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Major Motivation: Tales From the Classroom

Dec 11, 2013   |   by Emma Steele '14   |   Dartmouth Now

A transformative class at Dartmouth can be part of students’ long-held plans or one they’d never counted on taking.

Emma Steele ’14, the Office of Public Affairs’ Whitney Campbell Intern, talks to other ’14s about the classes that have had a powerful impact on their personal growth and college careers.

Fischer Yan

Fischer Yan ’14

Fischer Yan ’14

Geography major
Hometown: Burke, Va.
Class: “Design Thinking
Taught by: Peter Robbie ’69, Associate Professor of Engineering

I took “Design Thinking” to fulfill a science-with-lab credit, but once I was in the class, I really loved it. The class focuses on strategy, consulting, innovation, and creative thinking, all of which are very interesting to me. One day we would do improv acting; another day we would learn Photoshop. The final project in the class was to solve a campus problem and then pitch it to the administration. This allowed us to feel like we had real agency in generating change for our school. Some administrators actually followed up with us after the presentation to get more feedback and see our raw data. In all, this class was one of the more practical courses offered to undergraduates.

Rachel Decker-Sadowski

Rachel Decker-Sadowski ’14

Rachel Decker-Sadowski ’14

Biomedical engineering major, theater minor
Hometown: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Class: “Acting I”
Taught by: James Rice, senior lecturer, theater

This class made me think about what I want every day. It made me take a step back and look around and think not about what others need from me but what I need from them. It’s hard to self-reflect in an environment like Dartmouth, which can be so hectic. But this class makes you think about how you feel and why you feel that way because you have to keep a daily journal and tell stories about yourself and your family. The family-portrait exercise was particularly challenging and rewarding. In this exercise, you play different people in your family and play a conflicting experience you had with your family. It helped us learn a lot about our classmates and about our own inner feelings about our families.

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