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Kalamazoo College
(c)CMcGuireKSpr2011_0038

Savannah Kinchen

Anthropology and Sociology

E-mail: k14sk01@kzoo.edu
Hometown: Boston, MA
Major: Anthropology & Sociology
Study Away: Chicago Program (Arts, Social Justice, & Entrepreneurship)
Best Adjective to Describe You: Kind


In 20 words or less, what is the best thing about being part of this department?
There’s lots of flexibility, fewer requirements than most majors, and you can take cool topic-specific classes with interesting professors.

What is your advice to first years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?
Stop by office hours and just chat with the professors – they are all super friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to help students in any way they can. The benefit of a small school is being able to talk to professors one-on-one, so definitely take advantage of that to learn more about the department.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
Learning is a nonlinear process. Also, be gentle with yourself – it’s easy to get swept up in the stress culture at K, so don’t forget about self-care. Remember that this is your education, so make it what you want it to be.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
Research for Social Change with Dr. Cunningham stands out to me, because the class was structured in such a different way. Rather than learning through lectures and memorizing textbooks, we partnered with the City of Kalamazoo, attended neighborhood meetings, and helped compile data based on those meetings. Our work felt meaningful beyond the scope of our classroom and we learned by actually engaging in the community, which I found refreshing and impactful.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?
The open curriculum allowed me to explore classes that sparked my interest during my first year, which allowed me to understand what the different departments at K are like, and which one was a good fit for me. 

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?
I spent two weeks in Seattle during the summer after my first year, shadowing a K alumna who runs her own urban farming business.  During my sophomore year, I mentored young girls of color in the Kalamazoo community through the Young Women’s Leadership program, which is a partnership between the YWCA Kalamazoo and K’s Center for Civic Engagement. I also studied away in Chicago during my junior fall, taking part in the Arts, Social Justice, and Entrepreneurship program with an emphasis in social justice. As a part of this study away program I worked as a development intern with a local Chicago nonprofit that addressed teen homelessness. The summer after my junior year I interned with the YWCA Kalamazoo in the infant mortality department. Entering senior year I will be a co-leader of K Team, media manager for the Limelights, a social media ambassador for the Office of Admission, and a co-editor on the Fiction Committee for the Cauldron.

What is your SIP?
My SIP is a reflection on my internship experience with the YWCA in the infant mortality department. It looks at how community agencies are responding to the high infant mortality rate in Kalamazoo – a rate that is higher than the national rate and contains drastic racial disparities.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I am currently interested in pursuing a career in the nonprofit world, preferably with organizations that work to empower women and challenge racist systems.

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