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Student Snapshot: Claire Jeantheau '21

Claire Jeantheau '21

Whether attending class, creating a social media plan, reading or reporting on Dickinson events and news, Claire Jeantheau ’21 loves exploring new topics and learning how they interconnect. Last summer, she conducted original research while taking part in the Kierkegaard Young Scholars program and also served a remote internship through the Children’s Defense Fund. This year, in addition to taking classes and getting involved through Dickinson clubs and groups, she’s interning remotely for Dickinson’s on-campus art gallery and Office of Access & Disability Services.

Hometown:

Mechanicsville, Virginia.

Majors:

Classical studies and educational studies, with certification in social innovation & entrepreneurship (SINE).

Clubs and organizations:

The Dickinsonian, Trout Gallery (student assistant), Office of Access & Disability Services (intern), Astronomy Club, Idea Fund, Latin Club (student-teacher), Classics House, Eta Sigma Phi and Dickinson College Commentaries (intern).

Honors/scholarships/awards:

Benjamin Rush Scholarship, Alpha Lambda Delta, Kappa Delta Pi, Eta Sigma Phi, Christopher Roberts Travel Prize and Wheel & Chain honor society.

On choosing Dickinson:

I was interested in learning more about business in college, but I was also a humanities nerd who wanted a full liberal-arts experience. After plugging my study options into a College Board search engine, I discovered that Dickinson had programs in both. Then I became curious about Dickinson’s sustainability and global programs. I think the decision was sealed after my first visit, when I took in all the details—multilanguage street signs! The special interest houses on West Louther!—and my mom commented that I looked genuinely happier than on any other tour I’d done.

Favorite place on campus:

There’s one tree by the bike racks at the HUB that’s become my favorite spot to set up a hammock. As soon as spring weather hits Carlisle, I spend hours there each day—sometimes late into the evening—doing homework and waving to friends.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Apricot pork chops with sweet potato fries.

Favorite class/learning experience:

So many things come to mind. I loved my First-Year Seminar, Composing Disability, with Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Katie Oliviero. I learned so much about the American disability rights movement, and this seminar shaped my drive to advocate for a meaningful education for students of all abilities. I’m also thinking of Ancient Worlds on Film with Christopher Francese, Asbury J. Clarke Professor of Classical Studies. We compared historical blockbusters against the ancient texts they were based on. Professor Francese taught me how to interpret movies with the same attention as the written word, and I loved the big questions that emerged in class about justice, culture and sacrifice. Plus, where else can you get “watch Spartacus” as a homework assignment?

Finally, I have to give shout-outs to Drs. Evgenia Mylonaki and Brian Söderquist, who taught my philosophy courses abroad. These classes ignited a new love of philosophy in me, dragged me far from my comfort zone, and radically changed how I think about teaching and learning through each professor’s example. I can think of few others who made such a significant impact on my worldview in such a short time.

As a kid, I wanted to be…

… at different points, a baseball player, fashion designer, writer and teacher. The last two stuck around in some form!

On studying abroad:

Studying abroad has been one of the most transformative parts of my time at Dickinson—both as a student and a young person learning to live independently. In fall 2019, I studied in Athens, Greece, through College Year in Athens. In addition to taking fantastic classes in ancient languages, philosophy and art history, I had the chance to explore Northern Greece, Crete and the Peloponnese on field studies, giving me a sense of the full country. I vividly remember swimming in crystalline water, hiking Mount Olympus and devouring kebabs near my apartment. I came home not only with a better understanding of the eras of Greece I study as a classics major but also a desire to know more about all parts of this country’s rich history.

In spring 2020, I explored my other major, educational studies, while studying in Copenhagen, Denmark, through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS). I intended to learn more about the Danish educational system. Although this was cut short by coronavirus restrictions—I got out just before the American travel ban took effect—I appreciate the time I had in the city, as well as the town of Roskilde, where my living community was. Some of my favorite memories are of observing a school with my education class, along with biking and taking the regional train every day. I wrote weekly about my semester as a DIS Student Blogger.

Little-known hobby/talent:

During quarantine, I figured out how to beatbox. I’m less than decent, but my younger sister thinks it’s good enough to sing along to, so that’s all the approval I need.

About my internship:

My most recent summer internship was with the communications department of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), where I aimed to learn more about the nonprofit field, along with educational policy. The pandemic loomed over my work all summer—not just because my internship was moved fully online but also in the critical needs I was hearing in families’ stories. By doing the day-to-day work of a communications position, like compiling news clips, I was able to help document some of those stories. I also completed long-term projects which I’m proud of, including drafting a national messaging campaign, and I sat in on workshops and meetings for a variety of departments within CDF.

During the school year, I can also be found interning at offices across Dickinson. This fall, I’ve been working with the Trout Gallery and Office of Access & Disability Services remotely, helping to plan events, coordinate marketing materials and organize administrative files. It’s great to see friendly faces at weekly check-ins and to see the connections between my outreach and studies in education.

Best thing about my Dickinson experience:

The dizzying amount of learning opportunities that have opened themselves up since I began college. I’m a huge generalist at heart, and at Dickinson I’ve been able to dip into so many areas and observe their interconnections. On any given week, I might bike around Carlisle, sit in on three lectures (and cover one for The Dickinsonian), hold bees in my (gloved) hands at a Hive open house, read widely and create a social media plan for work.

About my research:

After my interest was sparked by a DIS class on Søren Kierkegaard’s writing, I had the opportunity this past summer to take part in the Kierkegaard Young Scholars program through St. Olaf College. We held an online reading circle every day in July; each participant also completed an individual research project. My independent study paper compared a metaphor Kierkegaard uses in his work The Sickness Unto Death, in which he likens a person of religious faith to a lover, to the theme of love in Plato’s philosophy.

Post-Dickinson plans:

I hope to continue working in marketing and communications; my dream job would be at a nonprofit or an education-focused setting, like a museum. I also want to be an active volunteer in my future community, and to see more of the United States—especially its national parks.

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Published January 8, 2021