Hands-On and Worldwide

The January Interim Experience connects Gusties with innovative classes and hands-on learning on campus and opportunities across the globe.
Posted on January 9th, 2019 by

With the beginning of the each new year, the January Interim Experience (IEX) at Gustavus Adolphus College gives students and faculty the chance to take a deep dive into a subject. Opportunities range from hands-on lab research and innovative on-campus courses to in-depth fine arts experiences, career explorations, and international study excursions.

For first-year student Sanjeeda Shutrishna of Dhaka, Bangladesh, January consists of an art course titled Ceramic Surface and Composition. Shutrishna plans to pursue a double major in mathematics and studio art with a focus on drawing and painting, so she chose the ceramics class as a way to explore a new medium in a dedicated environment. Each day, she and her classmates spend two to three hours in a lecture/demonstration with professor Nicholas Darcourt before working on their projects in individual or group settings for several more hours.

Sanjeeda Shutrishna works on a design project.

“Art is about mathematics for me,” explains Shutrishna, who is also working as a student employee in the marketing and communication office and teaching herself Adobe InDesign and Photoshop this month. “Learning about 3-D forms, spatial understanding, stability, and methods of balance make ceramics a tangible expression of my work in math.”

Throughout the month, the class will complete three projects, some of them including multiple pieces, and a written reflection discussing the technical development of their works. It’s just one of the intensive classroom experiences that Gustavus students can choose from in January.

Other course options include offerings as diverse as Culture, The Self, and Agriculture (geography); Understanding and Applying Sport Psychology (health and exercise science); Disaster Films (history); Ancient Egypt and the Near East (classics); and Introduction to Data Visualization (mathematics and computer science).

Outside of the classroom, students take part in intensive research experiences, complete career explorations with support from the Gustavus Center for Career Development, shadow teachers to learn more about working in education, and study away independently (Spain, Ecuador, Denmark, Japan, Washington state, Hong Kong) or through a Gustavus faculty-led trip (Sweden, Italy, Hawaii, Brazil, Indonesia, Germany, France, England, Japan, Tanzania, and Spain). Students in music ensembles are busy preparing for domestic and international tours, dancers are completing an intensive that introduces them to guest artists from a variety of forms, and theatre students are working full-time on the set, costume design, and rehearsals for Iphigenia and Other Daughters, a production that runs in February.

“Our January Interim allows students to immerse themselves into a focused, single academic disciplinary area or experience for a four-week period, which often transforms their Gustavus educational experience and post-Gustavus life,” Provost and Dean of the College Brenda Kelly says.

“We’re required to take two IEX credits, but I’m planning to do all four,” adds Shutrishna. “There are so many opportunities to learn about topics that are slightly outside my majors. January is really a wonderful chance to explore.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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