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EPIC Advantage connecting hundreds of Earlhamites with life-changing opportunities in first year

March 09, 2018

The EPIC Advantage, the offer to every student of a funded summer internship, project or collaborative research experience, is paying dividends in its first year as the signature component of the Earlham experience.

Dozens soon-to-be graduates, who would otherwise miss the opportunity to benefit from the launch of the EPIC Advantage, were given early access to funding this winter to pursue internships, attend scholarly conferences or pursue job-shadowing experiences with professionals in their chosen industry all over the world. Hundreds of rising juniors and seniors will participate in longer and more intensive experiences this summer.

“The EPIC Advantage gave me the freedom to shape the kind of experience I was looking for before graduation,” says Jacob Harris ’18, a Biochemistry major from Tacoma Park, Md., who volunteered at St Elizabeth's Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania, for three weeks during winter break. He is applying to medical school this spring and plans to begin classes in fall 2019.

“I had traveled abroad to Thailand and Korea through Earlham previously, but those experiences were different and largely planned out for me,” he says. “Going to Tanzania was a great summation of my past experiences that also let me discover what becoming a doctor may look like in a hospital setting outside of the United States. I also had the opportunity to work directly with patients in ways I couldn’t as a volunteer back home.”

The EPIC Advantage was launched at the start of the 2017-18 academic year after the College received a $7.5 million leadership gift from Alan ’74 and Peg Kral Scantland ’74. A program that is virtually unparalleled in American higher education, The EPIC Advantage allows students to gain professional experience and put their academic interests into action.

This summer, groups of Earlham students and faculty will use EPIC Advantage funding to research climate change in Iceland, ethnobotany in Alaska, issues of race in Brazil, and even knitting in the Shetland Islands. Internship placements are also being offered at dozens of locations across the world including the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, D.C., global pharmaceutical producer Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, and a leading biotechnology company in Bangkok, Thailand.

“The EPIC Advantage provides to every single Earlham student the kind of life-changing learning opportunities that have always been available to a select few,” President Alan Price says. “Earlham has been a national leader in faculty-led, off-campus study for 60 years, and we consistently have a higher percentage of our graduates go on to receive doctoral degrees than our peers. What makes the EPIC Advantage different is that best off-campus opportunities Earlham has to offer are now available to all our students.”

Muhammad Mujtaba ’18 agrees. The EPIC Advantage, he says, has been crucial in enhancing his application for graduate school this year as he prepares for the rigors of advanced level scientific coursework ahead.

A Physics major from Lahore, Pakistan, Mujtaba used his funding to attend the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Biophysics Society in San Francisco earlier this year and present research that originated on campus. Seeking to better understand the structures of DNA molecules, Mujtaba contributed to the team’s research by deciphering plots obtained from computer simulations of Dihydrofolate reductase molecules and accounting for entropic correction throughout the reaction.

“I felt like this experience would give me a leg up on the competition in attending the graduate school of my choice,” Mujtaba says. “Partaking in this internationally attended conference with support from the EPIC Advantage was also beneficial for networking and connecting with other people in the field all while exploring a beautiful city like San Francisco.”

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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success.

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.

 

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