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Senior Year, Remotely: My Fall 2020 Classes

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Rebecca Duffy, a University of Massachusetts student sits near a laptop and broadcasting microphone in her home office

The moment that seemed so far away for such a long time is finally here- it’s my senior year! These past three years have flown by and I can’t believe I’m in my last year at UMass Amherst. Because I am a senior this fall, I wanted to take fun and interesting courses that would challenge me one last time before I graduate. I am loving all of my Fall 2020 classes so far, and I want other University of Massachusetts students to learn more about these incredible courses too! Here are the classes I am taking this semester: 

Journalism 393N: Reporting for Radio and Podcasting

As a journalism student looking to work in the field of broadcast news, I was extremely eager to take Reporting for Radio and Podcasting. I have taken classes on the topic of reporting for television before, but this is my first experience learning how to write news stories for radio! In this class, we are  writing and producing our own radio stories and podcast episodes about topics that interest us. Our work will also be published on WMUA 91.1 FM, the UMass Amherst radio station, which both excites me and looks great on my resume. I recently started my own podcast called “I Like to Talk”, so this course has been teaching me new skills to make my podcast more engaging and informative… another plus!

Chemistry 103: Science of Craft

Science and math have never been my strongest subjects, so when I realized I had to take a physical science Gen Ed this semester I was a little apprehensive. I chose to take Science of Craft, a class where you learn the chemistry behind blacksmithing, ceramics, brewing and glassblowing. Sounds awesome, right?! The class has exceeded my expectations so far, and for the first time in a while, I’m excited that I’m taking a science class. The professor records virtual lectures of him forging steel knives, using a potter’s wheel, and demonstrating other cool crafts. It’s such a fun, engaging class and I totally recommend it to students looking to take a creative physical science Gen Ed.

Journalism 394C: Community Journalism Fall 2020

Community Journalism is a community engagement service-learning course where UMass Amherst students work closely with students at Commerce High School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Commerce High School has a majority Black and Brown student body, and a minority of white students with low-income. UMass Amherst and Commerce students work together to produce multimedia journalism work that reveals the reality of wealth disparity and racism in Springfield and other communities. As someone who grew up in Chicopee, a neighboring city to Springfield, I want to learn more about the racial, wealth, and educational disparities that exist in Western Massachusetts. I want my journalism to make a difference, and being able to work alongside Commerce High School students while covering these important topics makes me so thankful and excited for this educational opportunity.

Communication 338: Children, Teens and Media

The last course I am taking this fall is Children,Teens and Media. My secondary major is communication, so I am interested in studying the media and its effects on different groups of people. In this class, I’m exploring the role of media in shaping the lives of adolescents in the United States and around the globe. At the start of the semester, my professor brought in a guest who worked on television shows like Sesame Street, Wonder Pets and Lazy Town. She talked about how her job is to study what aspects of children’s shows do children actually enjoy, like the music, fun characters and interactive features. I never realized what aspects of media children are drawn to or try to turn away from, so taking this class has taught me a lot so far!

That's my fall semester courseload. Although I'm taking these classes remotely, I still feel like my senior year courses are keeping me engaged and learning new things I can use after I graduate this May!


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