124 Winter Study 99 projects approved for 2012 January term

The Winter Study Committee (WSC) has approved 124 Winter Study 99 projects for the 2012 January term. This figure presents an increase of six from last year, when the committee approved 118 projects in total. 

The number of on-campus projects decreased significantly from last year, with 41 on-campus 99s approved for the upcoming Winter Study in comparison to 47 on-campus 99s approved last year. The number of off-campus 99s increased to 83, up from 71 last year.

Additionally, the number of 99 proposals that were rejected decreased from 17 for the 2011 Winter Study term to eight for the 2012 term. Ollie Beaver, chair of the WSC and professor of mathematics, attributed this decrease to improvements in the proposal workshops. According to Beaver, these workshops, which are held in the spring and early fall, “stress the importance of thoughtful and articulate responses.” Beaver said.

Important to the proposal are the justification for intellectual content and the bibliography, which Beaver described as “critical entries” in the approval process. Beaver explained that the WSC does not accept revisions on 99 proposals but will sometimes grant provisional approval when details need to be clarified.

“The goal [of the 99 project] is to provide an opportunity for students to study and immerse themselves in an area that is not offered otherwise,” Beaver said. “We hope that students take away the ability to formulate a good course and have an excellent experience.”

The WSC also has examples of proposals online, a resource that Sam Jeong ’14 used when crafting his 99 proposal. Jeong will spend the 2012 January term in Kigali, Rwanda volunteering with the Faith Victory Association (FVA), a non-profit organization that provides a safe haven to orphans, women and minors.

“I want to examine the role of religion in the FVA and how it affects the education of orphaned children,” Jeong said. “I am basically looking at religion from pre-genocide to post-genocide.” The examination of this change was Jeong’s intellectual content on his 99 proposal, he explained.

While some 99 proposals are for internships, both on-campus and off-campus, other options exist for students looking to pursue experiential education during Winter Study, like “Experience the Workplace: an Internship with Williams Alumni/ Parents.”

John Noble, director of the Office of Career Counseling (OCC), reported that around 100 students had expressed interest in this option, with some applying to internships pre-arranged by the OCC and others creating their own opportunities. Although the number of students actually partaking in this Winter Study opportunity is not yet finalized due to the individual nature of each internship, Noble estimated that around the same number of students as last year – 69 – would spend Winter Study completing this type of internship. He noted that each pre-arranged internship received significantly more applications than previous years.

Internship opportunities are not limited to just “Experience the Workplace,” however. Noble estimated that the total number of students working in some type of internship, whether on-campus or off-campus, would be in the hundreds during the 2012 January term.

“My hope is that we will be able to expand the opportunity,” Noble said. He added, however, that budgeting remains a concern. “We run into a funding issue if the student does not live where the internship is being offered.”

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