Faculty Reflections: Best Non-Major Class

As advisors, we often hear students say things like, “I’m all done with the classes for my major; what classes should I take next?”

If you find yourself in this situation, there are actually many different options. Some students look into research or teaching assistantships, internships, or honors projects. Other students consider picking up a minor or taking extra classes for their major.

One option not enough students seem to consider is simply taking courses that are personally interesting to them. It is too bad because college is a great opportunity to try out new things and learn about topics you wouldn’t normally get a chance to learn about. Plus, those classes might end up being some of the most influential experiences you have.

In that spirit, we asked some faculty to describe a class that took that wasn’t a requirement of their major, yet had a significant impact on their personal or professional life. Here’s what they had to say.

Dr. Wilson-Doenges: I loved the class “The American Novel” which I took as a Humanities Gen Ed requirement my sophomore year at Boston University. I never read so much in one semester in my life, but that class ignited a passion for reading for fun that I have carried with me ever since. One of the books we read in that class, Winesburg, Ohio, sparked my interest in suburbia that charted a course for my future research interests in environmental psychology. Great class, great teacher, great books!

Dr. Jill White: I took a Physics class – Physics for non-Science majors – that utterly changed how I see things. Even though it was supposed to be stripped of math (it wasn’t), and geared toward those of us who hadn’t taken all the hard science pre-reqs, it was still very challenging. But it was SO WORTH IT. The class gave me a view of our universe that I would never have had without it. After every single class, I would walk around in a kind of daze, thinking “Wow, this place we live in is amazing!” And it gave me the ability to talk to people at parties about everything from quantum mechanics to electricity. I could also read newspaper and magazine articles about new space and/or particle findings without them being too far over my head. The funny thing was how much I found that the stuff I was learning in Physics mapped on, or helped me understand what I was learning in the religion class I was also taking that semester. Call it the “semester that blew my mind”.

Dr. Kate Burns: I had many non-psychology classes in college that I enjoyed so it’s hard to narrow it down to one. One course that I still think about today is “Philosophy of Science”. The class really pushed me to think about what science was and how this definition has changed over time. The professor was great and I fell in love with Thomas Kuhn. I still have one of the books from this class in my office (it’s by Kuhn, of course).

Internships: A Student Perspective (Special Bonus Edition)

In preparation for fall registration, which will be upon us before you know it, the PF is proud to bring you interviews with not just one, but two students who recently completed internships! See below to learn more about how the students (Chris Kuhn and Bao Thao) found their internships and what they learned. If you are interested in pursuing an internship yourself, make sure that before you do anything else you read the appropriate human development and psychology internship policies and then consult with a faculty member who would be an appropriate sponsor for you. Please also remember that internships are not the only way to gain this great, applied experience; volunteer work and paid employment opportunities can be equally valuable.

Brown County United Way by Chris Kuhn

1. Where did you complete your internship?

Brown County United Way

2. How did you find out about the internship and go about getting it?

I talked with my Psychology advisor about opportunities in the community that I could get involved with. She was a board member for the Brown County United Way, and suggested that I intern with their organization. She set up a meeting with who was to become my internship supervisor, and we went from there.

3. What kinds of things do you get to do on your internship?

I interned specifically with the Community Partnership for Children department of the Impact Council. My main project was working through data to collect information on the developmental milestones of children age 0-3. The data was used to create a tool that could be used to measure healthy development in the community’s infants. Besides working on that project, I was able to observe the 2-1-1 Call Center (a hotline that connects community members with local services.)

4. How do you think the internship relates to what you have learned in your classes?

Many of the classes that I had taken relate to the healthy development of children. Infancy and Early Childhood stressed the importance of childhood development and how it has long-term implications throughout life. The work I was a part of showed the effort the community was making in order to ensure that healthy development.

5. How important has this internship been to your educational experience at UWGB, and why?

The internship brought my knowledge full circle with its real-world application. Sitting in class, students are only able to learn about the topics in theory. Being able to experience the issues in an applied setting really highlighted the lessons that were being taught in class. Drawing the connections between class content and application was a very valuable learning experience.

Phuture Phoenix by Bao Thao

1. Where are you doing your internship?

I did my internship with Phuture Phoenix and worked on campus and at Preble High School.

2. How did you find out about the internship and go about getting it?

I talked to my advisor about my future plans, and she suggested that doing the Phuture Phoenix internship would help me to get experience and work towards my future goals. I also saw the internship advertisement in the Pink Flamingo newsletter. From there, I contacted the Phuture Phoenix advisor and was then given an interview.

3. What kinds of things do you do on your internship?

As a fall semester intern (compared to a spring semester intern), I had the opportunity to experience, behind the scenes, about 1,400 fifth grade students come on campus and spend a day in the life of a college student. We did much planning for the two Phuture Phoenix days, and it was another year of success! Also, throughout the semester, I co-ran an extracurricular activity at Preble High School called FLITE (Future Leaders Inspired Through Empowerment). During this time, high school students came in to gain college knowledge and hear from different professionals in a variety of careers (arranged by us). In addition to that, I tutored at-risk high school students at Preble High School and served as a role model to them.

4. How do you think the internship relates to what you have learned in your classes?

The internship relates a lot to my Middle Childhood and Adolescence class. This was because I worked with students that were in the adolescence stage, and I used much of the knowledge I gained from this course. Another class that my internship experience related to was Multicultural Counseling and Mental Health where cultural competence and cultural sensitivity is important, for I worked with many students of different cultural backgrounds.

5. How important has this internship been to your educational experience at UWGB, and why?

This internship has made a big impact on me. It has helped confirm that school counseling is what I want to go into, and that high school students are the population I would prefer to work with. I feel that this internship has given me more experience and has benefitted me in many ways. Even though my internship has already expired, I decided to continue tutoring because knowing that not only has this internship made an impact on me, but that I have also made an impact on these students gives me great satisfaction.

Did you know…About the Methods Requirement?

In this feature, we address the methods requirement for majors and minors. Did you know…that Human Development and Psychology double majors need to take both Developmental Research Methods and Experimental Psychology? Those with a Psychology minor only (i.e., not also a Human Development major) can take either one of these courses, and Human Development minors only (i.e., not also a Psychology major) are not required to take either one. For single majors, you will need to take the course specific to your major (Experimental Psychology for Psychology majors and Developmental Research Methods for Human Development majors).