Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Learning the power of collaboration

Samantha Farrell '11

Biology major and Wheaton Fellow Samantha Farrell ’11 spent her summer working with scientists, engineers and clinicians seeking to improve health care.

Summer work: “My internship was at the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT). CIMIT is a consortium of Boston’s teaching hospitals, such as Mass General, Brigham and Women’s, and Children’s Hospital, and engineering schools, such as Harvard, MIT and Boston University. The center seeks to improve health care through the interdisciplinary collaboration of scientists, engineers and clinicians. It focuses on solving challenging clinical problems through early stage high-risk, high-reward ideas with little access to funding.”

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For the love of physics

Rebecca JohnsonRebecca Johnson is crazy about physics, and she wants to spread the love.

The Wheaton senior not only enjoys studying the subject, she also has taught it to middle school and high school students. And that, she says, is a blast.

“Understanding the world around us is an essential part of life,” says Johnson, a physics and mathematics double major from Andover, Mass. “Teaching physics provides me with a chance to spread this enthusiasm and have fun doing it. Anyone who has played with a Van de Graaff generator* knows this joy.”

How did an undergraduate come to teach physics to middle and high school kids? She did it through a summer program called Teaching Opportunities in Physical Science (TOPS).

The six-week program offers eight undergraduate physics majors experience teaching the subject. Hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, TOPS is an initiative of the MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms.

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Playing the blues

Left to right: Actors Elise Morrison, Desi Moreno-Penson and Elliot Quick in a scene from "27 Tips."

As a playwright, Associate Professor of English Charlotte Meehan often stares life in the face and shoves the painful parts under a spotlight to be examined, right in the open,  where everyone can join in.

She did that in 2008 when she presented Sweet Disaster in Providence, R.I., her multimedia play that explores catastrophe—both global and personal. And she’s doing it again this year with her play-in-progress 27 Tips for Banishing the Blues, which was presented in workshop form in June, at Dixon Place, a New York institution for experimental theatre.

Peeling back life’s layers and writing plays based on the discoveries is what keeps her fresh as a professor, and benefits students, she says.

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Course sends students on a trip and a journey

Wheaton students have fun in Tanzania by putting on a skit to celebrate Professor Donna Kerner’s birthday.

Wheaton students have fun in Tanzania by putting on a skit to celebrate Professor Donna Kerner’s birthday.

Before last summer, Brittany Whynot ’12 had never traveled outside of the United States. So when she joined Professor of Anthropology Donna Kerner and 12 other Wheaton students for a course in Tanzania in June, she didn’t know what to expect.

Children react to seeing photos taken by Brittany Whynot ’12, a psychology major and journalism minor.

She could not have imagined all that she would discover there. She and other students say that not only was the trip a real-life expansion of classroom coursework about people and culture, it also was a journey that broadened their own personal perspectives on life.

“I wanted to step away from a sheltered life I seemed to be living and to broaden my horizons and expand my mind a bit,” said Whynot, a psychology major. “I wanted to get out there and meet new people; people who could teach me things that I couldn’t necessarily gain here. I wanted to influence others and make a positive difference in someone’s life…. This trip was exactly what I was looking for.” [Read more...]