Greetings from Linda - Student Advisory Board - CivX - New Faculty Supervisors
Student Portraits - New Peer Advisors - News From Alumni - Recent Scholarships
Greetings from Linda
Hello, BDIC Students! I hope you are all having a wonderful fall semester!
BDIC is celebrating its 40th Anniversary! We are sponsoring an alumni lecture series. BDIC's first alumnus, Tom Benedek, 1970 (Film Studies), kicked the series off with a discussion about how he first became successful in the Hollywood screenplay world with his script for "Cocoon." We are expecting several more notable alumni throughout the fall and spring and we are hoping you will be able to come and meet them.
On November 12, pre-registration for spring semester begins. You are all invited to come and meet with your faculty supervisor or with Linda. Students with RAC holds need to meet with Linda to have the hold removed. We will have sign-up sheets for the SOM Wish List (if you want to take an SOM class next semester - but be sure to consider BDIC's own entrepreneurship classes, BDIC 397A and BDIC 397B). We will also have a sign-up sheet for the BDIC junior year writing class. Junior year writing fills up fast, so sign up early.
February graduates, your Senior Summary and Abstract is due on November 15. You can pick up the paperwork for this in the BDIC office or find it on the BDIC website.
Student Advisory Board
During the Spring of 2010, the BDIC Student Advisory Board was founded and began operating. The Student Advisory Board (sometimes referred to as the innovation board for obvious reasons) is tasked with numerous important student-driven responsibilities. Our scope consists of building a BDIC student community, planning and executing events, student outreach, and making recommendations to BDIC administrators based upon student sentiment.
The Student Advisory Board has already begun to plan many new events and opportunities for the 2010-2011 school year! In the upcoming weeks you will receive various emails and Facebook invites to attend our events and meetings.
The BDIC Student Advisory Board is always looking for driven, committed, and imaginative BDIC students to join the team. If you are interested in the Student Advisory Board, contact Max Grover at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CivX: A New BDIC Civic Engagement Track
There's a new track within BDIC: "CivX." What exactly is CivX? It's the nickname for our Civic Engagement track. Civic engagement is a way of thinking and acting. It's a frame of mind and a framework for action. Having a civic identity recognizes the personal as political and it's about recognizing our relationships with one another as a society. "To put it most simply, this major is about working on some part of society to make it better," says John Reiff, Director of Commonwealth Honors College's Community Engagement Program (CEP) and faculty supervisor for CivX.
Many students within BDIC focus their majors on issues of social justice. John explains, "We developed this track in response to students who wanted a way to join their commitments to service learning and community-based work into a major. Having the track allows students to have some form of structure for their community work, while still being open to their personal interests - that's where the 'X' comes in." Students choose from a variety of courses to fulfill five Civic Engagement fields (Civics and Political Theory, Civic Leadership and Community Organizing, Public Policy, Issues of Social Justice, and Diverse Publics) and then create the rest of their curriculum in the standard BDIC fashion of taking classes that evoke their passions.
Whatever your interest, there is a way to connect it to community work and civic engagement. Whether you seek social change through politics, art, entrepreneurship, or science, "CivX" may be the track for you.
If you'd like more information on the new CivX track, check out the CivX link at the top of the BDIC website, or www.umass.edu/bdic/civx or call 413-545-2504 for an appointment at the BDIC office.
Meet BDIC's Newest Faculty Supervisors
John Reiff (mentioned above) is the Director of the Civic Engagement Program and the faculty supervisor for the new CivX track available now through BDIC.
Jean Forward, a senior lecturer in the Anthropology department, joined BDIC this fall as a faculty supervisor in the Social Science cluster. Jean's work with indigenous people is the focal point of her academic work. Jean is well known on campus for her commitment to the Native American population. Jean is also intensely interested in the Celts. She has studied at Findhorn and over the summer completed a Celtic language immersion program in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Portraits of Some BDIC Students
Eric Stone (Law in the Music Business and Copyright Administration) is currently a student in the Proposal Writing class. Eric began his educational career at Northeastern University, but ultimately left in order to run a transportation company. Eric also possesses a love for music; after he ended his tenure as head of the company, he became part of a band with his housemates. This band went on to be signed by a major US record label and toured extensively. Eric comes to us having also worked with Fidelity Investments and with a certificate from the prestigious Berklee College of Music.
Eric's entrepreneurial spirit and love for music have combined to manifest themselves as an artist management company that he is currently growing. Eric is pursing studies through BDIC that will help him achieve the goals he has set out for his company. We are very excited to have Eric with us and believe he will be a great contributor to the BDIC community. He is representative of the unique and impressive student base that we enjoy at BDIC.
Arielle Hansen is also in the Proposal class this fall. She writes:
Growing up as a little girl on Cape Cod, I fell in love with the ocean and everything in it. I watched seals sunbathe on my local beach and was amazed by the beauty and intelligence of all marine mammals. When I went on a family vacation to Florida, I swam with dolphins and decided I didn't want to be cooped up in an office crunching numbers all day for work. As I browsed colleges, I could not find one that had a program like this. Then I saw BDIC and figured, why not take it into my own hands and create it myself?
This is exactly what I am doing now. I am in the proposal writing class to create my intended major: Marine Mammal Care and Management. So far, I have chosen to take classes within biology, psychology, animal science, and business. These will prepare me for caring for marine mammals, such as dolphins and seals. I want to do much more than just training dolphins, though. I would like to figure out how they interact with each other and their environment and use their intellectual ability to help people. Marine mammals are currently being trained to detect underwater land mines for the Navy, as well as being used as therapeutic aids for people with depression. The business aspect of my concentration will prepare me for a possibility of working up to a managerial position in an aquarium or with a nonprofit organization helping rescue marine mammals. There are many possibilities out there and I plan to explore them. The BDIC program fosters this hope, allowing you to study what you are passionate about, no matter how farfetched it may seem to others.
The BDIC program and staff fully support creativity, individuality, and expression of each student's personal interests, which is why I chose BDIC as my major.
Leah Salloway (Wildlife Conservation Through Sustainable Community Development) is a BDIC senior. She describes her educational path:
Some people are still unsure of what they want to do with their lives when they graduate. For me that isn't a problem. I first saw a glimmer of my future when I was abroad in a program in rural Mexico. My time in Mexico was focused on marine sustainability. Each morning we dove into the waters of Magdalena Bay in search of sea turtles munching on floating seaweed. In the chilly water we pulled sea turtles weighing hundreds of pounds each onto our boats.
With BDIC I feel lucky that I can focus on wildlife conservation through sustainable community development. Since being a student in BDIC I've felt really lucky to have had the support and understanding to pursue my goals.
New Peer Advisors
International Relations/Human Rights
It was the tour of UMass during the fall of my senior year in high school that brought me to the steps of BDIC. I distinctively remember standing in the back of the group with my father frantically looking through the lists of majors. "Where is International Relations?!" I practically shouted to my father. I couldn't believe I would be going to a school that did not have my major. Little did I know they had more than just IR, they had BDIC. We stopped at the steps of Goodell and the tour guide explained BDIC in one sentence. "A place to 'make your own major,'" is what the guide said. I cut the tour short and hurried up to the office where I found more than my major, I found a future.
I am an International Relations/Human Rights major with a concentration in Latin America. I take classes from a variety of departments including Women and Gender studies, Political Science, Sociology, Legal Studies, and Psychology. My goal is to become a Human Rights attorney or to work with foreign governments pertaining to the issue of poverty. I am getting ready to spend the spring semester in Puerto Rico, where I will be taking all my classes in Spanish, and hopefully become fluent.
I am very privileged to be a peer advisor for BDIC. I am here to guide students who are interested in BDIC, as well as those within the program. I meet students with all types of majors and amazing ideas for their future. One student in particular is creating a Human Trafficking/Immigration Laws major. His first hand experience with these issues makes his work exceptional, and unique. I was inspired and impressed by the ideas this student has towards the solution. I am honored to work with a program that allows motivated students like these to specialize on their interests as early as undergraduate degrees.
Celeste Viola Bailey
Medicine for Social Change
Changing my major to BDIC I have been challenged to think critically about my education. During the proposal writing process I often felt my ideas were discordant or too far apart to connect. In arguing for their validity in re-writes and attempts at explaining myself, I was able to unite my thoughts under the title, Medicine for Social Change. This undergraduate education is directed towards my goal of equalizing and opening health care access globally and locally.
I started thinking about the interface of anthropology with the harder sciences of medicine, such as microbiology, after taking a class in medical anthropology. This approach examines culturally and individually distinctive ways of explaining sickness and different healing methods. To heal a person entirely there is a multipart system that must be understood within them (the body, the mind, and the spirit). I understand healing to be the process of overcoming any of the biological symptoms of disease as well as any other relief and prevention of mental, physical, or spiritual affliction. Through cultural awareness and understanding the patient as an individual -not an object to fix- a mutual relationship forms between them and the care provider, which has the potential for a more entire and enduring healing.
Medicine for Social Change combines departments such as, Public Health, Microbiology, and Anthropology. Approaching treatment from these multiple viewpoints fosters a composite treatment approach that does not limit the individual depending on their belief system. As the world grows smaller and cultural borders disappear this openness is necessary in providing equal health care to all, equalized health care for a healthier population. In affecting the world in seemingly minute ways, we are planting the seeds for a positive future.
News From Alumni
Liz Oler (2008), Neuroscience, Behavior and Human Society, has just begun medical school at Georgetown University.
Justin Eldridge-Otero (2009), Spanish/International Development, is currently enrolled at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Justin is working on a master's in International Affairs, Energy and Environment, with a 2012 graduation date. The charity he developed in Honduras while an undergraduate, OYE, has been nominated one of the top charities in the world.
Megan Kolb (2009) Arts Management, has landed her dream job: She is Project Manager and Assistant to the Director of Gorgeous Entertainment in New York City.
Matthew Burns (1977, International Political Economics and Business) writes an in-depth profile:
I'm still benefiting from my BDIC program. Over 30 years later, I'm still working on multiple aspects of the program I mapped out back in the mid-1970s.
When I applied to UMass in the early 1970s, I had a deep love of travel, meeting new people and experiencing new places. I crafted a program on International Political Economics and Business.
In my senior year at UMass, I took the Foreign Service exam. Realizing that it would be a while before the Department of State made a decision, I entered a Master's program for Public Affairs. Half way through the Public Affairs program, the Department of State called and offered me a position as a Foreign Service Officer. It took me less than a minute to say "Yes." I didn't want to give them a chance to change their mind or have second thoughts! It was my ideal career. I got to travel, had someone else pay for the airplane tickets and, on top of all that, they paid me a salary.
Over the next 26.5 years, I had assignments in Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba (one of my BDIC papers), the Soviet Union (Slavic Studies), Italy and Israel. While working in jobs at the Department of State's headquarters in Washington, D.C., I traveled on business to six of the seven continents and stopped in many countries including the People's Republic of China (another BDIC paper), the new countries that were created after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kuwait just week's before Iraq invaded, and Germany not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall. While serving in the Foreign Service, I worked in the political, consular and management areas. I leveraged heavily the concepts and skills that I acquired during my BDIC program.
As the time for my Foreign Service career drew to a close, Lockheed Martin contacted me about becoming their Director for International Human Resources. That is where the business portion of my BDIC program rose to the fore. For the last five years, I have relied heavily on the accounting and management principles that I learned at UMass to prosper in my private sector career.
A straight political science or economics program would have been excellent preparation for entry into the Foreign Service, but would have left me unprepared for some of the assignments I had at State and certainly would have left me with a lot of "catching up" to do in the transition to the private sector. A straight business degree would have been excellent preparation for my current position but might have made entry into the Foreign Service more challenging. The International Political Economics and Business program that BDIC allowed me to develop turned out to be neither "too hot, nor too cold but just right." It let me have a lot of fun, doing the kind of work that I love to the point that I'm still doing it decades after I left UMass. My degree was worth every penny that I paid.
Two of the scholarships recently awarded by BDIC directly helped students develop their chosen areas of study. Lydie Dahlia Francillon (International Disease and Medical Studies) received a grant from BDIC to help fund a Global Medical Training program in which she participated over the summer. The program, located in Panama, gave Lydie the opportunity to gain hands-on medical training in a medically deprived location.
Wendy Simon Pearson (Chinese Government and Economic Affairs) was awarded a BDIC scholarship help pay her tuition while abroad for two semesters at Peking University, China.
Kerry Shields (International Relations and Community Development), a 2010 BDIC graduate, recently received a Fulbright Scholarship to study public health in Senegal.