95 get approval for Winter Study 99’s

This fall over 120 students tossed aside the course catalog and designed their own Winter Study 99 courses. On Friday, the Winter Study Committee notified 95 of them of the news that their projects had been approved.
Of these 95 projects, almost 80 percent involve off-campus endeavors. This statistic, along with the high rate of proposal acceptances, is in line with last year’s numbers.
The WSP 99 program allows seniors, juniors and sophomores the opportunity to travel, partake in internships or pursue a research or discovery project on or off campus for Winter Study credit. This year’s 99s cover a wide range of topics, from sustainable snowboarding to marsupial physiology.
Isaac Nicholson ’11 will be escaping the frigid temperatures of Williamstown this winter when he heads south to explore Spanish culture and cooking in Oaxaca, Mexico. While Nicholson takes Spanish classes and participates in cooking workshops, he will also reunite with a host family he stayed with years ago. He said it will be “the perfect opportunity to re-engage this travel experience that was very important to me growing up, and learn about Mexican cooking which has always been one of my favorite parts of the travel.”
Ben Kelley ’10, Nick Lebedoff ’10 and Jeremy Weinberger ’10 will be jetting off to visit Steven Swoap, professor of biology, who is on sabbatical at the University of Sydney in Australia. Although they will be spending much of their time in the laboratory studying marsupial physiology, the three of them, who are all members of the College tennis team, are looking forward to attending the Australian Open and, according to Weinberger, “playing with kangaroos and other animals.”
Nick Lee ’11 designed a multifaceted project that will examine sustainable design in surfing, snowboarding and skating in America. His project will not only take him from coast to coast but will also provide him with many opportunities to meet with manufacturers, learn about sustainable design, visit resorts that focus on using green energy and hopefully create some lasting contacts in the industry.
Some students will also use this opportunity to explore a particular project on campus. Liz Kantack ’09 and Alice Nelson ’10 combined two of their interests, skiing and nutrition, to create a project titled “The Effect of Nutrition on Athletic Recovery.” Although Nelson jokingly describes their project as a way to “get credit for training, racing and eating snacks,” the skiers will be conducting their own research project to investigate the connection between optimum performance and exercise nutrition while participating in Nordic races across the Northeast.
The Winter Study Committee, chaired by Ollie Beaver and composed of faculty, staff and students is chiefly concerned with identifying the “intellectual content” of each of the projects.
Although the majority of the projects were approved, Barbara Casey, associate registrar, noted that the “timing is hard and many projects are put together rather hurriedly.” In order to clarify key points and help students with the process, the College offered workshops this fall and redesigned the proposal form.