Students studying outside the library

What are Wofford students doing during their January Interim?

Using probability theory to beat game shows, teaching rats to play basketball, studying and traveling the world, maybe even working in the dental clinic next door

Interim Little Shop
2015-01-06

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford students, COME ON DOWN!!! And learn how to win on “The Price Is Right!” Sounds like an easy A and an even easier way to spend the month of January, but think again.  

According to Dr. Matthew Cathey, associate professor of mathematics, and Dr. Dan Mathewson, associate professor of religion, “after examining the place and history of game shows in American culture, students will learn and use mathematical techniques in probability theory, combinatorics and game theory to learn the best strategies to beat the various ‘The Price Is Right’ games.”  

The 25 students in the Interim will meet Ben Ingram, a 2005 Wofford graduate who just won the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions, and wrap the month by creating a Wofford-focused game show — performed before a live studio audience, of course.  

Come on Down! How to Win on “The Price Is Right” offers an ideal example of what Wofford’s Interim is all about — putting theory into practice, expanding the walls of the traditional classroom and remembering that a commitment to life-long learning is part of what makes a Wofford education so transformative.  

A few of the transformative, on-campus courses during the month of January include:  

Animal Cognition and Rat Basketball — The course explores the ways in which animals communicate, solve problems, remember events and locations, forage for food and interact socially with each other and with humans. Students will train rats each day to play one-on-one rat basketball, leading to a rat basketball tournament at the end of the Interim.  

Living in a Microbial World — This laboratory-based class explores questions such as: Is bioterrorism a real threat? How have epidemics impacted the course of history? Is there validity to the hygiene hypothesis, which claims that our increasingly sanitized lifestyle is detrimental to human health?  

Pulp Theatre — Students will spend the month planning, rehearsing, staging, advertising and ultimately performing “Once Upon a Mattress,” a fractured fairy-tale musical by Mary Rodgers and Marshall Barer, that provides a fresh take on “The Princess and The Pea.”  

Inventor’s Lab — Students will research and develop their own extant technology projects in one of three areas: wearable computing and fashion, robotics and 3D printing/scanning.  

Figure Drawing in the Academy — The course provides an intensive studio experience of drawing the nude and semi-clothed human figure, with guidance provided through diverse historical methods and approaches.  

All About Motorcycles — Students will learn the general and specific brand histories of the motorcycle, how technology has changed over time, current engine and major systems technology, brand comparisons, component function and more.  

Latin Dance: Exploring Latin America and the Caribbean through its Music — Using popular music as a vehicle, students will learn the rich history and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to learning the salsa, cumbia, merengue and tango, students will read and study the films of the area.  

Criminalistics — Students will use case-study examples as they perform laboratory experiments that teach the methods, techniques and principles of forensics.  

Personal Finance — This hands-on course will answer personal and business finance questions every student will encounter after graduation. Should I rent or buy a home? What is a mortgage and how much does it cost? What kind of insurance do I need? What’s the difference between stocks, bonds and mutual funds? And that’s just a start.  

Chinese Cultural Experiences — Students will learn Chinese culture and develop practical skills while preparing and sampling Chinese cuisine and tea; receiving training in taiji, music and other traditional Chinese entertainments; playing Majiang and watching popular martial arts films.  

In addition, hundreds of Wofford students are completing professional internships and research projects, both locally and around the globe. For example, Wofford students are interning with physicians, dentists and attorneys throughout the Upstate as well as working at BMW, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Silver Queen Yacht Company, Spartanburg Academic Movement and SLED, just to name a few.  

During Wofford’s January Interim, travel/study projects also offer popular educational experiences. Highlights of this year’s faculty-led study abroad experiences include:  

Paddling the Okefenokee and the Everglades: Real-Life Lessons in Wetland Conservation  

Music and Nature in Puerto Rico  

Landscape and Culture in Greece  

Studying Japan’s History, Government & Culture  

The Culinary Arts in France  

Religious Histories of Istanbul: Christian-Muslim Relations and the Megacity  

Little Cayman SCUBA Adventure  

South Africa  

Oxford Odyssey: The Life and Works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien  

For a full listing of the Interim courses (on-campus projects, travel/study projects and internships projects), visit http://www.wofford.edu/search/searchSiteResults.aspx?keyword=interim.  

For more details on these and other independent projects, contact Jo Ann Brasington at 597-4183 or brasingtonjm@wofford.edu.  

Interim 2015 ends on Thursday, Jan. 29, with Spring Semester classes beginning on Monday, Feb. 2.