Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Serena Zheng ’17

Rockville, Maryland • Computer Science View Profile

Our Favorite Classes

Dear Prospective Students,

This week, I asked my fellow bloggers to share their favorite classes that they've taken at Princeton, and reading through their responses, I was reminded by the huge range of incredible academic opportunities available at the University. Even as a senior, I've only grazed the tip of the huge iceberg. At the same time, I feel like I've learned so much from each and every one of the classes that I've taken here. 

I hope that our favorite classes can give you a little teaser of the wide array of classes available at Princeton, and that you are excited for all the amazing opportunities that may lie ahead.

P.S.: Make sure to check out our favorite places on campus when you visit campus!


Michelle snorkling

Snorkling for class while studying abroad in Panama

Michelle: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB 346): "Biology of Coral Reefs" is part of a series of field courses in Panama offered through the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Each day began with a lecture, followed by six to eight hours of snorkeling in the water. Considering I want to live my life underwater, this class was everything I could have ever wanted. Being out on the water hours on end, studying and identifying the coral reef fish was absolutely incredible. Plus, on our excursions, I was lucky enough to see a spotted eagle ray, nurse sharks, sea turtles and even an octopus demonstrating its countershading. The day our boat was chased by a pod of spotted dolphins, I was the happiest I could be. It also didn’t hurt that we spent a week on a private island and opened up our own coconuts for snacks. Essentially, we were living in paradise.


Château de Chillon

One day our class visited the magnificent Château de Chillon in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was spectacular!

Makenna: My favorite course at Princeton has been my Global Seminar. It was titled "Our Multilingual World," and our professor, David Bellos, was absolutely the best! About 15 students spent six weeks together in Geneva, Switzerland, during the summer and learned about the country's policies and practices regarding their four official languages. The class itself involved visits to the World Information Property Organization, the United Nations and other international organizations. Some of the other highlights include the free time that we had in the afternoons to bike around Geneva and enjoy the parks and gardens; to hike in France and Switzerland; and to ride to the top of the Aiguille de Midi (the highest peak in the French Alps)!


JRN 457 at SAPNA

The class took a trip to NYC. Here, we are interviewing two Bangladeshi migrants at SAPNA, a Bronx-based non-profit helping migrant women from SE Asia.

Kevin: I can’t stress it enough: Journalism (JRN 457): "Politics, Causes, and Culture in a Changing Media Landscape," essentially a journalism ethics class, is by far my favorite course that I’ve had at Princeton. Pakistani journalist Beena Sarwar led the course, and brought all of her friends; almost every week we were visited by the who’s who in journalism.  We talked to some pretty incredible people, including journalists who work in television and print, writers for The New York Times and Reuters, and international reporters from Nepal and the Netherlands. Two of the nine visitors were Pulitzer Prize winners. 

The best thing is that journalism classes are seminars with 10-15 students.  With a small class and required biweekly meetings, students always get to know the professor. I’m working for The GroundTruth Project, an international news non-profit, this summer in Washington, D.C., because my professor recommended me for the job!

The class wrote the blog theprincetonglobe.wordpress.com, if you’d like to learn more about what kind of work we did in the course. 


advice

From the aforementioned email.

Briana: The best class I've ever taken at Princeton was "Creative Nonfiction" (JRN 240 / CRW 240) with John McPhee. During my senior spring of high school, a Princeton alum and senior editor at TIME emailed me with one piece of advice for the four years ahead: "Take John McPhee's class. It's a life changer." Three years have since passed, and I stand by these words wholeheartedly. I will never forget Mondays with McPhee.

 

butterfly

Our butterfly we made with an Arduino, servo motor, breadboard, light sensor, wires, poster board, pencil, and string for a mini-challenge.

Serena: My favorite class I've taken at Princeton is Science and Technology Council (STC 209): "Transformations in Engineering and the Arts." The goal of the course was to merge the creative and thinking processes of engineering and the arts. We learned how to use all kinds of tools (software, hardware, and other materials) and then worked in small groups to solve mini design challenges. I loved the class because we were able to collaborate and MAKE things every week, and the people are pretty awesome too. Both the students and the faculty come from many different backgrounds in engineering and the arts. They come with a wide range of experiences and build all kinds of things, such as: bridges, choreography, robots, musical software, light design and more! All of these experiences came together to create a rich, interdiscplinary learning environment. The shear amount of resources that came with the class amazed me: the technology (3D printers! Full movement virtual reality!); the field trips; the faculty; the students; the support; the wealth of knowledge. But, then again, I could say the same about the entire Princeton experience :)