JUMBO Magazine - Fall 2018

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ISSUE 22 / FALL 2018








These pages were written by Tufts students. Flipping through them should feel like taking a stroll through campus. You’ll meet professors and students; they’ll share with you what excites them. You’ll drop into a class on an unfamiliar topic and leave inspired, dig into some fascinating research, or hang out in a dorm with potential classmates. Along the way, you might decide that Tufts feels like the right place for you. If that happens, this magazine is also for you— flip to the back where we’ve broken down the basics on applying: deadlines, aid, and our advice. > This is Tufts; explore it.



FEATURES 22 | Reimagining Sustainability Students and professors are going beyond the three R’s to find a sustainability that speaks to people.

30 | Learning Outside the Lines These classes are designed to only be offered one time—here’s why.

3 8 12 14 19 20 36 38 39


On the Cover: In his second year at Tufts, Alejandro Baez looks back on the winding path that brought him here. COVER PHOTOS BY KATHLEEN DOOHER (FRONT), ALONSO NICHOLS/TUF TS UNIVERSITY (BACK)


FROM THE DEAN THE WEATHER has finally turned a bit cooler here in the Northeast, and with the change in seasons comes the heart of the work we do. As my colleagues and I board planes and trains and rack up miles on rental cars across the country and around the world, our goals are to share information about Tufts and also to get to know prospective applicants.

Everyone has a story to tell. Whether you have lived in the same place your entire life or moved every other year, been involved in multiple extracurricular activities or been laser-focused on one particular thing, your path and the experiences you have chosen along the way tell us something about you. A student’s journey to Tufts—both literally and figuratively—can come in a lot of different forms. This year’s incoming class alone represents 49 countries and 45 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. New Jumbos attended public and private schools, went to religiously affiliated schools, or were homeschooled. They are artists and engineers and philosophers who made connections with others and made change happen in their communities. And while each of the 1,543 first-year students who now call Tufts home took a different and personal path to get here to the Hill, it is exactly that diversity that creates a dynamic campus. Each student will now forge their own path here as they discover the things that interest them most.


I’m pleased to introduce this edition of JUMBO Magazine, where you’ll learn about the journeys that some of our students have taken and will take during their time here. As you complete your application, I encourage you to take a careful look and determine if you’re telling us your story clearly and fully. Does your voice shine through? Have you shown us the academic and extracurricular journey that leads you here? Take the time to reflect, show us your path to this moment, and know that we are anxiously waiting to meet you. Best,


Most of what you’re about to read was written by these Tufts students. Listen for their voices as they introduce you to the Tufts community, page by page.


JACOB SHAW ’21 from Glencoe, IL

CHRIS PANELLA ’21 from Hollywood, FL

ISABEL DAVIS ’22 from Livingston, MT

JOHN MATTSON ’22 from Manhattan, NY

HASAN KHAN ’22 from Sharon, MA

MARINA RUEDA GARCIA ’21 from Granada, Spain

SHAAN MERCHANT ’19 from Nashville, TN

KEESHA PATRON ’21 from San Bruno, CA

OFFICE OF UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS Tufts University / Bendetson Hall 2 The Green / Medford, MA 02155 617.627.3170 / admissions.tufts.edu / jumboeditor@tufts.edu

Produced by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Edited by Abigail McFee, Admissions Counselor Design by Hecht/Horton Partners


Karen Richardson Dean of Admissions and Enrollment Management

A DAY IN THE LIFE of Isabel Davis ’22

From the dining center to class and back again, a first-year student takes us through a (rainy) day on the campus she now calls home.

10:30 AM

12:00 PM

BIO 013 lecture with Dr. Susan Koegel, a cutthroat competition for the best seating to absorb her dynamic lectures

Lunch in the ever-abundant Dewick, drying off and catching up with friends

10:20 AM

8:45 AM

“Homemade” breakfast Metcalf-Hall-style, aka tea and fruit (smuggled from Dewick Dining Center, obviously)

12:00 PM

9:00 AM

Walk to Aidekman Arts Center resembling a Patagonia-sponsored turtle, courtesy of the raincoat draped over my backpack—how else would you protect your laptop from the elements?

3:00 PM

8:30 AM

3:00 PM

Alarm goes off. 6:00 PM

Special Topics: Science and Civic Action with Dr. Jonathan Garlick, my favorite two and ¾ hours of intense and engaging dialogue—plus snacks!

6:30 PM

The rain clouds have gone! A walk towards dinner results in a Tisch Roof detour to catch some evening rays and city views.

9:00 PM

9:00 PM

All roads lead to Rome... or Tisch Library, an academic hub for study sessions and writing about your day.

12:00 AM—A new day begins!




WHEN THE MUSE STRIKES TUCKED AWAY under Lewis Hall is a dimly lit basement

PUMPKIN PRANKS PUMPKINING is a historic, albeit mysterious, tradition on the Hill. Sometime in October, pumpkins

appear overnight in dozens of hard-to-reach places, such as trees, columns, and the alcove above the entrance to Harleston Hall. The most famous pumpkin is the one placed at the tip of the golden spire on top of Carmichael Hall. After the initial sighting, students spend months trying to determine how it got up there…and predicting when it will fall to the ground.


MUSEUM OF CAPITALISM WALK INTO the Museum of Capitalism Exhibit, on display this

fall at SMFA at Tufts, and you’ll find a bowl of matchboxes labeled, “You hold capitalism in your hands.” Wander in further and behold more peculiar artifacts: a cell phone trapped in amber, an American flag composed of police sirens, and a wall installation made of thermoform packaging. Since its inaugural exhibition in Oakland in 2017, the Museum has served to broaden public understanding by examining capitalism as if from a future in which only its strange relics remain. 4

computer programmer, who do you picture? Probably not children under the age of seven, unless you’re Professor Marina Bers. In her latest book, she explores how young children can be taught to code, developing important skills while becoming playful producers—rather than just consumers— of technology.

COMFORT ZONE DEDICATED to providing a home away from home for Asian-

American Jumbos, the Asian American Center opens its doors each day for use as a comfortable place to study, attend talks and dinners, and bond with fellow Jumbos. From late-night printing to the Peer Leader Program (which includes free group trips around Boston), students can find opportunities to connect and seek support across intersecting social identities.


adorned with student-created murals and artist-contributed ornaments. This hidden gem is known to students as the Crafts Center. Student-run and managed, the Center acts as a free space where individuals can pick up a brush and create happy accidents that would probably make Bob Ross cry. Attached to the main room is a cozy ceramics extension, where students are able to hand-craft the mugs and succulent pots of their dreams. The Center acts as a creative outlet even for the uncreative, and it is undoubtedly worth a visit.



AS AUTUMN approaches, New England

embraces apple season. Our Tufts Dining Centers offer overflowing baskets of apples from local farmers. While they’re delicious on their own, or topped with a little peanut butter, you can also easily make apple crumble. Just slice an apple, pop it in the microwave with butter and brown sugar, and top it off with granola for the best post-exam (or procrastination) treat!

TUFTS TWEET @TUFTSUNIVERSITY More than 20 years of painting by student

groups left the cannon encrusted in more than 1,000 layers of paint. This summer, crews worked to restore the cannon back to its original state, making room for more memories!


and Widescreen Festival

showcases some of our favorite films as you’ve never seen them before: larger, clearer, and wider. Located nearby in Davis

Square, Somerville Theatre is Tufts students’ favorite spot to catch a movie or enjoy a festival. This year, the festival is

featuring an array of films as wide as the screen itself—from Spartacus to The Thing and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

#THANKSOBAMA LIGHTENING THE MOOD in a room is not always an easy task, especially if you happen to be

the POTUS. As part of its Civic Life Lunch series, the Tisch College brought one of the people behind these words to campus. David Litt is a former senior speech (and joke) writer for President Obama. Students, faculty, and community members gathered over lunch to meet and listen to Litt, who aims to transcend party lines and demographic barriers with his writing: light-hearted, convictive, or otherwise.


In order to anticipate the stock market, successful investors like Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch have to forecast the direction of companies’ stock prices, and companies are— after all—managed by people. In this course taught by Douglas Rachlin ’85, Founder and Managing Director of the Rachlin Group, students learn basic tenets of investing through the lens of human behavior and psychology. Rachlin’s course also examines the role that financial markets play in society: How does access to financial capital affect human and social capital? And how can financial innovation meet the needs of society? 5





and understand the concepts,” she explains. “It is amazing to have this support system, especially when things get challenging.” (I can attest to this. After our interview ends, Emma—who is a year ahead of me—sends me a list of recommended classes and advice for our major.) On campus, Emma is involved in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, an executive board member of the Society of Women Engineers, and a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta. Last year she participated in the Tufts with Rwanda Fellowship, a year-long program centered on genocide education, which empowers participants to become global ambassadors for their communities. The program culminates with a trip to Rwanda during the summer. “I first learned about the Rwandan genocide in high school, and it was an event I wanted to understand more,” Emma says. “Seeing how the whole country came together to overcome such a recent trauma was a mind-blowing experience.” The highlight of her trip: the meals with residents of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village where the fellows stayed, during which they got to bond over music but also engaged in conversations about current issues in Rwanda. As Emma prepares to study abroad in Scotland next semester, she looks back at the past couple of years in the School of Engineering: “It is awesome to be at a place where you can have the academic rigor of engineering but also have the opportunity to explore different programs in the arts and sciences,” she says. “Being an engineer at Tufts is incredible.” —MARINA RUEDA GARCIA ’21


When I first meet Emma, I am struck by her enthusiasm and approachability, especially given the impressive array of activities she is involved in at Tufts. Emma is a junior studying chemical engineering, and as a chemical engineering student myself, I’m excited to get to talk to her. It was not until senior year of high school that, inspired by her AP Chemistry teacher, Emma decided to be an engineer. “Before that, I didn’t know much about engineering,” she confesses. When I ask her what engineering is to her now, she responds: “Engineering is the application of the math, physics, and science that you are learning to the improvement of people’s lives. Socially conscious engineering is witnessing what people need and acting on it: enhancing infrastructures in lowincome communities, or providing better processes for a lab that lacks funding.” Emma is passionate about biotechnology and genetic engineering, especially after interning at a small gene editing company in Kendall Square this summer, where she worked on gene therapy for blindness and autoimmune diseases. She is currently collaborating with Professor Nair in his synthetic biology lab. Her research focuses on fabricating plasmids that change the way in which proteins metabolize sugars. Emma’s experience at the School of Engineering so far has been empowering. The small class size has turned her major into a community. “You actually get to know the people in your classes, and the teachers know our names and want us to succeed

“Socially conscious engineering is witnessing what people need and acting on it.�





Anne Hall Biology Major from Sioux Falls, SD First Year: Metcalf Hall “My first year I lived in Metcalf, and through its unique charm and tight quarters, I got closer to my hallmates and my First Year Assistant (FYA). My most fond memories are of catching up with everybody at our weekly tea and snack nights!” Sophomore Year: Richardson Hall “I moved to Richardson the next year, and I definitely enjoyed the renovations and living spaces. I also really liked living in all-female housing and met some awesome people there!” Junior Year: Richardson Hall “Before I went abroad my spring semester, I was able to get a single in Richardson for the fall. I absolutely loved my single, and I lived right across the hall from one of my CAFE (Conversation, Action, Faith, and Engagement) Pre-O students. I enjoyed bonding with her more and being a mentor to other first-year students!”

Senior Year: Sophia Gordon Hall “And for my senior year, I’m living in SOGO. I love living in a suite on campus and sharing a space with my friends.” Reed Collins International Relations Major from Evanston, IL First Year: Houston Hall “Houston’s first floor was tight and cozy, and it was through its community that I met so many of the friends that would remain my friends throughout my time here.” Sophomore Year: Spanish Language House “I lived in Spanish Language House sophomore year and it was nice to speak in Spanish, meet so many international students, and have community events.”



Junior Year: Study Abroad and Off-Campus House “When I returned from studying abroad, I sublet off campus with some friends. We also lived with people I hadn’t know well before, and I loved getting to know them through living together.” Senior Year: Off-Campus House “While it’s only been a few weeks in this new house, I’m really excited to live with close friends (the same friends I made all the way back in Houston) and really make this a home.”


Sara Bass English Major from Seal Beach, CA Sophomore Year: Harleston Hall “I came to campus as a transfer student, and I was so mindful of involving myself in as much as I could within the deeper Tufts community—outside of my dorm. But I was grateful to have been placed with all kinds of students as opposed to strictly transfer students, because I think a consistent immersion in any collective experience would have excluded me from other connections I made.”

Junior Year: Off-Campus House “My second year I moved off campus with one of my best friends and her wider circle of friends, with whom I immediately bonded, and who I effortlessly learned to love. The house itself has its quirks, but it’s the family in it that makes me feel like this is the only place I’d ever want to be.”

Christian Cain Spanish Major from Houston, TX

“Second semester, I had the dumb luck of meeting three new amazing people who sublet from my friends while they were abroad. I could have never guessed they would become three of the most important people to me on campus.”

Sophomore Year: Miller Hall “Miller had the most comfortable, cozy common rooms on each floor. It was a great space to chill, do homework, and see friends.”

Senior Year: Off-Campus House “I’m back in the same house again for my last year, with friends who have returned from abroad, and I’m so lifted to have their spirits back, as if no time has passed. Now I say I’m torn in the best way because I want to pour limitless time into them while longing for my housemates from last semester. The physical places facilitated my friendships, but the significance of the spaces themselves are secondary.”

First Year: Lewis Hall “Lewis is where I met some of my closest friends at Tufts. Our community was tight-knit. There was always a friendly face around!”

Junior Year: Houston Hall “I was a First Year Assistant (FYA) in Houston my junior year, and I had wonderful residents. They really made my experience a memorable and positive one.” Senior Year: Hodgdon Hall “As the Lead FYA in Hodgdon, this has been my favorite year of housing so far! I love the community of Hodg. My residents are absolutely wonderful.”







campus programs, the Voices of Tufts Diversity Experience caught his eye. Again, communities color Alejandro’s journey to and on our Hill here in the Northeast, and in those short two days and one night, he found himself sprinting with new friends to catch the bus under the cool October rains of Boston. “It either never rains or it floods in Vegas,” Alejandro recalls, describing the smile he knew was plastered on his face as he ran, which I see once again as I watch him reminisce. Despite all the invitations and visits, he still felt the lingering fear, the resting doubt that “these are the big leagues.” These are America’s leading institutions—how could he fit in here? Activated by this need to go to college, Alejandro attacked the application paperwork himself, but then, how do you decide where to go, where to apply? These questions weighed heavier on his mind as he is the first in his family to go to college. “I wanted to make my family proud, and I had no other safety nets like other students,” he confesses, explaining what lifted the dread: going with his gut, which itself was the scariest feeling in his life. Did it pay off? Did he make the right choice? Alejandro made all the strides by himself in high

school, relying mostly on his own drive within his Las Vegas community. His ambition for new communities to belong to culminated in his acceptance and enrollment at Tufts, a whole 2,500-mile journey across the US canvas. Then, he had a new hill to venture up: our Hill. Since coming to Tufts, Alejandro has painted himself a masterpiece of communities. His first experiences with the Bridge to Liberal Arts Success at Tufts (BLAST) program ignited the work he is doing now in the FIRST Resource Center for first-generation college students. The experience of being a person of color at Tufts led to his new exploration of identity in the Latino Center. As a Tisch Scholar, he picked up a community health major and works with the local Somerville Health Alliance, addressing realworld issues he recalls from home. And perhaps most importantly, he doesn’t journey alone. The extended hands of faculty and professors broadened his view and his horizons, supporting that unilateral need to get to and succeed in college. Today, Alejandro climbs this Hill with others, with those he respects and who respect him, finally able to look around at all his communities and take in the colors—take in the beauty of being here at Tufts. —HASAN KHAN ’22


The morning after he hosted a get-together to appreciate a close friend, and before he starts a day of work both academic and service-oriented, I find some time in Alejandro Baez’s busy schedule to sit down and hear about his 2,500-mile journey from Las Vegas to the Hill. From a young age, Alejandro knew he wanted— he needed—to leave Las Vegas and feel the jolt of something new that could inspire him to strive beyond his beginnings. First and foremost, he emphasizes how Nevada ranks among the very bottom in studies of US education and, as a person of color, he discusses the added pressures of escaping the cycle of poverty post-high school. Through his own experience, Alejandro discovered an ambition within him that would carry him across the country and to Tufts: “I want to help people who had to struggle like I did and do.” With this sprouting passion, Alejandro independently looked for a way out of Nevada and soon discovered QuestBridge, a community among the first of many that would support him as he ventured farther from home. From there, he attended many fly-in programs to both gauge his interest and understand the flaws of each school. Among the many

As a first-generation college student from Las Vegas, Nevada, Alejandro’s journey has been defined by communities—those that have supported him, and those that have allowed him to support others.




Textbooks might have taught you about Boston’s role in American history, but you’ll have to turn towards your TV screen to learn about a rich history of a different kind. Presenting: a cinematic tour of Boston. Chris Panella ’21, a film and media studies major, acts as your guide through a city that has served as an iconic set for films and TV shows alike. Spoilers ahead.


The Old North Church National Treasure (2004) This 18th-century landmark where Paul Revere began his famous ride takes on a crucial role in one of the final scenes of National Treasure. The villain, portrayed by Sean Bean, is caught and arrested trying to break into the church after Nicolas Cage’s character gives him a false clue, leading him away from the Templar Treasure. It goes without saying that the Old North Church truly made this film, well, a national treasure.


Bench in Boston Public Garden Good Will Hunting (1997)

Cheers Bar Cheers (1982–1993)

Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel American Hustle (2013)

Fenway Park Ted (2012)

Inarguably, one of the most iconic locations in modern film history is an unassuming park bench. If you’ve seen Goodwill Hunting, you already know why. This was the spot where actors Robin Williams and Matt Damon partook in a scene that not only changes the direction of Damon’s character, but also serves as an emotional highlight for the film. The bench is now a popular place for fans and tourists to remember Williams after his 2014 death.

The formerly-named Bull & Finch Pub, founded in 1969, became well-known for its use in Cheers, one of the most acclaimed and longest-running television shows of all time. Now named after the show, Cheers Beacon Hill is a popular tourist spot for fans of the show who want to take a picture, buy a T-shirt, or enjoy a meal or drink.

In the glamorous Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel lobby, Christian Bale and Amy Adams themselves once shot a scene for American Hustle, celebrating an almost-successful scam (just before Bradley Cooper’s character busts them). It’s the ideal set for a film about wealth, scams, and heists— a room fitted with gilded ceilings, marble columns, and extravagant rugs. Stop by to get lost in it all and have a good time exploring, just like Bale and Adams did—or tried to do.

During the climax of Seth MacFarlane’s Ted, the eponymous living teddy bear is chased by an obsessive stalker Donny through Fenway Park. Lead actors Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis are also involved in the chase, which ends with Ted’s sad death (sorry, spoilers!). Fenway Park is a fitting location for the film’s action-packed climax, and not a bad spot to catch a Red Sox game while you’re at it!



IN THE ARTIST’S STUDIO Imagine a space to call your own: white walls and the work that will fill them. Imagine a capstone year of creating message-driven art as part of a community of peers and faculty: This is Senior Thesis at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts. Step into the studio spaces of three seniors. Perla Mabel Ledesma, BFA, from Boston, MA and Dominican Republic “Plátano Girls serves to empower women. I work to empower the next generation of women to live righteously. My portraits express the virtue of living as yourself in all aspects. Beauty comes in all shapes and forms—all colors and more. I would like to see my work developing into representation of women of color, then establishing the strength of women as a fundamental aspect to be normalized in societies that do not acknowledge nor respect the role that women play. For example, American culture [centers] on patriarchy, and machismo is considered superior in Latinx countries.”

Perla Mabel Ledesma 14

Anela Oh, BFA, from Traverse City, MI “My art practice involves using materials that have a life of their own. I am neither entirely a researchbased conceptual artist nor focused solely on the crafting of beautiful or functional objects. I live in between worlds. I work very intuitively with my materials, whether clay, paper, or fiber, each of them having its own unique process and technique. The art draws from my knowledge base surrounding the interactions of people of color with natural space and color theory, in a way that collaborates with the materials themselves. While building a clay structure that is five feet tall, there are moments the clay will bend in different directions because it has a memory, and I find that this push-and-pull dynamic makes my sculptures grow in truly organic ways.”

Marylu E. Herrera, BFA, from Chicago, IL “My work focuses on my personal experiences and perspectives on mental health. I start my process by flipping through the colorful magazine pages, looking for images that strike my eyes, which keeps the effects of anxiety at bay. I cut these images, then scan them to enhance all of their vivid details, to create digital collages. I want to create a bridge for people to talk freely about mental health. All the advertisements about mental health are always dark and gray, showing the far end of the spectrum, but sometimes you are not at the edge but somewhere in the middle, like me. It’s hard to describe personal feelings, and with these images, I try to invite people to create a conversation about their mental health.”


Marylu E. Herrera

Anela Oh


F ROM CLASSROOM TO CONVERSATION Professor Steve Cohen is known for his hands-on education course Observing Theory in Action, which brings Tufts students into a high school classroom one day per week. Here, he sits down with his former student Tess Hinchman ’19, in a conversation led by Isabel Davis ’22.

How did you come to be at Tufts? Steve Cohen: I was referred to this position by a colleague, partially because I had taught at the ExCollege previously. The good story is the “interview.” We were asked to give a 90-minute lecture on our philosophy of education. I arrived with a large pad of paper, markers, and copies of the 1932 Nazi, Communist, and Socialist Party Platforms. I divided groups and said, “I’d like you to take these documents and draw me a propaganda poster to convince me to vote for your party.” You never saw such frightened faces! I think they were appalled at first, especially because they had intended to be listening to a lecture... But I explained that I didn’t want to lecture on my philosophy because I don’t believe that people learn best that way. Tess Hinchman: Sadly, I don’t have any exciting stories about propaganda posters. I went to school in Maine, and I knew I wanted a college like Tufts. I ultimately chose it because of the unique Fletcher School and my interest in international relations. I have loved every minute of Tufts since. As an international relations major, why take courses in the Education Department?


TH: IR was my main interest from the beginning, although Steve’s Schools and Societies caused somewhat of an academic crisis for me. [International relations] is grand-scale; you lose questions of who is telling whose stories… With education, you’re tied to direct impact and empathy. Also, I wanted to be a teacher up until sophomore year of high school. I ditched it because I wanted to see the world and involve myself in international affairs. I thought that education wouldn’t allow me to do that, but I’ve realized that education and IR complement each other. Steve played a large role in that. I also took ED 11 (Observing Theory in Action) with him, and education is now my minor. The further I delve into these subjects, the more they fit together. SC: It’s so interesting for me to hear that, especially coming from the perspective of a teacher in the Education Department. I don’t get to hear these stories about direct impact outside of class often.

I get context from the journals you write, but what you’re saying crystallizes some things for me. When did your relationship become more of a mentorship? TH: ED 11 is a smaller class. We were carpooling to a local high school to work in the classrooms— SC: When you’re traveling together and working together, it changes student-faculty relationships and student-student relationships. I love bringing students [into classrooms]. The tasks are challenging, yet I think the experience brings us together. I always feel that the end of that class is like the end of summer camp. TH: We keep up with each other too, and I wouldn’t say that about many classes. Steve is a unique professor, aside from his classes. He even had the class over for bagels once, being the New Yorker that he is. Are there any memories, moments, or highlights from classes that come to mind? TH: I remember on the first day of class, Steve had each person say their name and some important event that had happened during their high school career. During the next class period, Steve went beyond name recognition and addressed us based on what we had spoken about. It was amazing, especially in a class of sixty. You don’t expect your story to be personalized. SC: You should never tell anyone this, but the big secret is that teachers learn way more than students. You have students like Tess that are going to ask questions—I can still hear her asking questions— TH: And I ask a lot of questions. SC: They’re necessary! I have to learn in order to answer questions like hers. I teach what I know, and the students make those connections—having Tess in class was a learning experience itself.



TOP 10

From shoestring fries to well-adorned study spots, here’s what Tufts students are thankful for this semester.

The President’s Lawn

Payback in Kind

The picturesque green hill sandwiched between the librar y and President Monaco’s house, nicknamed “The Prez Lawn,” is a beautiful place to spend time during any season! From dressing up to have a fancy picnic under the trees in the fall, to screaming with laughter as we hurtle down the snowy hillside on sleds in the winter, or to blasting music and throwing a Frisbee in the spring, there’s no better place to be with friends. —Emma Wolfe ’20

I am thankful for the kindness that encapsulates this community. It sounds hackneyed, I know. Implausible even, that of the 5,500 students on our campus, you can count on every single one of them being a genuinely nice person. I know it baffles my parents every time they visit. Even I didn’t believe it prior to coming here. Now I consciously remind myself not to take for granted that my friends, classmates, and even people I don’t know go out of their way to help and uplift one another. —Jacob Shaw ’21

Midnight Mac ‘n’ Cheese

A Place to Cocoon

Spiritual Life

Free Admission to the MFA

If there’s anything you should know about college students, you should know they love to eat. Sadly, as much as we would love it, the dining halls are not open 24/7. However, on almost every Friday and Saturday night throughout the school year, Tufts opens up Carmichael Dining Center and the Commons Marketplace from about 9 PM to 1 AM, providing a space for students to eat and hang out. Thank you, late-night dining, for satisfying my cravings with some tasty shoestring fries, mac ‘n’ cheese, pizza, and not to forget, some great veggie trays. —Nkem Aduka ’21

Ginn Library feels eloquent, like I shouldn’t be there studying in sweatpants at 11 PM. However, it’s in no way pretentious—its long rows of tables, gorgeously high ceilings, and cozy atmosphere are all incredibly welcoming. Ginn is my home for my heaviest nights of studying and my lightest afternoons of reading. I couldn’t be more thankful for it. —Chris Panella ’21

Besides being light on classes, Fridays are a day of spiritual recollection. I’m thankful for being able to meditate in Goddard Chapel at noon with the Buddhist Sangha, pray Jumu’ah at 1:30 PM with the local Muslim population of Somerville and Medford at the Interfaith Center, attend 6 PM Shabbat services at the Hillel Center with my Jewish friends, go to a reunion of my interfaith pre-orientation program (CAFE: Conversation, Action, Faith, and Education), and finish the night with board games at the Muslim House just down the street. After a week heavy with quizzes and deadlines, the spiritual uplift is more than welcome. —Hasan Khan ’22

A spontaneous escape to different worlds both old and new is made easy for students thanks to Tufts’ free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts. A mere 20-minute shuttle ride and 5-minute walk from the SMFA at Tufts campus transports students from familiar lecture halls to stunning galleries. The MFA proves itself to be a fruitful getaway to a new learning environment, where students can freely explore new parts of the world through the perspectives of diverse artistic styles. —Keesha Patron ’21

Social Engineering

It’s About Time

Best of All Worlds

One Cohesive Neighborhood

Despite the myth that all engineers are illiterate shut-ins, our engineers are a rather social bunch. My first big project here at Tufts was to construct a miniature golf course. We did this in groups of threes, so it was super nice to have someone to make the building process go by quicker, sanity check all of my ideas, and have engaging conversations with to pass the time. At the end of the project, not only did I have a miniature golf course that took up a ton of space in my dorm room, but I also had two new friends to be thankful for. —Carter Silvey ’20

I’m thankful for the vast amount of resources that are accessible to students on campus. More specifically, the Academic Resource Center (ARC) has helped me tremendously in improving my time management skills. I’ve found that an excellent way to help facilitate the transition to a college schedule is to book an appointment with one of the many ARC tutors and plan out a study schedule for that week. Not only is it a way to hold myself accountable, but it’s taught me important skills that I will use throughout my time at Tufts. —John Mattson ’22

I am very thankful for the family I have found at Tufts. When I first got to the university a year ago from Spain, I was rather scared to be so far from home. However, I met a vibrant community of people from different backgrounds, and I have learned so much from them. I loved learning about Bengali culture from my roommate and her family while visiting them in Florida, trying Brazilian food with my best friend from Porto Alegre, and the long conversations about our cultures with my friend from Pakistan. —Marina Rueda Garcia ’21

As I walk to class, listening to the laughter and banter that simulates background music, I reciprocate the kind-eyed smiles of passersby. Students’ lives here are also intertwined with the families that live in the vicinity, the couples that walk their dogs and push strollers past the textbook-laden individuals. Simple moments of gratitude allow for a revelation: On the Hill, I am both a student and a community member. —Isabel Davis ’22


THE LONG RUN A TRAIL CONNOISSEUR TRACKS DOWN SOME PRETTY MAGNIFICENT RUNS NEAR TUFTS I was a wide-eyed prospective student, lacing up my running sneakers to hit the streets outside Tufts’ campus. An hour later, I was wildly lost. This unreality, finding myself in an endless forest minutes from campus, helped me confidently choose Tufts. Over the past three years, I’ve crisscrossed the area, chasing Boston’s famous green space, water, and historic landmarks. Without further ado, here are my three favorite runs in the Boston area. —Nick Cunetta ’19

The Emerald Necklace Boston, Brookline 7+ miles

Fresh Pond and the Cambridge College Circuit Somerville, Cambridge, Boston 9–13 miles

Fells to Mystic Lake Medford, Winchester, Stoneham 9+ miles

When the eminent 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted saw Boston’s changing cityscape, he envisioned a continuous “emerald necklace” of green space connecting America’s oldest park, the Boston Common, to Boston’s largest, Franklin Park. Starting from the Park Street MBTA station, head east across the park towards the beautifully manicured Public Garden. Here, treelined Commonwealth Ave.—famous for breaking hearts at each April’s Boston Marathon—guides you to Fenway. The Muddy River, a winding and aptlynamed stream bordering Brookline, links Fenway and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts (SMFA) to a series of beautiful ponds and parkland. Next stop: Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, the apex of which commands an incredible view. With the Boston skyline tucked neatly behind Jamaica Pond, Olmsted Park, and other jewels of the Necklace, the city appears to rise directly from the forest. Your final destination is massive Franklin Park. Celebrate on the Orange Line T back to downtown Boston.

Four colleges, three cities, and two major bodies of water—this run has it all. Head west from Davis Square on the Somerville Community Path. Past the Alewife T station, the route takes you to a veritable urban oasis. Fresh Pond, with its quiet, wooded loop trail in striking distance from the hustle and bustle of Cambridge, is an easy favorite for local runners. Around the pond, Fresh Pond Parkway meanders southeast before spilling out onto the Charles River, one of Boston’s most iconic landmarks. From here, stick to the river’s north and south running paths to link up Harvard, BU, and MIT. The John W. Weeks Footbridge is a picturesque and peaceful place to cross into Boston. The busy thoroughfare of Mass Ave. back to Cambridge is the exact opposite, but it will dump you right in the center of architecturally eye-opening Kendall Square. Then run or take the Red Line T back to campus.

With names like Darkworld Point, Panther Cave, and Dark Hollow Pond, the labyrinthine trails of the Fells have always commanded a degree of reverence and awe from me. This hilly park boasts 100+ miles of trail, sheer rock faces, boulder fields, ponds, grassy meadows, glacial scars, archeological ruins, and acres on acres of deep forest. It is the stuff dreams are made of (for this geological sciences major, anyway). Enter from Medford’s Winthrop Street, get hopelessly lost (or bring a map, I guess), and exit onto Winchester’s Mystic Valley Parkway. Staying on the Parkway, hug the Aberjona River as it bisects the quaint town center and connects to the northern tip of Mystic Lake. If you’re feeling bold, or if it’s the first week in September, take a dip at Shannon Beach. The southbound trail on the east side of the lake eventually parallels Mystic River, which leads you right back to Boston Avenue on the Medford side of campus.




JOURNEYS Every class is a journey of sorts, but these classes are about journeys of all sorts. Their topics range from literary travel narratives, to the journey of food from farm to gut, to the use of mapping in contemporary art. Pack your bags, and explore below.

ENG 191-01 Travel Literature “Have you forgotten what it means to feel an endless road unwind before you, to sleep under open skies, to find yourself alone in an unknown land? If you spend too much time dreaming about that year abroad, this course may be for you. We’ll read literary travel narratives and reignite our passion for adventure. Come climb icy mountain passes, enter war-torn zones, and walk along the edge of our continent with guides like Orwell, Strayed, Matthiessen, Doerr, and Byrd. How do these writers understand the longing to leave and, once home, how do they translate their experience into prose vibrant enough to transport those temporarily landlocked here at Tufts?” —Janis Freedman-Bellow, Lecturer, Department of English DRWC 0084 Mixed Media and Mapping “Mapping has a central place in contemporary art as well as a universal graphic appeal and fascination, conjuring up journeys and unexplored places. In this course students will use maps, journals, and landscape as inspiration for drawings, paintings, and mixed media work. In creating ‘personal geographies,’ students will use words and literature in a metaphoric approach to mapping. Class sessions will center on the effective use of collage, water-based paint, and drawing materials such as marker, graphite, and ink. Class discussions, critiques, visual presentations, and gallery/museum visits will be integral to the course.” —Heidi Whitman, Lecturer in Painting, SMFA at Tufts BIO 0008 Microbiology of Food “From the production of raw materials to the digestion of food in our guts, microbes impact what and how we eat. This interdisciplinary course will explore how microbes play critical roles in the production, processing, and consumption of foods. In our farm-to-gut journey, we’ll examine basic principles of microbial diversity and learn about the tools that scientists use to study the microbiology of food systems. We’ll explore how the impacts of microbes in food systems span many disciplines including economics, political science, international relations, ethics, community health, nutrition, and philosophy. Guest lectures from farmers, chefs, and local food producers will highlight the practical applications of managing food microbes. This course is designed to provide students who are not science majors with the opportunity to develop a core microbial literacy that will serve them in life as well as in their field of study.” —Ben Wolfe, Associate Professor, Department of Biology





I’ll admit it. When I began my research for this article, I thought of “sustainability” as interchangeable with “being green.” If you’d asked me for examples, I would have mentioned cardboard straws and bicycle shares. But after chatting with individuals across the Tufts community—people exploring sustainability from new and more nuanced angles—I find myself paying much closer attention to the phrase “belonging,” to public art, and to bus routes. Let me explain why.



“Sustainability is larger than just the environment,” Tina Woolston tells me. She is the program director for the Office of Sustainability (OOS) at Tufts, which serves as a resource for the community, bringing individuals’ ideas to fruition. Their own focus is environmental— reducing waste, working towards carbon neutrality, fostering resiliency in the face of climate change—but they collaborate with other departments, including Human Resources and Finance, to promote economic and social sustainability.

When I ask about the OOS’s long-term goals, Woolston is quick to explain—this isn’t about the office itself. “You’ll notice on the landfill receptacles, there are stickers that say, ‘Sustainability: A University-Wide Commitment,’” she points out. “We don’t brand anything by our office, because we can’t do it [alone].” I leave our conversation understanding that sustainability is about more than just the energy-efficient building where Woolston and I grabbed coffee—more about people, perhaps, than structures. But I don’t fully grasp the possibilities until I learn, from a Tufts student, about a padlocked field. The field sits on Poplar Street in Somerville, about two miles from Tufts’ campus. If you pull up the location on Google Maps, you’ll see a wide gray expanse of rubble and concrete debris, with a greenhouse in one corner. Below that image, you’ll find Google’s classification for the site: “Performance Art Theater.” If that doesn’t make much sense to you, you’re not alone. Madeline Lee ’19 was working with Shape Up Somerville, a mobile market that brings fresh produce to the greater community, when she first visited this site, called ARTFarm. “Why is this place called ARTFarm,” she asked herself, “if it looks like this?” That question turned into her Summer Scholars project on urban environmental regeneration and sustainable creativity. For her research, Madeline spoke with key stakeholders in the community about their visions for the space, a former industrial site. “[ARTFarm] is trying to become this sustainable commons for the city of Somerville,” Madeline tells me, “a space for innovation and for anyone, especially artists and community members, to come and grow food.” The space—or rather, the dream for what the space can become—mirrors Madeline’s own interests. She is double majoring in environmental studies and architectural studies, while pursuing a minor in studio art. “Having that mixture has shaped my view of what sustainability can be,” she tells me. As it stands now, ARTFarm is awaiting funding in order to grow. But the field contains its own small ecosystem: a walk-in-fridge run by Shape Up Somerville, a greenhouse operated by Green City Growers, and a raised bed operated by Groundwork Somerville. The trio works cooperatively, like the community partners in charge of it: Rainwater from the greenhouse feeds the bed, and the bed grows food that is kept fresh in the fridge.


Madeline has seen what can happen when ideas are kept alive. “A place is more about the relationships and meanings that are attached to it than the physical structures there,” she says. “That’s what my project became about.” In the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) at Tufts, Professor Julian Agyeman is interested in what physical structures can tell us about the relationships that exist there. A critical urban planning scholar, educator, and author, he has built his career at the intersection of sustainability and social justice.

When I first enter the UEP building, I notice a room to the right of the doorway labeled “Student Space.” I climb the stairs to Professor Agyeman’s third-floor office and find that he has already stepped into the hallway to greet me. It’s clear, even from these first interactions, that he and UEP are thinking about people, how they navigate spaces, and how those spaces can meet their needs. Agyeman spent his childhood wandering the green belt outside his village of 20,000 in England, watching birds and identifying plants. The first time he read the word “sustainability” was in the year 1980, in the World Conservation Strategy; it grabbed his attention. But it wasn’t until he moved to London in 1985—to the city—that he became interested in urban sustainability. “I realized that…you can be fascinated by the science of nature and the beauty of nature,” he tells me. “But when you’re waiting for a bus in a low-income neighborhood, and that bus doesn’t turn up, you start to see that…urban sustainability is intimately related to politics.” Issues of equity are at the center of Professor Agyeman’s work. He is the originator of the concept of just sustainabilities: “the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.” He explains that, while many urban planners are focused on becoming—becoming sustainable cities, smart cities, healthy cities—they’re not very good at people’s need for belonging: supporting recognition, difference, diversity, and inclusion. He sees just sustainabilities as the merging of the two, posing the question, “We could have a green world… But if it wasn’t socially just, would it really be sustainable, in the broadest sense of the term?” Professor Agyeman speaks primarily in questions. While some are rhetorical, many are not. He seems to imply that the answers will only be arrived at through asking more questions— and asking them of the right people. Madeline knows that the people who answer these questions aren’t going to be found in academia alone. After completing her initial research on ARTFarm, she’s turning towards a new question: All of the information she collected—all of the community’s ideas of what the space could be—“how do we communicate th[at] in ways that those same people can access and grow?” The answer, she believes, is found not in academic papers but in art. She’s currently pursuing an independent study with Professor Silvia Bottinelli from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, whose own work focuses on food, social justice, and art in the public sphere.


You’ll find the word “sustainable” across campus: on a flyer fluttering near the library, advertising a course called The Planet on our Plates: The Case for Incorporating Sustainability into Dietary Guidelines; on recycling bins placed in each building; and on university webpages. But what does this word really mean?

Speaking with Madeline about art as a mode of communication, I’m reminded of what Professor Agyeman calls warm indicators. In contrast to scientific indicators of sustainability, which often seem cold and distant to the average person, and community indicators that science disregards, warm indicators carry meaning for both groups. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, the number of new salmon runs in any given year says a lot about the quality of the water— something noted by sport fishers and scientists alike. Though art can be a similar bridge, Madeline is aware that artists often enter spaces they aren’t part of and impose their ideas. She considers herself both an outsider and insider when it comes to ARTFarm—she has harvested vegetables from the raised bed, but Somerville isn’t her long-term home. “I think it runs very parallel to issues of development [in cities],” Madeline explains, “and how development can come in and displace communities or drown out their voices.” This is something Professor Agyeman worries about, too, even in the work being done by sustainability organizations. Here, he poses another question: “If your organization doesn’t look like the community it serves, is it legitimate? Is it going to be effective?” This time he does offer an answer: No. When organizations don’t share the make-up of the communities they serve, even seemingly “sustainable” projects can lose sight of what matters. Take, for example, an urban planning policy: Complete Streets. These are streets designed to be pedestrian-friendly, with wide sidewalks, trees planted

alongside them, and bicycle lanes. Seems sustainable, right? But Professor Agyeman, in one of his books, refers to these streets as “incomplete streets” because of what they leave out. In L.A., for example, street vendors—an integral part of Korean and Latino cultures within the city—were banned until recently from selling their wares on streets. “How can streets in a multicultural metropolis be considered complete if they exclude certain groups?” Professor Agyeman asks. In many neighborhoods, when Complete Streets are implemented, house and rent prices go up; low-income and minority residents are driven away. A “Complete Street,” to Professor Agyeman, isn’t something that can be designed in concordance with a set of measurements. He describes the flow of people up and down the street, the way they interact with each other and their surroundings. “There’s a messiness,” he says. “There are vendors. There are bicycle tracks. There are spaces for people to sit and gather.” “The human element,” I respond. “A human element,” he says. “Exactly.” You will find a human element across campus, too: on the library steps where students gather between classes, in the projects—like ARTFarm—they become involved in, and in the questions they ask of professors, community members, and each other. Perhaps the greatest impact a college campus can have in creating a more sustainable world, in every sense of the word, is through its people.





Shaan brings a mix of humor and reflection into everything he does, including his remixed supplement. On campus, he’s a tour guide, a member of the sketch comedy group Major: Undecided, and the founder/president of Tufts Longform Improv. Off campus, he gives weekly food tours of the North End and interned for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (casual).


What excites you about Tufts’ intellectually playful community? In short, “Why Tufts?” (200–250 words) I strolled down the leaf-lined Talbot Ave. and took a life-changing bite: the best popcorn I had ever had. That was the first line to the “Why Tufts” essay I wrote four years ago; clearly I was trying pretty hard—just look at that alliteration. In it, I explained how I really didn’t want to go to Tufts (maybe not the best idea in retrospect?) because my older sister was there. But after my parents dragged me to her Family Weekend, I begrudgingly, wholeheartedly fell in love. What stood out to me then, and continues to, are the people. When answering this question on my tours, my go-to line—whose parallel structure makes all the moms love me—is: “Tufts is where students take what they do seriously, but don’t take themselves seriously.” For me, this line, which I undoubtedly hijacked from an older guide, exemplifies why I love Tufts. Everyone has unique and fascinating intellectual interests which they pursue passionately through their academics, exciting internships, and research, and yet students aren’t afraid to be goofy, ask questions, and have fun. Every Family Weekend, I still try to snake my way through the crowds of proud parents and upbeat undergrads to take a bag of that perfect popcorn—I don’t know how they do it—and recognize just how life-changing that popcorn was: Without it, I might not know these extraordinary, kind people.

Whether you’ve built blanket forts or circuit boards, created slam poetry or mixed media installations, tell us: What have you invented, engineered, produced, or designed? Or what do you hope to?* “For dessert, how about a black pepper, cocoa nib ice cream with stout caramel? That’s the bitter course.” My housemate and I sat with notebooks and childlike excitement planning our next “Dinner Concept.” Since sharing an off-campus house, we have hosted these dinners once a month, a “concept” we designed, inviting six peers from different circles at Tufts to meet and bond over multi-course meals with wine pairings (when legal, of course). The theme behind this dinner was to have each course epitomize one flavor: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, spicy, or umami. Aside from sharing (hopefully) delicious food, our goal is to create a space for students to cultivate new connections with each other. Given the geniality of Tufts’ students, the bonds come naturally—all we have to do is set the table. The relationships I have created define my Tufts experience: not only the special relationships with my peers—friendships that have helped me grow, laugh, question myself, and make lasting memories—but also those with staff and faculty. My relationship with my incredible sociology professor led to us travelling to Oslo, Norway, to present research and eat salmon. The warm hugs and sunny smile of Idah, a Tufts Dining icon, never cease to make my day brighter. When my childhood dog passed, my Spanish professor was quick to bring Elvis, her majestic basset hound, to campus to lift my spirits. Each of these relationships has its own flavor, and like any good meal, my Tufts experience would not be complete without all of them.

*Want to see other options for the second question on our supplemental application? Visit admissions.tufts.edu/apply/essay-questions 27

Professor Sajina is discovering new ways to explore galaxies— and taking her students along with her.





When asked what she does, Professor Anna Sajina answers matter-of-factly, “I study galaxies.” Sajina, who teaches in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, continues, underscoring that her focus area is unlike any experimental science on earth. We cannot set up experiments in a lab to investigate galaxies—no trials with controls, no manipulation of variables. All we can do is observe. An eminent astrophysicist, Sajina currently balances her research with teaching and has a course of her own in development, entitled The Invisible Universe. How, in a world of inquiry and scientific research drawing on all five senses, do we approach galaxies with the solitary sense of sight? The galaxies in question “are fantastic laboratories for a whole slew of interesting processes,” she explains with great enthusiasm, and the key to unlocking them is not to retest relentlessly what we already see but rather to identify new senses with which to interact with the cosmos, such as leveraging gravitational waves to “hear” the universe. Sajina keeps her eyes locked on the big questions: How do galaxies form and evolve? How have those interstellar processes led to our existence? Easy questions to state, harder to answer, but these innovative research tactics are bringing us closer than ever. Professor Sajina is now celebrating her eighth year at Tufts with a groundbreaking research opportunity. The Prime Focus Spectrograph (PFS) Survey has been funded by Tufts in conjunction with donors to glean data about the universe in more detail than we have ever been able to access before. In collaboration with her colleague, Professor Danilo Marchesini, Sajina will assemble a team of

post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduates as young as first-years to get hands-on access to this world-class data. “We’re all thirsty for information,” says Sajina, “and all a student must do is find a professor whose research they enjoy and ask to join.” She loves having underclassmen in her lab; it gives them a longer window to grow together, potentially culminating in a thesis. Professor Sajina asserts that there is nothing more rewarding than being drawn in by a life-changing research opportunity that alters one’s trajectory. And this assertion is experimentally supported through and through—Sajina herself was one of those students. Growing up in Bulgaria and emigrating to Canada at age fifteen, she’d always harbored a deep passion for puzzles—one that she maintains to this day—which spurred her to pursue mathematics and ultimately engineering, on account of its practical reputation. As a sophomore, after taking an astronomy class, she transferred her major to physics. Following a research stint modeling galaxies the summer of her junior year, she knew she wanted to pursue graduate studies in astronomy and forge her career in the field. Now, having dedicated her life to advancing the state of galaxy research, teaching remains the highlight of her career, as she can often see herself in her students. “You must remember professors are just people who love to learn,” she says with a smile. As 5,500 students venture with starry-eyed wonder through a microcosm like Tufts, Professor Sajina serves as a reminder to seek out all the unknowns, drink up all the knowledge, and embrace it with all their senses. —JACOB SHAW ’21 29




In the Experimental College, timely issues and particular passions aren’t just on the syllabus—they are the syllabus. Each semester, the ExCollege offers a set of courses that aren’t typically taught by traditional professors. Instead, they’re taught by experts in the field, community members, and Tufts juniors and seniors. By Chris Panella ’21


the home base of the ExCollege is in no way flashy: a brown house with a long driveway, located at 95 Talbot Ave. It isn’t meant to be flashy, though—to me, it feels homey and welcoming. Inside that comforting exterior is a group of people working to provide a different kind of learning experience at Tufts. In truth, it’s a learning experience that isn’t as experimental as it is one-of-a-kind. In one of the converted office rooms, Director of the ExCollege and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education Howard Woolf is replying to emails, texting students, and rushing to meetings. He describes his history with the ExCollege as “long and personal”—not an uncommon answer for anyone, faculty or student, who has been welcomed into the ExCollege over the years. “I began working at the ExCollege in 1982 when I was still in graduate school, [earning] a degree in American studies,” Woolf explains to me. He immediately connected with Robin Gittleman, then the director of the ExCollege, during his interview process. “We had lots in common. We were both left-handed and we had both been camp counselors. I really think that’s why I got the job,” he chuckles. Since then, Woolf has seen the ExCollege grow and expand, while he has remained a constant. Think of him as Tufts’ very own Dumbledore: wise, knowledgeable, and always open to a fun discussion. Woolf describes the long history of the ExCollege, from its founding in 1964 when it became the first ever Tufts faculty committee to include an equal number of students on its board. From then, the ExCollege began offering unique and innovative courses for Tufts students, everything from Urban Poverty in 1968 to Zionism Reconsidered in 1973. “It was this place for students to explore new and different things, subjects that catered to students and were engaging,” Woolf says. These varied from visiting lecturer courses to student-taught courses. It was in the ExCollege, a place designed for the birth of new academics, that Woolf discussed the idea of starting to teach filmmaking courses at Tufts. “Multiple programs have been born from the ExCollege, like Dance and the Institute for Global Leadership,” Woolf explains. He sees the ExCollege for what it is—a place where students truly have control of their educations. Its role changes over time, as students and visiting lecturers bring in ideas for courses that are not only timely, but focused and insightful. In other words, the ExCollege has been responsive and continues to be. “We’ve changed an immense amount and yet we haven’t changed at all. It’s a conundrum, but it’s true,” Woolf laughs. One thing that hasn’t changed about the ExCollege is its commitment to offering first-year courses that are designed to 32

welcome new students and show them the unique academic opportunities Tufts has to offer. This is called the Explorations Program, and it’s been around almost as long as the ExCollege, beginning in 1967 as the Freshman Seminar Program, which offered the first for-credit, peer-taught courses in Tufts’ history. Today, Explorations allows upperclassmen to serve as peer advisors for the first-years who enroll in their courses. So, what are these courses about? This semester’s range from Politics by Other Means: Simulation and Strategy Games Throughout History, to Bending the Norm: Sociopolitical Commentary in The Legend of Korra, and The American Soul: Religion, Mindfulness, and Spirituality. First-year Yonatan Margalit, nicknamed “Tuna,” is only a few weeks into his Explorations course and is already fascinated by the ExCollege. While eating a peach in my Houston Hall dorm room, Tuna explains that he is taking What Does It Meme? Memes in American Culture and Media, a course that looks into the contemporary history of internet memes and their impact. “We meet once a week for two hours and it’s the most interactive class I have,” he says. Tuna loves how the course focuses heavily on class discussion and understanding rather than just pure lecturing. “The course seemed really interesting when I was choosing my advising option, and I’m glad I picked it,” he says, nodding. “The advising process during orientation was stressful, but my teachers [Aidan Rowan ’20 and Michael Kiang ’20] and my advisor [Madeleine Delpha] were really helpful.” The Explorations course is just Tuna’s beginning with the ExCollege, but he’s already looking towards the future. He explains how another course, Baseball Analytics: The Sabermetrics Model, is inspired by what he wants to do for his career, and that he had an idea to create a course on Kanye West, specifically the rapper’s history and controversy. “He’s one of the few celebrities you could have a course on,” he says. The ExCollege is a place for timely topics and courses that are often only offered once. Someone will have to break the news to Tuna that he was already beat to the Kayne class (it turns out the ExCollege offered a course on West in the spring of 2017), but I have no doubt a new idea will come to mind. Even as the ExCollege changes decade after decade, some aspects—like popular courses—remain. Visiting lecturer Sonja Spears’ Accused: The Gap Between Law and Justice is a perfect example. In Diesel Café in Davis Square, Spears explains to me over coffee how she began at the ExCollege: taking classes. “My personal experience with the ExCollege was as a student. I took ExCollege courses way back in the day. I’ve had this love for the ExCollege, and I began teaching in 2013,” she says, smiling. Spears graduated from Tufts in 1986 and went on to be elected to the civil bench in New Orleans. She served as a judge for 12 years, so the course is not only professional for Spears, but also personal. Accused: The Gap Between Law and Justice explores the United States’ justice system through different lenses, specifically the point of view of the wrongfully accused. “We look at some individual cases and personal stories so students can get that perspective that isn’t always shown to the general public,”


Spears explains. “First, we introduce personal effects of what happens when a person is accused, and then we look at notions of justice.” Spears describes the course as “centered [on] humanity,” allowing students to understand real and honest perspectives of the wrongfully accused. It sounds like an ExCollege class I’d love to take (if only it didn’t fill up so quickly…). Spears feels the same way about other ExCollege courses. She explains how exciting it is to see all of the different courses listed at the beginning of each semester. “In some ways, I wish I was a student,” Spears laughs. Some of the most unique courses taught aren’t from visiting lecturers like Spears, though. They’re from Tufts students who have designed their own courses and dedicated themselves to exploring a new and interesting topic. One such student is Elise Sommers. In the Tower Café in Tisch Library, Sommers sits across from me and explains how they fell in love with the ExCollege: Sommers took a class their sophomore year called Rethinking Disability: From Public Policy to Social Movements. This class sparked an interest in Sommers teaching their own ExCollege class, which Sommers did in their sophomore spring. “I felt really supported and had this amazing group of students that were just so interested in it,” Sommers explains. The course, Queering Childhood: Examining Innocence and Identity, is making a reappearance this fall through Explorations with Sommers co-teaching this time around.

“The class looks at how we [view] children societally and how that connects to systems of power and impacts lived experiences of children,” Sommers says. “We talk about innocence, who gets to be innocent, racial innocence, and how that connects to prison abolition movements. We also look at coding of queerness in children’s media, and the way that’s coded in Disney and Harry Potter.” It’s a course that showcases a variety of topics that Sommers is passionate about. In terms of the ExCollege’s presence in Sommers’ education at Tufts, they explain how transformative taking, designing, and teaching courses has been. “The ExCollege has played a really big part in making space for me to [create] an education that I wanted and to go deep into what I wanted to do,” Sommers says, smiling. That statement is perhaps applicable not just to Sommers, but to anyone who has the opportunity to learn and grow within the ExCollege. Now, after recently celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, the ExCollege sits as a vital vein on campus—and also a key component of my Tufts education. The ExCollege was one of the main reasons I applied to Tufts, and now, as a student on the ExCollege Board, I’m so excited to continue its strong legacy. To me, it’s a place for learning the unexpected, teaching with passion, and creating something new. True, the ExCollege has evolved in its 54 years, changing with the times and offering cutting-edge courses. What hasn’t changed, however, is the very core of the ExCollege: that it is a place for students first.

often become teachers. After taking a course called Reimagining Disability: From Public Policy to Social Movements, Elise Sommers ’19 was inspired to teach a class the following semester.


KAMRAN RASTEGAR DIRECTOR OF ARABIC PROGRAM AND INTERIM DIRECTOR OF CENTER FOR THE HUMANITIES AT TUFTS Don’t let Professor Kamran Rastegar’s calm presence distract you from seeing him as he truly is—an impassioned leader in the study of the humanities. As the interim director of the Center for the Humanities at Tufts (CHAT) and a professor of Arabic and comparative literature, it makes sense that Professor Rastegar has a wealth of academic insight to offer. But it is through learning about his personal experiences growing up in Iran that I come to understand clearly why he is such a successful scholar, professor, and artist today. Many of the research interests Professor Rastegar currently has were sparked by his early life, when he lived through the effects of the IranIraq War. “When I was a kid growing up in Iran, I was there for part of the war, and I remember the impact of the war on my family,” he recounts. “I noticed the war became a sort of crucible for a difference of experience.” It was through Rastegar’s lifelong curiosity about different cultural experiences that he came to study the role of cinema and other visual mediums in the formation of what he calls “cultural 34

memory.” His eyes light up as we discuss his work on Iranian cinema, which he says is a rich body of work from which to look at culture and identity. Years after living in Iran, Rastegar’s fascination with the cultural imprints of war remain as a deeply personal field of academic interest. Although trained as a comparative literature scholar, Rastegar’s research encompasses a wide range of topics, and he says his favorite courses to teach do the same thing. “My favorite teaching is when I get to do thematic, comparative courses across historical contexts,” he says. He stresses the importance of interdisciplinary learning, noting that his students have been especially willing to engage ideas that others would normally push back against. Challenging preconceptions about foreign cultures while allowing students to draw their own conclusions is a central part of Rastegar’s teaching style at Tufts. Nearly a decade ago, Professor Rastegar started out as the sole professor of Arabic literature at Tufts. He has since then proudly expanded the

Arabic Program and was instrumental in making an Arabic major available to students. Today on campus, you can find him teaching a variety of classes like Visualizing Colonialism and Cultural History of the Modern Middle East. Rastegar’s faith in both the mission of the liberal arts and the value of studying other perspectives is especially inspiring in today’s world, where problems will have to be solved by well-rounded, adaptable minds. Towards the end of our conversation, I ask Rastegar for his view on the power of art. He sits pensively for a minute, then replies, “I think art can inspire. It can also reflect realities that are often otherwise hidden in the world. Art is most valuable as a record of possibilities.” As Rastegar continues to impart his vast knowledge of the arts and humanities to students, he himself acts as a reflection of new possibilities for the Tufts community. —JOHN MATTSON ’22


“I think art can… reflect realities that are often otherwise hidden in the world.”




A GUIDE TO COLLEGE ESSAYS Did you ever play Mad Libs as a kid? You know, insert adjective here, insert noun there: “There are many aggravating ways to choose a/an essay to write.” noun


Well, when it came to Mad Libs, filling in the blank allowed you to create an interesting story. When it comes to college essays, not so much. Here’s our guide to a different approach. Don’t let your adjectives do the describing Do you know someone who is optimistic, perseverant, and independent? Do you know more than one person who is optimistic, perseverant, and independent? While adjectives are descriptive by definition, in the world of college essays they often start to blend. This isn’t to say you need to hack away adjectives from your prose like a young Ernest Hemingway; just don’t let them do the heavy lifting. If something fascinates you, go ahead and call it “fascinating”—but then show us why. Let excitement be your guide Get rid of the nagging voice in your head that tells you to select the essay topic that will show off your accomplishments best. Your awards, titles, and successes are important, and they will shine through in other parts of your application: your transcript, your activities list, your recommendation letters. In your essays, you aren’t required to insert leadership title here. Trust admissions officers to read through the whole application (we do!). Then choose the prompt that makes you most excited. You might even find that a certain essay seems like it would be—dare

we say it?—fun to write, or that another feels particularly relevant. Let those feelings guide you. Writing your essays won’t seem like a chore, and the reader of your application is more likely to be engaged, entertained, or moved when you are. Reflect on yourself Many of the essays you’ve written for school have likely focused on topics outside of yourself; you might have been told not to use the word “I.” College application essays should use the word “I”—they’re about you, after all. Crafting meaningful responses to the questions colleges ask you is a huge task, yes; but it’s also an amazing opportunity to contemplate what matters to you. After reading an essay prompt for the first time, an initial idea might come to mind. When one does, take it a step further: Ask yourself why. Why did you think of that particular memory or interest? Why is it important to you? As you reflect on yourself, you will reflect yourself in your essays. Make jokes if you love puns. Have a serious tone if that’s you, or if the topic calls for it. We want to be able to hear you in your essays, and your own introspection will make it easier for you to introduce yourself to us.

We hope this was a/an ___________ guide to not filling in the blanks. Are you ___________ to write adjective

your essay about ___________? Just kidding. But do have fun with it. noun






1 2 3 4

Common Application or Coalition Application

APPLICATION DEADLINES AND NOTIFICATION DATES Early Decision I Application Deadline: November 1 Notification Deadline: Mid-December

Tufts Writing Supplement

High School Transcript(s)

Early Decision II Application Deadline: January 1 Notification Deadline: Mid-February Regular Decision Application Deadline: January 1 Notification Deadline: April 1 Transfer Admission Application Deadline: March 15 Notification Deadline: Mid-May

Senior Year Grades



Testing Beginning with applicants to the Class of 2023, we require either the SAT or the ACT.

21,501 Applications 3,143 Acceptances 15% Acceptance Rate 100% of Demonstrated Financial Need Met


Letters of Recommendation We require one from a school counselor and one from a teacher. You may send us one additional if you’d like.

13% First-Generation Students 11% International Students 49% Women in the School of Engineering

7 8 +

Art Portfolio Required only for students applying to the Combined Degree BFA/BA or BFA/BS and BFA applicants to the SMFA at Tufts. Financial Aid Documents If you are applying for aid, you will need to submit: 1. FAFSA 2. CSS Profile 3. Federal Income Tax Returns For more information, read the next page of this magazine or visit go.tufts.edu/finaidapp

32–35 Middle 50% ACT 690–760 Middle 50% SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 720–790 Middle 50% SAT Math

TUFTS UNDERGRADUATE STATISTICS 5,492 Undergraduate Enrollment 4.8 Miles from Boston 22 Average Class Size 28 Varsity Sports Teams

Optional Materials • Alumni Interview • Arts or Maker Portfolio: Students applying to the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering may submit an optional arts or maker portfolio to highlight talent in studio art, drama, dance, music, or engineering.

300+ Student Groups 35% Women in the School of Engineering 45% of Juniors Study Abroad 39% Need-Based Aid Recipients 80 Countries Represented 33% US Students of Color *As of July 1, 2018






Cost of Attendance


Tuition and fees Room and board (meal plan) Books and supplies Personal expenses


Expected Family Contribution Parent contribution Student contribution



Financial Need


Your award may include: Grant aid* Student loan Work study

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount your family is expected to pay for college for the 2019–20 year. It is calculated from the information provided on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), CSS Profile, and your family’s federal tax returns. Your financial need is the difference between the annual cost of attendance and your calculated family contribution. Your financial aid package will make up the difference, for all four years—even if your family’s situation changes. We generally do not include student loans for students whose families earn less than $60,000 per year. All Tufts financial aid is need-based—we do not offer merit-based scholarships or athletic scholarships. *Grants are need-based gift aid that do not need to be paid back.



COMPLETE THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)* https://fafsa.ed.gov/ Tufts code: 002219 Cost: free *Note: not required of international or undocumented applicants for financial aid

College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/ Tufts code: 3901 Cost: $25 initial fee plus $16 for each additional college. Fee waivers are available for students who qualify for an SAT fee waiver or whose family incomes are below $45,000. Non-Custodial Profile (NCP): if your parents are divorced or separated. The requirement may be waived by the Tufts Financial Aid Office under very specific circumstances.

Federal Income Tax Returns Applicants should submit all documentation to IDOC (idoc.collegeboard.org/idoc), an electronic imaging service of the College Board. Your account will be created at idoc.collegeboard.org once you submit the CSS Profile. Please do not send tax returns directly to Tufts Admissions or Financial Aid.

BY THE DEADLINE: Application Type Early Decision Round I Early Decision Round II Regular Decision

CSS Profile November 15 January 15 February 1

FAFSA November 15 January 15 February 1

2017 Federal Tax Forms Through IDOC December 1 February 1 February 15

If you are applying for financial aid at Tufts and have a Social Security Number, please make sure to include that information in your application for admission so your materials can be properly matched.

Tufts Net Price Calculator (to estimate the amount of financial aid you may be offered if admitted to Tufts) https://npc.collegeboard. org/student/app/tufts CSS Profile 305-420-3670 FAFSA 800-433-3243 “Chat With Us” Service IDOC 866-897-9881 (US and Canada) 212-299-0096 (International)

Ready to get started? Go.tufts.edu/FinAidApp 39

PROGRAMS With nearly 150 majors and minors, 30 interdisciplinary programs, and the courses of the ExCollege, Tufts’ offerings require more than a brief skimming, so you can find an expansion of this quick list on our website. But in the meantime, skim away. Just note that Tufts’ undergraduate programs are offered in three schools: Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts. Students may take classes across schools, and many students do. SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES MAJORS

Africana Studies American Studies Anthropology Applied Environmental Studies Applied Mathematics Applied Physics Arabic Archaeology Architectural Studies Art History Astrophysics Biochemistry Biology Biomedical Sciences* Biopsychology Biotechnology* Chemical Physics Chemistry Child Study and Human Development

German Language and Literature German Studies Greek Greek and Latin History Interdisciplinary Studies International Literary and Visual Studies International Relations Italian Studies




Food Systems and Nutrition





Chemical Engineering



Civil Engineering



Biomedical Engineering

Computer Engineering Computer Science Electrical Engineering Environmental Engineering

Tufts/New England Conservatory: BA or BS and Bachelor of Music

Judaic Studies



Architectural Studies

Tufts/SMFA (School of the Museum of Fine Arts): BA or BS and Bachelor of Fine Arts

Latin American Studies

Data Science




Middle Eastern Studies

Engineering Physics


Human Factors Engineering

Music, Sound, and Culture

Engineering Science


Environmental Health

Architectural Studies


Asian American Studies


Physics Political Science Psychology

Mechanical Engineering

Africana Studies Arabic Architectural Engineering Art History Astrophysics

Geosystems German Greek Greek Archaeology Greek Civilization Hebrew


History Human Factors Engineering° Italian Judaic Studies Latin Latin American Studies Latino Studies Leadership Studies Linguistics Mathematics Multimedia Arts

All BFA students at the SMFA at Tufts focus in interdisciplinary art. They may explore many of the following areas of study while pursuing this interdisciplinary art education.

Biotechnology Engineering°




Cognitive and Brain Sciences


Russian Language and Literature


Colonialism Studies

Political Science


Computer Science



Science, Technology, and Society*






Digital Media


Roman Archaeology

Engineering Psychology


Film and Video


Roman Civilization


Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Graphic Arts




Engineering Education


Engineering Management°

Science, Technology, and Society




Entrepreneurial Leadership

Painting Papermaking

Environmental Science and Policy°


Film and Media Studies

Chinese Civic Studies* Classical Studies Cognitive and Brain Sciences Community Health Computer Science Drama

Environmental Geology Environmental Studies* Film and Media Studies French Geological Sciences

Psychology/Clinical Concentration Quantitative Economics Religion Russian and European Studies

Photography *Available only as a co-major 40

Chemical Engineering Child Study and Human Development

Music Music Engineering Peace and Justice Studies

Sociology Spanish° Studio Art Urban Studies Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

°Available only to students enrolled in the School of Engineering

. Y E H





Tufts is a student-centered research university, which means that we like to dig into our passions deeply and figure things out for ourselves—whether that involves using silk to regenerate tissue or spending a fully-funded summer exploring the political implications of Shakespeare’s plays through the Summer Scholars program. Students and professors come together, across disciplines, to ask questions and create meaning.

Jumbos use their skills and ideas to better people’s lives, whether they are teaching engineering in local elementary schools, creating sustainable businesses, or spending a year doing full-time service as a 1+4 Bridge Year Fellow. They understand that they are citizens of a global community, and they embrace that responsibility.

....in a lot of things. Tufts students don’t limit themselves: they combine biology with philosophy, compete as nationally-ranked D3 athletes, pursue Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees in studio art at our School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and solve problems as engineers. They’re part of a community that embraces the unconventional and the uncategorizable.

This is a place where students are as excited to debate Game of Thrones fan theories as they are to apply mathematical theorems—as intellectually playful as they are powerful. We believe that ideas can have a profound impact on the world, and those ideas can be born around the seminar table but also in the dorm common room.

Sound about right? Read the stories here to learn more. Also check out our website: admissions.tufts.edu


Equal Opportunity Applicants for admission and employment, students, employees, sources of referral of applicants for admission and employment, and all unions or professional organizations holding collective bargaining or professional agreements with Tufts University are hereby notified that this institution does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, veteran status, or national origin in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in its programs and activities. Any person having inquiries or complaints concerning Tufts University’s compliance with the regulations implementing Title VI, Title IX, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, or Section 504 is directed to contact the Office of Equal Opportunity on the Medford/Somerville campus, 617-6273298 or 800-611-5060 (TDD 617-627-3370). This office has been designated by Tufts University to coordinate the institution’s efforts to comply with the regulations implementing Title VI, Title IX, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Section 504. Any person may also contact the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202, or the Director, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Region One, Boston, Massachusetts 02109, regarding the institution’s compliance with the regulations implementing Title VI, 34 C.F.R. Part 100; Title IX, 34 C.F.R. Part 106; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 45 C.F.R. 90; or, Section 504, 34 C.F.R. Part 104. In addition, Tufts has formulated an administrative policy that educational and employment decisions are based on the principle of equal opportunity. The consideration of factors such as sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, veteran status, or disability unrelated to a person’s ability, qualifications, and performance is inconsistent with this policy. In accordance with both federal and state law, the university maintains information concerning current security policies and procedures and prepares an annual crime report concerning crimes committed within the geographical limits of the university. Upon request to the Office of Public Safety, 617-627-3912, the university will provide such information to any applicant for admission. The report is also available online at http://publicsafety.tufts.edu/wp-content/uploads/280929-Tufts-ASR-2018-2019.pdf.

NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. Postage PAID Burlington, VT Permit No. 149

OFFICE OF UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS Tufts University Bendetson Hall 2 The Green Medford, MA 02155-7057 617- 627-3170 admissions.tufts.edu

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