With their poems, essays, videos, and photographs, students helped launch the Transcript Project this year, reflecting on their academic paths with submissions that matched the variety of their experiences.
Audrey Pettner ’21 of Fort Collins, Colo., focused on a first-semester seminar called “Money Matters,” which crossed disciplines in its examination of coins, while Amanda Flores ’18, an anthropology concentrator, submitted a poem with five stanzas, each written in a different language.
“It was a good reminder about what it means to be in college,” said Pettner. “These next four years are going to be influential, but there is more to be gained from this time than what it says on my grades.”
Pettner’s perspective reflects exactly why Robin Kelsey, Arts and Humanities dean and Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography, launched the project, inviting students to submit entries across three categories: read, hear, and see.
“Harvard is already very good at recognizing students who receive top grades,” Kelsey said. “But we should do more to recognize the curiosity-driven intellectual journey that college is meant to be. The Transcript Project is a way for our undergraduates to affirm whatever adventurous spirit informed their time here.”
Paul Lewis ’18 took a multimedia approach with his submission, sharing an essay, photos, and a video about the impact that global health courses, in particular “Case Studies in Global Health: Biosocial Perspectives,” had on his extracurricular life.
“It was taught by Paul Farmer, Arthur Kleinman, Anne Becker, and Salmaan Keshavjee,” said Lewis, a neurobiology concentrator. “It was an inspiration, and I got to work with Professor Kleinman to restructure an organization I had started here to make sure the work I was doing was really centered and making an impact. The following year, I hosted our first Global Health Conference.”
The Eliot House resident said the course led him to more global health courses, which, in turn, prompted him to plan a gap year in Japan upon graduation.