Getting 'real world experience': Robyn Lightner '11 shapes Boston food policy with research and community organizing

Robyn Lightner '11

May 2011—Story by Jenny Morgan, photo courtesy of Robyn Lightner ’11

Robyn Lightner ’11 never planned on writing a thesis.

She was so sure, in fact, that she made clear on her Civic Engagement Scholars application that a thesis was not in her future. An environmental studies major, Lightner (standing, on the right) was applying to the fellowship in 2010 to fund a summer internship focusing on food access in underserved neighborhoods in Boston. She was awarded the fellowship—with no thesis strings attached— and began working for the Food Project and the Bowdoin Street Health Center. Lightner’s biggest project was to initiate a study comparing the cost and quality of farmers’ market produce to grocery store produce. No one working on food issues in Boston had ever conducted such a study, and by the end of the summer, it was clear that she wasn’t finished. “I didn’t feel that I could let it go,” Lightner reflects. “I fell in love. I really felt invested in the follow through…and [getting] a good message out.” She continued her research, eventually translating the project into a 100-page thesis and a presentation for the Boston Food Policy Council. The thesis that might never have been is now helping shape the conversation on how to support getting fresh, local, and healthy produce in Boston’s underserved communities.

‘You can’t just turn a blind eye’: Agostine Ndung’u ’12 awarded Dalai Lama Fellowship for initiative aimed at reducing ethnic violence in Kenya

Agostine Ndungu '12

May 2011—Story by Jenny Morgan, photo by Kate Berry '12

In the fall of 2008, Agostine Ndung’u ’12 moved from Kenya to the United States to join Amherst College’s class of 2012. Like his new peers, Amherst was the school of his dreams— and 2008 represented opportunity and hope. In spite of his excitement, however, he was deeply troubled by what he was leaving behind in Kenya.

Sarah Leyman ’11, Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup finalist, reflects on years of organizing Amherst athletes for community service

Sarah Leyman '11

Story by Jenny Morgan, photo courtesy of Sarah Leyman '11

Sarah Leyman ’11 (pictured second from right) is currently competing with the women’s basketball team in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament. Bolstered with a home court advantage through at least the Elite Eight, Leyman, co-captain of the team and president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, is optimistic for her final tournament with her teammates.

Not just 'everywhere but here': Amherst College community dedicates a week to HIV/AIDS education & awareness

There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy: the Bank of Exchange/Value

What is the value of art? In 1948, Sotheby’s auction sold a Jackson Pollock painting for a whopping 140 million dollars—the most expensive art auction to date. Yet in order to enjoy the beauty of Exchange/Value, a project of the Collaborative Art Class at Amherst College, you do not have to pay a penny. Welcome to the Bank of Exchange/Value: an art project that emphasizes the importance and utility of non-monetary exchanges in the community.

So Important, So Present Day

Nora Lawrence ’10: a Synthesis of Academics and Engagement

Photo by Julie Keresztes '12

Living at the I-Hotel—An Interview with Megan Zapanta ‘10

During her time at Amherst, Megan Zapanta ’10 played on the rugby team, wrote an honors thesis, participated in the Vagina Monologues, tutored at the Jones Library, and volunteered with a labor union.

She did not, however, act like an (ancient) Egyptian.

Ben Guest: An Amherst Alumnus Tackling Education Inequality

In late April, I sat down for a phone interview with Ben Guest ‘97. Even before the first question, Guest happily greeted me and eagerly described all the Amherst College students who had interned for his summer program.

Scripts and Scores: the Engagement of Performance

It’s a Saturday afternoon, and a group of students have collected in a Webster stairwell to review the stages of their final performance – or at least the performance they think they’ll probably be giving.  There may be some changes coming, as a student explains to me.  “We were supposed to perform outside, but because of the rain there’s some debate as to whether or not that’s going to happen,” she says.  “So instead we’re going to perform in the library and Val, and at five-thirty we’ll come back here.”

CCE Launches Summer 2010 Internship Programs

Now that finals are (finally) over, Amherst students are spreading across the country, headed for home, summer jobs, or, of course, those all-important internships.  As a valuable way to boost a resume, the summer internship is to many students an essential part of their work portfolio.  But even for an Amherst student, finding a position that promises more than filing and data entry can be challenging.  How have students found internships that will value them, challenge them, or teach them about how to engage with the local community?