Jenny's D-PlanWhat's a D-Plan?
FallOn CampusFavorite Class: Sociology 001
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.
WinterOn CampusFavorite Class: Biology 013
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.
SpringOn CampusFavorite Class: The Body: The Nude in Western Visual Art
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.
FallOn CampusFavorite Class: Organic Chemistry
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.
WinterOn CampusFavorite Class: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
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.
SpringOn CampusFavorite Class: Introduction to Programming and Computation
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.
SummerOn CampusFavorite Class: Sex, Gender, and Society
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!
FallOn CampusFavorite Class: Sports Analytics
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!
FallOn CampusFavorite Class: Design Thinking
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.
Four Questions about Dartmouth, Answered!
You've got questions — the bloggers have answers!
- No. 1
Can you choose where to live?
Not exactly. As an incoming freshman, I applied to a Living Learning Community. These are different themed groups that live together and have other programming designed to bring together people with similar interests. You can read more about mine, Great Issues Scholars, here. If you don’t want to live in one of these, you would just apply for normal housing - which puts you in a Housing Community. I still had one - North Park! Throughout your time at Dartmouth, you will live with other people in your community, since different buildings are allocated to each one. There are also really fun events put on by each student executive board - from trips to Boston and New York to apple-picking adventures, tubing, and relaxation days. In my own personal experience, I’ve been extremely happy with my housing - I’ve lived in the McLaughlin cluster three years and spent sophomore summer in my sorority house. I’ve been able to meet new people through North Park and many of my freshman hall mates are close friends to this day.
- No. 2
Are the classes difficult?
Classes certainly can be difficult, and I believe they should be challenging enough for you to grow as a student. I’ve definitely taken some classes that took a ton of time and effort - a few that come to mind are my Writing 5 on race and ethnicity in higher education, organic chemistry, and applied multivariate data analysis. But I would take each of those over again because they taught me so much, both in terms of the content themselves and also things like how to study better and work as a team. Furthermore, challenging classes typically have tons of resources to help struggling students out! I’ve taken advantage of free one-on-one peer tutoring, review sessions with Learning Fellows (who act like TAs), professor office hours, group study sessions, etc. Professors are always willing to help and usually spend at least a few hours a week answering questions during office hours!
- No. 3
Why did you pick Dartmouth?
Honestly, one of the main reasons I picked Dartmouth was because of the tight-knit community. It was so obvious from the moment I got in - my alumni interviewer emailed me to say congratulations, students spent hours in a common room talking to me and a few other prospective students during Dimensions, and there was the sense that I would be quickly welcomed, a feeling that hasn’t gone away. From First-Year Trips to Homecoming and Sophomore Summer, the small campus size and valued sense of tradition make Dartmouth a special place to be a part of, beyond just academics.