Welcome to the ExCollege Board!

We are happy to announce two new students will be filling open seats on our Board next year!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the inner workings of the ExCollege, five undergraduates, five Tufts professors and one graduate student sit on our Board. Together, they select our courses, collaborate on events, and represent the larger Tufts community.

DSC_2275Kate Sienko is a rising senior currently studying abroad in Barcelona. In her junior fall, she taught a Perspectives course for first-year students, called The Medium is the Message: The Evolution of Advertising in America.

Kate is also on the Marketing and Publicity Team for TEDxTufts, in the Chi Omega Fraternity, a member of Special Friends, and a former student of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice through the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts.  Check out the blog she’s writing from Spain.

When asked why she wants to join the ExCollege Board, Kate explained that it is a “hidden gem.”

The ExCollege offers unparalleled opportunities to explore, discover, experience, and above all, try…

It allows me to explore my creative curiosity and pursue my real-world interests that are not offered in the traditional classroom setting, such as advertising, journalism, photojournalism, marketing, public relations, and publication. I believe that the ExCollege complements my traditional studies and thus, every semester, I pair one ExCollege class with my four traditional classes…

– Kate Sienko, Class of 2017

IMG_1625Hanzhi Zhang is a rising sophomore who, in her first two semesters, took two ExCollege courses – Communicating for the Government (Fall 2015) and The Crisis Game (Spring 2016). Hanzhi is originally from Beijing, China and was actually drawn to Tufts because of the Experimental College – even writing about it in her “Why Tufts?” application prompt.

She is a tutor through the Leonard Carmichael Society, a volunteer translator for Home of Hope (Xiwangzhijia), and she participates in phone banking for for Bernie Sanders. Hanzhi is also a fanatic for maps and cartography!

 

The ExCollege is an irreplaceable part of my Tufts experience and I want to be on the board to help make it even better for the Tufts community. As a high school student, especially an international one, I never thought such multidisciplinary and hands-on courses were possible at an undergraduate level…I don’t think enough Tufts students are taking advantage of what the ExCollege has to offer. I feel strongly about it because I know how rare such opportunities are for an undergraduate student, not only in the US, but also around the world.

 – Hanzhi Zhang, Class of 2019

Explorations & Perspectives: Teach Your Fellow Undergrads Next Fall

Explorations and Perspectives are small seminars for first-year students designed and led by upper-level undergrads who teach in teams of two. Students choose a group as one of their advising options.  Explorations can delve into any topic; Perspectives topics have a media focus.  Applications are due March 18, 2016.

Perspectives: Race Representation in TV & Film

Perspectives: Race Representation in TV & Film

Who teaches an Explorations or Perspectives? One answer is juniors and seniors who are passionate about a topic and want to help guide incoming first-years.  Some work with an advisor to plan out a syllabus, and some were inspired by a class they took. Still others go on to teach in the spring through the ExCollege’s peer teaching program.

 

Here’s what three leaders have to say:1454438455825

“Through the Perspectives program, my best friend and I had the opportunity to design and teach our own class about something we were both passionate about: advertising. We discussed, dissected, and digested advertisement campaigns and strategies through class discussion, debate, creative projects, and a guest speaker. As a peer teacher, I not only learned from my own research and experience, but I learned the most from my fourteen first-year students. Over the course of the semester, we became a family, and Tuesday nights became the highlight of my week.” – Kate Sienko, Perspectives leader, The Medium is the Message: The Evolution of Advertising in America

George Killian

I took an Explorations as a first-year about alternative education, and I remember it as a great experience: it was a way to break into the college world with these two upper classmen who could help you out and a bunch of other freshmen who were all going through the same thing.  It was this fun, more relaxing, outside-the-box class.  So when my friend asked me to be a co-leader, I thought back to my experience and thought, yeah, I’d like to be that mentor/advisor for someone like I had had my freshman year.” – George Killian, Explorations leader, Food & Society

The Perspectives class I taught last semester was such a success and reinforced the idea that I can do this, I can come up with my own ideas and teach about something that I’m passionate about.  I wouldn’t be teaching my own class now if it had not been for this Perspectives experience.  It’s opened the door to my ideas of what I can do later in life.  I’ve been interested in film, I’ve been interested in clinical psychology, but then when you add the idea that I can also be an educator – the intersectionality of those skills and all of my interests – it just opens the door to what I can do in my life in the future.”1381841_10201792729767595_34118891_n (1)  Sam Kitchens, Perspectives leader, Intro to Horror Film; current instructor for EXP-0053 Horror Film: Why We Make & Consume ItHorror

Check out all the info and download an application on our website.  Feel free to contact us at excollege@tufts.edu if you have ideas for an Explorations or Perspectives course that you want to develop.

Why Not Ride Your Bike to Florida?

tumblr_o15pnrQqAD1v0i8sgo1_1280What did YOU do over the holiday break?  Tufts student and Friend of ExCollege, Zhou “JJ” Zhuangchen rode his bike from Boston to Orlando to raise money for Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC). Here’s his blog, jjridesforrisc.tumblr.com, with beautiful photos of his encounters. Unfortunately, JJ found it necessary to punctuate his post with the hashtag, #suffer. Looks like it was worth it.  Congratulations, JJ!

 

This post sets the stage:

tumblr_nyue0hs4ht1v0i8sgo1_1280 I created this page for my winter bike ride from Boston, MA to Orlando, FL this December and January. The ride is roughly 1600 miles, terrain is unknown and weather could be horrible. I will be riding about 6 hours per day to cover about 80 miles, and hopefully finish the ride within a month.

As a prospective photographer, I am deeply concerned with the dangerous conditions that freelance photographers, writers, videographers and journalists working in conflict zones are facing. To be properly equipped to work in these situations, they have to pay thousands of dollars for training, which they sometimes simply cannot afford. I came across the organization RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues, here is their website: http://risctraining.org/) a few months back. They are doing free training for freelance journalists to help themselves and others should the unfortunate happen in combat zones.

Since RISC’s training is free for participants, the amount of money RISC raises determines how many reporters can be trained. For each overseas workshop participant, RISC needs to offset roughly $1600 dollars of cost. I hope my ride can help at least five freelance journalists to receive the training–-thus, I set the goal of the fundraiser at $8,000.