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View the gallery of images from the All-College Symposium.
In front of an auditorium full of students, faculty and staff, Maryum Qasim ’20 laid out her proposal for stricter regulation of armed drone use in U.S. warfare.
“Drones have proven to be America’s most effective war tool. Drone technology is not going away and it is developing rapidly. To ensure sustainable international security, we need more specific laws and more transparency,” said Qasim, who has been conducting international research on conventional arms issues for the last four years.
Qasim, an international relations major and scholar in the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA), was one of 165 seniors who presented at the inaugural All-College Symposium, a day-long event highlighting students’ integrative learning in Connections, the College’s reinvention of the liberal arts. Through 10-minute talks, poster sessions, performances, screenings and exhibitions, students who participate in the College’s 13 Integrative Pathways and five Centers for Interdisciplinary Scholarship showcased how their coursework and experiences have informed their studies and learning over four years.
President Katherine Bergeron said the inaugural Symposium was a thrilling display of the intellectual and creative energy of the campus.
“The student voice at Connecticut College was never louder, never more creative, never more powerful than I experienced it today,” she said. “It was such a sharing and such an expression of what this community is about.”
The senior class is the first to experience all four years of Connections, Conn’s interdisciplinary education initiative that encourages students to create deeper linkages between the work they do in courses, in internships, in the community, and around the globe, to prepare them for leadership in an era of change.
“The All-College Symposium is an extraordinary celebration of our seniors’ passionate engagement with questions that matter to them and to the larger world,” said Dean of the College Jefferson Singer. “Our whole community—faculty, students, staff, alumni, and parents—has learned so much from this pioneering group of students, the first graduating class that embraced four years of our Connections curriculum.”
The student presentations, which took place in multiple locations across campus, covered a diverse range of topics, including the ethics of advertising pharmaceutical drugs, the politics of black women’s fashion, innovation in corporation, gender representation in New York City public art and sustainable agriculture in New London.
Ken Colombe ’20, an economics major and finance minor, joined the Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, Value and Change Pathway to learn how to apply his liberal arts education to everyday life. He interned in the front office of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, and for the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, experiences that were critical to informing his animating question: How is the entrepreneurial mindset and approach used in NBA front offices for the development of team rosters?
“I became fascinated by the cultures of the organizations I was able to intern for. I really wanted to see what made them successful and found there were a lot of the thought processes used, explicitly or not, that we learned about in the [Pathway],” Colombe said.
Other presentations included: Margaret Davey ’20, a psychology major and sociology minor and scholar in the Bodies/Embodiment Pathway, gave an interactive presentation, “Life Behind a Screen: How Technology Is Changing the World,” that utilized everyday technology like personal smartphones to demonstrate technology’s impact on the mind and body. Cameron Segal ’20, an American studies major and scholar in the Cities and Schools Pathway spoke about the exclusionary roots of hockey and the steps he has taken to make the sport more inclusive in the New London community. Viridiana Villalva Salas ’20, an English major and scholar in the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy, gave a PowerPoint presentation about how text selection can be improved to better serve today’s diverse community of U.S. college students.
“We are so proud of the way this first group of students embraced Connections and made it their own. They have won prestigious research grants, engaged with local and global communities, and grappled with so many important issues facing our global society,” said Assistant Dean of the College for Connections Libby Friedman ’80.
The milestone event ended with a celebration in Charles E. Shain Library featuring remarks by Bergeron, Singer, Director of the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy and Professor of Psychology Audrey L. Zakriski, Associate Professor of Botany and Environmental Studies Chad Jones, Sophia McLaughlin ’20 and Kaya Blumenthal-Rothchild ’20.
“Today was a day to not only reflect on the opportunities and paths I have undertaken, but also to witness the incredible achievements of my peers,” said Kaya Blumenthal-Rothchild ’20. “I’m in awe of all of my senior Pathway and Center peers and the diversity of their projects, subject matter and dedication to reflecting on how they have chosen to engage with the world in their own ways. I’m excited to see how this newfound tradition will grow and expand in the coming years.”