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?
One of the most memorable experiences I have had at Dartmouth was sophomore summer. If you don't already know, sophomore summer is a concept unique to Dartmouth, whereby a majority of students spend the summer after their second year on-campus taking classes. Looking back at my ten weeks in Hanover this past summer makes me feel nostalgic, considering just how special the term was for a number of reasons.
Firstly, on a professional note, sophomore summer proved itself a step for me. It was my first time working as a Learning Fellow for Biology 13 (Gene Expression and Inheritance). My responsibilities included attending all the classes, reviewing material before class, attending weekly huddle sessions with the professor, and facilitating collaborative group dynamics. Besides the fact that I got to experience one of my favorite classes all over again with the same professor, it was incredibly rewarding to witness my peers engage with the material and grow as team members.
I also decided to take a course on sex, gender, and society - one which widened my perspective on so many issues, including queer theory, gender performativity, and patriarchy. Every student had to present on readings and connect them to some sort of media (short video clip, article, or artwork), then lead the class through a discussion. My presentation incorporated themes from the movie Crazy Rich Asians. I analyzed the concept of the patriarchal bargain and how it manifests through the mother-son relationship in the movie. I got to know the other students well and I can definitely say that this class has had lasting impressions on my perspectives of gender relations and power dynamics.
Something else out of my comfort zone was where I lived. For the first time, I was not in the McLaughlin cluster (conveniently located next to the Life Sciences Center and Vail, where my research lab is). Instead, I decided to live in my sorority house for the summer! I ended up loving it - it was right across from the gym and although it was farther from the dining halls, my bike certainly helped. Moreover, I found it refreshing to break up my daily routine and experience campus from another point of view.
It wouldn't be sophomore summer without a bit of fun though. At the beginning of the term, I made a master bucket list of all the things I wanted to do. I thought I wouldn't get to most of them - I was still taking three classes, interning as a Presidential Scholar in a genetics lab, and working as a Learning Fellow, communications intern, and blogger for the Admissions Office. Nevertheless, I tried to squeeze in fun activities and managed to check off a whole 18 out of the 26 items! It was truly a lesson in how to balance work, academics, and enjoying time with friends.
I'm writing this as winter creeps up on us, mid-November. Snow litters the ground outside and I never go outside without my heavy parka. In a week, I will be leaving Dartmouth for ten months, something which saddens me. Yet I know the internships and studying abroad programs I have in store will be amazing. I'm glad to have so many heart-warming memories to look back on, many from sophomore summer, but others that span my entire time here at Dartmouth. From going up a hot air balloon on the Green my freshman year, traveling to Chicago for a conference my sophomore fall, and competing in an air mattress competition across the Connecticut River, if there's one thing I can say, it's that the past few years have not been boring in the slightest.
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.
My personal visit to Dartmouth was a huge factor in my decision to apply, so in honor of Week 7, I hope this blog post can virtually illustrate some of what Dartmouth has to offer in seven images – worth 7,000 words!