Reconstructing the Mugamma

Donna Divine, Morningstar Family Professor in the field of Jewish Studies and Professor of Government
One man’s protest quickly became a movement that toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt, led to revolution in Libya, and incited uprisings against regimes throughout the Middle East. From Tahrir Square to Tripoli, the Arab Spring has gripped the attention of the world. Will these events lead to real democratic reforms in the region, or will the familiar cycle of oppression and unrest continue? Donna Divine considers the possibilities.

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What really sold me on Smith was the Museum of Art, which is one of the best at an American liberal arts college. Many of my classes are held there and use the collection. The museums concentration is  unique in that it offers both academic and practical museum experience. And I am lucky enough to have the director and chief curator of the museum, Jessica Nicoll, as my museums concentration adviser, so what could be better?  

As part of the concentration, I work as a museum educator, giving tours to students from elementary to high school age. We are trained to use a style of questioning that helps students to interact with the museum’s pieces and build a narrative around a piece based upon their own observations. Since many schools have cut arts programs, I think it’s especially important for museums to have programs that help to develop visual literacy in children.

Next year I will be interning under the curator of painting and sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian. I will also complete a seminar that explores the history, functions and meanings of museums in society today as well as an independent research project of my choosing. 

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I’m a first-generation college student, so I didn’t really know how to go about choosing a college. My parents and I were thinking about a women’s college, and my guidance counselor suggested the engineering program at Smith since I really like math and science. Smith invited me to Discovery Weekend, which turned out to be the perfect opportunity for me to explore the campus and try some classes. I thought, I could definitely see myself here!

I was awarded an AEMES (Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Engineering and Sciences) scholarship when I was accepted.  With my adviser, Professor Nalini Easwar from the physics department, I do research on granular materials and complex fluids. I perform demos that illustrate the unusual flow properties of granular materials and complex fluids. I’m learning research skills that I will use throughout my career. 

Of course Smith has rigorous academics, but it’s nothing I can’t handle if I keep my time organized. I can’t wait to know all that there is to know here.


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I visited Smith on a stormy, rainy day and loved it. I thought if I love this place today, then I know it’s going to be awesome. 

The music department is a very inclusive and close-knit community. The professors treat us as colleagues. Knowing my violin talents as well as my personal quirks, they give me pieces that are tailored to me both as a person and as a musician. I am part of a clarinet quintet and vice president of the Smith College Orchestra. This year I helped organize the first annual Smith ArtsFest. Whatever the performers needed, I had to find it. I had to be practical, resourceful and keep a cool head. I drew from the skills I learned over the summer as an intern—through Smith’s Praxis internship program—at a classical music club, le poisson rouge, in Greenwich Village. I was a jack-of-all- trades. This summer, I’m going a totally different route with an internship at J.P. Morgan in New York City.

With the skills I acquired at Smith, I have the ability to explore many different career options. It’s an exciting place to be, and I feel invincible. 


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A Smith First: The New Game of Basketball

Experience the exhilaration of students as they play the new game of bastketball and participate in the first women's collegiate basketball championship — between Smith sophomores and freshman — more than a century ago.

1933 Smith Film

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New Arrivals: Student Views on Smith

Two new Smith students, Helen Queenan '14 and  Ada Comstock Scholar Kelly Rowland, discuss their first week at Smith. Fall 2010

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Designing a New Solar Energy System at a Closing Landfill Site

Smith engineering seniors Lindsay Holle and Darcy Dwyer devoted two semesters and the professional equivalent of some 1,000 hours for the research, analysis and design of a feasible renewable energy system to generate electricity at the city of Northampton’s landfill site after it closes in 2013.

Related story: Designing a New Solar Energy System at a Landfill Site