BOD MAGAZINE: Cool classes to spice up the spring semester

Natalie Engler

Student often dread the day when it is time to choose classes for the next semester. There are general education requirements, university requirements and even classes that are required for a student’s major and minor.

However, there are times when a class is offered that piques the interests of all kinds of students. Those classes are the ones that bring students of different majors together because of a common interest. Classes like Alexander Hamilton, taught by Dr. Kelly Erby, history professor, and Forensic Science in Criminal Justice taught by professor Rebecca Vincent-Giles, forensic investigations.

The history course, Alexander Hamilton, uses the popular rap musical Hamilton as a driving force to explore various aspects of Hamilton’s world with the revolutionary and early national periods. The course also examines the musical and the way it frames the story of America’s founding and weigh in on twenty-first century debates on a wide range of topics.

Erby has always been a fan of the early national period and teaches other courses related to the Revolution. For her, teaching a class about Alexander Hamilton was an opportunity not to be missed.

“It just seemed like a way, a fresh way to freshen up my knowledge and rethink the way I teach the Revolution and early national period,” she said. “After the most recent election, there’s a ton of really timely stuff that has roots in Hamilton’s period and Hamilton himself is really influential in a lot of current discussions.”

As for the forensic investigations course, Forensic Science in Criminal Justice, the course is designed to help students understand and apply the fundamentals and advanced techniques in crime scene investigations. Also, the course is to teach students proper procedures, like chain of custody, and what evidence can be used in court proceedings. There is a lab that is also associated with the course.

Vincent-Giles recently joined Washburn’s faculty in the fall where she was able to teach introductory courses in relation to forensic science. She wants the mentality of these advanced courses to be similar to those taught in crime scene school.

Students will be participating in shooting reconstructions, blood splatter analysis, chemical processing and even witnessing an autopsy. Students will also use technology like Adobe Photoshop to calibrate and clarify fingerprints.

For Vincent-Giles, she now has students who have taken the introductory course and are now taking the advanced class.

“I’m using a lot of my CJ 415 students to help me teach CJ 115 when I do a lot of practicals,” she said. “And to see them as experts already. I’m really proud of them and I love that part.”

While classes can be exhausting and mentally draining, they all have the potential to become interesting and fun, even general education courses. Erby encourages students to major in what interests them.

“not necessarily to major in what their parents what them to major in or something that they think will get them a job,” Erby said. “If you’re not interested in learning then you’re probably not going to be successful at it.”

Whether you like classes about the American Revolution or astronomy, there are classes available for every kind of student. So, when the time comes to register for classes again, look at what fun and exciting courses are available and take a chance. After all, that is what college is really about.