Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
It’s not easy to find free time in Jake Tenenbaum’s schedule. The business administration major has minors in integrated marketing communications and legal studies, and he also spends time as co-president of Ithaca’s chapter of the American Marketing Association. So when does he sleep?
“It’s going to sound nerdy, but for me the work is fun. Ithaca is such a hands-on school, and it’s given me the opportunity to learn such an incredible amount inside the classroom and through different student organizations. For instance, my consumer behavior class helped me understand the reasons the professionals at my internships made many of the decisions they did while I was there.”
“With the Business Link organization, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and helping others connect with alumni in their industry. We help students beginning in their freshman year to get in touch with alumni in their hometown, allowing them to foster relationships in an off-campus setting.”
Those experiences came in handy, scoring Jake an exciting internship in New York City with alumnus Chris Burch’s newest venture. Burch’s company, J. Christopher Capital, which owns the popular tech brands Powermat and Jawbone, had two fashion lines that were nearing their launch. “I was involved in the process of designing taglines and comparison charts for the two new companies, C Wonder and Monika Chiang,” Jake says. “It was just an amazing chance to organize all of my skills from Ithaca in one place.”
Jake plans on graduating a year early and already has a job offer on the table thanks to the connections he’s made through Ithaca. “I feel ready to lead. I want to go out and do well, and the links I made with business professionals due to my involvement on campus have placed me right where I want to be.”
Editor's Note: Jake impressed CEO and Ithaca alumnus Chris Burch '76 so much during his internship that Chris offered Jake a vital client-facing role at J. Christopher Capital immediately following graduation. Jake now works as a corporate gifting coordinator promoting the C. Wonder and Monika Chiang brands.
Computer science and history are not commonly paired in the classroom. But at Ithaca College, professors Ali Erkan and Michael Smith have begun a collaboration that may help improve the way students learn.
The project began because of computer science professor Ali Erkan’s curiosity. He wanted to look at how students use wikis—websites developed collaboratively by a community of users who can add and delete information—so he could research and create a visual map of the way the students make connections between ideas. He asked himself, If students produce things that can be visualized as structures, will that allow us to understand understanding itself?
“I think computer science allows you to develop the tools to work on that question—but then you need a context,” Ali says. “I thought the humanities would be the best context to explore, and I had to find the right person to work with.”
Ali had just the person in mind—a history professor he had met during a bus ride in Ithaca a couple years earlier and had since interacted with on the IC campus. He emailed Michael Smith to share his idea.
“The fact that Ithaca, both as an institution and a community, is small enough that you can have these kinds of interpersonal connections that can then become more formal collaborations is something I really value,” Michael says. “In some ways I’m an odd choice because I’m a little bit of a digital skeptic, but when Ali approached me with this idea of using wikis as a way of representing knowledge—that you could kind of lift up the hood and see some structures in there—I was intrigued.”
Ali and Michael have been working with students in both their fields to further explore the project’s questions. They created a grant proposal and received a digital humanities start-up grant from the National Endowment for Humanities. They hope that by gaining understanding of how thought connections are formed, they can eventually help students improve how they research and learn.
Ithaca College has given them the support they need to make the project a success. “It is a teaching-oriented institution, so we’re encouraged to be innovative and emphasize teaching excellence in all sorts of ways. So this is a way to remain active as scholars and at the same time improve what happens in our classroom,” says Michael.
“There’s no quota for the amount of papers you have to write or the amount of money you have to bring in. Those things are in place at other institutions so that there’s more research productivity, but I think it ends up being a hindrance on the research,” Ali says. “We both feel liberated by not operating under those constraints, so we can simply follow our curiosity, and that becomes our optimum point of operation. Because we are curious, we are productive.”
>> More on this story: Untangling the Web
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