A roundabout way to American Studies

- The Experience, David Johnston '19

When I started my first year at Connecticut College I thought I might want to major in history. I always enjoyed the subject in school and I was good at it. The fit seemed pretty natural to me. During my first year, I wanted to explore the curriculum so I took a few different classes, including the post-colonial history of South Asia. I enjoyed the class, but it also made me realize that maybe history was not really the major for me. In the spring, I took new classes in different departments so I could get a better sense of what path I might pursue.

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Looking Back on English

- The Experience, Avery Lowe '18

A student stands behind a pile of books stacked on a counter.
“The Stack” being disassembled at the bookstore. December 2016.

I remember sitting in my seventh-grade classroom and thinking about how much I loved grammar. When I think back and examine my life as a student, I’ve always known that my love for English was there. I was lucky enough to come to college already envisioning the next four years: books, words and a lot of discussions. I’ve always been enamored by the way writing is armed with the ability to change how one can feel. Words are subtly powerful and blatantly powerful all at once. The reason I have been feeling nostalgic about English is because class registration for next semester was last week, and I’ve recently come to the realization that, after this semester, I will be done with my English major. Though I have a lot more work to do before December 18 (the last day of finals), I feel this sudden urgency to remember and think back on all that I have learned about myself through my English classes here at Conn.

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Playwriting – A Lesson in Writing my Own History

- The Experience, Julia Kaback '18

Julia poses with her Cousins Suzanne and Gabi at a restaurant in Israel.
Pictured here are my cousins Suzanne and Gabi. Gabi was my Opi's first cousin and we recently met in Israel for the first time!

In my time at Conn, I have fallen in love with the theater department. I don’t consider myself an actress, but a scholar of American playwriting and musical theater. Before I went abroad last spring, I took a class called American Drama in the department and loved reading plays for homework. Sometimes, my class would act out the assigned plays and critically examine them from top to bottom. Professor Ken Prestininzi guided us through the classic American canon of plays written by playwrights such as Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams, and Sophie Treadwell. My favorite play we read as a class was “Machinal” by Sophie Treadwell which critically examined the effects of a capitalist society on a character. Recently, I found myself in a similar situation to Treadwell’s own playwriting. I sat down at my computer and attempted to write a play that examined my own relationship with society and my family members.

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CISLA

- The Experience, Daniella Maney ’20

No puedo hablar español fluido porque mi madre no me enseñó. (I can not speak Spanish fluently because my mother never taught me). My mom and her entire family are from Bogotá, Colombia, which means that half of my family speaks Spanish (some only speak Spanish). Meanwhile, I only speak English. All through middle school and high school, I tried to learn Spanish to be able to communicate with my family but I never became proficient. That's why I was excited to learn about The Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts, lovingly referred to as ‘CISLA’, at Conn. CISLA is one of the five academic centers on campus; it focuses on the globalization of citizenship through language fluency and study abroad opportunities.

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bobrauschenbergamerica

- The Experience, Mark McPhillips '20

I have been involved in theater for as long as I can remember. My first official production was in the second grade and I have been in countless shows since then. At Conn specifically, I was cast in the show “Twelfth Night” last year. I had my share of interesting experiences working on the production, including adjusting to four-hour rehearsals and a much more intensive process than I was used to.

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Ammerman in New York

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Saadya and Andrew Nathanson ’13 pose for a photo together in NYC at the Ammerman Center event.
Meeting Andrew Nathanson ‘13 who manages social media for Bisnow, a company focused on commercial real estate news. We bonded over our shared experiences at Conn.

I recently had the opportunity to go on a field trip to New York City with other students, faculty and staff from the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, one of the five academic centers on campus, which fosters students, faculty and staff doing interdisciplinary work in arts and technology. We began our day in the city with a visit to Flavor Lab, a New York-based audio production company. We met with Eric Stern ’13, an Ammerman Center alumnus who works there. He showed us around the company’s studios and described his work editing audio for TV shows and films. Given my interests in sound and music, it was fascinating to see this space as a potential place where I could work at with my Ammerman Certificate after graduation.

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From English to Entrepreneurship

- Guest Blogger

Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Jade Hui ’20 is pursuing an English major and a sociology minor at Connecticut College. As part of Connections, Conn’s new curriculum, she will declare her Pathway, Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, Value and Change, this fall. Jade works as a tour guide for the Office of Admission and as a student adviser to first-years. She is a member of the a cappella group The Connartists, and treasurer of the Ski and Snowboard Club.

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How I chose peace (and conflict)

- Guest Blogger

Hanna Bobrowicz ‘20 of Burlingame, California, is a history major and theater minor at Connecticut College. She is on the Leadership Committee of HerCampus, a member of the PR committee for the Women’s Empowerment Initiative, a member of Connecticut College Democrats and a Tour Guide. She plans on declaring her Peace and Conflict Pathway this fall.

As a first year, I was one of those lucky people who knew what they wanted to major in. History has always been a passion of mine, particularly social movements. Before college, I would often spend hours watching documentaries and interrogating my parents about life during the ‘60s. I was also extremely passionate about social events and community service. In high school, I was a part of the Young Dreamer organization that allowed me to work in communities in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and India. So while I was determined to major in history, I also wanted to make sure I would use my degree to impact the world in a positive way.   

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Just a minor problem

- The Experience, Andre Thomas '20

Before coming to Conn, my mind was already set on a major. I had told all of my family and friends that I was going to major in behavioral neuroscience. There was no doubt in my mind that was the degree I wanted to pursue. Of course, I had other interests like acting, photography and writing, but I never considered pursuing any one of them as a major or minor.

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The Role of Women Across Classes

Ashley Myers '19 - Guest Blogger

Student Ashley Myers relaxes on a picnic blanket.

Editor's Note: Guest blogger Ashley Myers '19 of Winchester, Massachusetts, is majoring in English with a concentration in fiction writing, and minoring in Classics and Psychology. She is the president of Cadenza, the literary magazine on campus, a member of Relay for Life, and an editor-in-chief and writer for the Odyssey Online. Writing is her passion, and she wouldn't want to pursue it anywhere other than Conn. 

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Museums On Campus

- The Experience, Daniella Maney ’20

The Lyman Allyn Art Museum

I recently completed an art history ConnCourse called Mona Lisa to Instagram, taught by Professor Karen Gonzalez-Rice, which focused on historical artists such as Leonardo da Vinci to contemporary artists like Kara Walker. In the final weeks of class, we studied Impressionism and Postimpressionism, and instead of viewing the examples on a projector, which can alter the coloration and size of art, Professor Gonzalez-Rice took us to view The Lyman Allyn Art Museum’s permanent collection of 18th through 20th century art.

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The Study of Latin

Anne Holly ’17 - Guest Blogger

This photo of me was taken at the Colosseum, behind me is the ruins of the Roman Forum.

Editor’s Note: Anne Holly ’17 of York, Pennsylvania, graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minors in mathematics. She was a captain of the Connecticut College women’s squash team, which is ranked No. 28 in the country.  At Conn, she was also a member of the Peggotty Investment Club, Outdoors Club, Tennis Club, and is Green Dot-trained. She thinks Conn has a great mascot and loves being a Camel. She was a guest blogger for The Experience this spring. 

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Study Away with Fiete Felsch

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

It was great to have Fiete Felsch on campus for two days. He brought great energy to us right as we were preparing for break and slogging through midterms!

This semester I decided to compete in the Concerto Competition, which gives one winning student the opportunity to be featured in the Connecticut College Orchestra Spring Concert performing a concerto or vocal piece every year. My clarinet professor, Kelli O’Connor, and I had made a somewhat spur-of-the-moment decision in late January that I should enter it this year, so I could experience competing in it.

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A Time for Happenings

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

For my History of Arts and Technology lab, we created and performed exciting group improvisations in the span of just two hours. To prepare, Professor Nadav Assor told us to bring one to three things to class that we thought might be useful in a group improvisation session. He asked us to post what we were going to bring to Moodle, a website used in many classes to foster dialogue outside of class time, so that we could see what everyone was planning to work with. The section on Moodle included some videos with examples of improvisational systems, but even after watching these I wasn’t quite sure  about the exact nature of the exercise. After looking through others’ posts, I noticed that my classmates collections of objects tended to include at least one or two things that a person can easily perform with, along with something completely random. Imitating them, I decided to bring my clarinet, sheet music for Willson Osborne’s “Rhapsody for Clarinet” and an Amtrak timetable.

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Of Flora and Foreign Language

Georgia Hann ’18 - Guest Blogger

Guest blogger Georgia Hann ’18 is a return-to-college botany major with a strong interest in native plants, farming, and composting. She has an academic background in Environmental and Conservation Biology and a wide variety of interests that include but extend beyond languages; holistic health and nutrition; and the literary, visual, and performing arts.

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Honing a passion for art

- The Experience, Daniella Maney ’20

As a kid, I spent a lot of time in a home that looked straight out of Country Home and Living Magazine, with many wicker baskets and an odd number of duck sculptures and paintings. (I counted once and made it to double digits for ducks/items with ducks on them.) I would meander around this home while eating blueberry pie, admiring the immense gallery of artwork that my grandma created over her 95 years of life. Her quaint yellow country home is where my love of art started.

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Touring the Ammerman Center

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

‌This past fall I was accepted to the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology as a student scholar. The Center is one of the five academic centers on campus, which provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. This is the second in a regular series of posts I’ll be writing during spring semester about finding my path as a new member of the Center (read post 1). 

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My Econ Experience

- The Experience, Mark McPhillips '20

Typically, students who are keen on majoring in theatre and have an interest in minoring in film studies don’t leap at the prospect of studying economics. But when said student happens to join an econ course by accident, they may have their preconceived notions about the subject turned on their head.

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Accepting the Challenge of Physical Computing

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

A top down view of my prototype for a motion sensor, the photovoltaic sensor I used is peeking out of the box on the hole to the right with two strips of electric tape attaching it to the box.

This past fall I was accepted as a student scholar in the Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology. The Center is one of five academic centers on campus, which provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. As a scholar in the Ammerman Center, I collaborate and learn from other scholars and professors to accomplish my goal of creating connections between my major (philosophy), the arts, and technology; I will graduate with a certificate in arts and technology, which reflects my participation in classes, seminars, independent studies, center sponsored activities, and an internship relating to the field. This is the first in a regular series of posts I’ll be writing in the spring semester about finding my path as a new member of the Center.  

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What It Takes to Survive Concert Season

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

There are many concerts and recitals at the end of each semester, produced by the music and dance departments, student bands or a capella groups, SAC (Student Activities Council), or any of the myriad student groups here. I should know because I usually end up playing in a few of the ones that the music department runs. For me, it’s a bittersweet moment in the semester. Playing in concerts is a fun and invigorating experience, but it’s usually time-consuming with rehearsals and preparation for each performance. It’s also a sign that the semester is getting close to the dreaded finals period. However, playing a concert is about more than just jumping onto the stage of Evans Hall. There are a lot of little things that go into it.

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