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.
“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.”