Mar 052014

At Dartmouth there are of hundreds of possible classes one can take, yet which ones are the ones that stand out, the “must-takes”? Every Dartmouth undergrad may have a different list, but one that crops up a lot and is on my personal list is ENGS 12: Design Thinking.

What is this ? Weird name, huh? Well, Design Thinking is actually exactly what it sounds like… you think about how things are designed – anything and everything from objects (ex: a table) to technology (ex: iPhone). And you not only think about design, but think about how to improve design and come up with your own!

My second design project. Can you guess the theme?

Yet what skills do you learn, how does this happen? Main skill: learning to be creative! In class you will find out all types of different brainstorming activities, lateral thinking, and so much more! This is also a project-heavy class, so you get your hands dirty, and group-based – at times frustrating, but an invaluable skill.

Myself modeling one of the many ways you can wear the modular bag – the bag everyone has been waiting for!

This class is not only fun, but the skills you will learn (anything from working intensely in a group to photoshop!) will be invaluable in other aspects of your life: other classes, job interviews, new solutions to old problems… You will not regret taking this class.

The App You’ve Always Wanted: Tinder for Exercise Buddies!

To wrap this post up, this is just one of the many Dartmouth classes that has made an impression on me and changed me for the better. But who knows what gems you will discover? Take-away message: take classes outside your comfort zone – you might be amazed at the rewards.

Sep 222013

First week of classes has been an overwhelming flurry of new textbooks, new classmates, and new introductions. Everybody is back on campus and all the activities, clubs, and info sessions are in full swing!

Although we only take 3 classes per term, it feels like more, because there is a lot to do, but it is also really great because you feel totally immersed in the subject you are studying. Professors are super friendly, super knowledgeable, and being in class here is different from being in class in high school, in the best way possible.

There has been many big decisions to make this week, from class registration, to choosing clubs and activities, to deciding where to eat or how to spend a free afternoon… That said, it is so easy to feel totally at ease with however you decide to spend time here, because everything is a great opportunity to learn and meet new people.

I posted pictures of my studio arts class and my biology class building, both of which are top-notch facilities.

Off to hit the books, week 2 is coming up!


Aug 022012

Wednesday night’s dinner was my favorite meal in a long time for two main reasons. First, I got to enjoy pesto, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella- the perfect summer combination! But more importantly, the true appeal of Wednesday’s dinner was Professor Michele Tine, a member of the Education Department at Dartmouth, who joined nine of my sorority sisters and me for a “Delta Dinner.” We sat around the table talking for nearly two hours with constant conversation about everyday Dartmouth life topics and eventually engaging Professor Tine’s expertise about underprivileged students and ways to enhance their education. Professor Tine has worked in a school herself and now is a professor and does research of her own. We chatted about the merits of educational topics ranging from teacher professionalism and respect, Teach for America, the unequal scale of opportunities and the invisible challenges teachers face in certain types of schools. As an education minor and teacher hopeful myself, the dinner was an incredible opportunity to hear first-hand from an intelligent woman with a life of experiences to share with us. This fall I will be teaching in a 1st grade classroom and, after the conversation over dinner on Wednesday, I am itching to start!

Photo from Dartmouth Education Department website

Education Professor Michele Tine

May 252012

Peter Hackett is a Professor of Theater and chair of Dartmouth’s theater department.

To the Class of 2016:

Every day as I walk to my office in the Hopkins Center for the Arts, I pass the portraits of the extraordinarily dynamic teachers who served in the theater department years ago. The gentleman with the impish smile and the irresistible twinkle in his eye is Professor Rod Alexander, the man who guided me to a life in the theater when I was, like you, an eager and energetic Dartmouth undergraduate.

A consummate comedian and master teacher, Rod not only knew exactly what to say to achieve the maximum impact on his students, he knew the perfect time to say it.

During one of the last rehearsals for my senior directing project, The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd, Rod and I watched with dismay as the chorus of urchins tripped and shuffled their way through their dance numbers. Several evenings of extra dance rehearsals had resulted in no noticeable improvements. After the final blackout, Rod leaned over to me and whispered, “Put glitter on their shoes.” I had learned by this time that it would be very wise to follow Rod’s advice even if I didn’t necessarily understand it. Sure enough, on opening night, with the stage lights sparkling on their rainbow colored feet, the chorus danced with a nimbleness and precision I had never seen before! As I watched the urchins fly through their numbers, I realized that Rod was a motivational genius.

In 2004, after thirty years in the professional theater, I came back to Dartmouth to join the faculty and follow in my mentor’s footsteps. Rod had always made us keenly aware of theatrical tradition and of our shared obligation to train the next generation of aspiring theater artists.

Rod Alexander and his remarkable colleagues in those portraits inspired me with their passion for the theater, challenged me with their standards of artistic excellence, and gave me the skills to create a life in the vocation that I love. For that, I will be forever grateful.

Apr 272012

Lisa Baldez is an Associate Professor of Government and LALACS

Last Thursday the temperature hit 70 degrees so I decided to hold class outside. The class is Gender Politics in Latin America, a class jointly offered by the departments of Government, Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. We focus on the historical dynamics that have given rise to powerful women’s movements, surprising changes in public policy, a high percentage of women in legislative office, and several female presidents in the region. Last Thursday the 18 of us sat on the lawn outside Baker-Berry Library to discuss Rita Arditti’s Searching for Life, a book about the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an Argentine human rights organization. The Grandmothers mobilized to find their relatives who had “disappeared” at the hands of the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976-1982. The Grandmothers work specifically to find children who were born to pregnant women in concentration camps and illegally adopted by families that supported the military regime. This is an intense and emotionally difficult topic to talk about, but also a hopeful one because the Grandmothers have located 87 of the estimated 500 children identified as missing. Being outside allowed everyone to relax and speak openly and honestly about their responses to the text. It was a sublime class.

Apr 272012

David Bucci is an Associate Professor of Psychological and Brain Studies at Dartmouth

Congratulations on your admission to Dartmouth! In my opinion, attending college is all about having transformational learning experiences in which you discover and nurture your true life passion.  Doing so requires ‘learning by doing.’  Dartmouth offers you tremendous and unparalleled opportunities to do just that, in part through a high level of access to faculty and their engagement both inside and (perhaps more importantly) outside the classroom.  This is because the faculty at Dartmouth are not only the ones teaching the classes, but they are the ones producing the knowledge through their research activities.  At Dartmouth you have the opportunity to work along side them in creating that new knowledge! I’d say that is a pretty good way to discover your passion.

Apr 232012

Professor Christopher Snyder: I teach in the Economics Department at Dartmouth.  One of my favorite parts of the job is to be able to work with students on research projects.  On one recent project, I worked with Dartmouth student Wills Begor ‘12 and an MIT professor.  The project ended up as an article published in the journal Health Affairs on which we are all three coauthors. Before getting into the details, Wills can talk about his involvement in the project.

Wills Begor ‘12: I started doing research with Professor Snyder during the winter of my junior year as part of the James O. Freedman Presidential Scholars Program, a unique program at Dartmouth that provides opportunities for juniors to work as research assistants for Dartmouth faculty.

Prof. Snyder:  My interest in this research began some years back when I worked a program sponsored by GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations) and the Gates Foundation to design an innovative solution, known as an advance market commitment, for procuring vaccines in developing countries.  Sponsors pledged $1.5 billion for a pilot program targeting second-generation vaccines for the pneumococcal disease.  Although pneumococcus is not a big killer in rich countries because we have ready access to antibiotics, it ends up killing nearly one million children in poor countries each year.  Our goal was to use the tools of economics to design the program to get the most health benefit out of the pledged fund.

Wills:  Our article in Health Affairs examined the performance of the program so far.  To gauge its performance, we compared the rollout of a first-generation pneumococcal vaccine without the advance market commitment to the rollout of second-generation vaccines under the pilot program.  You can see in Exhibit 4 that without the advanced market commitment there was a nine-year lag between the introduction of the vaccine in rich compared to poor (GAVI-eligible) countries.

On the other hand, in Exhibit 5, under the advanced market commitment, the lag between the rollout of the pneumococcal vaccine in developed and developing countries was virtually eliminated.  While time will tell the ultimate benefit of the program, it appears that the initiative had a dramatic effect.

These exhibits just scratch the surface of the work we did.  We collected all sorts of data on when vaccines were introduced in various countries, the number of vaccinations administered each year, not just for pneumococcus but for other vaccine rollouts such as for polio and measles.  We also used economics to study how alternative designs might have changed the costs and benefits of the program.

Prof. Snyder:  So you can see that the course work and research students are involved in at Dartmouth have the potential to make a real impact on broad issues like global health.  The opportunity to work closely on with undergraduates is one of the big reasons that I joined the Dartmouth faculty.

Wills and Prof. Snyder:  Congratulations Class of 2016 and welcome to Dartmouth!

Apr 172012

Kathy Cottingham is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth.

Dear Class of 2016:

Welcome to Dartmouth!  I hope you give us a close look!

I do research and teach ecology and biostatistics in the Department of Biological Sciences, which is housed within the wonderful new Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center.  One of the many reasons I like Dartmouth is that I am able to meld my research and teaching in new, exciting, and fun ways.  This is especially true during summer quarter, which is the busy “field” season for most ecologists – we work very hard to collect lots of data and samples during the all-too-short New Hampshire summers.

Last August, I brought the 12 students enrolled in Methods in Ecology to Lake Sunapee, one of my primary study sites.  The students learned about aquatic ecology firsthand while helping our research team to sample the sediments (the muck at the bottom of the lake) at six sites around one cove.  We had great weather and it was a win-win outing – that level of sampling would have taken our research team weeks, but instead took just two afternoons, and I think the students had a lot of fun helping out!

In addition to classroom involvement in research projects, Dartmouth offers undergraduate students numerous opportunities to conduct independent research. For example, the Honors thesis of alumna Cayelan Carey ’06 helped launch our project on nuisance cyanobacteria in Lake Sunapee and other low-nutrient lakes across northern New England.

If you’re looking for an institution where you can take classes with faculty doing cutting-edge research – and then work side-by-side on research projects with those same faculty members, Dartmouth might be the right place for you.

Hope to see you in the fall!

Mar 292012

Hey guys! First of all CONGRATULATIONS on getting into Dartmouth. Here’s a link to my post to the early decision sixteens. Much of this applies to all of you as well.

Over the next few weeks you guys will be making one of the most important decisions of your life. Many of you might have excellent offers from other colleges as well and are closely looking at every aspect of every college to make sure you make the right decision. I was in the same position exactly a year ago. Today, while writing this post, I am filled with immense happiness and pride for choosing Dartmouth which ended up being the perfect choice for me. Although it’s probably true that Dartmouth may not be for everybody, but trust me, Dartmouth’s versatility and welcoming nature ensures that most people will have the best time of their life at this institution!

So the major question is why should you choose Dartmouth? You’ll probably find thousands of answers to that question. I’ll just add some of my own experiences to that list.

One major thing you’ll always hear about Dartmouth is the focus on undergraduate studies. Trust me that is NO joke! All classes are taught by professors. They also have additional office hours when you can ask them for help or just have a nice chat with them. To see world class professors working extremely hard for you is truly inspirational and you can find that at Dartmouth! This is one of the biggest and most important reasons i’m completely in love with Dartmouth!

Next is the versatility. This is something I’ve talked about in my previous posts. Dartmouth has something for everybody. You meet loads of different kinds of people and all of them have made their place in this wonderful institute. For example, coming from Pakistan my favorite sport has always been Cricket. Coming to the US, I assumed that I probably will not get to play cricket during my time here. However I was in for an amazing surprise when I found out that Dartmouth actually had a cricket club. I get to play cricket every single week here. Many people have had similar experiences with their passions. Sometimes when there actually isn’t an official organization for you, then you can easily create one. Best thing is that you will almost always get both funding from Dartmouth as well as support from peers, administration as well as professors. It’s magnificent!

I’m sure that many of you will already have heard of the amazing study abroad opportunities, the flexible schedule, amazing internships, world class resources, and the millions of other things Dartmouth has to offer. All of these together make Dartmouth a really magical institute. However something that struck me the most was the amount of love students have for this college. People are actually passionate about making it a better place and almost everyone wholeheartedly believes in the greatness of this institution. I’ve also talked about a magical feeling associated with being here in some of my previous posts. The best thing about this feeling is that it keeps increasing over time. As I said, each week brings something new, presents a new challenge, and gives us the opportunity to develop physically, mentally and emotionally.

Overall, I’d just like to say that you guys are a really lucky bunch. Think about your college choices carefully, but speaking from experience I HIGHLY recommend Dartmouth! I am super excited to see you all on campus and I can’t wait to see all of you soon! Make the most of your last few pre-college months!

Dec 122011

Join Pre-Health Advising coordinator Dr. Lee Witters and Assistant Director of Admissions Justine Modica at 8pm EST tomorrow (Tuesday) night to hear how Dartmouth helps prepare students for careers in the health professions. No webcam needed. Sit back and watch or participate by asking us questions and we’ll do our best to answer them, Live!