J-Term immerses students in community, culture and careers

Students explore topics from conservation and animal welfare to cultural exploration and real-world preparation

J-Term students volunteer with Paint Your Heart Out

More than 1,600 Lynn University students returned from holiday break with a mission—to learn by doing. January Term (J-Term) kicks off annually after the New Year and includes three weeks of experiential learning and real-world exploration.

The abbreviated semester supports the important conversations that take place in the Dialogues and meets the university’s long-time mission to build a better world with its students. While they cover a breadth of topics, students focus on three main areas during the semester: citizenship, language and culture, and career preparation.

Citizenship Project

Some four hundred freshmen in 23 classes delved into Lynn’s do-good culture with Citizenship Project. They studied a civic issue and engaged in service work at five organizations to address it: Boca Helping Hands, Feeding Palm Beach County, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County and Paint Your Heart Out Palm Beach County with Solid Waste Authority.

“Not only are students getting their hands dirty, but they’re taking their experiences back to the classroom and learning the impact of their efforts,” said Dr. Anna Krift, associate professor and Citizenship Project director. “We cover topics ranging from environmental justice to poverty and social inequality.”

In some cases, faculty coordinated supplemental experiences. For example, eight classes participated in campus sustainability projects such as butterfly garden and Olewine Preserve maintenance, a waste sort and canal cleanup, and planting.

In addition, speakers inspired students to use their passion for purpose. Robert Scheer, Comfort Cases founder, spoke on the importance of community. Following, students packed 500 Comfort Cases for children and teens entering foster care. Citizenship Project concluded Friday with a student showcase and talk by Eric Stephenson, a social impact investing expert, alongside Assistant Professor Antonella Regueiro.

Language and culture

J-Term’s language and culture track opened the door to cultural exploration. Students chose from a range of courses such as French Cuisine and Language, Colombian Music and Art, Modern Hebrew and Israeli Culture through Film, American Sign Language, and Arabic and Middle Eastern Culture.

"This track gives students a glimpse into different world regions and their cultures, and a basic concept of the languages," said Shaun Exsteen, Dialogues of Innovation chair and Institute for Achievement and Learning executive director. "It's a great introduction for traveling to these regions."

Career preparation

Juniors and seniors who are preparing for life after college gained skills and insight into the professional world. Career prep courses honed in on industry topics like law and fashion, prepared students for postgraduate employment, and helped strengthen students’ focus.

Steph Cordes talks to fashion students
Students in Dr. Lisa Dandeo's J-Term course learned about ethical fashion from Steph Cordes.

Future Leaders of Tomorrow, led by the Hannifan Center for Career Connections, was one highlight of the career prep section. Students toured the Boca Raton community and interacted with top employers, civic and community organizations, and entrepreneurs. Also included were a speaker series and classroom time on resume writing, interview skills, LinkedIn, behavioral assessments and dressing for success.

“As I prepare for graduation, I made connections in the community with companies I never thought my degree would allow me to be a part of,” said Cassidy Kruse, an advertising major. “The class opened my eyes to a diverse group of businesses that offered beneficial advice. I even got offered a job opportunity!”

Career preparation class visits local businesses
The Future Leaders of Tomorrow class traveled around town to get an inside look at local businesses and organizations, like Boca Helping Hands.
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