January Term 2018 Sees Highest Student Enrollment Since Program’s Start

Highlights Included New ‘Designing Your Life’ Course, Study Away in Bénin and Paris

Remi Tupper ’20, center,  participates in a
group brainstorming session in the
“Designing Your Life” class.

Hartford, Connecticut, January 25, 2018 – January Term 2018 proved to be a popular option for Trinity College students interested in pursuing a focused, enriching academic experience during what is otherwise a relatively quiet time on campus. In its fifth year, Trinity’s J-Term program continues to grow, with almost 150 students participating in the program—the highest enrollment since the program started in 2014.

Using a portion of their winter break between the fall and spring semesters, between January 8 and 19, students could earn a .5 class credit by taking one of 10 courses offered on campus or one of three Study Away options.

One of the new on-campus J-Term offerings was “Designing Your Life,” based on a popular Stanford University course that encourages students to plan for careers and life after college. The course was team-taught by Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success Angel B. Pérez, Dean of Student Success and Career Development Jennifer Baszile, Director of Career Development Joe Catrino, and Assistant Director, Strategic Partnerships and Outreach Victoria Sandoval. Pérez noted that Trinity is one of only 12 schools in the country selected by Stanford to teach this curriculum, which introduces students to design-thinking principles and methods and empowers them, as Pérez put it, “to become the architects of their own lives.”

“This class was awesome,” said Remi Tupper ’20, from Oakland, California, who is considering majors or minors in anthropology, creative writing, and educational studies. “I would 100 percent recommend the ‘Designing Your Life’ course to students thinking about J-Term next year,” said Tupper, who noted she especially enjoyed brainstorming and mind-mapping sessions. “I learned to suspend judgment when brainstorming, and to brainstorm with a group of people, not just by myself. We tend to not even consider ideas that are too out-of-the box when brainstorming by ourselves. I intend to use this style of problem-solving this semester as well as throughout the rest of my life.”


During "West Africa Abroad," students travel
to Bénin to explore the country's history,
culture, and religious practices.


 Students participating in the Study Away J-Term course “West Africa Abroad” with Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies Timothy Landry traveled to Bénin to learn about the country’s rich history, diverse religious traditions, and cultural practices. The course offered students a chance to experience an ethnographic field school as well as Africa’s vibrant cultures while living with African people.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Thomas Lefebvre’s course, “Future of the European Union/Brexit,” took students to Paris to study the outcome of Brexit, the referendum held in the United Kingdom last June in which British citizens decided to leave the European Union (EU). During visits with members of the European Commission’s delegation to France and the French National Assembly, students engaged with EU and French officials to examine the ongoing debate over the future of the European Union post-Brexit.

Paris was also the setting for “The History of French Wine” with Associate Professor of History Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre, through which students gained a critical, contextualized perspective of how French wine has evolved over the past three centuries and made its mark on French culture, society and politics. Included in the course were three excursions: a professional wine-tasting emphasizing regional differences in France and the concept of terroir; a visit to a working vineyard to highlight the technical and spatial aspects of wine production; and a visit to a wine museum to explore the evolution of wine through material culture.

Additional J-Term courses held on campus were:

•    “Analyzing and Communicating Financial Data” with Instructional Technologist Cheryl Cape and Associate Professor of Economics Christopher Hoag

•    “Drone Flight School: Making Maps” with Instructional Technologist David Tatem

•    “Envisioning Yourself as Leader” with Professor of Political Science Stefanie Chambers


"Envisioning Yourself as a Leader" students
met leaders who shared their leadership
journeys, including Hartford City
Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez ’04.
 •    “Fashioning America” with Visiting Assistant Professor in the American Studies Graduate Program Karen Li Miller

•    “Godfather: Art of Hard Choices” with Principal Lecturer in the Shelby Cullom Davis Endowment John Alcorn

•    “Hip-Hop in Film” with Visiting Lecturer in American Studies Nicholas Conway

•    “Nutrition: Food and Fads” with Director of the Science Center Alison Draper

•    “Unleashing Your Inner Writer” with Principal Lecturer in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric Irene Papoulis

•    “Using R for Data Visualization” with Associate Professor of Mathematics Paula Russo

Also, the first participants in Trinity’s new January entry program participated in “Doing College,” a J-Term course customized for the newly arrived “J-Starts,” taught by Director of Educational Technology Jason Jones and Director of Research Services Erin Valentino. Read more about the January Start program here.

More information about J-Term, including course descriptions, can be found on the January Term website

To see more photos from the 2018 January Term program, click here. 

Written by Kathy Andrews