Hi there! 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, tutor local high school students through Health Access for All, and mentor freshmen in the Great Issues Scholars LLC. My hobbies include reading (especially dystopian and historical fiction) and embroidering, which I only recently picked up. I hope you enjoy 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.
Is the Greek life overpowering? Can you make friends through clubs or other ways?
This is definitely a question I had as an incoming freshman, especially because I had pre-conceived notions of what Greek life was like based on stereotypes from media, other colleges, etc. However, I have found that Greek life, while it has a presence on-campus, isn't overpowering or dominating in terms of who you become friends with.
Also, the presence that Greek life has on your Dartmouth experience is mostly in your own hands. I have friends who are super involved in their respective houses and hold executive positions to help organize and execute some of the operations like rush or sisterhood events. I worked as formal chair my sophomore spring, which was a great way to take on some responsibility and become closer with my co-chair. But since then, I've mostly had a low-key presence in the house, occasionally participating in programming events and meetings.
I would say that most of my close friends and acquaintances come from outside of Greek life. If I were to show you a map of my friends, and how I met each one, you would find that how we met really ranges. Some of the smallest incidents, like my freshman roommate befriending another girl on the Dartmouth Coach, led to lifelong friendships.
Other situations are more obviously typical ways to meet people - like classes, first-year floors, and clubs! Several of my close friends come from my freshman floor, especially because I lived in a Living Learning Community. My biggest piece of advice would just to be open to befriending people from all over campus, since you never know who you might get along with. At Dartmouth, it's pretty common to span "friend groups" and know a wide range of people from campus involvements instead of sticking to only a small circle.
Also, I would say that I have been pleasantly surprised by how even in my senior year, with COVID-19, I was able to make new friends! I have gotten to know a few '23s (or sophomores) really well this term, grabbing dinners with them multiple times a week. My close friend is a UGA (undergraduate adviser) with two of them, and we started hanging out as a group.
I will say that without all the strange circumstances of this year, I probably would never have gotten to know them. I guess this is just a roundabout explanation for the main question, but I hope it served to showcase that Greek life certainly isn't the only, or even the most common, avenue through which Dartmouth students make friends.
But at the end of the day, when people ask me what my favorite Dartmouth memories are, I'm always thinking about the place. Ice skating, pink sunsets, riverbanks, or canoeing? That's my highlight reel.
In a world where proper social distancing is so important, Novack Café has fulfilled a unique desire for current on-campus students; it's a place to study, hang out with friends, and grab a snack—all while staying COVID safe.