For Starters: Fall 2017

Experiential learning. Advice on making the college choice. And Athletics Homecoming makes its debut.
Fireflies art project view.

1. Fireflies

When Cai Guo-Qiang’s Fireflies public art project launched a fleet of pedicabs, festooned with 900 lanterns, onto Philly streets, some lucky Bryn Mawr students were on hand to observe

Enrolled in a course on art and the environment in East Asia taught by Assistant Professor Shiamin Kwa, the students saw firsthand how art transforms our understanding of ordinary objects.

“Cai’s art is experiential,” says Kwa. “The experience of being there, surrounded by hundreds of other people experiencing the same thing at the same time, is not something that can be replicated on film or in print.”

2. A Wired World

On track to becoming one of Bryn Mawr's most popular departments, Computer Science hit a record number of major declarations this year. And while some students enter with a definite plan, many find their way to the major in unexpected ways.

“Originally I was into Psych,” says Madeline Perry ’19, “and I switched over to Cities. I didn’t think CS at all.”

So what changed?

For an internship working on a Seven Sisters history archive, Perry had to build a website, becoming proficient in CSS, HTML, and Javascript—none of which she’d ever used before. 

Oh, and she picked up a second major.

It’s this attitude—creativity mixed with entrepreneurial spirit mixed with a recognition of technology’s relevance—that sets CS students apart. One terms it “global minded and socially conscious,” another “well rounded.” Regardless, the sheer number of students interested in the field speaks to its appeal.

“Computer science is very relevant now,” says Department Chair Dianna Xu. “It has a lot to do with what’s going on around us—the pervasiveness of big data and how that’s driving the world.”

3. The Perfect Fit

As president of a highly selective liberal arts college and mother of a college-bound high school senior, Kim Cassidy knows a thing or two about college admissions. So, this fall, “in the spirit of reducing stress,” she offered up some hard-earned wisdom to Huffington Post readers:

“Create the set of schools that you think is right for you, complete the application fully and honestly, and then (try to) relax. You may get into your top choice. And if you don’t, but you were careful in creating your larger set of choices, the school that selects you will be lucky to have you.... By the time you graduate, you’ll find yourself saying, ‘I couldn't have made a better choice.’”

4. China Studies

Since 2013, Tri-Co students have been earning master’s degrees in China studies through a partnership with Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. According to Marian Slocum ’15, one of the most recent graduates of the Master of Chinese Studies program, “It was an incredible learning experience, in and out of the classroom, and probably the most personally challenging experience I’ve had so far in my life. I learned so much about the world and myself.” 

With students from all over the world, Slocum explains, class discussions featured a wide range of perspectives. “I was exposed to new ideas and angles from which to examine historical trends and events,” she says. “I especially enjoyed our Chinese history class. As an American, I had not had the opportunity to learn about China’s extraordinary development from the Chinese perspective.” 

Open to any interested Tri-Co student, the program can accept as many as 15 students each year with a full scholarship that includes the costs of instruction and on-campus housing and dining.

5. A Prized Poet

The Academy of American Poets recognized the work of Creative Writing Major Sanam Sheriff ’18 for her poem To a Lover, Miles Away with the 2017 Bryn Mawr College Prize in Memory of Marie Bullock and publication on the Academy website.

6. A Rare Breed

At Reunion 2017, President Emeritus Mary Patterson McPherson, Ph.D. ’69, took a little time off from the festivities to sit for our video production crew. She told them, “Bryn Mawr gives you a kind of educational experience that is quite rare today ... where communication and engagement with other people is valued.” 

7. A Postbac Partnership

The Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program’s consortial option gives accepted students the opportunity to start medical school immediately following the completion of their year at Bryn Mawr. 

This summer, the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine became the 18th consort school and the first dental school to join the program in many years. Pre-dental students have not had a linkage option available since a previous agreement with Penn Dental ended more than a decade ago.  

It was a bit of a reunion: Olivia Sheridan, D.M.D., assistant dean for admissions at Penn Dental and a 1986 graduate of Bryn Mawr’s postbac program, successfully linked to Penn Dental herself before the program was disbanded.

“I know firsthand the quality and rigor of the Bryn Mawr postbac program,” says Sheridan. “I’ve had the privilege of working with and teaching other postbac alums at Penn Dental Medicine and very much look forward to many more years of alliance.”

8. Let the Games Begin

In October, Bryn Mawr hosted its first-ever Athletics Homecoming with a full complement of varsity and alumnae/i sports, photo ops, and a Cambrian Row tailgate. Returning Owls played basketball, field hockey, soccer, tennis, and volleyball, and the weekend kicked off with a Homecoming Eve alumnae panel on life after Bryn Mawr: Aigné Goldsby ’11 (cross country and indoor/outdoor track & field), Heather McKay ’04 (lacrosse), and Avary Taylor ’15 (volleyball).