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IN 2012, the inaugural summer of SEE-Beyond, 21 students were funded for travel to Africa, Central America, Asia, Europe, and cities across the United States to engage in internships closely related to their academic programs and to hone research skills, get specialized training, or immerse themselves in artistic work. Projects included archeology field school, lab- oratory research in the neuropharmacology of opiate addiction, environmentally sustainable design work, dance intensives with renowned performers in San Francisco, and research on the European Union’s financial crisis with ex- perts at Johns Hopkins University. “SEE-Beyond is not about career planning


“Even applying for a SEE-Beyond grant can be transformative for students, because they are asked to be creative in presenting plans for ‘learning by doing.’”


per se,” asserts Corey Freeman-Gallant, associate dean of the faculty, whose office administers the program. “It’s about de- veloping a perspective on an academic major or minor through practice that deepens understanding of the discipline. Even going through the pro - cess of applying for a SEE-Beyond grant can be transformative for stu- dents, because they are asked to reflect on their educational goals and to be creative in presenting plans for ‘learning through doing.’” SEE-Beyond tran-


scends the traditional in- ternship tied to resume- building or to income- bearing jobs in at least two ways. First, it widens the spectrum of learning opportunities to areas such as performance, course work, volunteer activities, collaborative or independent research, and teaching. Also it pro- vides a $4,000 stipend, leveling the playing field for high-financial-need students who otherwise might have to forego the experience in order to work a summer job. Knowledge absorbed through SEE- Beyond is meant to be applied immediately on campus, not simply to fuel a career trajectory—although exposure to a “real world” in which a liberal arts background is an asset is clearly an incentive to participate and underlines the worth and essence of a Skidmore degree.


“Through this experience, I learned to connect my academ- ics at Skidmore to life outside Saratoga Springs,” says David Schlenker ’13, a history and international affairs major who taught English to children in the slums of New Delhi. “The interdisciplinary education we have at Skidmore could not be


16 SCOPE WINTER 2013


more appropriate for a job where innovation, flexibility, and creativity are necessary.” Schlenker’s pupils were part of a population he says is ex- ploited by multinational corporations as cheap labor; many of the kids leave school by age 10 or 11 to work in factories. His primary goal was to help youngsters stay in school and progress to “life outside the in - dustrial garbage dump.” One of his teaching techniques was to help his students explore their community through the lens of a cam- era. Along with English learning, that creative approach fostered camera skills and commu- nity bonding, as well as enhanced perceptions


HILARY KNECHT ’13, A STUDENT ASSISTANT AT SKIDMORE’S TANG MUSEUM, BROADENED HER CURATORIAL EXPERTISE AT TWO HUDSON RIVER HISTORIC SITES.


of Westerners. Schlenker plans to continue his work in educa- tion policy and advocacy on an international scale. Hilary Knecht ’13, an art history major with minors in arts administration and Italian, interned jointly at Olana State His- torical Park and Peebles Island Resource Center, both on the Hudson River. The experience re- fined her understanding of curatorial and collec- tions management, im- proved her research skills, and deepened her learning about the rela- tionship of state govern- ment to public organiza- tions. She says her Skid- more course work, as well as serving as an ed- ucation assistant at the college’s Tang Museum, plus previous employ- ment stints at museums in the Berkshires and in Florence, Italy, enabled her not just to handle routine tasks (like re - arranging the tour floor and entering data into online catalogues), but


also to make macro-scale contributions, such as researching future exhibitions. After the summer, Knecht curated a show at the Tang using the skills she polished in her SEE-Beyond stint, and when a pro- fessor wanted to bring students to Olana, Knecht personally arranged it. “This evidences the importance of connections and how your past experiences can be advantageous in unexpected ways,” she says. “The knowledge gained during the summer enriched my experience the next semester.” Little wonder that every department on campus has ex- pressed interest in sponsoring a student in 2013. The com - petitive process requires students to submit proposals to their


ERIC JENKS ’08


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