By Aliya Merhi
Elm Staff Writer
In the midst of celebrating the holidays and visiting family, students are using winter break as a chance to take advantage of the resources provided by Washington College. Here are a few opportunities to help students make winter break productive and exciting.
The Career Center
According to the Career Center, some of the professional development programs students are doing this winter break include the Job Shadowing Program, the Launchpad Program for juniors and seniors, researching companies and businesses, taking personality and skill tests, working on résumés or other professional documents, and looking for summer internships.
The Office Manager and Event Coordinator of the Career Center, Nina Burton, said, “Several of our juniors and seniors are partaking in the Launchpad program, which is inaugural program that will prepare students for every aspect of life after college. Students will return a few days early from break to participate. Registration is still open until Nov. 21, and about 50 students will be job shadowing over break [so far]. They will be experiencing first-hand what it is like to work at a certain job or industry. Other students have individual opportunities set up with places like the Smithsonian, Colonial Williamsburg, and private law firms.”
The Career Center shows students how to take advantage of winter break, and students can find more information on their website. Burton believes being productive over winter break can only be beneficial. “Any opportunity to advance your professional awareness and development is valuable. Taking the extended time over break to focus on opportunities here at WC or after graduation is a great step toward being ready to graduate,” she said.
Another opportunity the College provides is a 10-day study abroad program to Cuba run by Dr. Aaron Lampman chair of the Anthropology Department and Dr. Ken Schweitzer chair of the Music Department. This will be their first year taking a group of students to Cuba, and Dr. Lampman said, “Students will learn a lot about Afro-Caribbean dance and music. They will practice utilizing rigorous qualitative methods including systematic observation, participant observation, and semi-structured/structured interview. They will learn about the creative blending of cultures in Cuba, and they will have the chance to experience a location that few Americans have the chance to experience.”
The students will be busy during their time in Cuba. Dr. Lampman said, “The timing is excellent as there will be three important festivals during our time there. Students will have the opportunity to view public performances that focus on national history, Afro-Cuban religion, and celebration of the new year. The majority of our time will be spent in Havana, and students will work in groups to conduct systematic participant observation of music and dance performance. They will conduct interviews with musicians and visit museums focused on culture. Our goal is to have students pursue independent research projects that examine the cultural importance of music and dance.”
The students are also excited about the trip. Junior Sean Granata said he learned about the program from an email that went out, and after having a class with Dr. Lampman and having a great time traveling around Europe this summer, he signed up. The students participating do not have to be anthropology or music majors. For example, Granata is using the program as an opportunity to finish his fine art distribution in music while studying abroad and doing experiential learning.
Senior Michelle Coleman is another student participating in the program. She studied abroad during the summer in the South West trip that was also with Dr. Lampman and said, “When you’re in college, it’s the optimal time to learn about different cultures when you’re still learning who you are, so that’s why I love to study abroad.” Coleman is traveling with a group of friends learning anthropology and music, which she typically does not have the time to learn about during the semester.
Both Granata and Coleman said that students should take advantage of the College’s programs like studying abroad. “When else are you going to do it?” Coleman said.