Feeling connected while thousands of miles away from campus

Saumyaa Gupta thrived in her first semester at Beloit while taking classes remotely from India.

The aspiring political scientist made her first strong connection with her faculty advisor last summer through Beloit’s Advanced Mentoring Program, known as AMP. From there the connections just kept building.

While Saumyaa Gupta is studying in India, she is making the most of her classes, extracurriculars, and new relationships with professors. Saumyaa and many other students from across the world are taking their Beloit classes from home.

Saumyaa is hoping to make it to campus for the spring, and has been pleasantly surprised with the education she’s received already, especially thanks to her understanding professors.

“I had to change my entire sleep cycle just so I could attend classes,” says Saumyaa. “I sleep at around 6 a.m. and get up around 3 p.m. Beloit did a really good job with all classes being online if I wanted to have them. I was taking this hybrid course with Professor of Political Science Phil Chen in the first mod, and all of the students were in person and I was the only kid attending it online. He made it possible for me to be able to attend the classroom digitally—he had a GoPro camera, microphones. I didn’t want to be alone doing the work asynchronously, so he made alternate accommodations. I don’t think other professors [elsewhere] would have done that. It was really nice.”

Since taking the class, Saumyaa has already declared her major in political science and is anticipating a second major in psychology later on. She’s already become involved in Model UN and Black Lives Matter Beloit and encourages other first-years, especially those already on campus, to reach out to campus groups and each other.

Those kinds of interactions—even remotely—are just what Saumyaa was looking for. “Beloit is a really close community,” she says. “I like having one-on-one interactions with people and professors, and at big colleges you get lost. I thought it was really important for me to have a small, tight-knit community where I knew people. I came from the NextGenius Scholars program, where they send [international] students every year to campuses like Beloit and other schools. I met a couple of other students from India who were already here [at Beloit].”

She could sense that community while meeting for the first time last summer with her Advanced Mentorship Program (AMP) advisor, Professor of Anthropology Shannon Fie. Students and their AMP advisors discussed their interests and registered for classes over Zoom, and continue to meet routinely to talk about classes and check-in throughout the semester.

“I think AMP was a really good approach because if you already know a person on campus who’s a faculty member, they can pretty much help you out with anything you need,” says Saumyaa. “It felt as if Beloit was really prepared to bring students on campus, despite Covid.”

December 11, 2020

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