November 26, 2018
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By Juniper Cruz, ‘19
Maybe you know Emily Ward ‘19 as a medieval history major with a classics minor. Or perhaps you know her as an aspiring editor. However, you may not know that she is also an intern at the Provost’s Office. On any given day, her internship may have her developing new systems for obtaining and organizing key information about faculty members and their courses, or delivering grilled cheese to President Decatur as he meets over lunch with Provost Joe Klesner.
Though Emily’s tasks vary, the majority of her job focuses on semester-long projects that support the Provost’s work with faculty and with the curriculum. As such, her internship can be categorized as a "high impact practice." You may have heard this term quite a bit since the Kenyon 2020 strategic plan was published. It is a placeholder for the different forms of meaningful experiential educational practices that have proven to build the skills that carry students of all backgrounds through their college years and beyond.
High impact practices often give students the opportunity to apply classroom learning to new environments and to see their passions and interests in a new light. For Emily, her love of history comes through in her work with the Provost’s Office as she contemplates what information one leaves behind for others and for what purposes. Her passion for language, which she developed from reading many historical texts throughout her studies, allows her to understand the importance of how she communicates on the job. “It really allows me to have this very comprehensive view on how to convey a voice. It helps me see what works and what doesn’t when you're trying to communicate to someone.”
Emily’s internship lets her see the importance of history and language in how she approaches her work, and she hopes to continue this exploration after graduation. Currently, she is looking for fulltime positions in the publishing industry. When asked, “What did you want to be when you grew up?” She talked about her interest before she ever considered going into publishing:
“My mom has a PhD in molecular biology and she was a research scientist at UCLA for the majority of her life. She specialized in AIDS research and awareness. Yeah, she’s dope. ... So, for a long period of my childhood I wanted to be a biologist.” Though this may no longer be her chosen field of interest, she is continuing to hone her skills as an observer and researcher, both in the classroom and on the job.
If there is one thing that we can take away from Emily’s story it is that the exploration of academic and work pursuits is a series of experiences that speak to each other, sometimes in seemingly disconnected ways, but eventually making meaning. High impact practices allows us students to explore the lineage of our skills and capacities, while continuing to cultivate additional ones in the present — both of which we will carry with us into our futures ventures.