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Academic Experiences

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Monkeys, philosophy, and art

Kellie Flint '08, a double major in philosophy and studio art, didn’t expect to also gain field research experience during her undergraduate education. But she signed up to work during the summer in Costa Rica with assistant anthropology professor Michelle Bezanson “on a whim” and found herself studying primates in the rainforest.

“It was incredible. I’d wake up at 5 a.m., get dressed, and go out in the rainforest and look for monkeys. I’d be out there thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this,’” Flint says.

At the SCU research site, Flint tracked howler monkeys, recording their behavior and vocalization patterns with the goal of helping to understand why they howl. “They make clucks and hooting sounds too, but they’re known for their howls. The howls are really scary, they’re so loud, a big roar,” she says.

Flint says that the range of experiences she had at Santa Clara was rewarding, from her field work in Costa Rica and a study abroad program in New Zealand to majoring simultaneously in philosophy and studio art as well as her core curriculum courses.

“I took the most rewarding classes. It’s nice to have all this freedom. I took a class on atheism taught by a Jesuit priest. My first instinct is to challenge everything—and the professors are very open to it,” she says.

Kellie Flint '08, B.A. philosophy and studio art

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