Place-Based Education

Geology major Katherine Sorrows ’17 says she sets her ambition toward anything that catches her interest.

And during her first year at Earlham, several things have caught her interest.

She works at the Joseph Moore Museum (JMM) and is currently helping rewrite the host manual and helped with recasting and molding the giant beaver skeleton.

“That’s something you usually don’t get to learn even in grad school,” she points out. Sorrows likes how museums provide informal education.

“I like giving tours and really being able to use the museum,” she says. “Having something there while you’re teaching helps, and I think people learn more.”

As part of an Outdoor Leadership course, Sorrows went on a canoeing trip in Georgia during spring break with Takako Takano, a professor from Waseda University in Japan, who was visiting Earlham as part of Earlham’s Japan Study professional development program with Waseda. Sorrows says she enjoyed talking with Takano about shared interests including place-based education, which Sorrows hopes to study more closely, and Japanese, which Sorrows is studying at Earlham.

Hoping to complete an Outdoor Education Designation, Sorrows enrolled in the Wilderness First Responder May Term, and she gained her Emergency Medical Technician certification during winter break.

Sorrows comes from a long line of Earlham graduates on both sides of her family. In fact, both her grandmother and an aunt also were involved with the JMM when they attended.

“I’ve been asked if I was coming to Earlham since eighth grade,” she says. Both Katherine and her twin sister, Elisabeth, did their college searches individually, and both chose Earlham. Katherine says that while she initially resisted Earlham and looked at other colleges, her Explore-A-College experience in 2012 cinched her decision. Both Katherine and Elisabeth have been very intentional about their interactions on campus.

“It’s been really nice to have someone here,” Katherine says. “A lot of college is about figuring out who you are, so it’s nice to do that separately but be close. It’s hard to have someone that connected to your past when you’re doing that.”

A lot of that “figuring out” Sorrows says she has done in Quaker Fellows, a scholarship program focused on spirituality, community and leadership development.

“Spirituality and church became a lot more important to me during my senior year, so I wanted to be in a group that focused on worship and explored spirituality,” she says.

This summer, Sorrows is going to Japan for a class through Earlham called East Asia and the Pacific Northwest: Managing the Risk of Earthquakes and Tsunami. Afterward, she hopes to travel to Japan to visit Takano, her host family from a high school exchange program, and to farm as part of WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms).

Katherine Sorrows
Katherine Sorrows 2017

Hometown: Carlisle, Mass.

Major at Earlham: Geology

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