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J-Term on campus

February 26, 2014

For three weeks in January, Drake students and faculty engaged in intensive focused learning opportunities around the world as part of the University’s second January Term (J-Term). While more than 200 students chose to participate in courses abroad, more than 800 students explored a world of opportunities right here on Drake’s campus.

From synthetic biology to social media strategies to stage make-up and more, the 52 campus classes offered this year spanned a number of schools and topics. David Murley, a junior studying computer science and economics, participated in a robot programming class with Michael Rieck, associate professor of computer science. The course introduced various aspects of robotics and control theory, with a strong emphasis on hands-on experience and teamwork.

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“I have always been interested in robotic design but didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to really dive into it,” says Murley. “In a matter of weeks, I designed a robot from start to finish with code and hardware. It was awesome.”

J-Term allows students to become completely immersed in subject matter that would normally span a semester. Kristin Doherty, a junior studying magazine journalism, participated in an on-campus course titled “Adolescence in American Fiction and Film,” with Beth Younger, associate professor of English.

“I think the best part of J-Term is that it gives me the opportunity to take a class that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” says Doherty. “A lot of my friends have taken English and film classes with Professor Younger and had only great things to say. I hadn’t been able to get into one of her classes during a normal semester, so I jumped at the opportunity.”

Though Drake’s campus did not see the sunshine and warm temperatures of some J-Term destinations⎯Ecuador, Chile, and the Bahamas⎯it was filled with the same sense of adventure and the excitement of exploring a new area of study.

“Even though I was still in Iowa, I took a class that was incredibly interesting and fun,” says Samantha Baker, a senior studying magazine journalism and English who also participated in Younger’s course. “I would definitely recommend taking an on-campus course in the future.”