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  • Addison Aloian

The Best NYU Science Class

If you’re an NYU student looking for a class to knock out your science class requirement, I have the perfect solution for you!

This past spring semester, I took Anthropology: Human Evolution in the College of Arts & Sciences with Professor Scott Williams.

If there’s anything I’m taking advantage of in college, it’s taking classes that actually interest me. When I started researching classes to take during the spring semester, I’ve always been drawn to anthropology.

Coming across Human Evolution, I was immediately intrigued – it met three times a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays and required a third, short lab recitation offered at many convenient times. Plus, the class description looked interesting, so it sounded like a pretty painless option.

Next, I did what any normal college student does: went on Normally I’m against checking it because if a teacher has bad reviews, it freaks me out. However, some part of me really felt like I should research this professor before enrolling.

Professor Williams’s page was glowing, full of five-star ratings and amazing comments, most of which raved about his kindness, knowledge and passion about the subject. Many comments also said “easy to get an A,” which I certainly wasn’t mad about!

Needless to say, I registered for it immediately.

On my first day of class, Professor Williams reviewed the syllabus, announcing that class lecture attendances were optional, as long as you showed up for your weekly lab recitation. I’ve always been a Type A, attend-every-single-class-no-matter-how-sick-you’re-feeling kind of girl, but this definitely excited me.

He continued to state that every lecture slide would be uploaded online for our later viewing, textbook readings were optional, and there was no weekly homework.

Yes, this class is real.

As the course progressed, a wide variety of topics were covered, from the history of evolution, to a bit of molecular biology, to types of primates from which humans evolved, to modern human skin color variation. It helped that Professor Williams indeed was super chill and engaging with the material.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: how did the class change when classes went remote due to COVID-19?

I have to admit, the class wasn’t as great over Zoom. But Professor Williams and our Teaching Assistants did an amazing job of helping us adapt to learning from home. Both of our remaining exams became open note and were offered at different times for international students.

Regarding lab meetings, attendance became optional and each lab was converted to a take-home version that we could complete on our own time, as long as it was turned in each Thursday. Additionally, our TAs graded a lot easier because we couldn’t ask them questions the same way.

Although I didn’t get the class experience I expected when I enrolled in Human Evolution, I had a wonderful time in the class and learned a lot of fascinating stuff, so I highly recommend it.

I can honestly say that Professor Williams was extremely accommodating even before the whole pandemic, and he genuinely wants his students to succeed. I’m sure when classes meet in person again, the class is even better.

And while I did receive an A, I assure you, I worked hard for it, as did many of my peers. :)

If you’re looking for the best way to knock out your science credit, especially during a busy semester, check out this low-maintenance but highly interesting anthropology class!



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