Inside Rensselaer
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Focus on: Sophomore-Year Experience Initiative Kickoff

With the fall semester under way, the Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (CLASS) initiative is in full swing. Building on the success of Rensselaer’s award-winning First-Year Experience, CLASS aims to transform the student experience at Rensselaer by elevating the quality of support for students throughout the undergraduate years.

On Sept. 10, the Division of Student Life held a special event to celebrate members of the sophomore class and to honor the individual accomplishments of students in areas of leadership, athletics, community service, and visual and performing arts.

The event — held in the East Campus Athletic Village arena — featured remarks from several members of Student Life, including Eddie Ade Knowles, vice president of student life; Lisa Trahan, assistant vice president for the student experience; Amy Pettengill, class dean for the Rensselaer Class of 2013; Sophomore Class President Wes Connor and Vice President Paul Calhoun, and Jeffrey Trinkle, professor of computer science at Rensselaer and the newly appointed faculty dean of the residential commons.

In her remarks, Pettengill noted that sophomore year can be a significant one for a variety of reasons since it is a time of great transformation and decision-making, and encouraged the students to look ahead to new opportunities. “Exploration that could have been characterized as random last year will become focused and deliberate in the months ahead. You’ll confirm your commitment to your academic major, expand your career awareness through the sophomore career experience, and determine which type of experiential pursuit is best for you — internship or co-op, undergraduate research, study abroad,” said Pettengill.

“During the course of this year, you’ll be encouraged to reflect on your previous experience, clarify your values, decide what’s important, and identify leadership skills you want to sharpen or develop,” Pettengill added. “You will not engage in such pursuits in isolation, however, because the sophomore-year experience is designed to support you as you progress. With just a little reflection on last year’s progress, it is evident that you’ve made great strides already.”

The sophomore class comprises 1,227 students, including 45 transfer students. Members of the class are enrolled in a variety of disciplines across Rensselaer. There are 53 architecture majors, 49 business/management majors, 715 engineering majors, 95 humanities, arts, and social sciences majors, and 287 who call the School of Science home.

In speaking to his fellow classmates, Connor applauded their accomplishments and also noted that his greatest task as class president is focused on creating opportunities to bring the members of the class together in fun and meaningful ways.

This fall, as an extension of the First-Year Experience, Rensselaer also launched the Sophomore-Year Experience. “Some of the goals of the program are to provide students with a greater sense of belonging and community at Rensselaer, as well as to instill intellectual curiosity outside of the classroom,” said Trahan. “It is my hope for the Class of 2013 that they take opportunities to stretch themselves in ways they never dreamed possible; try new things; perfect old skills and talents—and enjoy all you do on campus.”

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Send comments to:
Inside Rensselaer, Strategic Communications and External Relations
1000 Troy Building, 110 Eighth Street, Troy, N.Y. 12180 or to leibat@rpi.edu.
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 14, September 24, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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