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.
What experience/class/program at Dartmouth has been the most memorable for you?
It's hard to choose just one, but one of my most memorable classes was Biology 11: Major Events in the Evolution of the Human Genome, which I enrolled in my freshman fall. Eager to get started on the biology major and get to know the professors, I was debating between taking a harder anatomy class and Biology 11 - which is recommended for freshmen.
Biology 11 is offered year-round and each term, the topic and professors change. In the fall, the course focuses on the human genome and uses a gene to investigate a significant event in the history of life. Pretty crazy stuff! For example, chromosome 14 provides insight into the origin of life itself, chromosome 8 on the invention of DNA, and chromosome 7 on the beginnings of human language.
Although it was a large class (about 80 students), it did not feel that way. I remember that at the end of the first week, my professor started calling students by their name when they raised their hands. At first, I panicked and thought everyone was already going to office hours and introducing themselves. But it turns out he takes the time to memorize each and every one of our names!
There are other ways that made me feel not so lost in a large, rigorous class. For example, I signed up for a study group that was led by a sophomore, meeting each week with a few of my classmates to go over the homework sets. I also attended group office hours held in a classroom and which ended up being the setting where I found myself having those lightbulb moments.
Now entering my junior year, I know that this class was not the exception - most of my STEM courses have encouraged group work and provided so many resources (some with the professor, others with peers) that allow students to excel. I ended up working as a study group leader last year to help first-years in the class, bringing it all full circle. In addition to being a fascinating course that opened my way of thinking in many ways, it was the perfect introduction to Dartmouth academics and one I will always remember.
As you all know, Dartmouth students must pass the foreign language requirement in order to graduate. There are numerous ways to do this, so today I'll be sharing my experience with Dartmouth's foreign language department!
Read all about my course selection for freshman fall! In order to mask my panic at the idea of it already being week 7 and having to once again choose classes, I decided to reflect on the classes I chose this term.
Now that we're all champing at the bit for the end of term, it's become coy and fleeting, tiptoeing further out of sight with each new assignment. And somewhere in waiting-for-finals I've found myself growing a little weary.