The dog days are over: A brief look into 5C students’ summers

A white female college student sits on a grass lawn. She is wearing a dress with an ocean and palm tree pattern on it.
Sophie Perry SC ’22 spent her summer working at Morning Glory Farm in Martha’s Vineyard. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

As the first month of the fall semester concludes, 5C students have scurried back into their fast-paced daily routines. It’s easy to move on and forget about the summer as everyone dives headfirst into the new semester. But, many students’ summers were notable, to say the least, and are worth revisiting.

Sophie Perry SC ’22

Sophie Perry SC ’22 ventured not too far from her home in the Boston area to Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island south of Cape Cod, where she toiled as a member of the Morning Glory Farm’s field crew. There, she helped maintain crops to sell locally on the island.

The experience afforded her a greater insight into the potentially less appealing logistical constraints a larger farm faces, like fortified pesticides.

Previously averse to the inorganic, Perry said her original opinion on conventional, larger-scale farming began to be reformed after learning of some plants’ frank inabilities to grow in certain climates without using at least minimal amounts of pesticides.

”The farm itself is conventional, not organic, so they did use pesticides,” she said. “[With] my upbringing not working on conventional farms before, I’ve always had the idea that [pesticides] are horrible and bad for the earth.”

Now, Perry knows she’s found her niche and looks to continue her summer work into her academic future.

“After this [farming] experience, I know that I love doing hands-on, outdoors, group work … and I loved growing food,” Perry said. “I’d love to learn more about regenerative agriculture practices.”

Marcos Acosta HM ’23

Marcos Acosta HM ’23 spent his summer a little more indoors. 

When he wasn’t coaching tennis, he worked on writing a computer program that streamlined his cumbersome price-checking for flights.

“I live on the East Coast, and I want to fly home every once in a while,” Acosta said. “Plane tickets can get really expensive really quickly, and I wanted to have a way to automate checking different flights from here to there.” 

Acosta also spent part of his summer teaching himself different programming languages. 

“There is more in the world than Java,” he said. “I spent a lot of time learning [programs] like Python and JavaScript because I feel like I needed a little bit more than what was taught in high school before coming to college.”

Courtney Reed CM ’22

Through an Appel Fellowship, Courtney Reed CM ’22 spent her summer traveling through India, China and the U.S. learning about the hair industry, as well as preparing for the launch of her own hair company.

“I know that India and China are the biggest hair exporters [in] the world; when I was in Varanasi, I was learning about the religious reasons that Indian women donate their hair and the ethics behind that,” she said.

In China, Reed focused on the types of alleged corrupt practices that happen there because of the hair industry’s alleged lack of regulations. She met with the vendor for her company, Monette Hair, during her travels in China, to ensure that the hair is ethically sourced.

Back in the United States, Reed attended The Bronner Brothers hair show in Georgia and launched Monette Hair on Sept. 15. She thinks it’s important for buyers to know where hair is coming from.

“I want them to understand the sacrifices that people are going through to get the hair to you,” she said.

Reed is also creating a mini documentary about this topic. 

“I am trying to be as ethical as possible in an industry where it’s hard, and you never know 100 percent if someone is telling you the truth,” she said.

Ethan Ashby PO ’21

Ethan Ashby PO ’21, originally from the Bay Area, spent his summer right here in Claremont, working with a research group at Harvey Mudd College. 

Under the guidance of Pomona College statistics professor Jo Hardin, he analyzed datasets of E. coli and another parasite to understand how dynamic biological processes, like responses to environmental stresses and parasitic infection, were coordinated at the genetic level.

Ashby said he came into the summer interested in genomics, a branch of molecular biology focusing on genomes, and left “truly passionate about it,” he said via message.

“It’s awe-inspiring to see the kinds of questions that genomics has afforded the scientific community and the opportunity to ask and address,” he said. “In addition, our project advisers (Hardin, professor Dan Stoebel and professor Danae Schulz) were so thoughtful and patient with us.”

Joe Frankel PZ ’22

Joe Frankel PZ ’22 had quite a different experience, traveling across the globe to work in a refugee camp in the West Bank.

In the biblical city of Bethlehem, which is located just south of Jerusalem, Frankel worked with over 60 Palestinian children every day for a month, playing soccer and teaching them English.

“It was unbelievable. I think it definitely taught me a lot,” he said. “It was surreal in a lot of aspects, and I think it was also very important at the time.”

As someone who was raised in a Jewish household, Frankel said he was worried he might be in danger because he was on the other side of the wall or that he would be offending people with his presence.

“I could not have been more wrong about that,” he said. “I got nothing but tolerance, smiles and waves, people wanting to hear all about me.”

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