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Swarthmore Men’s Soccer Trip to Barcelona

in Fall/Men/Sports by

 Swarthmore’s unique appeal that it brings to its students includes small classes, individual attention, and thus, a world-class academic experience. What many within the Swarthmore community may not know, however, is the enormous effort and resources put toward enriching the experience of student varsity athletes. These resources not only include great facilities and staff, but also travel schedules and excursions that would make anyone on campus envious. These international trips are paid for through a combination of athletic-specific donations, fundraising, and personal contributions by team members at a fixed price. Similar to Swarthmore’s mission, the school aims to make sure no one is denied the opportunity to participate out of lack of affordability.

The Varsity Men’s Soccer Team recently traveled to Barcelona, Spain, to practice and bond as a team before the commencement of their fall season. The trip extended nearly two weeks from Aug. 1st to Aug. 13th and included almost the entire men’s team’s roster. In previous trips the men’s soccer team has traveled to other exciting destinations including Greece, Brazil, Argentina, and the Czech Republic.  

    Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia Spain, the northeastern region of the country, known for its distinct culture and language. Barcelona captures a beautiful assortment of both modern and gothic architecture, has scenic beaches, and offers food and other customs unique to the region.  The team toured the historic town of Girona, La Sagrada Familia Church, and FC Barcelona’s famous Camp Nou Stadium.

    The team organized and participated in four matches against fourth division men’s amateur teams in the region of Barcelona. Their record included one win, one draw, and two losses. The results weren’t exactly what the team was hoping for, as they found some unanticipated challenges on this seemingly perfect trip.

    Daniel Lee 20, a rookie standout last year, explained the unanticipated obstacles the team faced.

    “Something we had to overcome as a team was quickly adapting to Spanish/European soccer. For instance, the Spanish referees opposed physical play more than referees in the United States.”

Though their opponent’s style of soccer was foreign, the team was able to turn their defeats into important learning experiences before the start of their actual season.

Trevor Homstad ’20, commented on the improvement put in place following their mixed results.

“We kept a positive attitude throughout the trip and improved our communication skills on and off the field with one another,” Homstad said.

   Starting goalkeeper Michael Thut ’19 was also surprised by the congeniality formed between teammates off the field.

    “We spent every hour of every day with someone on the team, which included meals, practice, down time, the beach, even sleeping. It’s a big deal, and it’s very different from any other trip I’ve been on. Spending so much time together almost forces you to bond with everyone,” Thut said.

Their fourth and final match of the trip occurred on Aug. 12th against Club Esport Llerona, a club located in a small village 45 minutes away from central Barcelona. The team concluded the trip with a commanding 5-0 victory.

Their last day and victory was followed by a trip to a world-famous “El Clasico” match between leading Spanish soccer powerhouses Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Any soccer fan’s dream, “El Clasico” did not disappoint. The iconic jerseys reading “Messi” or “Ronaldo” and the electric atmosphere was an experience of a lifetime for the recently victorious Swatties.

“When the players came out to warm up, the stadium went insane, and you could just feel the passion flowing through your body,” Homstad said.

Flying back stateside that next day, the Men’s Soccer Team brought back bonds and memories sure to help supplement the already diverse, interdisciplinary education that they receive at Swarthmore.


BEP construction to begin over the summer

in Around Campus/News by

When students return to campus in the fall things in the Northeast part of campus will look quite different. Construction on the Biology Engineering and Psychology Building will begin this summer with the demolition of Papazian Hall, which will start a game of musical chairs where departments will hoping buildings as construction is completed.

In preparation for the demolition of Papazian Hall this summer, the Psychology Department and some of the Engineering Department’s shops will move in May to the newly completed Whittier Hall, behind the Lang Center on Whittier Place,” said Jan Semler, Director of Capital Planning and Project Management.

Semler stressed that the BEP shows the college’s commitment to interdisciplinary programs and the college’s unique integration of engineering into the liberal arts curriculum.

“The three departments have outgrown their space in Martin Biological Laboratory, Hicks Hall, and Papazian Hall, respectively. Despite periodic capital investments in the existing buildings, all three departments need new space to meet their curricular needs and the research interests of the faculty,” said Semler.

The building will replace Hicks and Papazian Halls and will be finished in 2020, with part of the building, hosting the entirety of the engineering department and parts of the psychology and biology departments, opening in 2019.

“Hicks and papazian have a lot of historical significance so their destruction does sadden me. However, I’m more upset that the BEP building won’t be completed  until we are long gone. The addition of a large common space near the center of campus will help to alleviate the current overload on sci and kohlberg,” said Max Barry ’19 who is double majoring in engineering and art, “The construction will also allow for the, much needed, expansion of the CS department. There is definitely a need for a community makerspace open to all students and the addition of a new engineering building will foster that need.”

In addition to the new lab and classroom spaces the building will also add the John W. Nason Garden and terrace.

“[The terrace] will [provide] shaded seating for informal gatherings, outdoor study and relaxation. A grill area at the edge of the garden is expected to become a popular gathering spot for faculty, staff and students in BEP, Beardsley, Pearson, and Trotter Halls,” said Semler.

The destruction of Pappazian this summer and Hicks following may put classroom pressure on other near by buildings such as Beardsley which hosts the Art and Art History departments.

Despite the increased pressure the building may see on classroom space Barry believes that having more people in the building may benefit the departments.

“I think the exposure to student art that is frequently displayed in Beardsley will be a positive effect of any classes that are moved into the building while BEP is constructed,” said Barry.

After the BEP is completed the Art department will move to Whittier Hall and philosophy will move into Beardsley.

Mary Lyons to be site for summer housing despite student concerns

in Around Campus/News by

The Mary Lyons residence hall has been designated to be the summer residence hall for all students who will be staying on campus this summer. Many students expressed concerns or questions over this decision by the administration since Mary Lyons neither on campus nor air-conditioned.

“Historically, Mary Lyons was used as summer housing in large part due to the number of students it can hold (100+), the building’s proximity to a parking lot, and the large breakfast room.  A few years ago, in advance of a multi-year summer renovation project, summer housing was transitioned to temporary locations in Parrish, Mertz, and Willets,” said the Assistant Dean and Director for Student Engagement Rachel Head.

Alexandra Ye ’19, who will be working in Philadelphia in the upcoming summer, expressed her concern for living in Mary Lyons.

“I’m actually working in Philly, but I think I’m hoping to live near or on campus for the ease of finding a place and being around friends,” said Ye.

Her main concern is that Mary Lyons is too far away from the SEPTA station in addition to being so far from main campus.

“I’m not sure how I feel about living in ML — I’ve heard many negative things about the meal plan, and it’s less conveniently located than other apartments in the Ville for catching the train,” said Ye.

Daniel Lai ’17, a current senior who stayed on campus for the past two summers, also expressed concern in terms of the meal plan.

“I wasn’t really able to use it because the hours were limited, and I would always leave campus for work before meals could be used and would come back on campus after Sharples had already closed. I was able to use the Points by going to the coffee bar before work every day,” Lai said.

Mary Lyons has a kitchen, but living there is not going to make Sharples more accessible to students. However, a better meal plan will be available this summer, according to Head.

“Isaiah has been working closely with Dining Services to identify a partial meal plan that can better meet the needs of students who participate in campus employment, summer research, and off-campus opportunities.  I believe the new plan is a combination of scheduled meals and off-campus Ville points. More information on that plan will be shared by Dining Services in the near future,” said Head.

Lai also expressed that he did not understand the administration’s decision this year. For the past two years, he stayed in Mertz and Willets. Mertz has air-conditioning in each individual room. Willets, while it does not have air-conditioning in the rooms, had two kitchens that were available for the students to use as well as an air-conditioned lounge.

“I really don’t understand why the administration would choose to use ML as the summer dorm this year and in years previous to 2015. It’s incredibly inconvenient for people working on-campus as well as off-campus. It’s also frustrating for move-in / out and moving things in and out of storage. Not to mention further from groceries [at] Giant and Target,” said Lai.

Assistant Director of Residential Community Isaiah Thomas explained that this decision was made collaboratively by the Office of Student Engagement and Facilities Management.

“Every year, the Office of Student Engagement works closely with Facilities to assess the dorms that are available for summer housing,” said Thomas.

He then further explained Facilities’ role in the decision-making process.

“The summer period is when Facilities completes renovations of the various dorms on campus while they are unoccupied. One of the reasons Mary Lyons was chosen was due to the fact that Facilities completed a two-year renovation over the summer[s] of 2015 and 2016. Prior to the renovation, Mary Lyons was traditionally used for Summer Housing,” wrote Thomas.

Thomas also indicated there are other factors that are taken into consideration, such as dorms with the fewest numbers of seniors, the housing needs for Alumni Weekend, student feedbacks, and so on.

The current distribution of the senior class is important when determining which residence hall will be used for summer housing.  In order to get the most time in Swarthmore during the summer, almost all students wish to move directly into their summer rooms from their spring rooms.  In order to accommodate this, we cannot use a dorm space that has a high [percentage] of seniors nor can we use locations that house alums during Alumni Weekend [or] summer camps or are due for summer renovations,” said Head.

Head explained that Mary Lyons is the most suitable place in order to accommodate as many students as possible for faculty research, off-campus employment, and other individual student experiences.

“[We] need to use a building that has the capacity to meet a number of different needs and has relatively flexible space.  Mary Lyons offers spaces with gendered and gender-neutral bathrooms, has a low number of seniors, which allows for early move-in, has parking close to the building, has recently been renovated, includes tile floors, and has a large kitchen space that can help supplement the summer meal plan,” said Head.

Finally, Thomas explained the future plans for summer housing next year.

“Set to open in Fall 2017, we feel that the [new] PPR Apartments will be an ideal location for summer housing in the future with the suite style set-up, kitchens in the suites, air conditioning, and large shared lounge space,” wrote Thomas.

There are a lot of restrictions in the choosing process of summer housing. According to the administration, Mary Lyons, while being far away from the campus, is the most suitable residence hall for the students who are staying on campus for the summer. Meanwhile, the administration hopes a change in the summer meal plan will improve the experience of the summer experience at Swarthmore.

“What are you doing this summer,” and other hard questions

in Campus Journal by

One of the hardest things about Swarthmore is losing the now. Constantly, students are charting their weeks, whether on their calendars or “Get Your Life the F*ck Together, Ryan” lists. Emails for campus events go out and flyers go up weeks in advance to catch students while their schedules are moderately free, but staff are often confused about why more students aren’t filling LPAC for every Shakespearean play or SCI101 for the next guest speaker in biology.

One of the most prominent things that has pulled students out of the everyday is summer projects. Although I’m only in my second semester at Swarthmore, I realized over spring break how much time I spent solving the summer puzzle, and speaking with other students about last minute changes and submissions the Divisional or Lang Center grant programs, I recognized how Swatties generally look ahead so fervently.

This quality might just be built into many of us, borne in our DNA or developed while we’ve been growing up. Maybe we took our forward-facing eyes after our role models, or we constructed them through determination, trial, and error.

My worry is that we will outrun ourselves. Throughout high school, being present was something I often failed at. I would be up at 5:45AM to get to school by 8:10AM. Lunches were often skipped for extra time sprinting through the theater to put up more lighting gels or programming more cues. Walks to and from the Metro were spent organizing my Google Drive and the following week. By my sophomore year, I was hitting walls, and by senior year, I was trying to scale a chimney. I lost why I did what I did and simply checked boxes as I could. By dashing from one department meeting to the following Kitao talk, we don’t have to enjoy the clubs, meals, and ideas with which we join and engage. Our time here is defined by the going, not the being.

Now, going isn’t always a problem. Regardless of how we built our focus on the future, it speaks to the dedication and drive that students across the campus have to explore what they are curious about. Most of the time, students are pushing their horizons; with summer planning, students apply their coursework to more concrete projects. I’m lucky to utilize the knowledge I’ve gained in my Policy in Practice course with Prof. Erica Dobbs and my time at the Phoenix to work in D.C. this summer. This intentional work is meaningful and worth it in the long run, but the preparation for these programs shouldn’t overshadow what we do now, whether at Swarthmore or elsewhere.

Over spring break, I knew I had to engage with the present before coming back to Swat. By lottery, I got tickets to the Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum, and a friend from home and I went and saw it. Each room reached the horizon, but we only had 60 seconds in each small universe. There was almost no time to appreciate the miles of lanterns, patches of glowing gourds, and layers of stickers. Yeah, we snapped a picture in each room, but we made sure that was not the focus of our time in the exhibit. We took time to glide around the platforms and dodge the hanging lights and creeping vines, knowing that we would only have another 30 seconds left before the door would open and the universe would merge with the museum again. My friend and I were able to connect and reconnect as we caught up in the space between us.

We shouldn’t have to run to the end. It’s worthwhile for us to work ahead to reach for goals, but remembering to take time in the present is crucial, so we don’t miss those things and people around us in the meantime.

Lang Center grants drop from 100 percent to 38.9 percent

in News by

Students were awarded summer funding from various campus institutions, including the Lang Center, earlier this month. More students than expected were put on the waitlist, which is expected to be resolved by March 24. The deadline for the summer funding applications for all campus resources were on Feb. 8, meaning that many students apply before their plans are certain.

The application was online from Jan. 17 until the February deadline. Students were able to apply for several types of summer funding, including funding for summer internships through Chester Fellowships, as well as funding for projects and research. Professor of Political Science and director of the Lang Center Benjamin Berger noted that there was a large increase in funding applications this year because it was more widely publicized.

This past fall the Lang Center staff made a concerted effort to increase the equity and accessibility ​of our summer funding process ​through outreach. Not only did we communicate intensively with students as well as faculty and staff, but we overhauled the application process — instituting a blind review process with faculty, staff, and student reviewers to ensure a fair process — and instituted mandatory advising sessions for interested students. As a result, we reached far more people than ever before, and student demand increased tremendously (as did the quality of applications).  Our funding ability remained constant, however,” Berger wrote over email.

Berger highlighted an increase in number of applicants as an explanation for the increase in waitlisted applications.

“In 2017 we had 175 requests for full-time summer funding, compared with only 42 full-time requests in 2016.  We wound up funding significantly more full-time requests this year than last year (77 vs. 42), but the process was much more competitive (38.9 percent acceptance rate this year vs. 100 percent last year).”

It is important to note the Lang Center application process does not require applicants to have secured a summer internship before submitting an application and can apply for funding as if they had received their top choice internship. As a result, applications submitted may not always reflect a student’s eventual summer plans. Michelle Ma ’20, who works for the Phoenix as a Digital Ops Fellow but had no involvement in the production of this article, applied for summer internship funding but ceded it because the internship she accepted for the summer did not align with the guidelines for summer funding.

“The internships I applied to weren’t viable [because] they weren’t looking for underclassmen … so I was not able to get that, but I got a[n] … offer in New York at this place called Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerators … it’s really good for me to work on my technical skills, so I can become a better coder, so I can go back and work at the original company I applied with in the future, but basically, it didn’t have as strong of a social impact component as TechChange, which was the the company I first applied with,” she said.

Ma was also aware of the competitiveness of this year’s funding process.

“In the context, since I knew how competitive the process was this year, compounded with the fact that I agree that it wasn’t as socially impactful as it could’ve been, I decided to cede my grant,” she said. Ma also works at the Lang Center and works on digital operations for the Phoenix.

Ma also discussed the competitive nature of the grant process this year.

“The email giving me the grant also said it was extremely competitive, although they always say that, and I didn’t believe it at first, but then I heard how many people [said they] didn’t get it,” Ma continued.

Junior Jeffrey Novak ’18 also ceded his grant funding after applying for an NSE Fellowship and was awarded the Eugene M. Lang Summer Research Fellowship. Novak was encouraged to apply for the funding by a professor but accepted a paid internship instead.

“Going in, I applied because it sounded [like a good opportunity], and it was on my radar … I didn’t have any internship offers at the time. I got a couple of internship offers in between … When I went to decline, I couldn’t find the steps to take if you do not want to do it, it seems to be that they assume you’re taking the award,” he said.

The disparity between students’ summer plans and what they end up doing is often the cause of funding issues like Ma’s and Novak’s. Summer funding was heavily publicized by the Lang Center, with efforts such as Sharples tabling to communicate to students the process of applying for funding.

Berger also noted that the sharp increase in funding applications may lead to changes in the future, including the possibility of more funding being made available.

“The good news is that this process has illuminated the great student hunger and need for meaningful summer experiences, and we have been in close contact with the Offices of the President, Provost, and Advancement to seek out new funding sources within the framework of the soon-to-be-launched campaign. The administration has been appreciative, sympathetic, and supportive,” Berger said.

While many students were not able to get funding from the Lang Center initially, it remains a question as to how many students will be moved from the waitlist. Optimism from the Lang Center also may signal more funding opportunities for students in the future.

Tess Wei interns at Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation

in Arts by

Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s museum district on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Barnes Foundation is a unique collection featuring over 2500 objects that span different mediums and cultures. While there appears to be a focus on Impressionist and Modernist paintings, galleries also include various African sculptures, antiquities from the Mediterranean region and Asia, as well as Native American ceramics, jewelry, and textiles.

This summer, Tess Wei ’17, an honors studio art major with honors minor in anthropology and course minor in art history, interned in the Barnes’ conservation department. Wei is heavily involved with the List Gallery, where she interned last year and will continue to do so this year, as well as the college’s cross country team. A Philadelphia native, Wei remembers her initial impressions of the Barnes.

“I’d gone there when I was little,” said Wei, recalling visits to the Barnes’ previous location in Merion, PA. “Some people are very overwhelmed when they first enter the Barnes—which can be in a good or bad way. I loved it. I loved how unique that type of display was.”

The institution is named after its founder and original owner of the collection Albert C. Barnes, who established it to promote the appreciation of fine art. Objects from the collection are presented in unconventionally symmetrical arrangements called “ensembles,” which reveal specific connections Barnes made between the objects. Working in the conservation department under Barbara Buckley, the head conservator at the Barnes, Wei gained a special appreciation and understanding of these objects within their ensembles, but also outside of the typical visitor experience.

“I really got to interact with the paintings in an intimate way,” explained Wei. “This type of intimacy involved knowing its elements, knowing that if you zoom in really close you can see these tiny brilliant green specs that make up the canvas of a Cézanne, and seeing the process—I got to work with radiographs, or x-rays, so I could see the changes and density of the pigments used or the compositional changes, which was incredible.”


Employed by museums across the world, radiography is a non-destructive way of looking at an object’s internal details. Just as x-rays can pinpoint where a bone on the human body is broken, radiography can trace various fluctuations of material that are indiscernible to the naked eye.

Additionally, Wei spent time compiling the Barnes’ artist files and inputting information into the institution’s database. In the mornings, Wei checked the galleries and dusted some of the furniture, physically handling the objects that would usually be separated by a line. The Barnes also exhibited a mid-career survey of work by artist Nari Ward this summer, which Wei helped install. The internship gave Wei an inside look at the Barnes collection and how the institution functions, perfect for someone who wishes to pursue a career in a museum or gallery settings.

“The internship also introduced me to the idea of figuring out an object’s history based on the backside of the canvas,” said Wei. “One of the things that I’ll always remember is seeing the backside of the painting, because that simply isn’t something you see when it’s on view. Seeing the different stamps, seeing where it’s traveled, what time period it’s traveled, why, whose hands it was exchanged through… it’s a really interesting perspective on paintings.”

Last year, Wei was one of two List Gallery interns, where she gained experience with installations, publications, and the compiling of information on artists that have shown their work at Swarthmore. Wei’s supervisor, Andrea Packard ’85, director of the List Gallery, described the internship as collaborative and comprehensive in its introduction to curatorial practice, and only had positive things to say about working with Wei, who will continue interning there this year.

“Tess has been fantastic and it’s been a pleasure to work with her,” said Packard. “She’s an incredibly strong artist, very versatile, curious, and energetic in her own artistic practice and then also very eager to familiarize herself with the range of contemporary art that’s out there, so it’s been great to have her working in here, sharing our mutual love for art.”

Indeed, Wei mentioned how working at the Barnes also informed her artistic practice.

“I had access to the Barnes collection whenever I wanted,” explained Wei. “I could look at the pieces all the time. I was able to look at artists that really have influenced me and see new artists that will now, going forward, have influenced me. It was very helpful for me to kind of gather more references whether it was in style, technique, or subject matter.”

Working at the Barnes set a standard for Wei’s future workplaces. Wei described the people she worked with as nurturing mentors and she observed genial interactions between different members of the Barnes staff.

“I loved everybody there,” raved Wei. “I now know that a healthy work environment like that is possible in a museum. I never felt like an intern that was just doing busy work, which I think is rare for an internship.”

Internships like Wei’s provide an excellent opportunity for students to explore fields they’re interested in while also gaining actual experience. Given that it was her first time working in a museum-like setting, Wei was pleased that she left her internship with a cemented desire to work in museums or galleries and a stronger understanding of that work.

“It was just a really lovely experience,” said Wei. “Not only in terms of what I learned about the field and about myself, but also knowing what type of work environment I want to be in and knowing that type definitely exists at the Barnes. I really loved it all.”

Swatties share stories of eclectic summer experiences, triumphs

in Campus Journal by

For those of us returning to school, asking the obligatory “How was your summer?” question of 20 acquaintances a day, we are often met with stories that live up to the expectations many of us had coming into Swarthmore — of social justice, community involvement, and intellectual intensity. A summertime Swattie, many times, is about as “Swattie” as one can get, at least with regard to the “hard working” and “do-gooder” reputations the school carries.

A very-Swattie-summer, as it turns out, often starts right here on this verdant campus, usually during second semester. This doesn’t just mean that people apply for and receive summer funding from Swarthmore during that time — though many do, especially for unpaid internships and jobs. Swarthmore’s role in leading students to interesting summer plans can be, indeed, much more dynamic.

Joelle Hageboutros ’16 found out about her summer legal internship with the Philly non-profit Nationalities Service Center through a Swarthmore friend, and held a part-time position there during spring semester last year.

“ … after hearing about her [Hageboutros’ friend’s] incredible experience, she convinced me to volunteer there last semester for one day a week,” Hageboutros explained. After the semester ended, she started in a new summer position working with a lawyer specializing in asylum cases. This enabled Hageboutros to work on a vast array of projects from research to family petitions to client interviews and translation/interpretation jobs.

Sarah Geselowitz ’16 did not learn about her summer internship from a Swarthmore friend, but was instead led to her job at Rainbow History by a class. The organization collects, promotes, and preserves LGBT+ histories through archives and oral histories.

“Last spring, researching a final paper for Dr. Dorsey’s class Black Urban Community, I discovered the Herstory Archives, a collection of materials (including oral histories) by and about lesbians,” she explained. “At this point, I realized I wanted to explore oral histories, both as a way of building community and as a source for academic research. I Googled ‘oral history project DC,’  … and ultimately chose to work with Rainbow History.”

For others, Swarthmore was only involved indirectly in securing summer plans, or not at all.

Rinpoche Price-Huish ’18, for one, did not use Swarthmore resources to plan her summer at Planned Parenthood with the Family Planning Summer Institute, where she participated in discussions relating to women’s health, shadowed at various OB/GYN clinics, and did a research project.

“I previously knew one of the doctors in Salt Lake and had spoken with him about his work with Planned Parenthood and research at the University of Utah, and so when I started planning for the summer I emailed him expressing my interest in getting involved in any way this summer,”

Simon Bloch ’17, also did not go through Swarthmore for his internship. But, after winning Google’s Hack4Humanity last spring with a team from Swarthmore, he felt that the experience primed him for getting a job at Google’s main offices this summer. While there, Bloch had a main project working on an audio-processing module, which is one of the tools that enables Google’s and Facebook’s video chat features to function.

Exciting summer experiences did not stop at the doors of an office or between the walls of a library, though.

Food, it appears, was a major highlight for some hardworking summer Swatties. Bloch fondly recounted an encounter with “ … the best burrito of my life” this past summer. Uriel Medina ’16 also indulged in culinary decadence, but in Mexico City, where he was taking classes and researching at El Colegio de México.

Medina explained, “Saying ‘I ate a lot’ is an under-exaggeration. I spent a huge portion of my free-time exploring taquerías, torta joints, and a good number of fusion restaurants and bars. The culinary scene in Mexico is crazy good, with any and every type of flavor as short as a metro ride or quick walk away.”

Medina also sought comfort and excitement in the joy of being with family.

“Non-academically, a huge highlight was being able to visit my home-state in Mexico where I was born. I was able to visit family I hadn’t seen in over a decade …” he said. Price-Huish also found happiness in the familiarity of people and the diverse landscape of Utah, taking time to hike, camp and bike with close friends and family. Geselowitz, like Medina and Price-Huish, spent time being with people and making friends in D.C. while she was there working.

“My significant other and I … participated in a lot of queer and trans meet-up and support groups, and we made some fantastic friends that way,” she shared.

But the summer was not all fun, food, and friends for these Swatties. The three months in a new environment also presented a rich opportunity to do the “Swattie thing” and dive into the academic, intellectual side of a summer experience.

Bloch debunked his (and the popularly held) expectations of the Google office, saying, “[They] were not what I expected; I was expecting to find slides everywhere and pizza parties every fifteen minutes. Google turned out to be a tech company first and foremost, with brilliant folks working around the clock. All of the perks I had heard about existed to make life at the offices as comfortable as possible.”

While Bloch did take advantage of some aspects of Google’s notoriously fun office environment, he acknowledged that his work came first, as it did for many of his colleagues there. What he came away with, he clarified, was a deeper understanding of his field and how his experience would come to be a part of his academic life at Swarthmore.

Price-Huish spent a good deal of time doing hands-on work, complemented by the research project she did on preterm birth histories and contraceptives in the prevention of recurrent preterm birth. Medina also researched this summer, but was equally excited about time he got to spend in class with Mexican students at El Colegio de México, which boasts class sizes and an environment similar to Swarthmore’s.

“Academically, I was very glad to have the opportunity to challenge myself,” he said. “The classroom experience is different in an American college from being in a class with Mexican university students; it’s a more demanding experience and I had an amazing opportunity to grow in my vocabulary and thought processes within a Mexican-academia framework.”

Geselowitz, for her part, also delighted in the novelty of her intellectual work as she uncovered the more academic and esoteric facets of her hands-on oral history project.

Geselowitz described the importance, structure and dimension of what it means to conduct oral history interviews, sharing, “The strange thing about collecting an oral history is that it’s both deeply personal and weirdly public; it’s a conversation between two individuals, with their own dynamic and relationship and degree of trust, but it takes place for the benefit of a third imaginary listener. … This dynamic made the conversation feel both intimate and important, and I was glad that I had the chance to experience this first-hand.”

And Hageboutros not only employed interpersonal capabilities while working with clients at the NSC, but employed her valuable language skills, too.

“[I] was often assigned to work with French and Arabic speaking clients or on cases that involved translation of official documents in those languages or live interpretation. While I initially felt less confident with my Arabic skills, I was proud of my ability to understand clients and to be understood by native speakers!” she explained.

The second Swarthmore student stereotype — that of the socially-conscious Swattie — held true for some, as well. For Hageboutros, who spent her time working with families in asylum cases, the highlight of her summer was actually getting to help people.

“When the time came to the end of the summer, I submitted and sent off her [a client’s] completed asylum application. It was an incredible feeling to see all my hard work culminate in this submission. It also was rewarding to see that my efforts were making a real difference in someone else’s life and constituted the first step towards their new life in the US,” Hageboutros recounted.

Medina, who was learning alongside a whole new set of students, felt a renewed sense of social and academic purpose, sharing, “This summer has changed the way I approach a lot in my life … Some of my values were challenged and changed and others reinforced. But most of all, I think it was really refreshing for me to engage with university students from all over Mexico to get somewhat of a sense of how youth’s politics and opinions are shaping up, as well as making connections with individuals who can very well become connections and colleagues in the future.”

Geselowitz’s worldview and political imperatives have been similarly shaped by her summer. After helping to create and preserve the Rainbow History Project’s archives and histories, she has new perspectives.

“The landscape of LGBT+ community — at least in D.C. — is changing very rapidly,” said Geselowitz. “The spaces we frequent, the language we use to describe ourselves, the ways we conceptualize our identities, the ways we relate to ‘straight society’ … all of these things have transformed and are transforming.”

For the first week of the new school year, we hear numerous stories like these from friends and peers; of summers full of adventure, of relaxation, of hard work and many experiences in between. And these summers, in many ways, live up to the positive Swarthmore stereotypes that sometimes show themselves and sometimes fall flat when school is actually in session. But perhaps the new year presents a new opportunity to enact the lessons of summer, to use our brains to solve all sorts of problems and to reach out to all different kinds of communities.


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