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Summer 2018 Wofford Today
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What classroom?

Interim 2016 opens the doors to possibility.

World-famous fashion stylist Jeff Kim ’09 travels the world with some of Hollywood’s best-dressed celebrities — Michael B. Jordan, Katy Perry, Zhang Ziyi, Zoë Kravitz, Matt Damon, Sasha Pieterse, Julianne Moore, Jamie-Lynn Sigler — the list goes on and on. And it all started when he worked Fashion Week during a Wofford Interim internship experience. A business economics and Spanish major, Kim originally planned to become an attorney. Interim changed that. 

Every year Wofford students have opportunities to focus on a single topic designed to expand the walls of the traditional classroom, explore new and untried topics, take academic risks, observe issues in action, develop capabilities for independent learning and consider different peoples, places and professional opportunities. Interim 2016 was no different.

Reflections on Interim in Ireland

Since 1978, Wofford students have traveled to Ireland during Interim. They still take photos with sheep; they still eat loads of potatoes; they still stand on the Cliffs of Moher; they still fall in love with their bus driver; and they still reflect on their experiences. This year Kelsey Aylor ’18 and Sarah Madden ’17, two of the students who traveled to Ireland with Dr. Natalie Grinnell, professor of English, and Dr. Mark Byrnes, associate professor of history, shared a tongue-in-cheek point and counterpoint on the benefits of studying abroad, particularly in Ireland. Read their story in the Wofford Newsroom.  

Living in a Microbial World 

For the month of January, future health care professionals and researchers studied something that they could not see — microorganisms — and to do it, they had to swab their navels and behind their ears. According to Wofford biology faculty Dr. Stefanie Baker and Dr. Natalie Spivey, understanding the relationship between “man and microbes” is important because some cause deadly diseases such as cholera and Ebola, while others are used to make cheese or beer or to remove pollutants from the environment. Read more about the class’s microbial month in the Wofford Newsroom.  

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Students who wanted to explore careers in fashion shared sewing machines with students who simply wanted to learn a practical skill during the Measure Twice, Cut Once Interim taught by Dr. Catherine Schmitz, associate professor of French. What they all discovered was that sewing is hard, cloth selection is important and the art of sewing carries historical, social and economic importance that they never considered until Interim. The class particularly enjoyed practicing their new skills by making pajamas for children at the Hope Center for Children in Spartanburg. 

What Happens Between Farm and Table?

Will Ross ’16, an accounting and finance major from Philadelphia, Pa., enjoys a good meal, but now he knows more about where that food comes from and how it makes its way from farm to table. “Our class explored alternatives to the supermarket,” says Ross. “Supplementing your diet with fresh, local foods is healthy and supports local farmers and businesses.” Diane Farley, assistant professor of accounting, business and finance, introduced the group to area farmers. She helped them examine the history of local foods and discover the significance of those foods and the processes by which they are made. 

Wofford Baseball Takes on Italy 

Wofford is committed to providing students with a global learning experience, regardless of their field of study, socioeconomic background or athletics or co-curricular activities … and the college’s baseball team is proof. The team postponed preseason training for a few weeks to take a group trip to Italy over Interim to study the history, culture and religion of the Rome, Florence and Venice areas. To read more about the team’s study abroad experience, visit the Wofford Newsroom.

Independent in Sweden

In addition to on-campus projects and opportunities to study abroad, another group of Wofford students uses the month to intern, do research or complete independent projects. Jennifer Espenschied ’18, a native of Hilliard, Ohio, spent the month in Sweden doing an independent study of the national health care system. She observed hospital practices and talked with doctors, nurses and patients. She says that in addition to giving her a basis for comparing socialized medicine to the capitalist system in the United States, the experience allowed her to experience a different way of life. The independent project solidified her plans to pursue a future in the medical field.

by Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89

Spring 2016