For many Bowdoin students, summer is a time to try something out of the ordinary. These four students' experiences are a sampling of summer accomplishments.
Wesley Hartwell '11
Wesley Hartwell '11 spent eight weeks of his summer working at an organic vegetable farm in Manchester, Vermont. The farm is a participant in the Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) program, which matches up interested volunteers with farms around the world. In exchange for room and board, WWOOF volunteers work the farm.
Hartwell said that he and the other farmers planted traditional crops such as tomatoes, as well as stranger crops like kohlrabi, a vegetable that is related to broccoli and cabbage but resembles a ball with horns sticking out of it.
Hartwell also did crop maintenance.
"A big thing in organic agriculture is weeding...there is a lot more human labor, because you don't have pesticides," he said.
In addition to learning a lot about farming, Hartwell said he greatly enjoyed the experience thanks to the other people working at the farm, with whom he cooked dinner every night.
"It was really cool, not only for just making the food, but for the community you get out of it," he said.
The farm also participates in is the Community Supported Agriculture Program, which allows customers to pay an upfront fee in exchange for a season of fresh organic vegetables.
"You have people coming in who pay 400 dollars upfront for a season's worth of groceries, and they get a paper bag full of stuff every week," Hartwell explained.
"I kind of randomly decided to do this...I hadn't done WWOOF before, or even farming," said Hartwell.
However, as a potential environmental studies major who is concerned about global warming, he said that "farming is a good thing to know as we enter this phase."
Adam Karl '08
As a field assistant at the Southern Sierra Research Station in California this summer, Adam Karl '08 researched endangered bird species and their breeding cycles. Karl, an environmental studies and biology major, focused his work on the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, a species of bird that is rare because its lack of breeding habitat and nest parasitism from the Brown-headed Cowbird.
Karl worked on a forest preserve near the Kern River, which runs along the southern part of the Sierra Nevada range near the Inyo and Sequoia National Forests. His daily work included "locating the [Southwestern Willow Flycatchers] on our preserve, finding and monitoring their nests, and then banding and tracking their young."
However, as Karl explained, the Brown-headed Cowbird's habitat overlaps into the Flycatchers' terrority, so his group euthanized or shot about 250 cowbirds in order to prevent the parasitism of the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. In order to complete this work, Karl would "typically wake up around 4:30 a.m. and would be in the field by 5:15 a.m." Despite this early wake-up call, he said, "Watching the sun rise over desert mountains every morning was certainly worth it."
Elizabeth Pedowitz '10
This summer, Elizabeth Pedowitz '10 had the opportunity to stand beside doctors and observe a neck fusion procedure. She watched as doctors took bone from the hip of a patient and fused it to the spinal cord. Pedowitz, a potential neuroscience major, interned for one month in the Quality Systems division of the Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, New York. Her department focused on eliminating errors in the hospital and improving patient satisfaction.
"I got to see all the patient complaints and everything that was wrong with the hospital," said Pedowitz. However, she also read the compliments patients had paid to the hospital and its doctors.
During the last week of her internship, the doctors asked Pedowitz if she would like to observe a surgery. Though she thought she would be viewing from the gallery, she was actually on the floor with the doctors.
"They warned me, 'make sure you eat a good breakfast because we've had people faint...and whatever you do, don't fall forward onto the patient'...I was nervous, but I was actually fine," she said.
Pedowitz described observing the doctors perform the neck fusion as "surreal."
"I realized it was a real operation," she said, recalling that the patient was awake and talking when she was wheeled into the operating room.
Carina Sandoval '10
For Carina Sandoval '10, summer meant spending hours perched precariously on a scaffold. Sandoval, a visual arts major, worked for an interior design company called Artistic Designs of Florida. She put her artistic talents to use painting murals and stenciling designs for clients' houses.
Sandoval completed projects including a ceiling mural of clouds in a child's room, ornate stenciling in living rooms, and a whimsical Cinderella-and-flowers theme for a young girl's bedroom.
Translating an idea into a finished and veritable work of art on a wall was a complex process, involving "compromising and advising clients based on artistic knowledge," Sandoval said.
She explained that she had to "learn to deal with clients and try to understand what they are envisioning and create it for them, because they might have an idea of what they want but don't really have a visual concept of it."
Working with clients and building close professional relationships proved to be one of the more rewarding aspects of the job, according to Sandoval.
"Even if you struggle through the steps sometimes, making the clients happy and seeing little kids excited about their rooms is really gratifying," she said.