Tag Archives: Senior Interns

Apply to Whitman & Lauren’s Favorite Class

Don’t forget the regular decision postmark deadline is January 15, and if you are applying for need-based aid, the FAFSA and CSS profile should be on their way by February 1. Don’t hesitate to contact your area admission officer or use the Ask a Parent or Ask an Alum pages for questions.

This week a Lauren McCullough, a senior admission intern and star politics major from Canby, OR, shares her favorite class:

Every time I think about classes that have been really important to me, I always come back to a class I took last year, Politics 363: the Genealogies of Political Economy.

Prior to the class, I had taken courses from a wide array of departments (this happens when you change your major too much). I hadn’t taken a lot of Politics courses, and when I had, they were always environmentally related. So before taking Genealogies of Political Economy, my approach was something like this: “Politics? Ick. Theory? Gross. Political theory? No thanks.” But the professor who taught this course is my absolute favorite instructor. He has this knack for pushing you and bringing out the best dimensions of everyone in class, so I really wanted to give it a try.

The course was seminar style with an insane amount of reading (200 pages of dense, theoretical material for each class), high expectations for the quality of in-class contributions, and weekly essays. The course studied the development of capitalism, starting in the 1600s with Adam Smith, and ending with texts on current issues, like the 2008 financial crash.

I get that this class could sound boring (Capitalism? really?). However, this class perfectly merged theory and practice into praxis, and it was fascinating. We examined how discourse works; how the ideas of one theorist influenced thinkers to follow; how this discourse in turn gets shaped into policies and infused into daily life. The course taught me how to critique, how to discuss a text with confidence, how to read well.

I loved this class so much, I re-declared as a Politics major, and I’ve been talking with other professors in the department about going to graduate school in Politics.

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Senior Interns: They still go to class

Not all the staff in the Office of Admission are admission officers. There are visit coordinators, IT specialists, support staff, and even students. One special group of these students are the senior interns. These brave students balance their intense academic workloads and a million and one activities with holding significant responsibility here in the office. Perhaps you were interviewed by one during your visit! One of the six interns, Zach Duffy, shares his a bit about himself and his class schedule  below:

Hello, world! First, a brief introduction: My name is Zach Duffy and I’m a senior Politics major here at Whitman. I work as a Senior Admissions intern, which means that I’ll be reading your applications and may interview you if you come to visit campus. I serve as a senator in ASWC, our student government, DJ at KWCW, our campus radio station, and have started a club this year to engage students in local politics. I’m also a member of Phi Delta Theta, one of the fraternities on campus.

This being early December at Whitman, I’m writing this blog while sitting in the Quiet Room of Penrose Library, our fantastic 24/7 campus library. Finals are barreling closer, so I have about two hundred pages of reading to do for my Politics senior seminar and Politics of International Hierarchy classes over the next few days. Thankfully a few of my friends and I have staked our places in comfy reading chairs right by the Quiet Room fireplace.

Speaking of classes, I should probably get to the point of this blog.  Every student at Whitman generally takes four courses a semester, and mine are:

  • Senior Seminar in Politics. Senior Seminar is the capstone course for politics majors and an exploration of some of the most influential and thought-provoking political texts. We just finished reading Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault, an examination of how power functions in our modern justice system. In the second half of the semester, we’ll start planning for our senior theses – thirty-five page papers that are the culmination of our time at Whitman and our chance to really engage with our individual political interests.
  • Politics of International Hierarchy.  This course is taught by Shampa Biswas, one of the professors at Whitman that you always hear great things about – so much so that I am getting my first chance to take a course with her this year. The course is all about how some societies or nations end up establishing some understanding of themselves as more important or advanced than other countries.  Our first reading was of several Dr. Seuss stories, including the Butter Battle Book, which I definitely didn’t understand as being about nuclear deterrence as a kid!
  • Secularization of Whitman. Whitman was founded in memory of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, two missionaries who helped to establish Walla Walla and Washington State in the mid-1800s.  So the college had a strong Christian influence in the beginning of its history. Students had to attend a church service in a college chapel every Sunday, recite prayers in class, and  study the Bible. But Whitman College today is a decidedly secular institution, although many religious students attend. This course is all about the question of how that change came about and how the trend of secularization was affecting the United States at large. As part of my class, I get to read a history of Whitman that a former professor wrote. Did you know that Mark Twain was one of Whitman’s first donors? He gave $20 to the college in the 1800s.
  • Introduction to Macroeconomics.  I’ve spent two summers working in Washington D.C. and have come to understand just how much economic concerns influence the decisions that are made in our country. My macroeconomics course is helping me to more fully understand phenomena like the stock market crash in 2007/8 and the high unemployment in the U.S. today.

If you have any questions or comments for me this year, don’t hesitate to comment on this blog or contact me at the Office of Admission!