi, who has taught at Dartmouth for 22 years, and I appreciated learning mechanisms behind why certain reactions happen. Instead of rote memorization, this class relied on being able to predict the products of a reaction, a skill picked up from lots of practice.
Although this was an introductory class, Professor Craig made it more dynamic and interactive, with several visits to the Hood Museum of Art, ethnography labs, and weekly discussion posts. I learned about everything from the Gebusi culture and their rites of passage to the opioid epidemic. For my final paper, I conducted an ethnography studying the social dynamics that take place in Baker Lobby and how that relates to the exchange of capital.
Though I had taken four years of computer science before (mostly in middle school), I did not have a very good experience with coding prior to taking CS1. However, the professor was one of the best professors I have had, explaining jargon in understandable ways and even giving out chocolate bars to students who answered the most difficult questions she would ask in class. I was certain that there was no way I would be able to create the lab assignments (such as a revolving solar system animation and map of Dartmouth that calculated the shortest possible route between two points), but she enabled all of us to through exercises, short assignments, and exams.
I took this class for a distributive requirement and ended up loving it. Each student was assigned a day to present on a certain topic - mine being patriarchy. I decided to analyze relationships in Crazy Rich Asians through a lens of the patriarchal bargain. We explored transgender issues, the history of feminism, gender identity, and so much more. Would highly recommend!
As someone who didn't know the rules to pretty much any sport, I tentatively signed up for this class. However, the professors made it clear that everyone had a different sports background, so I never felt at a disadvantage. We used Markov chains to predict winners of tennis matches, analyzed field goals kicks using logit models, and listened to guest speakers from a variety of industries.
I spent the winter at the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health, studying epidemiology and global health. I was first involved on a project using data surveillance and social media to model Ebola outbreaks in the DRC, but as soon as the COVID-19 outbreak started, I transitioned to that. I was even able to publish my first paper!
I was planning to study in Rome for the term and practice my basic Italian skills, but unfortunately the program was canceled. Instead of taking classes, I decided to continue working at my winter internship at NIH. Some of the research I conducted involved analyzing data on excess mortality as a method of estimating the true burden of COVID-19.
I continued my research at Fogarty while also working part-time as a Learning Fellow for BIOL13 (Gene Expression and Inheritance), a job I also did my sophomore summer. It was great to see some familiar faces and help with transitioning this very interactive class into something Zoom-friendly!
I had heard about this class long before taking it my senior fall, as it's one of those quintessential Dartmouth classes. We had a total of six projects over ten weeks, many of which were group projects. They included everything from building rollercoasters, creating Photoshop posters to combat harmful misconceptions, and designing prototypes to improve student dorm life. I learned so much about what it means to design ethically and purposefully, and will definitely carry these lessons forward with me in my future endeavors.
Funding Opportunities for Research, Projects, and Trips
Have you received funding from Dartmouth for research, a project, or a trip? If so, how did you find that funding and what did it enable you to do?
Yes! I've received funding from Dartmouth for a number of projects over the past few years. The first instance was for research my sophomore year, which I was conducting at the Geisel School of Medicine in a genetics lab. I applied for funding through the Sophomore Research Scholars and Presidential Scholars programs, where students are expected to work 7-12 hours a week. All I had to do was fill out a brief application outlining what my research was on, include my project advisor (the lab's principal investigator), and a brief description of the project and my role in it. I learned a lot from this experience and it was really rewarding to apply what I had learned in my previous genetics class to actual experiments (and I became very comfortable with fruit flies).
In my sophomore fall, I also received funding as part of a student organization (Health Access for All) to travel for a conference. We had been accepted to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University conference held at UChicago that year. We applied for funding from the Self Experiential Learning Fund, which covered our flights and hotels for the weekend. It was my first time visiting Chicago, and we even had some free time to visit the famous Chicago Bean!
Finally, this past summer I was working a remote internship at the National Institutes of Health, and applied for the Dickey Center for International Understanding Build-Your-Own-Internship funding. They essentially invite Dartmouth students of all years to apply if they have an internship with any sort of international focus. I really enjoyed being a part of this small cohort of students because we also had meetings before and after our internship to debrief and share our experiences. We also had to write a short report on the details of the day-to-day work and what went well/not so well. It was great to have a place for some added reflection, and the best part is that those reports are kept and made available to other students on their own search for internships!
These are just my experiences with receiving funding from Dartmouth, but I'm sure there are many, many more examples, some similar and others unrelated. I especially appreciated how these funding opportunities allowed me to try new things and take risks that otherwise would not have been possible.
One of the really cool aspects of Dartmouth is that the college is located in a rural area but still has access to urban areas like Boston. Last week, I took a three-hour bus ride on the Dartmouth Coach for a weekend getaway in Boston.
I'd like to talk a little bit about exploring your future career and the opportunities Dartmouth offers to guide you. What should you get involved in your first year? Let's use my first year as a case study!