Not all introductory courses are created equal. The difference between a good Problem of God professor and a bad one can change the trajectory of your academic career quickly. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to learn which classes and professors go the extra mile, and those that will serve mostly as a forum for a midday nap. This puts pre-freshmen at a disadvantage: it’s hard to hear about classes before coming to the Hilltop. To help you out, we asked the brothers of GU|SigEp for their suggestions on which courses and professors would give incoming freshmen the best academic experience Georgetown can offer. Some of the best recommendations are below.
Principles of Microeconomics (ECON 001) is a class that is a requirement-filling course for a lot of students at Georgetown, crossing school lines from the MSB, to the SFS, and even to the College. I would strongly recommend taking Microeconomics first semester with Professor Arik Levinson, not only because he is a fantastic teacher, but also because he is a great guy to get to know on a personal level. Despite being in a large lecture hall, Levinson combines a clear and engaging lecture-style with humor to capture the attention of every single student in class. Moreover, his grading system is set up to help students do well, so it’s very manageable to succeed in his class, as long as you attend and pay attention. Finally, being in a large lecture hall, you’re guaranteed to have at least a few friends in class, which makes the experience all the more enjoyable, and affords you some study partners. Put simply, don’t make the mistake of missing out on one of the best professors at Georgetown.
Eric Menna is a rising sophomore in the School of Foreign Service, hailing from Boston, Massachusetts. Along with his activities in GU|SigEp, he also is a member of the Hilltop Microfinance Initiative, and works at the Mortara Center for International Studies on campus.
Intro to Ethics with Professor Terry Pinkard is a must-take class for any freshman Hoya. I came into Georgetown completely unfamiliar with the subject of philosophy and, frankly, not excited to confront Georgetown’s requirement of two philosophy classes. Now as a rising junior, I will be pursuing a philosophy minor, and Professor Pinkard was definitely my source of inspiration. You may at times feel uninspired by some of Georgetown’s Gen Ed classes, which you may feel relate in no way to your field of study. Professor Pinkard’s course ensured that I felt no such apathy about philosophy. Because of Professor Pinkard, I now find a topic that I once thought was mundane to be a rich and colorful discipline that teaches me the many different ways one can look at and understand the world. I encourage you to take this course and truly experience this incredible professor yourself.
AJ Serlemitsos is a rising junior in Georgetown’s College, pursuing a major in Political Economics and minors in Philosophy and Arabic. In addition to be a brother of GU|SigEp, AJ works for the Corp at ’Uncommon Grounds’ and gives tours as a Blue & Gray tour guide.
Professor Oded Meyer’s course on Probability and Statistics (MATH-040) answers the question with which so many students struggle: Why am I learning this? Professor Meyer teaches his students statistical reasoning, in order to analyze real data and evaluate actual studies. In this class, I learned to look for biases in the wording of questions that might corrupt a census or survey, and to interpret conditional density curves to determine what the temperature may be in one city, given the current temperature in another. Despite the large size of this lecture, Professor Meyer surrounds himself with a team of knowledgeable and resourceful TA’s who will be there to give you help along the way. As one final bonus, this course is a very manageable way to knock out half of your Math/Science Core requirement.
Jack Maher is a rising junior in the College, double majoring in the Classics and in Economics and has served on the Recruitment Board of GU|SigEp for two semesters. Aside from his work in the fraternity, Jack is a member of the Student Advocacy Office, plays for the Men’s Club Soccer team, and serves as a tutor for Georgetown’s Academic Resource Center.
The Problem of God with Rev. Hentz, S.J., or “Otto” for short, was by far the most thought-provoking class I took my freshmen year, and I strongly recommend taking it to fulfill your Theology requirement. Otto is one of the wisest men I have ever met. His lectures concerning the possible existence of a God transcend the topics of existentialism and ontological reasoning and often contain simple yet powerful tips on how to live a fulfilling life of purpose and value. The class is also structured to be extremely personal and easy to keep up with. Otto deviates from traditional lecture-style of teaching and insists on student participation in each class. The difficulty of Otto’s class is not in lengthy essays (in fact he will rarely ever let you write anything over 5 lines) or extensive tedious readings, but in how you will be expected to reevaluate the meaning of your own existence. In addition, Rev. Hentz makes a conscious effort to develop a personal relationship with his students. When asking Otto a question after class about the course material, don’t be surprised if his response to your question ends with “let’s grab lunch this week”. By the end of my freshmen year I must’ve had over ten meals with the man. Don’t miss this phenomenal opportunity to expand your mind.
Adam Daly is a rising sophomore in the College from Virginia. He is double majoring in the Government and in Theology. Besides his involvement with GU|SigEp, Adam is a member of the Student Advocacy Office, plays for the Men’s Club Lacrosse team, and works for The Corp at MUG.
About SigEp: SigEp at Georgetown is a social fraternity committed to the principles of virtue, diligence, and brotherly love. We take the best the Greek tradition has to offer — a sense of community through brotherhood; vibrant social life; and a wide range of career and networking opportunities — and exclude nonconstructive elements like pledging and hazing, which aren’t in line with the values here at Georgetown. “This fraternity will be different” is our founding creed.
We invite you to take a look around this site and to check out our Facebook page to get a better sense of who we are and what we do. If you’re considering rushing SigEp, sign up for email alerts about upcoming events, and take a look at our recruitment page,which features a tentative calendar of events. You can learn more about us here.