For me, summer is always a time of creativity. You're out of classes and don't have to worry about grades or deadlines, so your brain is free to explore and create. Summer is the time when we love to read big novels, travel to beautiful places, grow colorful flowers, and maybe try our hand at a type of art we haven't tried before.
One of my favorite courses that I have taken at UMass, and the one that actually led to my job with UMass Summer, is Honors 201: Ideas That Change The World. Honors 201 is an introductory honors requirement that challenges students to think critically about our world and the profound ideas that shaped it. A close connection is maintained in the course between the concept of the historical innovator and the concept of the student as potential creator. All students in the Jump! program for incoming undergraduates will take this course over the summer, so I wanted to articulate my experience in the course, the ways it shaped my personal growth and development, and shed a light on the professors who will actually be teaching the Jump! sections of Honors 201 this summer.
One of the best things about going to UMass Amherst is eating at UMass Amherst. We've been ranked number two nationally for best campus food by the Princeton Review (number one in my heart and belly). When you're a full time student, and busy with work and extracurriculars, it can be hard to find time to sit down and eat a meal, but luckily UMass offers a wide variety of sandwiches for you to scoop up and take on the go! Here are the top sandwiches that I've bitten into during my years at UMass.
Topics: UMass Amherst
I am nearing the end of my Sophomore year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and facing the scary truth that I am nearly half done with college, nearly half of the way to graduating. Wow. I can still clearly remember the stress, nervous excitement, and freedom that I was feeling as I applied to schools over two years ago, it really doesn't seem that far away. When I was 17 I could never have imagined the ways that college would shape the person I am becoming, but as I look back on my first couple of years, I can pinpoint specific classes that widened my mind and made me a better learner and person.
I am interested in community health education, understanding and correcting health inequities, and incorporating traditional herbal healing methods into modern medicine. These are interests that I never knew I had, because I was never able to explore them in high school. But UMass gave me the chance to take classes that introduced me to the things I am passionate about and the work I am good at doing. I'm not saying that you will develop these same interests, of course not! What I'm saying is that college will expose you to new things and that you will find new passions and skills that you never even knew you had.
If you choose to participate in the Jump! program for incoming UMass undergraduates or in one of our many pre-college programs for high schoolers, you will get a good idea of what college academics are like. I want to tell you about some of my favorite UMass classes and get you excited for the endless possibilities that you will experience when you come to college, wherever you go!
1. Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 187: Gender, Sexuality and Culture with Professor Alexandrina Deschamps
This was one of the first classes I took at UMass and I still think about it all the time. I was lucky enough to enroll in this class when it was taught by Dr. Alexandrina Deschamps, a distinguished faculty member and the Associate Dean of recruitment and diversity for the Commonwealth Honors college. I had been considering myself a feminist for a while at this point but I didn't know exactly what that meant. This class showed me that the experiences that I have as a woman can be turned into theory to form solidarity and build relationships. I realized the power that I had as a woman and as a student. Further, I got the chance to get to know Professor Deschamps on an academic and personal level. Building relationships with your professors is very important, but it's also fun! Professor Deschamps is an amazing resource and friend to have on campus.
Topics: UMass Amherst
Today, I walked to class without a winter jacket on and it was magical. The past couple of months have been chilly at the University of Massachusetts. Getting to class has meant gathering your will power, covering every inch of bare skin, and braving the cold wind. That's winter in Massachusetts and we all know what we signed up for. But we also know that the year keeps turning and that summer is never too far away. Walking to class today wearing just a sweater and enjoying the mild breeze got me thinking about the warm and beautiful walks and hikes that lie in store for us this summer. One of my favorites is the highest peak in the pioneer valley, Mt. Holyoke.
Dr. Craig Albertson is an Associate professor in the Biology department here at UMass Amherst. The Albertson Lab focuses on the development and evolution of complex morphologies. In other words, How do complex structures and shapes develop from a single-cell embryo? What makes the human hand different from the horse’s hoof, the bat’s wing, or the flipper of a whale? Dr. Albertson is looking for two bright and passionate high school students to join his team and work in his lab alongside faculty and graduate students.
Dr. Cowden grew up working on his family's farm in Southern Illinois, learning a sense of control and innovation from an early age. As an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, Dr. Cowden studied management information systems and political science. He credits management information systems with helping him learn how logic works and how to create a system, and notes that political science forced him to ask big questions and look at problems from multiple angles. After undergrad, Dr. Cowden went on to get his PhD in business administration from St Louis University.
Dr. Ludmila Tyler grew up in the Carolinas. She attended college at Auburn University in Alabama and went on to Duke in North Carolina to get her PhD. Dr. Tyler was always interested in the life sciences. She thought she wanted to be a doctor, but when she began working in a plant biology research lab, she realized that working with plants was a better fit for her. Dr. Tyler got her PhD with a focus on plant genetics and development. She found teaching very rewarding and worked as a TA (teaching assistant) throughout the process of getting her PhD. Now, Dr. Tyler is a lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology here at UMass Amherst, where she combines her love of teaching with her passionate interest in plant biology.
I met with Naaz Sheikh and Maddie Stump, two wonderful students from Jump! 2015, to check in, catch up, and reflect on the days when it wasn't -10 degrees and we were hanging out on mountains and cavorting around the warm and empty UMass campus over the summer. I met these two while working as the Student Activities Coordinator for Jump!, which is a four-week transitional program for incoming UMass students that gives them a head start on everything from credits to campus life.