This is the fourth of five weekly articles that serve as guides to incoming students as they weigh their First Year Seminar and Living Learning Community selections. Incoming students interested in any of these courses can indicate their choice using this form by May 30*

Do you love stories about secrets or true crime? Do you enjoy solving puzzles or mysteries? Students interested in code-breaking and real-life who-done-it stories will want to consider the two First Year Seminar (FYS) courses described below. Although they will focus on different genres and histories, both FYS courses will explore aspects of intrigue and the importance of representation in media.

Secret Codes, Hidden Figures, and Modern Movies

The first "intriguing" FYS course is taught by Dr. Adam Giambrone, Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Interim Director of First Year Seminar, and centers around the question, 'How have codemakers and codebreakers affected our everyday lives, even if we don't know it?' Throughout the course, students will engage in the process of discovery by creating their own secret codes, forming their own secret societies, and decoding messages hidden all around EC's campus. Modern movies will be used to motivate questions for discussion.

"I'm eager to discuss the power of films that bring stories of human achievement to life," said Giambrone. "Blockbuster films such as The Imitation Game and Hidden Figures are not only entertaining, but also they send messages to audiences about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). We'll talk about how these and other movies impact society's views on STEM, who the 'hidden figures' of STEM are, and why sharing their stories matters."

True Crime and Me

The second "intriguing" FYS course is taught by Dr. Annaliese Hoehling, Assistant Professor of English & Director of the Academic Writing Program, and centers around the question, 'Why are we so fascinated with stories of crime?' In the course, students will explore the genre of true crime, investigating the impact new media such as docuseries and podcasts has had on storytelling and our reactions to these stories. Students will work to determine which kinds of crime stories capture our collective attention and what that selectivity says about our social values. Are all true crimes represented in the same way? How are we manipulated by the presentation of the information? By analyzing the true crime genre, students will learn critical thinking skills that they can apply to many aspects of their lives.

"I'm looking forward to delving into this topic, learning from students what stories they enjoy and challenging them to take a critical look at what that means," said Hoehling. "I also want to go beyond passive consumption of the medium and give students the chance to produce their own true crime media in various formats."

*Incoming students should have access to the form. If you encounter an issue, please reach out to the Admissions Office.

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