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Graduate Students Join BC Splash Effort This Semester

For The Heights

Published: Sunday, November 13, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

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Annie Budnick / Heights Staff


If only the list of classes for spring registration included courses like "Political Structures and Policies in the World of Harry Potter" and "How to Hack Life: A Guide to Hyper Productivity."

Unfortunately, this is not the case. But over 800 local high school students were given the opportunity to explore these unconventional yet informative classes through BC's third annual Splash event, held yesterday.

Splash is a one day event where undergraduate and, for the first time this year, graduate students teach classes in their areas of interest to local high school students. BC Splash is rooted in its message "education for students by students," aiming to create a stimulating learning environment for high school students.

Hanyin Cheng, president of Education for Student by Students (the group that runs BC Splash) and A&S '12, said, "To me, one of the goals of Splash is to instill excitement in learning for high school students, who are often not allowed a lot of freedom to take classes that they are passionate about, sometimes becoming disillusioned about learning."

Along with inspiring local high students, Splash gives the student teachers an opportunity to rediscover their passions in their particular areas of study.

"As an undergrad, students tend to get stuck in the mode of just learning and studying," said Keegan Dougherty, Splash co-director and A&S '13. "Once one teaches a class, however, this affirms that they can use their knowledge from college in a broader more meaningful context, as well as putting them more in touch with their favorite subject."

Splash also provides an opportunity for the student teachers to connect with their professors, as consultants when formulating their classes.

"Splash is a great way for undergrads to get to know the faculty. They can approach the teacher based off their involvement in Splash and get feedback on their classes from these professors," said Megan Shein, Splash co-director and A&S '13.

"It is reaffirming for the professors to see their own students so interested in their classes that they would want to teach them for Splash," Dougherty said.

The undergraduate teachers leave with a sense of fulfillment, with the possibility that they may have made a difference in these young students' lives.

Creighton Jackson, A&S '13, who co-taught this year's class "Political Structures and Policies in the World of Harry Potter" said, "It was quite funny to see these kids know more about Harry Potter than me, correcting me every time I said ‘Voldemort' as opposed to ‘he-who-must-not-be-named.'"

His co-teacher Brianna Nassif, A&S '13, reaffirmed the meaningfulness of the programming. "A rewarding part of the experience is the fact that some of the students will find it interesting and possibly explore political science down the road," she said.

The expansion of the program this year was quite remarkable, growing from 500 to over 800 students, as well filling almost all 150 classes to capacity, due to various mediums like Twitter, and representatives at local high schools.

"This year, for the first time, we had representatives at high schools, which had been to Splash before, advocating the program through the distribution of flyers and talking with their high school administrations," Dougherty said.

The biggest change in the Splash program this year was the inclusion of parents of the high school students through a program for parents that included mini classes and college admissions talks.

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